Ask LH: Can I Get A Good Touchscreen Laptop For Under $1000?

Ask LH: Can I Get A Good Touchscreen Laptop For Under $1000?

Dear Lifehacker, I’ve been thinking about buying a Microsoft Surface Pro, as it will not only allow me to keep running my Windows programs, but with the Core-i5 CPU it packs some nice punch. However spending $1000 of my hard earned cash seems like a bit of a stretch for a device that has no graphics card and only features 4GB of RAM. So my question is this: Are there any nice touchscreen high-performance laptops available for around the same cost? Preferably it would also contain an Ivy-bridge processor, and be able to handle all of my gaming needs. However the touchscreen would really sell it. Any suggestions? Thanks, Staying In Touch

Dear SIT,

It’s certainly more than feasible to pick up a touchscreen enabled laptop for under $1000, but getting a high performance machine for that kind of price is just a wee bit harder, especially if you’re looking for something with its own graphics card, instead of inbuilt Intel or AMD, and more so if you’re looking for a system with a healthy amount of RAM. The laptop market is one that’s remarkably cutthroat when it comes to prices, but gaming laptops especially remain something of a premium market.

If the touchscreen concept truly excites you, it’s feasible to pick up units for around $500 — Asus’ F202 Vivo Book springs to mind — but that’s not a high-end machine. Moving up the price brackets, something like Toshiba’s P840/019 often goes for around $1000; that would meet your RAM and processor requirements — but it’s still just rocking an Intel HD 4000 graphics solution. Or Acer’s V5-571PG, which does feature an 1GB NVIDIA GPU — but only 4GB of RAM again. It doesn’t mean there’s utterly nothing out there — but you may have to really hunt and peck for a good special or perhaps an early second-hand unit. That said, the Surface Pro doesn’t have an Australian release date yet, so hunting is required in any case.


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  • 4GB is RAM is plenty in a laptop for most users. You’re generally not going to use a laptop for intense multitasking or 3D rendering or anything like that.

    If you really need more than 4GB of RAM, then you should be considering a desktop, not a laptop or hybrid like the Surface Pro.

    • You do realise there are plenty of laptops shipping with 16Gb RAM, and even more with 8Gb RAM.

      Someone playing games would not consider 4Gb RAM to be enough, unless they were a n00b.

        • Windows 8 only requires 1Gb of RAM, but you wouldn’t dare run Windows 8 on 1Gb of RAM either.

          No game “needs” 8Gb of RAM, but no gamer does a fresh install of windows before every gaming session, do they? It’s not the requirements of the game itself, it’s that + all the other stuff running on your system like an anti-virus software which may also include a firewall, all the software that came with the game for online interactivity such as voice chat and other software that are required these days to make the game run.

          I’m not sitting in front of it, but on the laptop i use for gaming, i would have at least 12 icons in the system tray – all those things are using up memory. Very few people would have a machine exclusively for games and wouldn’t use it for anything else so most people are going to have software running on the PC that isn’t related to games and is usually a hassle to disable for starting up your game.

          Plus your GPU can also call on your RAM as virtual video memory in the same way that windows uses disk space to supplement RAM.

          On top of all that, Windows machines slow down progressively overtime and having more RAM than you need will help minimize or eliminate that problem.

          If you want to play games at 1080p with a decent frame rate, putting the quality of your GPU to one side for a minute, 4Gb of RAM just isn’t enough.

  • I will be getting a Surface when it comes out, my lappie died a while back and I’ve missed a portable ever since.

    Like Whitepointer said, if you want something for gaming, million-row spreadsheets or photoshop, purchase a decent desktop.

    If you want everything in one package, be prepared to pay big money for a decent lappie.

    Upside to running windows 8 is the (finally) decent sync options. I was doing something similar with dropbox for my win7 computer and laptop., meant I could switch between the two and everything was always up to date, which can be the only issue with running two devices.

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