After having the opportunity to play with ViewSonic’s growing family of touchscreen monitors a few months back at CES, we were anxious to spend some quality time with them in our own Windows 8 environment and see how well touchscreen controls could supplement a more-traditional desktop experience. Make no mistake – I’ve never been a big fan of previous touchscreen offerings, especially those from the Windows 7 era, but Microsoft’s latest OS is built for gestures, swiping, and other fun touch-oriented actions. But even many of these were intended for flatter, more tablet-sized finger swiping. Could a vertical monitor gain anything from the additional of gestures and other touch-enhanced motions?
In anticipation for the upcoming multi-touch varieties ViewSonic was kind enough to provide us with their TD2220 22-Inch Screen LED-Lit Touch Display Monitor from last year. It’s a decent monitor on its own, but the addition of new touch controls could make it an easy addition for those looking to inexpensively add gestures to their Windows 8 desktop.
One distinct throwback is the no-nonsense styling of the monitor, which at first glance looks like it belongs in a business cubical than as a desktop centerpiece. The theme continues with a thick screen bezel and a10.85lbs plastic body that you’d almost believe wasn’t a LED-LCD display. It’s pretty heavy but the tradeoff is a sturdy and wobble-resistant body thanks to an equally wide stand that provides a 30-degree tilt, combined with simple installation or detachment to easily mount this to walls with VESA-compatible brackets.
The only bit of style are the touch-sensitive buttons on the lower right bezel which control the usual assortment of picture menus and power (I/O) options. Around back is again business as usual with VGA (D-sub) and DVI-D/HDCP being the only video connections, as well as a Type-B USB port to enable touchscreen communications between the monitor and computer. Other inputs include a 3.5” audio jack offers sound input through stealth speakers and two Type-A USB ports for other external devices.
When we first hooked up the TD2220 its default color settings were satisfactory, with only a small but noticeable cool hue running on the Native preset. Aside from manually tweaking the RGB and brightness/contrast values most users will have little reason to nitpick the subtle inaccuracies, and this is probably for the best because the other presets leave little to be desired anyways. Other color presets beyond Native and User were either too saturated in hue output (Bluish, Cool, Warm) or dim in order to compensate for depth (sRGB), despite packing a respectable 1920×1080 resolution, 1:1 reference color and fairly deep blacks aren’t defining characteristics of this monitor.
For those stuck using standard VGA you do get a couple more OSD options such as manual screen resize and positioning, sharpness, and fine tune pixel focusing.
While its picture adjustment capabilities aren’t stellar, multi-touch capability is the real focus and is geared for the Windows 8 experience, more or less. We’ve seen external third-party options from the likes of Logitech that add limited gesture controls to the Microsoft’s latest OS but with an actual multi-touch screen the feeling is a more responsive and natural than fiddling around with a finger pad, meaning that simple tapping (left click), hold/tap (right click), and pinch zooming can be done with ease.
However, some gestures that are essential to seamless navigation between apps like inward swipes from the sides are hampered by the raised bordered bezel itself; a trait that other displays better accommodate for Windows’ Metro environment.
Audio output is a welcome addition if you need a monitor that’s a one-stop shop, but we quickly discovered that listening to music or movies isn’t great. The speakers are loud but sound flat, which isn’t ideal for a home entertainment monitor, but enough to get you by until you eventually pony up for standalone speakers or headphones. No real surprises here given that most built-in monitor speakers are less-than-impressive.
The ViewSonic TD2220 22-Inch Screen LED-Lit Touch Display Monitor is a competent monitor that offers decent to above-average picture quality and a couple of expandability features (USB) to help make your introduction to the world of touch displays a lot less painful. Despite playing nice with Windows 8 the overall design and packaging logos are a telling sign that compatibility between Windows Vista and Windows 7 OS were this display’s first priority. This revelation isn’t a total loss as the updated gestures generally work as Microsoft intended, although some are hampered by the raised bezel design. If you’re on a tight budget but desperately want to add some touchscreen action to your Windows-based rig this is probably the least-expensive alternative you can find.