Standard on smart phones and tablets, touch screens are showing up on some desktop computers. They provide an easy way to share memos, calendars, and photos in a family room or home office.
Several all-in-one systems in our Ratings (available to subscribers) also include multitouch capability, which lets you use two or more fingers to zoom and scroll. A few laptops, including the Dell Studio 17 Touch, also offer touch.
A number of technologies are used in touch-screen displays, with varying degrees of success. HP's TouchSmart uses infrared technology. The iPad's touch screen is a capacitive display. We've observed that some resistive touch screens have more potential problems than capacitive displays.
Dell, HP, and others are adding their own touch-based interfaces to Windows 7, mostly for children's games and touch-enhanced versions of applications such as Facebook, Twitter, and Netflix. Productivity applications such as Microsoft Word aren't well suited to touch screens yet. Consider a touch-screen PC for entertainment or common use in a kitchen or family room.