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My view of touchscreen laptops:

Displaying poll results.
Tool of the devil: stupid and awful
  6685 votes / 18%
I'm against them (annoying, smudgy)
  9074 votes / 25%
Neutralish, but leaning slightly against
  5868 votes / 16%
Neutralish, but warming to the concept
  4343 votes / 12%
I like them, but not a fanatic
  3741 votes / 10%
They're awesome; I'm hooked
  1278 votes / 3%
There are touch-screen laptops?
  4665 votes / 13%
35654 total votes.
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  • Don't complain about lack of options. You've got to pick a few when you do multiple choice. Those are the breaks.
  • Feel free to suggest poll ideas if you're feeling creative. I'd strongly suggest reading the past polls first.
  • This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane.
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My view of touchscreen laptops:

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  • Thought... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:13AM (#44038989)
    touch screen laptops were called "tablets" otherwise, what's the point?
    • Re:Thought... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by danomac (1032160) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:06AM (#44039499)

      Not to mention it slows you down. It's bad enough if you have to use the mouse for something, but doubly-worse if you have to put fingerprints all over your damn screen to get something done.

      • by Scoth (879800)

        I haven't always found this to be the case. There's one particular webapp we use at work that involves a lot of clicking on things, often alternating sides of the screen. With a mouse I have to mouse back and forth across the screen, with a touchscreen I can just touch the links. It's one of the few cases were I've actually preferred having a touchscreen. And I voted leaning against.

        One could argue it's a workaround for a poorly designed website though.

        • Re:Thought... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by nitehawk214 (222219) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @02:40PM (#44041905)

          I haven't always found this to be the case. There's one particular webapp we use at work that involves a lot of clicking on things, often alternating sides of the screen. With a mouse I have to mouse back and forth across the screen, with a touchscreen I can just touch the links. It's one of the few cases were I've actually preferred having a touchscreen. And I voted leaning against.

          One could argue it's a workaround for a poorly designed website though.

          So, replace every computer in your office... or fix the broken app.

        • Re:Thought... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by MagusSlurpy (592575) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:33PM (#44044245) Homepage

          So instead of moving your hand and mouse around, you have to move your whole arm around. Doesn't really seem like that's any easier.

          • Re:Thought... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by arth1 (260657) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:36AM (#44046397) Homepage Journal

            Indeed. Remember the gorilla arm.

            Not to mention that you obscure parts of the display while doing so, including (but not limited to) whatever you touch. You have to move your hand away again to see the result.

            A navigation system that depends on obscuring visual focus isn't a good one, in my humble opinion.

            Oh, and there's no tactical feedback either. Which makes it even worse than the same action on a cell phone (which you at least can have vibrate when it detects your taps).
            This is, incidentally, why we don't have glass keyboards like in of Star Trek. Tactical feedback is rather important for both speed and accuracy.

            • by Guidii (686867)
              Yes, Star Trek has some awesome tactical feedback systems....
              ... but perhaps you were talking about tactile feedback?
              • by cervesaebraciator (2352888) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @03:52PM (#44053387)
                Tactical feedback systems in Star Trek? So when the ships get hit and the first thing that happens is the control console explodes, that's a feature?
                • by Macgrrl (762836)

                  So when the ships get hit and the first thing that happens is the control console explodes, that's a feature?

                  It certainly happened often enough that it seemed deliberate.

            • What about the monkey's paw?
              That's much much worse in my opinion.
            • by Dr Max (1696200)
              Ok so let me get this straight. Hypothetical, someone offers you a choice of one of two free laptops both with identical specs but one has a touch screen; you are going to take the one without the touch screen because you think you'll have to hold your arms out the whole time you're using the touchscreen model?
          • Presumably he uses both arms, and therefore doesn't have to move either significantly.

        • by Ash Vince (602485) *

          One could argue it's a workaround for a poorly designed website though.

          Some people NEVER use hotkeys or keyboard navigation. They spend the entire time in front of a PC with one hand on the mouse unless they are actually typing something. Disturbingly this is actually a majority of PC users, although a minority of skilled PC users I would hope.

          This means that the vast majority of users simply never notice when an application or website lacks keyboard navigation. So is it any wonder that many of them are "poorly designed" in this way?

