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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  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    When you grow up and have kids, you'll realize that ANY and ALL touchscreens will get filthy if you let your kids use them. Matte screens will be just as bad -- says the guy with three kids (10, 3, 1) who have already left more than their fair share of fingerprints on my matte displays.
  • zero2dash - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    It's a lot less noticeable on matte displays though, which is why I'm surprised anyone would release a touchscreen with a glossy coating.

    It's bad enough that every smartphone and tablet is inherently glossy, but a monitor is even worse.
  • JarredWalton - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    Lenovo had a matte finish on a touchscreen at CES that I liked, but I'm still curious how such a finish will hold up over the long term. I look at my keyboards and the smooth, glossy appearance on the well-used keys, or the glossed out spots on laptop palm rests that have been around the block for a year or two, and I can't help but think the same thing will happen to an LCD with a matte finish -- and it won't wear evenly, so you'll get glossy sections where people have used the screen more. Ever notice that no one does matte smartphones or tablets?
  • Sabresiberian - Thursday, February 7, 2013 - link

    I disagree entirely with this.

    I have 2 27" monitors, a Dell U2711 and a Overlord X270OC. The first comes with a fairly heavy anti-reflective screen, the second is glossy. While the Dell is better in every other way (and cost a lot more money) except the fact I can't overclock it to 120Hz, the anti-glare is awful.

    The least amount of dirt on it makes the screen look, well, dirty. And, it's a pain in the butt to clean becasue it takes getting every little bit of dirt and grease off it to make it look clean again. The Overlord though is super easy to clean; a little spot doesn't turn into a smear of yuck, it just comes off.

    Now, the industry seems to have gotten the message here, and even Dell's replacement of the U2711 has a much lighter anti-glare. I really think this is the right way to go. (I don't understand why they had to figure it out again when people got the idea back in the days of the CRT. My Sony GDM FW900 has a coating which in my opinion is perfect, easy to clean and cuts down on the worst of the reflections without being too heavy.)

    Now, I don't use my monitors as touch screens, obviously, and what looks worse to one person will be different than another, but the decision between the 2 for me (a really anti-glare screen or a glossy one) would be hands down glossy for touch use. They are both going to get dirty, but the glossy will be far easier to clean - and, in my opinion the anti-glare looks worse when clean, and looks much worse when dirty.

    As far as kids - well, most of them don't care one way or the other, and they will NOT be using my screens, they will be using their own, so it's not an issue in my house.
  • theduckofdeath - Saturday, April 13, 2013 - link

    If you touch anything with greasy fingers, it will get dirty. Doesn't matter whether it's a matte or glossy display. Monitor or smartphone.
  • designerfx - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    maybe you don't understand what happens to a glossy finish. the fact that he had to clean it at all simply tells you that it is an actual problem.
  • lexluthermiester - Friday, February 8, 2013 - link

    I'm with you on that one. I can't stand it when people touch my screen. where it comes to my PC, NOTHING annoys me more than fingerprints on my screen! And while I acknowledge that I may be an extreme, I'm far from alone. And some people really think touch screens will become? Good grief I hope not!
  • lexluthermiester - Friday, February 8, 2013 - link

    will become the norm?*
  • SNORK - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    I have never been able to tolerate it when my wife, my kids or now my grandkids have to touch the monitor to point at something. Let's now view everything with 4k monitors through finger prints and jelly smudges.

    "The radar's jammed sir".
  • DanNeely - Wednesday, February 6, 2013 - link

    I've occasionally wondered if it would be possible to charge up the front of a monitor with a Tesla coil without interfering with its use as a display.

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