A Touching Display
While you don’t need a touch screen to use Windows 8, having one makes the experience much easier, smoother and much more intuitive. While there’s no shortage of touch-screen notebooks on the market, there are only a handful of monitors for retrofitting a desktop or extending a notebook for this brave new computing world. Viewsonic’s TD2340 sets the pace with excellent HD sharpness, reasonable brightness and excellent touch response.
At 15.8- by 22.6- by 13.0-inches, the TD2340 takes up a lot of desktop space and has a wide frame that makes it look bigger than it actually is. The monitor has a sturdy and heavily weighted V-shaped base that has rubber surfaces to hold a notebook in place. The screen is as flexible as the one on the Dell 2340T touch screen but its design is simpler. It lets the screen tilt and rotate so that it can assume different profiles for a variety of uses.
In addition to setting the monitor up in the traditional vertical operation, the TD2340 can tilt 4-degrees forward. It can be set at any angle between vertical and horizontal, making it one of the most flexible monitors available. It is just as good for setting up as a vertical desktop screen or getting a bunch of kids to collaborate on a project around horizontal screen.
At any time, the screen can be raised or lowered by about three inches. On the downside, the TD2340 can’t swivel side to side. The entire screen can rotate between landscape and portrait modes, but the computer doesn’t automatically change the image’s orientation. It can, however, be wall mounted, but weighs over 20-pounds.
The beauty of the system is that even the slightest teacher or six-year old can move and adjust the screen’s angle. The mount’s action is smooth and sturdy and the screen doesn’t wobble as much as other touch-displays when tapped.
Its set up was quick and simple. With Windows 8, the monitor doesn’t require loading any software onto the Sony VAIO T13 or the Dell Inspiron 15Z that I used. The display worked well with Windows 8 and actually can streamline the use of the operating system. To use the screen with Windows 7, you’ll need to load software from the included CD.
With a ten-point capacitance multi-touch screen, the TD2340 responds instantly to the touch and worked well with several stylus pens. I used two and three finger gestures and reliably brought out the various menus from the screen’s edges. Using fingers turns out to be much easier to manipulate the University of Colorado’s PHET science simulations. It even worked remarkably well for sketching a function’s graph, drawing a map or finger painting.
It has built-in on-screen commands for adjusting the display with the ability to change its contrast, brightness, color and other items. Unfortunately, like other touch screens, the on-screen commands aren’t touch-enabled so you’ll need to use the awkward up and down arrows to select what you want.
Like any recent display, the TD2340 can work with inputs from VGA, DisplayPort, HDMI and audio. Happily, it comes with most of the cords needed, but not for a Display Port source. The system requires a USB connection to transfer the touch commands, but – unlike Dell’s 2340T – it can work with a USB 2.0 system.
There’s a two-port hub built into the monitor’s side. In fact, all the video connections are awkwardly placed on the bottom and side of the monitor, not its more accessible base.
It may lack a Web cam, but the TD2340 has integrated speakers that use SRS Premium Sound and actually sounds as good as many iPod docks. They get loud enough to allow the class listen, but they sound better when the display is vertically oriented than horizontally.
The 23-inch IPS display it is built around is no slouch either. It has scratch resistant glass, can show 1,920 by 1,080 resolution and has a 7ms response rate. Its brightness is rated at 250 candelas per square meter and the screen can show just about any resolution and refresh rate. On the downside, it managed to get to only 198 cd/m2 in its Normal mode. The monitor’s color balance is surprisingly good with excellent rendering of flesh tones.
Thanks to efficient LED backlighting , when the TD2340 is being used, it consumes 22.4 watts, likely a fraction of the power used by the monitor it will replace. This adds up to an estimated $4.30 of electricity bills over the typical school year, making it a very economical monitor to use. On the downside, the right side of the screen heats up to about 110-degrres Fahrenheit.
Like many other monitors, the TD2340 comes with a three-year warranty, but at $600 it undercuts the Dell 2340T by $100. All in all, the TD2340 can not only get the most out of Windows 8 but is a great tool for turning a plain old PC into a touch computer that can liven up any lesson.
+ Sharp HD screen with sensitive touch
+ Horizontal or vertical operation
+ Scratch-resistant glass
+ USB 3.0 with hub
+ Wall mount
- Big and heavy