      • Re:Thought... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by jellomizer (103300) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @11:37AM (#44039907)

        Not really.
        There are some things that are much easier with a touch display. Zooming in and out and scrolling, are much easier and faster on a touch screen then with a mouse.
        Also being able to quickly click on things, is often faster with a touch display.
        Sure we are good with a mouse, however it is slower.
        You see a pointer, your brain processes the fact that this represents your input into the computer. then you use a separate devices to control it. Up means forward Down means backwards, and left and right are the same. At the same time you will need to keep an eye on the cursor to make sure you reach your destination. Using a touch screen you are really cutting down on extra brain processing and doing what is more natural for the human to do. See it, and if you want to manipulate it you do it directly. A lot less brain power there, and you can do it much faster.

        Fingerprints isn't that big of an issue. Most of the matted displays with the back light, will often over power fingerprints until the display is turned off. Besides, I have seen a bunch of non-touch displays and they are often more smuggy, because every fingerprint just stays there, with a touch display you tend to wipe it off with normal use.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by michelcolman (1208008)

          I find zooming and scrolling to actually be easier on a trackpad (like on Apple's MacBooks). Two-finger drag to scroll, pinch to zoom, etcetera. And a mouse with scroll ball is pretty easy to use for scrolling as well (but not for zooming, I agree).

          • by Newander (255463)

            (but not for zooming, I agree).

            Unless you keep your other hand near the control key. Then it's pretty easy.

            • by Ash Vince (602485) *

              (but not for zooming, I agree).

              Unless you keep your other hand near the control key. Then it's pretty easy.

              But then you have to know that Ctrl and rolling the middle mouse button would actually do that? Where would you find out such a thing in this world where software needing a manual is considered a bad thing?

              I bet if you asked a majority of PC users most would say they have no clue that Ctrl and the scroll wheel zoomed in and out. They odd techy might but most people who use computers in this day and age are not that clued up.

              • I think it's more widely known than that - Ctrl+Scroll is near-universally supported in Windows these days. It's one of those basic shortcuts that people should learn when learning how to interact with a mouse. Sans a survey or something similar (study?), I guess it's impossible to say for sure. (...sorry)

        • Re:Thought... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Dins (2538550) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @04:26PM (#44042945)
          Two words: Gorilla arm
          • by Dins (2538550)
            I knew I should have looked it up before posting... []
          • by WillKemp (1338605)

            It's not great to use a touch screen in that position all the time, but having a keyboard and mouse means you use the touch screen for things it's good for and the keyboard and mouse for the things they're good for. I've got a Galaxy Note 10" tablet with a keyboard dock. The keyboard's crap (which is unusual for Samsung but, seriously, don't buy it!) but the combination works really well for me. I tend to alternate between the tablet and a laptop - and i frequently go to touch the laptop screen (which does

        • by tompaulco (629533)
          There are some things that are much easier with a touch display. Zooming in and out and scrolling, are much easier and faster on a touch screen then with a mouse. Also being able to quickly click on things, is often faster with a touch display.
          I find it much easier to zoom in and out and scroll with a mouse than with a touch screen. Scroll is quite simple and consistent. Zooming is often different from application to application, but the best UIs are ones where the zoom in and out are the ones that touch
        • Oh, you mean you actually like having to mess with the scrollbar? That's my least favourite part of using a tablet--makes me constantly want to reach for the wheel on the mouse.

        • by smash (1351)
          Being able to quickly click on things is often FAR, FAR worse on a touch display. Especially when say... running Windows 8 desktop...
      • by robthebloke (1308483) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @02:30PM (#44041805)
        They'll slow you down if you touch the screen with your fingers, but I've discovered I can use another appendage to control the cursor, and still have both hands free for typing! It's been a definite productivity improvement for me, although I occasionally get some funny looks on the bus in the morning, and I have been arrested twice this week already. Still, it's the future, so you better get used to it!
        • by danomac (1032160)

          Well, you could use your toes instead. You'll still get the funny looks but you won't get arrested for it!

    • by gravis777 (123605)

      A tablet uses a OS such as IOS, Android, or Windows 8, and you install apps. They have limtied functionality. A touchscreen laptop usually has a full blown OS on them (XP, Windows 7, Windows 8, Linux, ETC) and has the same functionality as any other laptop (with the addition of a touchscreen).

      BIG difference between touchscreen laptop and a tablet.

    • Tablets with Keyboards were called "laptops" because you need to put them down to type.

      *Disclaimer: I use an Asus Transformer and like it.

    • by Shavano (2541114)
      No, a touchscreen laptop has a proper keyboard and can use a pointing device, e.g. a mouse.
    • Re:Thought... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @12:03AM (#44046201)

      A tablet is not a laptop. This is a fundamental misunderstanding, and once you realise the truth, you'll finally understand why the iPad sells so well.

