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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  • EJ257 - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    Or just put a label on the bezel that say "Screen coated with contact poison"
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    *laugh*expect people to read*laugh*not to mention expecting them to believe it*laugh*

    After a few shocks most will get the hint.
  • cjs150 - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    Take away the touch screen and what you have is a poor monitor. Out of the box it is just not good enough, with correct calibration it becomes adequate and because of the touch gimmick overpriced

    Then there is the touch gimmick. On my work computer, which only has a 17" screen, I have placed at a comfortable distance to read, which means to touch it I would have to lean forward. On a bigger screen it would be even further back.

    W8 on the desktop will no doubt be a benefit for chiropractors and physiotherapists having to deal with the RPI injuries caused in the workplace caused by dealing with touch screen, for anyone else touch on a desktop is of very doubtful use.
  • Homeles - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    There's essentially a whole half of an operating system that is designed around touch. There are plenty of applications where a touch screen is useful. It is unfortunate that you appear to be unable to come up with any besides the asinine benefit of lining the pockets of doctors.
  • Zak - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    @Homeles: I take it you actually tried using a large desktop monitor with touch GUI for real work and extended period of time and actually liked it?
  • Kiste - Thursday, February 7, 2013 - link

    Neither chiropractors nor physiotherapists are usually doctors. In fact, chiropractors are mere quacks.

    Other than that, why don't you name a couple of these applications where a touch screen is useful and offers a clear benefit over mouse on a desktop computer?

  • cjs150 - Thursday, February 7, 2013 - link

    Homeles: if you look at tablets and smartphones there are many examples of applications that work well with touch but when you are talking about a WORK desktop you should consider what the majority of people actually do on the computer:

    word processing
    data entry
    graphic manipulation (if you work in media)

    Graphic manipulation requires precision which lends itself to a graphic tablet and the rest involve typing which means a keyboard and if you ever tried word processing using touch you will understand why a mouse and a keyboard is better
  • ejdrouillard - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    If I'm spending over $500 on a monitor, I expect way more than 1080p.
  • Golgatha - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    For a primary display, I would absolutely not want a touch screen. I agree with the previous posters about kids. I have 2 of them and I have to clean the tablet, iTouch, and laptop screens (not to mention my desktop's mouse) on a regular basis. 24hrs and that screen would be filthy.

    Now if I could have a cheap secondary screen that was wireless, I might be interested as it could replace a tablet in the house. The range on such a device would need to be pretty exceptional though.
  • HardwareDufus - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    Actually I plan on buying this monitor to preemptively solve crimes like Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

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