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3 qualities your touch-screen monitor must have

What you need to know before you buy

Published: July 2013

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Dell S2340T (photo: Dell)
Photo: Dell

A good number of all-in-one desktops and laptops have added touch screens since Windows 8 and its touch interface were introduced. Computer monitors have been slower to follow suit, but a few are popping up. We took a look at three: the 27-inch Acer T272HL bmidz ($700), 23-inch Dell S2340T ($700), and 23-inch LG 23ET83V-W ($500), and found performance all over the map.

Not all touch screens are created equal, our tests show. Here are three things you need to know about a touch-screen monitor before you buy:

Feel for smooth movement

For starters, you'll want a display that feels smooth as you swipe across it. Unfortunately, none of the touch monitors we tested felt as smooth as Apple's iPad and many other tablets. (The tablets we generally find to have the smoothest swipe are those with anti-fingerprint coating.)

The best among the three monitors was Dell's, with the least-resistant screen. The LG and the Acer felt sticky as we swiped, especially when we attempted long, rapid movements. With the Acer, we experienced dropouts while playing a game called "Kung Fu Wok," which requires long swipes and fast movement.

Our computer monitor buying guide and Ratings will help you find the right model for your needs and budget.

Get a monitor with enough glass on the edge

The best touch monitors also have enough glass around the edge to make it easier to swipe in from the side, a common gesture in Windows 8. The Acer and Dell, with 1.2 and 1 inch respectively of edge glass, were better for swiping in to pick up Windows 8's charms bar, for example, than the LG, which had just 0.75 inch of glass. Also watch out for raised edges on touch-screen monitors, as on the LG model. They, too, can interfere with your ability to swipe in from the outside of the monitor.

Look for flexibility

Finally, a monitor that's more adjustable is optimal for touch, as you'll want to be able to move the screen into various positions for either comfort or to improve your ability to play a touch-based game or do touch-based tasks such as drawing. The Dell was the most flexible among the three, and can fold forward, back, and into a flat position.

—Donna Tappellini

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