      It's not a computer. It's a TV.

      That is to say, people don't buy it to use as a computer. (Those who do, wind up frustrated and disappointed.) But those who buy it to use as an entertainment device are delighted, because that's what it is - and correctly understood in that context, it's an outstanding piece of kit.

      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Which is why many people like it. A lot of people never wanted a general purpose computer in the first place, they only bought one because it was the only way to check email, browse the web, or do a couple other simple tasks which a general purpose computer could be used for. What we've basically been doing is selling leatherman's and swiss army knives to people who really just wanted a simple pocket knife. So Apple comes along and finally makes the iPad, which does everything that many people use a compu
    • 'Tis another form of interface to me, not a mutually exclusive choice save when a manufacturer makes it so. Much like my P5 glove, it can be highly useful if implemented well, and supported well; if not, it is a boat anchor affixed to a car...dead weight.

  • by NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:17AM (#44039029)
    Smudgescreen is more like it.
  • by NeoMorphy (576507) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @10:23AM (#44039107)

    I have an ASUS Transformer Infinity that I use for email, browsing, music, movies etc. I have the keyboard dock, but I use the touch screen more often than the touch pad. When I have access to both it becomes more apparent that some things are easier with the touch screen, though for others I prefer the touch pad. Move that there and select that is faster with the touchscreen than reach for the touch pad, start moving finger, visually scan for where the pointer was hiding, now move the pointer to where you want.

    I have a laptop that I use for more demanding processes like chess or video gaming. I often find myself reaching for the screen in frustration. When the prices get better my next laptop might be touch screen.

  • Laptops have pretty much supplanted desktops for all but the most hardcore of gaming rigs. They're the workhorses that are used for writing emails, creating documents, editing pictures, creating videos, etc. All of these are things that I want a mouse to do.

    If all you're doing is playing angry birds and surfing the internets, get yourself a tablet. You'll have the simpler touchscreen user interface, with the added benefits of reduced complexity and increased durability.

    • writing emails, creating documents, editing pictures, creating videos, etc.

      Why would you prefer a laptop over a desktop for any of those things? The tradeoffs are simply not worth it. With a laptop, everything is a compromise.

      Shitty keyboard, or non-portable form-factor?
      Unjustifiable cost, or under-performing hardware?
      Insufficient battery life, or lack of binary-compatibility with x86?

      Every decision you make when purchasing a laptop is a balancing act that tries to find the least-shitty solution. At my workplace, the current round (and all subsequent rounds) of upgrades is

      • Not a big believer in docking stations, I see. I leave the big screen, the fancy keyboard, the network and printer connections on my desk when I leave. When I'm at lunch, or at a coffeehaus, I've got the built in keyboard and trackpad. When I'm on the bus or plane, or lounging on the sofa, clickity-click, Barba-trick, I've got a nice tablet for watching videos or playing puzzle games. All on one device...

        At least in my mind. In my mind, it is also waterproof, sunlight readable, full color, and folds
        • Not a big believer in docking stations, I see.

          If, as the OP wrote, you're never going to unplug your laptop, why have one? If it's going to spend its entire service live sitting on your desk, you may as well have a desktop, especially when you consider that a desktop will cost less than a laptop and a docking station and probably give you more bang for your buck. And, if you factor in how much easier it is to upgrade a desktop or replace a failing component, the TCO of a desktop is far, far less than t
          • I'm a teleworker. Work pays for the computer, I pay for the electricity.

            Laptops are designed for low power consumption. Desktops generally are not.

            Around here, 1W costs about a buck a year. My laptop has a 60W power brick...most desktops are several hundred watts. Even if they're not running flat out it makes a noticeable difference in the power bill (and in the room temperature during the summer).

            And really, for most things an i5 or i7-based laptop is entirely acceptable, and it's easy to get 8-16GB of

            • And when I do go into the office, I can undock the laptop and take it with me.

              Please note that I specified that I didn't think that it made much sense to use a laptop and a docking station if you're never going to undock it. You use your laptop both in your home office and when you're away, so your circumstances are different. BTW, do you happen to know how much electricity your docking station burns? I'm not saying that it's enough to make that much of a difference, but I am curious.
  • I would like having a touchscreen in some laptops. Light ones, which you could hold with one hand. And preferably able to be used somehow while folded into a tablet - there's a million mechanisms to do this. The recent "Ultrabook" trend seems to be well-suited to this.

