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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  • Patanjali - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    And it ISN'T here yet. In May we will see whether it lives up to the hype. We still don't know how fine the control is, and whether you can use it in existing apps as easy as touch.

    Certainly, if the supplied software allows acurately touching a button in an existing app then it will be a winner. However, "But with the Leap Motion Controller and our apps, nothing's holding hands and fingers back." reads like it ONLY works with stuff programmed for it, which severly limits its general use. It may well end up as ANOTHER interaction method, along with keyboard, mouse, touch and whatever else comes along.

    As it is now, using a touchscreen with Windows allows ANY app to be touch controlled. Of course, it may not be optimal, but having got used to accurately touching tiny links in web page on my phone, touching the tiny X button in the upper right of a window to close it is no big deal.

    With Leap Motion, how will it be used with multiple monitors?

    How fine-grained can control be when you are holding your hand in mid air? And what about arm fatigue?
    Reply
  • UltraTech79 - Monday, February 11, 2013 - link

    Great! Now my arm can get tired while my arm gets tired. Reply
  • Patanjali - Friday, April 05, 2013 - link

    I have been using multiple 30" monitors with two Dell ST2220T touchscreens for the last year. I bought the touchscreens to use for DAW work to place mixing windows and various other dialogs that would be useful to be able to touch.

    The touchscreens I have at a low angle sloping up to the bottom of the two 30" monitors. The single biggiest maintainability issue with the touchscreens is NOT fingerprints but DUST. It is amazing how much dust accumulates on a horizontal surface in 24 hours. Fortunately Dell supplied excellent cloths which makes it easy to clean off the dust and finger smudges. Such low angles are the ONLY way to use touchscreens a lot.

    However, after having touchscreens, I wish ALL the monitors were touch as even with the large vertical monitors it would be nice to just reach out and do the occasional scroll of a web page or document or adjust a DAW control that I couldn't fit on the touchscreens. Touch is so direct whereas reaching for a mouse just to do such things that are so quick for a hand seems a distraction to workflow now.

    The Dell touchscreens worked for Win7 OK, but using optical tech, are not really up to being used with all the Win8 geatures, which is why I am reading reviews like this. I am still wanting 27" 2560x1440 touchscreens like those used on the Dell all-in-ones. I would get four of those!

    As for glossy screens, they work OK for small portable devices where you can easily adjust the viewing angle to avoid reflections, or when sitting in low light watching TV, but they are a MAJOR pain when used in fixed situations in normal illumination. The touchscreens, being at a low angle, reflect the image showing on the bottom part of the 30" monitors above them! If it was your only monitor, you would have to position it so that it didn't reflect your overhead lighting.

    The 30" monitors are the Dell non-glare, wide colour gamut ones which are excellent for viewing and, in my opinion, should be what ALL monitor screens should be like. Excellent colour and illumination and NO reflections at all.

    Apparently the Planar Helium 27" touchscreen is matte, but it would take up a lot of deskspace while only providing 1920x1080. The LG 2560x1080 monitors would have been great if they were touchscreen (and matte).

    I hope when 4K monitors (3840x2160 = 8Mpx) start appearing, they are are available with matte touchscreens as well.

    As for multi-monitor usage with Win8, I don't know what people seem so uptight about. Yes, it is best to have the start screen mainly on a smaller, close-at-hand, sloped monitor, but default behaviour on my system is that the start screen disappears as soon as the mouse is clicked in ANY 'desktop' area, so it is basically a popup screen when you need it rather than the principal interaction area as when used on a tablet or single monitor.

    It may well stay alive if the touchscreen is a Win8 certified one, but someone else would have to let us know if that is the case.

    I have an Acer W511 3G Win8 tablet and it is very easy to use and, because of the instant on and constant internet connection, it is very quick for me to check email in Outlook or look on the internet, whereas it was a slow pain with my previous laptop, waiting for it to boot up and for the 3G modem software to kick in. And Win tablets are SO much easier to use with a home network.

    For me Win8 works both on a tablet and my large multi-monitor system, and its operation is appropriate to each. Oh, and while some so-called tech bloggers and commenters made a big noise about the loss of the start menu, MS telemetry showed that most users had got the hint with Win7 and shifted their focus to the taskbar, which is alive and well and on every desktop screen in Win8. Basically, on a multi-monitor setup, the start screen is like a big visual menu which can be configured to put all your commands into groups in any order you want.
    Reply
  • osx77 - Friday, May 17, 2013 - link

    Hi i have a question is this monitor led or lcd?Because i try to find info on amazon.com and it said LCD so which is it.
    and other pages said is Led so...

    thanks
    Reply
  • dpars - Monday, December 30, 2013 - link

    Using acer t232hl with mac mini?? Reply
  • dpars - Monday, December 30, 2013 - link

    I'm connected with HDMI and USB 3.0 using bluetooth keyboard and magic trackpad. I have a fully-functional, unresponsive touchscreen monitor… Thoughts? Reply

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