You need a touchscreen to get the most from your Chromebook

If you’re looking to buy a Chromebook then you should make sure it comes with a touchscreen. You can of course still use a Chromebook without a touchscreen. However, this will mean you’ll be losing out on the advantages a touchscreen offers. Android Apps is a great addition to Chrome OS and you can use a lot of these with a mouse. Although you can use a lot of these apps without a touchscreen doesn’t mean you should not be too concerned whether the Chromebook you’ve got your eye on offers a touchscreen display.

If you’re only buying a Chromebook for internet surfing, word processing or watching movies. Then you’ll be fine opting for a Chromebook without a touchscreen. The issue with this is that you may want to start using your computer for other things at a later date. If you’re spending money on buying a new laptop. It makes sense to ensure it offers functionality that you’ll use now and in the future. Android Apps are great because there are so many different types of apps available.

The likelihood that you would not find an Android app you would not find interesting or useful to use is pretty low. Whether that is playing casual games such as solitaire or more action-packed games with decent graphics. Perhaps you’re looking for an app to help with productivity. There are thousands to choose from, so I’d argue everyone could benefit from these apps. Although some of these apps do allow you to use a mouse. It’s rarely a good experience and by not having a touchscreen you’ll be missing out on what Android offers.


One option you have when choosing your next Chrome OS device is buying a Hybrid 2-in-1 laptop. These Chrome OS devices can be used as either a laptop or a tablet. This is because the lid rotates 360 degrees, which allows you to easily turn the laptop into a tablet. Hybrid devices like these will automatically come with a touchscreen. If you’re looking for a touchscreen device you can confidently buy any hybrid without worrying whether it offers this capability.

Although Hybrid Chromebooks offer the functionality of using your device as a tablet. You don’t necessarily need a Hybrid to make the most of Chrome OS. The only thing you need is a touchscreen. So if a Hybrid device isn’t something you’re interested in. You can still ensure you can get the most out of Chrome OS when choosing a laptop instead.


There are many laptop only Chromebooks available to buy. The thing is you need to be really careful when choosing a laptop if a touchscreen is important to you. Not all Chromebook laptops offer a touchscreen, so you need to be aware of this when buying one. Also, a lot of manufacturers bring out different configurations of a laptop. One version will come without a touchscreen and the other will offer a touchscreen. They are usually advertised with an almost identical model number, so it’s very difficult to spot the difference.

You may find one retailer only sells the non-touchscreen version and other retailers may sell both versions. So if you’ve got your eye on a specific laptop, but it appears a touchscreen isn’t an option, and you need a touchscreen. It’s always a good idea to check out other retailers to see if you can get the same laptop that offers the touchscreen version.


The last thing you want to have to deal with when buying a laptop is confusion. Unfortunately, it can be confusing when buying a laptop that is available in different configurations. You may come across a laptop that does not offer a touchscreen and the same model that does offer a touchscreen. If you were not interested in a touchscreen model, you may decide to buy the cheaper non-touchscreen model. However, it’s not always the case that the only difference is the touchscreen. This means it’s extremely important to check the specifications of each Chromebook to see if anything else looks different.

A classic example of this is the Acer CB514 Chromebook. This comes in different configurations when it comes to the processor, RAM and storage. It also comes in two different model configuration numbers, which are almost identical. The Acer CB514-1H, which is the non-touchscreen version and the Acer CB514-1HT that comes with a touchscreen. At first glance, you may only realise the difference between them is the touchscreen capability. However, the difference between both models is a lot more than that.

Acer 514 Chromebook comes in two different configurations
Acer 514 available in touchscreen and non-touchscreen versions

It’s true the CB514-1H does not have a touchscreen and the CB514-1HT does. However, you may not notice that the display on both devices is also dramatically different. The non-touchscreen version comes with a Standard Definition resolution of 1,366 by 768 and the touchscreen version comes with a Full HD resolution of 1,920 by 1,080. The same size display of 14-inches but with a completely different resolution. It’s not the only difference. The non-touchscreen version uses a TFT panel and the touchscreen model uses an IPS panel, which is far superior.


The example I’ve used above clearly shows how easy it is to make the wrong buying decision. I’d love it if manufacturers made it much clearer. I’ve seen so many comments on retail sites where people thought they were getting a touchscreen, but the model received did not offer the functionality. In this particular example, I’ve shown even if you’re deciding between a non-touchscreen or touchscreen laptop. You should always check to see if that is the only difference before making your purchase.

It’s not only us customers who get confused. Because some laptops are almost identical some review websites may give you the wrong idea as well. Not intentionally, but it’s very easy to read a review of a laptop, which offers a touchscreen. Then to assume that is the only type of that particular laptop available. You then go and buy this from a retailer to realise the model you’ve bought isn’t the same model that was being reviewed. You’ll also find even some retailers get confused and give incorrect specifications.

When it comes to buying any type of laptop or computer. It’s always a good idea to do your homework. Try and check the model number because this usually helps you recognise the difference between them. Don’t just assume because you’ve seen a particular laptop comes with a touchscreen on other sites. That the laptop you’re buying will also offer that functionality.