I have a love/hate relationship with touchscreen monitors. I have a touchscreen, all-in-one computer at home that works incredibly well for my son, because it’s easy for him to navigate, but I don’t think I’ve ever used the touchscreen capabilities myself. Well maybe once, but I prefer the feel of a mouse and keyboard as a general rule.
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The R5999 23.6″ AOC 72 Series Multi-Touch Monitor on the other hand, connects to an ordinary computer or laptop, providing touchscreen functionality to pretty much anything. It’s a 10-point multi-touch monitor that works best with operating systems like Windows 8, which was really designed for a much more integrated experience. The fact that I hate Windows 8 of course, doesn’t really endear me to this right off the bat, but I did try to put my prejudices aside in that regard, so that I could put this monitor through its more objective paces.
First impressions, the build quality is good, which seems to be the case with most of the AOC monitors we’ve reviewed. It has less plastic than most other monitors, and in this case (because of the type of monitor this is) it has a good, solid feel about it. It looks decent enough, although you definitely need to install the drivers before you can any use out of it.
As for display, the response time on this monitor is pretty good at 5ms, so if you wanted to play games or something that required instant feedback, you’d probably still enjoy your experience. It’s also HD so you’re getting a great viewing experience in that regard. To be honest, if it wasn’t high-definition it would have received an extremely low score from me. There is an integrated 720p front camera as well as an integrated microphone for Skype or similar applications. The contrast ratio is excellent, and there were no trails or any kind of pixel flashing when using the screen.
Control wise, this is of course all about integrated touch, so you can lay this monitor flat and use it without a mouse and keyboard. The demo pictures shows people playing a virtual piano on it, however this really seems limited to a very small and specific market and certainly not something I would use on a daily basis. There are also five physical buttons on the actual screen, which adjust all the usual settings such as brightness, contrast and so on. Although I didn’t specifically try it with these applications, I can imagine that a monitor such as this, which supports ten finger multi-touch, would be excellent when it comes to creative applications such as Photoshop and the like. At the very least it gives the impression of a large, powerful tablet.
From a connectivity perspective, the monitor has a built-in USB hub with four ports, which is pretty good, especially since half of these support USB 3.0. There are two HDMI ports, as well as a regular VGA port if you need to connect to an older computer. If you’re using this in a corporate environment, there is also an MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) cable available to connect your smartphone directly to the screen.
Although I’m not a fan of monitors with built-in speakers, the 72 Series comes with internal 2W speakers supposedly for “superior sound”. I still reckon you should connect a pair of quality external speakers for a better sound experience.
Verdict: Having used a touchscreen computer even prior to this, I can’t say it’s something that I really love. Although the build quality is good and the screen is very responsive, it seems like an oversized tablet (all be it a tablet that costs R5999), but one I can’t take with me everywhere I go. On the plus side, you can use it as an ordinary monitor but then what’s the point? More gimmicky than essentially gadgety.