As well as offering a number of distinct advantages over previous efforts, Windows 7 incorporates compatibility with upcoming technologies such as touch screen support. Acer’s T231H is designed to take advantage of this and allows Windows 7 Ultimate, Enterprise, Professional and Home Premium users the ability to take advantage of multi-touch controls. It’s worth noting that Windows 7 Starter and Home Basic editions only offer single-touch support, however, which significantly restricts the range of movements available.
The T231H is a 23-inch, 16:9 display with a maximum 1920 x 1080 resolution and a high-gloss design that offers more accuracy for touch screen controls as well as improved clarity in terms of general performance. A choice of D-sub, DVI-D and HDMI inputs means it’s versatile enough for a range of uses and an impressive 80,000:1 contrast ratio and 2ms response reassures that Acer hasn’t put all of its eggs into touch screen application.
In terms of design and build it does tip its hat towards this area however, and instead of a conventional stand it utilises two feet at the edge of the front of the display and a flexible stand at the back. While this does mean there is no height adjustment available and it does sit very close to the desk, it offers the benefit of a wide tilt angle of up to 60 degrees, offering a more comfortable alignment for touch screen operation. The design works well, being stable yet flexible enough to adjust with one hand.
In order to enable the touch screen controls the monitor must be connected to a computer via USB, at which point Windows 7 automatically detects the screen and offers access to a range of configuration tools via an icon that appears in the system tray. Here it’s possible to view the default touch controls, which include scrolling through images or documents with right/left and up/down finger movements, zooming by spreading fingers and selecting applications and executing commands by tapping.
Four “custom controls” are also available in the form of diagonal swipes that can be allocated to a range of functions, for example copy and paste or executing commands. It’s also possible to adjust the sensitivity of the display and perform other minor tweaks to personalise the experience for the individual, but overall we have to say we were pretty pleased by how responsive and accurate the screen was in recognising commands.
Of course, there are limited applications around that can utilise touch screen controls at present, and it is still the case that many actions are far simpler to execute with a keyboard and mouse, but if you do have sufficient need for this form of control the T231H certainly handles it well.
While it would seem rather pointless for Vista and XP users to consider a purchase of the T231H, it does perform well as a general use display. The high-gloss finish, while prone to picking up fingerprints and glare if set up in direct sunlight, does improve clarity and we were impressed by the vibrancy and accuracy of colours and impressive contrast, which does a good job of reproducing clean whites and deep blacks.
The high response rate also makes it a good choice for gaming and video playback, and we noticed no signs of motion blur or ghosting during our tests. A range of presets include a user-configurable mode as well as defaults for text, standard use, movies and graphics. These generally do a pretty good job of tweaking levels for specific environments, and are easy to access and enable.
While the T231H does a commendable job as an all-rounder, its price dictates that good use would need to be made of the touch screen functionality in order to warrant a purchase. In truth there are better performing monitors around for a lot less so there’s no real reason to recommend this unless the new form of control will get a good workout. If this is the case, though, Acer’s new entry is an option well worth considering.
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