Buyer’s Guide: Touchscreen Monitors for Windows 8 (Part 1) : liyama T2250MTS, Dell ST2220T

4/23/2013 9:19:25 AM

The basic, underlying technology of most touch-screen monitors is no different to that of most regular monitors. Expect an IPS or TN panel, with similar screen size and resolution as 'normal' monitors. That means you want at least 1920x1080 to watch full HD video, because there's no point having a touchscreen monitor if it's not a good monitor first and a good touch-screen second.

That said, although Windows 7 and Windows 8 both support touch input, it's worth keeping in mind that the latter's requirements are far greater than the former's. Windows 8 has more specific criteria for the capabilities of touch-input, which is reflected in its own certification. A non-certified touch-screen can work with Windows 8, but don't be surprised if the experience is slow, clumsy or missing certain features.

For example, it's worth paying attention to the size of the monitor bezel. Windows 8 requires you to swipe the screen, sometimes from the edge, and a large raised bezel can make it difficult to get your finger into the position required to swipe in a way Windows recognizes. Windows 8 certification requires that the screen allows adequate space for this to happen, so monitors without that stamp of approval may not support this feature at all.

Similarly, the number of points supported has an effect on performance. Single-point touch displays are rare these days, but two-point support is not uncommon despite being inadequate for Windows 8, which requires at least 5-point support to allow access to all of its gestures.

Finally, be careful to check the type of technology that underpins the touch-screen. Capacitive screens, such as those found in tablets and smartphones, are the kind you probably want. There are other technologies that may be on the market which are cheaper and older (such as infra-red sensor touchscreens) but these are poor quality and should

liyama T2250MTS

One of, and maybe even the first of the multi-touch computer monitors to make it to market following the explosion of multi-touch devices, the liyama T2250MTS has sadly not aged well since its 2009 release, and for many reasons.

liyama T2250MTS

liyama T2250MTS

Primarily, with its large raised bevel, Windows 8 certification eludes it. The underlying technology might be adequate for basic touch interactions, but the lack of side-swiping functionality means you won't be able to use some of the most useful features. Nor is it capacitive, instead using an infra-red two-point sensor to detect user interactions. More complex gestures are therefore also off the table.

Still, taken purely as a Windows 7 touch-screen monitor, it's actually not terrible - just behind the times. Its 1920x1080 pixel TN panel is 22 inches, with average brightness and contrast. A choice of only DVI or VGA inputs (no HDMI or DisplayPort) betrays its last-decade origins. Built in 1W speakers are uninspiringly average and, as with most devices, a separate USB cable carries the touch-screen input from the monitor to the system.

If you actually use the touch input on Windows 7, it is at least adequate - responsive enough, although noticeably less accurate than the capacitive screens you're likely to be used to from tablets. The problem here is that Windows 7 wasn't designed as a touch OS, which means although it has the support, you'll quickly find that the mouse is a more efficient input - especially for low-resolution touch interfaces like this.

The final kicker is that despite its age, the liyama T2250MTS is retailing for well over $320, which makes it a terrible choice for almost anyone with limited cash supplies. 22" monitors can be picked up for half the price, and better-looking touchscreens cost only a little more. It might have been acceptable when it came out, but if it was, technology has moved rapidly on. Best avoided.

The liyama T2250MTS is retailing for well over $320


·         Diagonal: 21.5"

·         Touch technology: optical, multi-touch (2 compatible touch points), activated by finger or stylus

·         Panel: TN

·         Glass hardness: 8H minimum

·         Display area h x w: 268.11 x 476.64 mm; 10.6" x 18.8"

·         Response time: 5 ms

·         Contrast: 1000 : 1 typical

·         Brightness: 260 cd/m² typical

·         Brightness: 300 cd/m² max.

·         Viewing zone: horizontal/vertical: 170°/ 160°; right/left: 85°/ 85°; up/down: 85°/ 75°

·         Viewing zone CR>5: horizontal/vertical: 178°/ 178°; right/left: 89°/ 89°; up/down: 89/ 89°

·         Display color: 16.7 million

·         Pixel pitch h x v: 0.248 x 0.248 mm

·         Native resolution: Full HD 1080p, 1920 x 1080 ( 2.1 megapixel)

·         Horizontal sync: 31 - 82 KHz

·         Vertical sync: 56 - 75 Hz

·         Synchronization: Separate Sync

·         Aspect ratio: 16 : 9

·         Light transmittance: 88%

Dell ST2220T

Perhaps a slightly better monitor, but no better touch-screen, is the Dell ST2220T. It's 18 months older than the liyama T2250MTS, having appeared in early 2011, but it's still from an era when capacitive touchscreens weren't the norm. And dutifully, that means it's another infra-red touch-screen device.

Dell ST2220T

Dell ST2220T

The IPS panel does at least mean that it has the great color reproduction and wide viewing angles you'd expect from such technology. However, the screen bevel is again large and difficult to navigate, rendering certain Windows 8 features inaccessible. Indeed, the bevel on this monitor is so large (to accommodate the infra-red sensors) that it can actually cause trouble when you're trying to use smaller edge elements even on Windows 7. Any icon in the top left is likely to be problematic to interact with.

Although it comes with a pair of awful low-wattage speakers, the 3.5mm audio jack does make it easier to get along with the sound options (if used as a pass-through for headphones). HDMI-out makes it feel like it was at least built this century, but it's still too old for DisplayPort.

At least the Dell ST2220T has been designed as a touchscreen monitor from the start. Rather than simply whack a touch-screen panel on a normal stand, Dell designed this monitor to put up with being poked and prodded. It stands at more or less desk-height and is supported at either side for extra stability. You can then tilt it forwards or backwards to get the preferred angle. It's a neat idea and one that allows you to imagine actually using the monitor for extended periods in a practical situation.

Furthermore, it has very similar problems to other infrared touch-screens. It's not fast enough, accurate enough, or even properly designed for Windows 8 usage, which severely limits its operational lifespan. And because it's an IPS panel, it has an additional problem: it's even more expensive than most monitors of similar quality and functionality. Another product whose day has rapidly passed by, if it was ever here in the first place.

Another product whose day has rapidly passed by, if it was ever here in the first place


·         Packaged Quantity: 1

·         Display Type: LCD monitor / TFT active matrix

·         Diagonal Size: 21.5 in

·         Panel Type: IPS

·         Aspect Ratio: Widescreen

·         Native Resolution: 1080p 1920 x 1080 at 60 Hz

·         Pixel Pitch: 0.248 mm

·         Brightness: 250 cd/m2

·         Image Contrast Ratio: 1000:1 / 50000:1 (dynamic)

·         Color Support: 16.7 million colors

·         Response Time: 8 ms

·         Horizontal Viewing Angle: 178

·         Vertical Viewing Angle: 178

·         Features: HDCP

·         Dimensions (WxDxH): 20.8 in x 2.3 in x 15 in - With stand

·         Weight: 17.2 lbs

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