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Two Touching Monitors

TouchscreensIt isn’t a requirement of Windows 8, but having a touch-screen helps make navigating the new software easier, logical and potentially more creative. But, touch isn’t restricted to notebooks and tablets anymore because there are a bunch of new touch-screen monitors that can retrofit an older desktop or notebook PC for the touch era.

The latest in touch-screen technology comes from Dell and HP, but their products couldn’t be more different. While they share LED backlighting, the ability to show HD material and can respond to 10 individual fingers, they go their own way on size and how the touch information is collected. For instance, the Dell S2240T sports a 21.5-inch display and is based on traditional multi-touch capacitive touch technology while the HP Pavilion 23tm has a larger 23-inch screen and tracks finger movements with cameras and sophisticated software.

While both monitors can use an off-the-shelf stylus pen or any finger, unfortunately, neither monitor is pressure sensitive, so they’re second best when it comes to digital art room use. They do have the unique ability to put the world of Windows 8 at your fingertips.

Dell S2240T

  Dell S2240T bWhile its 21.5-inch screen is smaller than the Pavilion 23tm’s 23-inch display and sells for $280, $70 less than the 23tm. It’s three-inches narrower and might be best suited for a small classroom desk because it takes up less desk space.

Its stand has a pair of legs that allows the display to be balanced between them. As a result, its screen can be tilted from a full horizontal layout to 60-degrees, but, as is the case with many other touch screens, not to full vertical orientation for traditional viewing. Alternatively, the S2240T has standard VESA mounting screw holes that allow it to be attached to a wall, arm or stand.

The display can show up to 1,920 by 1,080 resolution and has a remarkably thin frame around its edge. On the downside, the S2240T’s LCD display panel has a slow response time of 12-milliseconds, which might make video look jumpy. In the back, it has all the video ports you’re likely to need, from DVi and HDMI to VGA. It, however, is like the HP touch-screen in that it lacks a way to directly connect with a DisplayPort source.


Dell S2240T dto ease the transition to touch, the finger’s position information is transferred from the screen to the computer via a plain old USB 2.0 cable. Capable of responding to ten individual finger movements, the S2240T’s multi-touch capacitive display works well with Windows 8 and can handle a wide variety of gestures.

It comes with a 1-year warranty and has the advantage when it comes to power use. The $280 monitor consumes only 20-watts, 50-percent less than the larger HP monitor.

HP Pavilion 23tm

Pavilion23tm aRather than use a capacitive touch display, HP has designed the Pavilion 23tm not only with 23-inch viewable space, but its touch-screen uses a set of cameras at the monitor’s corners. The set up doesn’t even require that you touch the display with a finger or stylus because the cameras pick up the finger’s movements and its software that interprets moves, taps and gestures.

 Like the others, the touch-screen can’t stand vertically, but the 23tm can be seup at up to 70-degrees for traditional desktop viewing. At nearly 24-inches wide – three-inches more than the smaller Dell monitor – it might prove to be too wide for the typical school desk. It folds down to a 15-degree angle, but – as is the case with the S2240T – it can’t sit on a tabletop in full horizontal orientation for working over the display. The touch monitor does have VESA mounting holes for use with a stand or putting on a wall.

The 23tm touch-screen does have a major drawback: the 23tm lacks an old-school VGA input for use with an older computer as well as a DisplayPort input for newer computers. It does have HDMI and DVi inputs and, like the Dell monitor, the touch commands travel to the computer via a USB cable.

Pavilion23tm cAble to show full 1,920 by 1,080 resolution, the HP touchscreen matches the resolution of the Dell system, but it uses a faster display panel that has a 7-millisecond response time. On the downside, it tops out at 33-watts of power, a bit higher than the S2240T’s power consumption, but it has a larger screen. The monitor comes with a 1-year warranty and sells for $350, a small premium over traditional non-touch screens.


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