Introduction, Design and Specs

Windows 8 has brought about its shift in how we use our computers and its focus on having a more unified experience for phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop PCs. As those first two systems are primarily touch-oriented, desktop computers are suddenly seeing a large number of touch displays appearing. In an environment that is used to a keyboard and mouse for input, how well is touch going to fit into that setting?

The availability of touchscreens has rapidly increased with the launch of Windows 8 last year. Where touchscreens were rare or expensive before, now they are much easier to find with the availability of a mainstream, touch-oriented operating system. The first one that I have had a chance to use for an extended period is the T232HL from Acer, a 23” 1080p display with an IPS panel and a glossy screen finish.

There is a kickstand in the back to adjust the angle of the screen, but no other ergonomic adjustments are available. On my review sample the kickstand was too tight and I had to remove the cover to loosen the mechanism, but this might not happen on the shipping units. There are 100mm VESA mounting holes, if you wish to have more adjustments or get the display off your desk.

The inputs are limited to HDMI, DVI, and DSub, with no DisplayPort to be found. With DisplayPort being more and more common now, and the Acer selling for around $500, I think adding a DP input would be appropriate. There is also a 3.5mm audio input for the internal speakers, and a USB 3.0 hub with three ports on the left side of the display. It also uses an exterior power brick, a big pet peeve of mine.

Being an IPS panel, the viewing angles are very good on the Acer T232HL. The problematic issue is the glossy finish of the screen that reflects a lot of light. The glossy finish might help to hide fingerprints from using the touch features, or it might be necessary due to the touch sensors, but it makes that angle adjustment even more important as you try to eliminate reflections. You can see the reflection that is present in the lower-angle shot, as for all the other shots I worked hard to find an angle where reflections were less visible.

I mistakenly forgot to capture images of the on-screen display before returning the display to Acer, so unfortunately I had to resort to pulling images of the OSD from the manual to provide examples of how it works. Screen controls are mounted to the right side of the display, with an OSD that pops up once you press a button. This sort of arrangement has been my favorite from Dell, but in that case the buttons are mounted right beside the screen and it is clear which label applies to which button. In this case with them hidden to the side, I often hit the wrong button when making an adjustment.

Acer T232HL
Video Inputs HDMI, DVI, Dsub
Panel Type IPS
Pixel Pitch 0.265 mm
Colors 16.7 million
Brightness 250 nits
Contrast Ratio 1000:1 Typical
Response Time 5ms GTG
Viewable Size 23"
Resolution 1920x1080
Viewing Angle (H/V) 178/178
Backlight LED
Power Consumption (operation) 25 Watts
Power Consumption (standby) 0.5 Watts
Screen Treatment Glossy
Height-Adjustable No
Tilt Yes, 8-60 degrees
Pivot No
Swivel No
VESA Wall Mounting Yes, 100mm
Dimensions w/ Base (WxHxD) 21.5" x 17.9" x 1.9"
Weight 12.6 lbs.
Additional Features 10-point Touch, 3 Port USB 3.0 Hub, Stereo Speakers
Limited Warranty 3 Years
Accessories DVI cable, HDMI cable, Dsub cable, 3.5mm cable, USB cable
Price $500 (2/05/2013)

The specifications on the Acer are in line with most 23” IPS displays, except for the additional touch features. How does Windows 8 perform at home with a touch-screen monitor then?

Windows 8 and a Touch Screen in Daily Use
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  • pandemonium - Wednesday, February 06, 2013 - link

    The only way I can use a touchscreen for a desktop computer will be with a drawing table layout with the screen actually in the desk. *patent!!* Reply
  • Operandi - Thursday, February 07, 2013 - link

    Bring on 4K IPS/VA panels and stop making worthless crap. Reply
  • Dribble - Thursday, February 07, 2013 - link

    It just doesn't work. You want your arms relaxed in front of you - hence the design for mice + keyboards.

    Where touch screens work you tend to be looking down at them and have them close to your body so you arms stay relaxed. This is not the case for a desktop monitor - you cannot keep your arms vertically out in front of you for any length of time - it's very tiring.

    Hence the whole concept is flawed which anyone with half a brain could have told MS/Acer.
    Reply
  • Beaver M. - Thursday, February 07, 2013 - link

    Exactly. Though I can imagine, that a hype would press it anyway. Doesnt matter that spine and arm problems will skyrocket after that. Reply
  • TheGreenFoX - Thursday, February 07, 2013 - link

    If you have a primary gaming screen with a fullscreen game on, and a touch screen with the metro interface as 2. screen - will the game minimize if you make a touch input on the touchscreen, or can you use the metro apps without minimizing the game? Reply
  • chaoticlusts - Thursday, February 07, 2013 - link

    Will be interesting too see how the interface devices due out this year compare with touch screen desktop monitors for convenience.

    I don't really see touch on a desktop screen being very convenient for most people unless you rearrange your setup around it... and even then it would hard not to be awkward. Touch works great on laptops and smaller devices but I really think if people want the 'hands on' approach with desktops things like Leap Motion or the Kinect 2 will take off rather than products like this. even more so when it means adding a $100 device rather than paying hundreds extra for a touch monitor.
    Reply
  • beck2050 - Thursday, February 07, 2013 - link

    Touch my screen on a desktop is uncomfortable and unacceptable for me.
    I would never want a touchscreen there.
    Reply
  • ypsylon - Friday, February 08, 2013 - link

    It is really one environment where touch screen is nothing more than a nuisance. Imagine situation like this.

    You have a desk, on a desk is LCD 27"-30". LCD is standing as it should ~50-60 cm from user so his/her eyes won't bleed after 10 seconds. How the hell somebody thinks (Microsoft for that matter) that user will sit even closer, virtually next to a big LCD pushing buttons on the screen. Really laughable idea. Imagine writing something in the office or doing really complicated spreadsheet just with virtual keyboard stretching you arms across the desk. And if user must keep his/her beloved keyboard and mouse because nobody else on the market cares about touch screen software then idea of a touch screen for desktop is as dead as ISA slot on motherboards.

    There are environment where touch screen is used for ages: manufacturing, finances (stock exchange), military, engineering and so on. For now home-desktop area is a no-go zone. We haven't exactly reached Star Trek level of computerization where with few taps on a pad you can run a starship. :D
    Reply
  • JimmiG - Friday, February 08, 2013 - link

    The whole reason Apple went with touch on the first iPhone was to get the most effective use of the limited screen real estate and surface area of a phone.
    It is *not* the best interface for large screens or desktop computers where a mouse and keyboard is available. This silliness needs to go away.
    Reply
  • DagB - Friday, February 08, 2013 - link

    Comments like this really bugs me, especially on a site like this... Where is the forward thinking? Do you actually think people will sit with a mouse and keyboard in 20 years to the same extent they do today? There are lots of interesting things happening; touch, motion sensors, haptic technologies and so on. I agree that this is probably not an optimal interface if you mainly type or do normal "office" work. But there are people doing other stuff as well on there desktops. For example all types of "creative" activities (film editing, photo editing, music producing etc).

    For me as a music producer this is something really interesting, that has the potential to totally change the way we produce, mix, create and edit music. Ipad is way to small/limited for more advanced work, but is still very interesting. If you put a large desktop screen (more) horizontally, you will not get tired after hours of work and would have all the real estate you need. Also, that is the work position producers and sound engineers have worked for decades. I hope this is just the beginning of a change to a more intuitive and "direct" way of interacting with our digital tools. We should embrace it!
    Reply

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