The 10 Best Touch Screen Monitors
10. Dell Interactive
9. Asus VT168H
8. Planar PCT2235
7. On-Lap 1503I
6. Dell S2240T
5. Gechic 1102I
4. ViewSonic TD
3. Gechic 1303I
2. Dell P2418HT
1. Acer T272HUL
What is a Touch Screen Monitor?
A touch screen monitor can be prompted by physical contact; either with a finger or stylus device. In short, the human hand replaces the keyboard and mouse functions. The touch component can be manipulated as well. Multi-touch features allow the user to swipe, tap, zoom and pinch using only their hand.
You probably interact with more touch screen monitors then you realize on a daily basis. They can be found just about everywhere: video game consoles, smart phones, kiosks, and ATMs are prime examples.
How do they work? In short, it's complicated. But to simplify things, let's break down touch screens into the two most obvious types.
Resistive touchscreen is the simple and basic touch screen model. The screen is composed of two layers of glass. The layers face each other and they are separated by a thin gap of air. A stylus or finger presses the outer layer down forcing contact with the inner layer. This creates a connection point and produces voltage, which is read on the processing board. That connection point is now simply a high-tech button.
Resistive touch screens are used in high volume environments like restaurants and airports due to their durability, water resistance, and low cost. Also they are employed in the video gaming industry. Nintendo uses this type of screen most notably with the handheld Nintendo DS.
Capacitive sensing is more complex. The screen is composed of glass coated with a thin transparent layer of Indium Tin Oxide which acts as a conductor. Since the human body is a conductor of electricity as well, the contact creates a distortion in the electromagnetic field that is read as a change in the screen. While this touchscreen is much more precise, it is fragile, (as noted by half of all smartphone cracked screens) and usually requires skin to screen contact.
Why Should I Get a Touch Screen?
The benefits of touch screens are discernible. They are more intuitive. There is no need for you to memorize keyboard shortcuts. Since you're physically interacting directly with the screen it cuts computing time considerably. Physically swiping something away is more instinctual than burying your head down and hammering away on a keyboard for the same effect.
You cannot deny the precision of using a stylus; particularly for drawing and art. It's a requirement for animation and graphic design students to be proficient with touch screens.
Also, there is no need for additional equipment and they eliminate set up time. There is no need for a hard surface to rest a mouse or trackpad on.
The downside of touch screens cannot be diminished with a wave of the hand. Some experience a tough learning curve; clumsy, small buttons, can't use gloves, etc. The natural oils from hands are also a deterrent; unavoidable, but can be battled with a screen protector. Most will say this is a small bump in the road and just requires more screen wipes with a cloth.
Gorilla arm is a condition experienced from excessive use of arm and hand movements with a monitor, resulting in fatigue. Most will never experience this, and touch screens are typically not as strenuous to support this phenomenon.
Touch screens tend to be more expensive as a whole over their non-touch counterparts. Monitors will typically cost $100-$300 more.
Lastly, touch screens have a shorter battery life. They require more energy and use more battery power. Usually it's cutting an hour of time away, which might not matter to some, for others, it's a deal breaker.
The History of Touch Screen Monitors and a Look to the Future
Touch screens go further back than you may imagine. They were first mentioned in 1965 and invented by E.A. Johnson. By 1968, published articles mentioned the benefits of touch screen technology in the air traffic control industry. CERN was next to manufacture a working model in 1973 and by 1982, resistive touchscreen was invented.
The growth of touch screen technology flourished in the 1980's until today due to the need from many other industries to incorporate the new invention: medical, video gaming, and automotive industries were all pioneers of touch screen technology.
The next logical question is if touch screen technology will completely replace non-touch screens. Most will say no. The danger of gorilla arm, hand oils damaging the surface, and higher cost will deter a large minority of consumers. However, developments are being made daily in the industry. In the near future we will see touch screen technology using other parts of the hand; knuckles and fingernails to control other functions.