    But then there's the "portable desktops", like my nine-pound 17" laptop. I'd never use a touchscreen on it, which is probably why they didn't even offer it as an option.

    I should also mention that, even in the cases where I would use one, it's

  • I'm actually on the fence about touchscreen laptops for my own use, but I see hybrids (notebooks that convert to tablets) as the future of notebooks and tablets. People like tablets because they're small and easy to use, but they'll still own notebooks because tablets still can't match them with power, and they still hook keyboards up to them (which technically makes them into laptops). I think the hybrid market is going to be more for the tablet folks at first, but I see most of us warming up to them event

    • ... I see hybrids (notebooks that convert to tablets) as the future of notebooks and tablets.

      Yes, it worked so well the first time around...

      Personally, I think the Tablet PC lesson was - that combo is the worst of both worlds.

  • by magic maverick (2615475) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @12:26PM (#44040521) Homepage Journal

    I've commented before that I find my Lenevo X230 quite nice. Most of the time I just use it like an ordinary laptop, sometimes plugging in a full size keyboard and a nice mouse. But, sometimes, the touchscreen is awesome.

    Disclaimer: My touchscreen is a stylus Wacom screen. You need to use the stylus.

    So, what do I use the touchscreen for? Many things, but mainly drawing/practicing alternate character sets. E.g. to practice kanji using paper and pencil uses a heck of a lot of paper. This paper takes up space. Etc. etc. But, with my touchscreen (and rotated so it's flat like a tablet), I can practice as much as I want. I save the results, and then I can compare with previous times. Brilliant. I use software called Xournal for this task, as it seems to be the best touch-knowledgable software of its time for Linux. Other software I can suggest includes Easystroke for gestures (I've got it set to only listen to the stylus, and so it ignores the mouse).
    Another use is using it to watch or read stuff while in cramped places (e.g. economy class on airplanes, or on buses).

    Overall, I am very happy with my touchscreen.

  • The problem starts when all OS and applications are written in such a way that requires you to use the touch screen. You know, silly rounded corners, oversized UI widgets and lousy multitasking support
  • by Salo2112 (628590) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @01:30PM (#44041241)
    touching non-touchscreens, which smudges them up. Low ring in Hell....
    • by NeoMorphy (576507)

      touching non-touchscreens, which smudges them up. Low ring in Hell....

      That's been happening since forever. Not just fingers, but also pens and pencils. At least a touch screen has a glass surface which is harder to damage and easier to clean.

  • by Krneki (1192201) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @01:34PM (#44041277)

    If you can't use the keyboard to do everything faster then the UI is broken.

  • Since laptops are for use on the go as well as in the office/home, I can see people who need a full fledged laptop make use of the touchscreen feature when they are constantly traveling and use it in a bus or train or even in an airplane.
    There isn't much space in such locations for a mouse and I can't stand the track pads built into laptops so that would be a good alternative.

    Outside of that traveling example, I can't say I see much use for it but haven't had a chance to try one much as I am so turned o
    • I can't stand the track pads built into laptops

      What, you don't appreciate it when your window focus changes while you're in the middle of typing up a furious rant for slashdot? :)

  • by D1G1T (1136467) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @02:11PM (#44041651)
    Touch screen PCs have been around since at least the early 80s, and the fundamental problems are still there. The arm-lifting gets tiresome, the finger isn't sharp enough for precision, and skin is oily. I liken it to 3D movies, which have been reintroduced every couple decades for 70 years. A great idea but the reality of the human body gets in the way.
  • by gman003 (1693318) on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @02:46PM (#44041949)

    Touchscreens have limited usefulness, as do all input devices. But in cases they have enough benefit to be useful.

    Their main advantage is being a re-use of device space - the screen and touchpad/keyboard now occupy the same space. So they're useful on phones, as they have well-established size constraints and a need for large screens but not much input precision. They're useful in POS systems or other semi-industrial applications, where they save a bit of space and are also more durable and user-friendly than other inputs (important when you base your hiring policies around minimum wage teenagers). It's also something that can be used one-handed more easily than other input devices.

    Their downsides are limited precision/accuracy, are somewhat slow, and not scaling well to massive screen sizes (if my 27" monitor were a touchscreen, I think my arms would fall off after a minute of usage). That's why they aren't popular with desktops, workstations or servers - they need fast, precise input, and they either use large screens, or no screen. That's also why they are rarely a sole input device on gaming systems - the DS/3DS/Vita/WiiU all use traditional controls with the *addition* of a touchscreen.

