If you want to buy yourself a holiday gift, check out this monitor. Its price has drifted lower in the last six weeks by about 10%, and it’s starting to look irresistible—although my wife will kill me if I buy another piece of electronic gear.
What makes this monitor so special that I would risk physical harm?
It’s a 27” display with 2560 X 1440 resolution and—most importantly—it is touch-sensitive. If all this resolution mumbo jumbo is confusing, here's a plain English expanation of why this Acer looks like a good value.
This Website Is For Financial Professionals Only
If you spend most of your day in front of a computer screen, an ultra-high definition (UHD) display could significantly improve your computing life. (Tip: Anyone with a “computing life” needs a 1440p touchscreen monitor.)
High-definition monitors display 1080 pixels across a screen, while UHD monitors—also known as Quad HD or WQHD—display a picture in 1440 pixels. That’s four times the resolution of the 720-pixel displays you might have purchased just five years ago.
A 1440p monitor would be good for you if you use three or more applications all the time. (At the bottom of this post is a link to a big image showing the difference between 1080p and 1440p
) The higher resolutions will allow you to run a spreadsheet side by side with a PowerPoint presentation and have plenty of room on the side and bottom of your screen for your calendar, portfolio management software, CRM and Skype. To be clear, if you use multiple applications all day are are now using a 1080p monitor, you will appreciate the extra workspace of a UHD monitor.
What’s really cool about this monitor is that it is touch-capable. The Windows 8 operating system is touch capable, of course, but most first-time touch computers people are buying are tablets, ultra-portables, and laptops. You just don’t see a lot of people using Windows on desktops. Not yet.
There is almost no mass market for UHD touch displays. Even Dell, which is known for making good displays, doesn’t offer a 27” UHD touch screen monitor. You can find plenty of 1080p touch screen monitors but 1440p QHD monitors just are not yet being mass-produced by many manufacturers.
A big reason touch displays have not caught on among Windows 8 desktop users is that the user experience on a 1080p touch screen display is problematic. Objects on your screen are too large. A screen should be 12 or 15 inches from your nose if you are going to be able to reach out and touch it to draw, scroll, answer the phone, and navigate.
A 1440p touchscreen monitor is much easier to look at than a 1080p touchscreens because you can work close enough to touch the screen and the items displayed 15 inches from your nose are 25% smaller. When you sit in front of a touchscreen monitor, you want to be able to use a stylus to write or draw. You will still use a mouse for many apps, but page turning and scrolling on a touchscreen just 12" away is more visually comfortable with UHD.
Remember, with monitors, what you get is what you see for hours every day. So why not have the coolest monitor available.
But if you are willing to pay an extra $600 or so for the touchscreen feature to get the coolest monitor available for Windows 8 right now, you’ll probably find ways to use the touch feature to conduct live client presentations in your office, webinars, Skype meetings, reading on the Web, and many other routine computing tasks.
Touch screens make you move your arms, which is good physical actitivity. The physicality changes a user's experience is different from using a mouse to control a computer. Having another choice in the way you communicate ideas using a computer is a good thing that some people will love.
27 inches is still probably not the optimal size for a touchscreens. Higher resolution will be better. But it's not commercially available and 1440p is a comfortable size if you want to display multiple apps on one screen and write, draw or tap the screen to make commands.
Two caveats: If you use two 1080p monitors now, plan on buying a second 27” UHD display to replace the 1080p display you’re using now. Once you have one 1440p monitor, you won’t want to look at the 1080p display anymore. Your second monitor does not need to be touch-capable and you can find one for as little as $250
In addition, I have been watching for new UHD monitors to be released for many months and I'm disappointed that there have been no new entrants in this category in 2013. Once Dell and the other big manufacturers start offering UHD 27-inch displays, prices will probably drift yet lower, of course. That's why I've been holding out. Much to my dismay, however, I have not seen any pre-announcements or reports of upcoming releases for January, and I actually do look.
Prices have dropped sharply on 1080p displays recently, which likely means manufacturers are beginning to clear out their inventory of 27" 1080p monitors to make room for UHD models, and more touchscreen UHDs. Let's hope so.