The Acer T231H bmid LCD Monitor together with Windows 8 Consumer Preview puts a biggie-sized iPad on your desk
Windows 8 needs two things to be a hit on the desktop – a multi-touch monitor and touch pad. Acer delivers the multi-touch experience with the T231H bmid. The Acer monitor is stunning. At under $350 retail, it leads the pack of competitive monitors we have investigated.
The Acer T231H bmid is a 23″ Widescreen LCD display with native 1920 x 1080 resolution. The screen looks sharp and sports a 80,000:1 contrast ratio with 2ms response time.
It is specified as touchscreen capable for Windows 7 32-bit and 64-bit compatible.
Something told me it should be plug compatible with Windows 8 Consumer Preview (Win8CP). Acer agreed and sent one a monitor for this review.
Along with the unusual 23″ wide-screen, the three-legged support system struck me as unusual until I started using the touch feature.
The wide third leg behind the monitor can take the push and touch without wobbling. The widescreen is just perfect for watching movies.
Connecting the monitor was simple – power cord, DVI, VGA or HDMI connection and USB cable (all supplied in the box). The USB cable sends the touch gestures to the Windows 7 or 8 operating system.
There is a driver disk but we didn’t need it. As a precaution, the computer was off when connecting the Acer T231H. On boot up, Win8CP recognized the monitor and touch feature.
Large tablet screen
Within a minute we had a 23″ ‘iPad’ on the desk. It is amazingly easy to use and gorgeous to look at.
The Metro interface of tiles makes sense with touch. With a finger, you can grab apps, swipe across the screen, swipe up and down. I just discovered, and Windows 8 is full of discover, that an aggressive swipe from the far left screen pulls up other apps that are open. Screens can be pinched larger and smaller.
You can browse pages in the Los Angeles Times or Chicago Tribune with ease, just like an app on the Apple iPad, only the action is faster and smoother.
The USA Today app is so large and the images are vivid. I touched the story on the launch of the new iPad and the screen filled up with a hi-definition video inside the Apple store. USA Today has more multimedia content than the other news apps on the Microsoft Store.
For example, the Los Angeles Times has a full story on new music at the SXSW Festival but no music videos. It’s like reading the newspaper online and a wasted opportunity.
While Apple has the tablet market lead, Windows 8 beta delivers the same or better experience on the desktop. Apple hasn’t migrated OS X to a touch environment yet. When Microsoft adds more Metro apps to the Microsoft Store it will challenge Apple’s lead.
The monitor needs to be calibrated and I wasn’t successful in getting that done perfectly. I still use the touch-pad to return to the Metro home screen. The tile is located very tightly in the lower left corner. Of course, one can always use the Windows Home Key with the same results.
In any event, you need a touch-pad for some commands such as right mouse click. There is an onscreen keyboard that pops up when needed. For now it’s just as easy to use the keyboard.
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