    Tablets are beginning to push against the precision/speed limits, and are beginning to use older methods via keyboard docks or bluetooth devices. Laptops have shrunk to the point where some, but not all, of them are suitable for a touchscreen. And hybrid devices are becoming an item.

    I would put a touchscreen on small, ultralight laptops. Preferably also giving them some way to fold into a rough tablet shape, because that lets them be used with one hand holding, one hand operating, the device.

    But on the larger 15" laptops, and the majority of 17" laptops, the rest of the device is just too large to be suited to a touchscreen. My own massive 9-pounder would be terrible with one.

  • ... is one with a screen large enough to show a full sheet of paper, with room for the toolbars, title bar, windows task bar, and so on. An 8 1/2" x 11" page is about 14" on the diagonal. So the laptop screen would have to be at least in the 15" range. If I am writing a letter, or making a diagram, I want to be able to see the whole page at once, at actual size.

    But since so far the touchscreen laptops are all in the 12" size, I guess I will have to pass.

    Also, are we talking simply toushcreen, or complete ta

    • I recently picked up a Dell Inspiron 15z. I'm happy with it, the hardware is excellent, and the price was right. Moving forward, I can definitely see touch screens becoming ubiquitous in laptops. That one's definitely worth a look if you're at all curious about touch screens and/or Windows 8.

      No, the OS isn't perfect, but it's really not as dreadful as some people have made it out to be.
    • by bmk67 (971394)

      But since so far the touchscreen laptops are all in the 12" size, I guess I will have to pass.

      You haven't been looking very hard.

      • Well, not lately. Because every time I looked they only had 12" models and below. But even the ones I just looked at on are either 12" and below, or 15" non-swivel. I mentioned swivel above because I want that too. I want a laptop I can use as a tablet in the field.

        Tablet laptops were all the rage about a decade ago (they even tailored an XP version for them), then the fad passed. Unfortunately, because I think it is a very good niche product.

  • I think the convergence of laptops and tablets is unavoidable, but the typical "clamshell" design of laptops simply isn't ergonomic in touchscreen interation -- it leads to the often-cited "gorilla arm" syndrome and will NEVER work well as a touchscreen device.

    I prefer the "slider" design, but it unfortunatelly didn't gain traction in touchscreen laptops: Asus eeePad slider didn't really sell that well (everyone chose the clamshell Transformer version instead). Also, the slider-design models avaliable in
  • I find the combination of touchscreen and pointer stick to be unbeatable. (Hate, hate, hate, hate, hate, hate touchpads with the burning fires of a thousand exploding suns.)
  • by Sonny Yatsen (603655) * on Tuesday June 18, 2013 @06:31PM (#44044231) Journal

    I don't understand why people are against touchscreen laptops - nobody is forcing you to use the touch screen. You can still use the trackpad or a mouse or whatever. If you don't like it, just don't use it!

    • by mothlos (832302)
      1. Extra cost from extra electronics.
      2. Design compromises to accommodate the input type.
      3. Software becomes increasingly designed to utilize this input to the detriment or exclusion of other input methods.
  • From all the orange Cheetos fingerprints on the screen.

  • Yes, I really like putting my finger in front of the thing I'm trying to look at. That'll really help me to see it better.

    I also really like having to move my hand several inches instead of using a mouse and moving it a fraction of an inch.

    I definitely herald the introduction of new data input devices, but this is probably one of the nastier ones. Only an advantage for a very narrow range of uses.
  • by tsa (15680) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @03:23AM (#44047169) Homepage

    Why should I be for or against some product? Everybody should buy what they like and can afford. What do I care?

  • by lxs (131946) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @09:51AM (#44049095)

    That way I don't feel so foolish when I thoughtlessly poke at the screen instead of using the trackpad like a sane person.

  • Touchscreens are OK for applications that you need to use for 5 seconds, like a kiosk where you would look up some information and then go on your way. But for continuous use, they are not the right interface.

  • by ConceptJunkie (24823) on Wednesday June 19, 2013 @03:51PM (#44053375) Homepage Journal

    In the 1980's touch interfaces (and pen interfaces) were thoroughly discredited as a good input method for a desktop computer and nothing will ever change that. Nowadays, tablets have become a good implementation of a touch interface and fit a significant niche in terms of usability and function. But like everything else, once something becomes cheap, it gets foisted on us whether we want it or not, or whether it makes sense or not. Just like 20 years ago when everything got a clock put in it whether it made sense or not, and 10 years ago everything got a camera put in it whether it made sense or not, now everything has a touchscreen, whether it makes sense or not.

