Consumer Reports: No-Touch Screens

iPadYONKERS, N. J. — Computer technology has come a long way; touch screens are now just about everywhere. Now, there are some you don’t even have to touch.

Already in today’s living rooms there are games you can control by moving your hands, TVs that work with a wave and some smart phones you can answer by swiping the air.

In Consumer Reports’ labs, Rich Fisco helped check out the HP Envy, a gesture-controlled computer with an infrared sensor built in. Fisco says “The Envy uses Leap Motion technology, which senses your hand motions to control the screen.”

One game lets you tilt your hands over the Leap Motion sensor to move sea creatures. Another lets you shoot at bottles with a flick of your fingers.

Some of the gesture-controlled programs come already loaded. In the Airspace store, you can download over 200 more. If you want to use gesture-control with programs you already have, there are apps that let you use Leap Motion to scroll through pages or click buttons.

But Consumer Reports says he controls can get frustrating.  You have to master different gestures for each program, so there’s a lot to learn. Another issue: You can’t let your hand stray too far from the Leap Motion sensor, or it won’t work. And shoulders and wrists can get achy.

Consumer Reports says gesture control may be the “wave” of the future. But for now, it’s easier just to tap and type. If you’re looking for a new laptop, Consumer Reports has named a number of best buys.

Three to consider:

-Acer’s Aspire S7 Ultrabook with an 11-inch screen,
-Asus’s Zenbook Thin-and-Light laptop with a 13-inch screen,
-HP’s Split x2 has a screen that detaches and becomes a fully functional windows tablet.

This report is based on an article on ConsumerReports.org.