With Windows 8 on the horizon, many new input technologies are going to be taking the stage very soon. The variety of new inputs is quite impressive: a new Kinect that runs on Windows, inputs that use staring to open applications, voice, and touch.
While Microsoft has made certain that Windows 8 is a pleasant experience even for the traditional keyboard and mouse crowd, I personally think that most users will want more from Metro when they finally get their hands on it.
Using a keyboard and mouse in Windows, instead of technologies like voice and touch, is like going to a Six Flags Amusement Park and never going on any of the rides. Sure, there is plenty to eat and see at these parks, but without the rides you are missing out on a big part of the excitement.
So that brings us to today’s review, the Compaq L2105tm LCD Touch Monitor. Since this type of review doesn’t really call for a real ‘specs sheet’ like my tablet/laptop reviews, I’ll just start with the setup experience you’ll find with this tablet.
As luck would have it, I actually have a friend with this particular model screen. He is a graphics artist and uses the screen and stylus for some of his drawings (plus, he just likes to stay ahead of the technology curve, to be honest).
So he allowed me to bring over my Windows 8 Developer Preview laptop, hook it up, and get a really hands-on experience of how this works with Windows 8 and Metro.
The installation was a cinch, I pluged it in via VGA, and Windows 8 handled the installation with really no work on my part. Afterwards, I was brilliantly presented with a unique touch experience at a high-def resolution of 1920×1080.
While many screens in tablets are either of the resistive or capacitive nature, this Compaq model doesn’t use either technology. Instead this monitor makes use of SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) technology, which uses ultrasonic waves and provides one of the most sensitive and responsive touch experiences I’ve had the opportunity to see hands on.
To be fair, I’m sure there is much better out there as I’ve only had a limited hands-on experience with touch technology. My experience includes such devices as my cheap resistive Android tablet from China, my wife’s Acer tablet with a capacitive screen, and a 2002 or so model slate/convertible laptop running XP.
For those who need even more accuracy, there is also an included stylus that tucks into the side of the monitor.
Best of all, this screen is multitouch aware, so gestures to zoom in and out on web pages work flawlessly.
After using the monitor for about thirty minutes I discovered that it actually felt quite natural to navigate with, but honestly outside of Metro (which performed much better with the touch-screen), I really preferred the keyboard and mouse. This could just be a familiarity thing that would go away with more time using the touch-screen, I’m not sure.
This monitor isn’t perfect though, as the monitor isn’t the brightest and while the horizontal viewing angles were very good, the vertical viewing angles weren’t the best (at least when viewing the screen from above).
For me, I also wouldn’t use the integrated speakers since they aren’t the loudest but to each their own.
So if you are looking for a good screen for home or even business use that keeps ahead of the curve with touch-technology, I’d have to say this is a pretty solid choice.
I will be regularly reviewing touch-screens over the next several weeks or so, and while I may end up encountering a better monitor in the long run, I wouldn’t feel guilty purchasing this model right now.
The Compaq L2105tm is available from Amazon for just $260.99.