    UI standards were a big thing in the early 1980s and I thought Microsoft was doing a really good job by adopting CUA and making a serious effort to adhere to UI standards. Even Windows 95, which introduced a lot of bad ideas along with the good ones still had a pretty consistent and well-thought-out UI. These UIs weren't fancy or very slick, but they made sense and people were able to use them well.

    Then came cheap, high-res, high-color video cards, and suddenly by the late 90s, everyone went hog wild on the skeumorphic bandwagon. UI standards (and common sense) went out the door every time an interface designer broke the shrink-wrap on a new copy of Photoshop. Microsoft, of all people, eventually become the front-runner in pointlessly flashy (and usually much uglier) UI that broke all the standards but didn't supply a commensurate level of added usability or functionality. Remember how for about 5 versions, Windows Media Player kept devoting more and more screen real-estate to the border and pointless chrome and less to the actual, you know, media playing but, until it became a joke? I'm not trying to pick on Microsoft, but they are ubiquitous. Honestly, they were a little late to the game of pointless graphics and crappy UI, to their credit, but once they took the plunge, they went at it with gusto. The last good-looking UI they ever made, IMO, was Windows 2000.

    Well, now that it costs almost nothing to put touch into every screen, we're going to get touch screens whether we want them or not. And Microsoft, again showing they've forgotten all the hard lessons they learned over the last 35 years when it comes to making software that is easy to use and consistent, will force us to adopt to the touchscreen paradigm whether we want it or not (i.e., Windows 8), and we'll have to suffer with it because they are still a monopoly. Now I am trying to pick on them, especially because I finally got a chance to use Windows 8 in the last week and I think it is easily the ugliest version of Windows since version 2. And Windows 2 was ugly because the technology limitations pretty much made it impossible for it not to be.

    Yes, Apple will always have its niche of people who think they are more clever than the rest of us (or are just less stingy), and a few brave souls will wander the vast and wonderful frontier of Linux and friends (but to be honest, after seeing Unity and Gnome 3, it seems the bad UI disease isn't limited to the dinosaurs). But we are still in a place where the tail is wagging the dog and we have touch-screens not because they are the best solution, but just because they are cheap and make for a good checkmark on some marketroid's list.

  • by Colonel Korn (1258968) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @02:32AM (#44076989)

    I've been converted by the Surface Pro in the last couple weeks. Windows 8 seems like Windows 7 + annoyances on the desktop, but on a tablet it was instantly more useable in terms of navigating between programs, local content (to a huge extent), and internet content than my iPad or Nexus 7 have been. For my previous use cases, compared to my x230 running Windows 7 I'm happier with the Surface Pro about 2/3 of the time.

    On top of that I've go a new capability that wasn't possible with previous devices: handwritten note-taking with the digitizer and OneNote. I've tried Evernote on iOS, which mostly fails because of the capacitive touchscreen + stylus experience. I've tried various pieces of software on my x230, but I find that half the time I don't have a place to set my laptop when I take notes and I end up taking most in paper notebooks. On the Surface Pro I take notes as easily as I do on paper via the tablet version of OneNote (it fills the every pixel on the screen with its drawing surface, whereas the desktop version doesn't quite get there) and those notes are then synced via Skydrive so they're available on all my devices. I like the hierarchical organization, which I never quite manage to do with paper, and also the very effective search, which shows me every instance of a searched term appearing in any of my notes despite my bad handwriting.

    The Surface Pro is definitely not for everyone. Its battery life is comparable to ultrabooks. I get 5-6 hours taking notes, 4-5 hours on the web, using Office / Photoshop, or watching video. That's half what I can get on an ARM tablet (at twice the price!) but the ARM tablets just don't have the same capabilities. But I think for a decently big chunk of the populace, probably tens of millions in the US today, it's probably the best tablet available.

    A couple final notes on using the Surface Pro to take notes at work: 1) A lot of people want to comment, usually saying something like they've tried to do something similar on an iPad but it was a bad experience so why does my black iPad clone seem to work so well? 2) People are most impressed with the ability to flip over the stylus and erase. For some reason this blows a lot of minds.

  • by Goldsmith (561202) on Saturday June 22, 2013 @02:21PM (#44079601)

    If you haven't spent a few weeks using Windows 8 on a touchscreen laptop, you don't know what you're missing. Aesthetically, the tiled homescreen could use some work. Functionally it is quite nice once you start using it.

...there can be no public or private virtue unless the foundation of action is the practice of truth. - George Jacob Holyoake


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