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2 Windows 8 touch-screen laptops for tight budgets

Brian Nadel | Aug. 16, 2013
If you don't want to spend much on a new laptop, but need a touch screen, try one of these under-$600 systems.

After measuring the thickness of each system with a digital caliper at its feet, I measured its length and width. I weighed each on a digital scale with and without its AC adapter and then slipped each into a Brenthaven Expandable Trek backpack.

To evaluate the touch screens, I used my fingers and a Wacom Bamboo stylus to maneuver around the Windows 8 Start Screen. To gauge if it could work with 10 individual inputs I opened Paint and drew all 10 of my fingers across the screen. Next, I tilted each screen as far as it would go and measured the angle with an inclinometer. I also noted how much each wobbled when it was tapped.

To test the performance of each system, I used PassMark's PerformanceTest 8.0 benchmark test. The software exercises every major component of the system, including processor, hard drive, 2D and 3D graphics, and memory operations. It adds several game routines as well as a visualization of a Mandelbroit fractal set. I ran the software three times and averaged the results.

I also ran Maxon's Cinebench 11.5 benchmarks for graphics and processor performance. The software renders several photorealistic scenes that stress the processor and graphics chip by manipulating up to a million polygons. I averaged the results of three runs.

To gauge how long each laptop could run on a single battery charge, I loaded PassMark's BatteryMon, fully charged the system, set its power management options to Balanced and adjusted the settings to prevent the computer from going to sleep. The screen brightness and volume were set to 6/10. I used the shuffle feature on Windows Media Player to continuously play six videos from a USB drive as Battery Mon charted the battery's capacity. I report the average of three runs.

Finally, I timed how long it took for each system to wake up from hibernation mode. Again, I reported the average of three runs.

2 touch laptops: Test results

test results

*Higher is better. **Continuously running videos


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