The Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch is the first of many touch-enabled Windows 8 Ultrabooks that will soon be available. While the addition of a touch screen sounds like a great extra feature for an Ultrabook, realistically, we found that the traditional notebook clamshell form factor isn't an ideal platform. First of all, due to the hinge, even the slightest tap will result in the screen wobbling. This isn't a problem limited to the Ultra Touch, as it will affect any clamshell notebook with a hinge (i.e. all of them). While this could theoretically be fixed with very stiff hinges, or possibly a locking design, realistically, that's not a likely solution. The hinge on this notebook also prevents you from using apps designed to be used on a flat surface, as it only allows the screen to go back about 45 degrees. Secondly, reaching across the keyboard to touch the screen gets fairly annoying, and can actually be quite fatiguing after a while.
All of this is not to say that Windows 8 isn't a good OS for an Ultrabook - it is, in fact, the clean Modern UI works very well on the 13.3-inch screen, and actually looks rather good even at the standard 1366 x 768 pixels resolution that this notebook ships with. It's just that, on a clamshell notebook, a touchscreen may not be the best way to navigate it. Actually, we found that the trackpad is more than sufficient, if not an ideal way to navigate Windows 8, and executing swipes, pinches and other gestures is just as easy as touching the screen (it actually requires less effort). Clicking on icons requires a little more effort in navigating than just touching them but, as a trade-off, right-click is far easier and faster to execute with a trackpad than a touch screen.
If you also consider that the original non-touch screen Series 5 retails for S$1288, while the Ultra Touch goes for $1549, it might actually be a better idea to pick up a non-touch version and just upgrade it to Windows 8. Remember, you're not just paying more for the touchscreen, the Ultra Touch is also quite a bit heavier and slightly chunkier too. This added weight makes it it one of the heaviest 13.3-inch Ultrabooks around, and leads us to question its "Ultrabook" label, as honestly it feels closer to a standard notebook. Furthermore, given the current movement to adopt higher resolution screens, the Samsung Series 5 Ultra Touch has not caught up in this aspect.
It's still a decent notebook, but the added cost and bulk for this Ultrabook may not be everyone's cup of tea, despite its good battery life. If you do feel like you want that touchscreen for the full Windows 8 experience, you may want to consider waiting for one of the upcoming ‘convertible’ notebooks that can fold back onto itself for a tablet-like form factor, such as Samsung’s own upcoming Series 5 Ultra Convertible.