At $699 - upwards of three times the price of the most popular non-touch monitors – you really need to justify using touch before you run out and buy one.
If you are like most desktop users, your monitor will sit at arm’s length from you - typically 50-60cm away. Alternatively, as is an increasing trend, you will have two monitors angled in front of you –screen real estate is everything to some people.
To touch or not to touch
I worked at close quarters for a week typically using Microsoft Office, email, and internet browsing. The monitor stand tilts to 80 degrees (almost upright) and 30 degrees (almost flat). My early conclusion is that touch on a typical desktop is uncomfortable and nowhere near the convenience of a mouse/keyboard combination for getting around the screen.
My first WARNING – touch is highly inefficient in either scenario. You will get very tired of lifting fingers from the keyboard and stretching way over to the screen.
To use touch properly you need to be no more than 30cm away – about half the length of your forearm to fingertips.
You also need to completely adopt Windows 8 Metro tile interface and forget the traditional Windows 7 style desktop. Touch works with big tiles (icons) and full screen and it - the monitor that is - is magnificent.
I also wear glasses for reading – longsighted – and my eyes felt strained from sitting closer.
So why did Acer make a 23” touch screen?
You may as well ask why do computer companies make all-in-one touch PCs or touch notebooks/tablets. The answer is that touch is the best interface for up close, personal computing devices, like smart phones, tablets and notebooks. A PC monitor is merely an extension of that interface for people who may grow up expecting touch devices everywhere. In the not too distant future touch LCD/OLED will be as cheap to make as non-touch screens.
What hardware can you connect to?
Your hardware needs to support 1920x1080 - 1080p – if it is more than a couple of years old it may need a driver update via Intel, AMD/Radeon, or nVIDIA.
Touch comes via a USB 3.0 connector but it works fine on USB 2.0 as well. WARNING – Power on the monitor first, then the computer. Do not remove the USB3.0 cable from the computer before powering off.
There is also a 3.5mm audio input jack for sound when using the 15 pin VGA and DVI picture inputs. Sound quality from the stereo speakers was good but insufficient volume for watching a movie.
A HDMI connection – like on a TV - carries its own sound and is easiest to use. HDMI can be fitted to most PCs by adding an inexpensive (starting around $30) nVIDIA Geforce 6xx PCI-Express card – it really is as easy as removing your old video card and inserting the new one.
The monitor has 10-point multi-touch and a fold out stand that places it at an 80-degree angle, which is best for close up work. It can lay down to 30 degrees – unfortunately not flat like a tabletop. Note that at 80 degrees it has a depth including stand of 20cm.
Touch accuracy was exceptional but after several minutes, the fingerprints on the screen drove me to alcohol – isopropanol (isopropyl) to be precise and a soft lint free cloth (Chux) to remove them. If you want to buy it Jaycar has pure (99.8% - leaves no residue) 250ml bottles for $8.95 or a 300ml aerosol can for $9.95. Most hardware stores will also stock it. WARNING – do not use a cleaner like Windex, as it will leave a residue and likely increase reflection and glare.
Acer’s Australian web site page is here. Acer also have a comprehensive dealer network and you may save by shopping around (hint search for UM.VT2SA.001)
- Quality: 9 out of 10
- Value: If you specifically want touch 8 out of 10 (shop around)
- Ease of use/setup: 9 out of 10
- Looks: very modern 9 out of 10
- Does what it claims: 9.5 out of 10