The ever-changing touch screen has migrated its way seamlessly from devices like in-car satnav to MP3 players and mobile phones, but it's been a bit slower to gather pace in an office or home environment as a replacement for a computer screen.
Acer's T231H is one of a handful of monitors designed for this purpose, and should be well designed for the job if you can find a serious benefit from replacing mouse and keyboard input with touching and flicking.
It's nice to see that Acer hasn't cut many corners in designing the display with more conventional use in mind, and the T231 is a 23in model that offers a 16:9 aspect ratio at 1,920 x 1,080 resolution, a 2ms response time, 80,000:1 contrast ratio and a range of connectivity that includes VGA, DVI and HDMI.
There's also a USB port to connect it to a PC to enable the all-important touch controls. However, there are some operating system requirements that must be fulfilled to make the most of its versatility.
Operating system compatibility
Windows XP and Vista users will not be able to make use of the touch-sensitive features, and while Windows 7 starter and Home Basic recognise only single-touch actions. Windows 7 Ultimate, Enterprise, Professional and Home Premium offer full support for multi-touch, so one of these is a must considering the price of the display.
Provided you can fulfil these requirements, setup is straightforward. The monitor is detected automatically once connected to a computer, and configuration is performed through an icon that appears in the system tray.
A number of gestures are set up by default, and you can expect to perform actions such as scrolling through web-pages and documents by moving a finger up and down on-screen, flipping through pages or photos by moving left or right, rotating images by drawing an arc between a thumb and finger and zooming in and out by using two-fingered pinch or spread movements.
It's also possible to configure up to four diagonal movement controls to initiate common functions such as copy and paste, execute commands or open applications. While basic, the configuration tools are easy to work through, and it's fairly quick to set up new commands or get a refresher on the available defaults.
While we were generally comfortable with the design and build of the T231, there are some sacrifices to be made with a display that prioritises touch-screen operation. The screen has a very wide tilt angle of up to 60 degrees that allows it to be positioned at a low angle on a desk so that you're looking down at the screen rather than towards it, a position at which touch-sensitive controls feel more comfortable.