Windows 8 and a Touch Screen in Daily Use

More than anything, how the Acer performs is also going to be driven by how well a touchscreen works with Windows 8, and for that I had to build a whole new testing PC with Windows 8 on it. Coming into this I had zero experience with Windows 8, none with a Windows tablet, and none with a Windows Phone. I’ve been using Windows since 3.0 was released but hadn’t branched out into those newer areas yet. I found the experience a bit strange and even often, and I imagine many people moving onto Windows 8 may have a similar initial reaction.

Typically any monitor I have in for review is assigned as my main display. I want to use it as much as I can, do all of my work on it, and focus on it directly. Flanking the monitor in for review are a 27” LCD and a 24” CRT to serve as secondary displays, with the 27” filling in as my primary display when there is nothing here for review. Usually this is fine, but when using a touchscreen with Windows 8 as my main screen in a multi-screen environment I found this to not work as well.

Putting the touchscreen with the start menu seems good, and it seems you would want that in the center of your desk, but you quickly run into issues with Metro applications. As they are all now going to open on the monitor with the Start screen on it, that means secondary apps like the integrated Calendar or Mail are now filling your main display instead of being flanked to the side on a secondary display. You can move them to the side, but that moves the Start menu over there as well, which takes it off the touchscreen.

With a single display, this isn’t an issue. Everything stays on the touchscreen and you view what you are working on. With multiple monitors, touch is best relegated to a secondary display. You can keep your start menu there and your Metro applications, but you can have your real work on our other displays. It seems silly that Windows 8 has been designed without taking multiple monitors into account, but it almost feels that way to me. Trying to make the user experience the same across all the platforms seems to have focused on the average user and not the power user.

Now none of this is Acer’s fault, as they aren’t designing Windows, but it means that you’re possibly paying $500 for a monitor that is best as a secondary display, or it has to be your only displays, to get the full value out of it.

When using the touch features, the Acer was very responsive and accurate with my input. Moving around the Start screen, selecting applications, and moving them around was very easy to do with the display. I worried a lot about fingerprints and smudges with the glossy finish, but I didn’t find myself having to clean it that often, and typically they were hidden away well. Entering data with the on-screen keyboard worked, but I would never pick it over a regular keyboard for entering more than a couple of words. It did lead me to wanting to find a way to build my own Sooloos-style media server for my music room, but not as much for regular work.

So much for the Windows 8 side of the experience. Let's get to the display characteristics and see how the Acer stands up to other displays we've reviewed.

Introduction, Design and Specs Brightness and Contrast
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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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