Leo, I’m looking for a monitor, 22 inches. I’ve been in several stores and no one can tell me why a touchscreen monitor is so much more vivid and bright, and the images just jump out at you compared to say, an LED or LCD monitor. What a difference! I’m running Windows 7 and I’m thinking this is what I’m looking for. It seems that these monitors are used on an all-in-one PC. Are they available separately? I don’t have any intentions to use the touchscreen but the colors and the display are unbelievable! What’s the difference? What do these monitors have that the others do not? And also, are these monitors even compatible with Windows 7?
To be honest, I don’t know. I can and I will speculate a little – but I do want to talk about touchscreens, specifically with respect to compatibility and hardware requirements.
Realize that most of the touch screens are in fact typically just LCD monitors with additional touch hardware.
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First, the speculations. Three things come to mind:
One: the touchscreen materials that somehow detect touch may require that the monitor itself behind that material be brighter so that the image, for lack of a better term, “punches through” whatever that material might be.
Two: perhaps they’re just better monitors.
Three: perhaps it could be as simple as the brightness and the contrast adjustments on those screens.
As I said, though, I really don’t know and am just guessing. I will say that I’ve not experienced the difference you’re seeing.
Now, external touchscreen monitors are rare. A traditional monitor is mostly a one-way communication from the computer to the screen. Touchscreen adds a data path in the other direction. The touch actions that you do on the screen need to somehow get sent back to the computer. Traditional video cables and such just don’t do that.
Internal touchscreens for tablets, laptops, convertibles and the like can be directly connected to the computer internally in several different ways. Externals will probably need some kind of an additional connection, probably USB, and probably (depending on the version of Windows or your machine), some drivers as well.
Windows 7 is “compatible” in the sense that it actually knows little to nothing of touch. A touchscreen, particularly if it has a USB connection for that reverse path, is most likely seen as a track pad or a mouse with a normal LCD monitor. If it’s hooked up internally, exactly what it appears like in Windows 7 will depend a great deal on the drivers that are used for that monitor . Those drivers should be supplied by the computer or monitor manufacturer. How well it works will vary tremendously from device to device.
Windows 8, of course, is truly compatible. The concept of touch is baked into the operating system. (One thing that’s important to realize is that Windows 8 does not require a touchscreen. It will work fine with traditional monitors.)
It’s really hard for me to say exactly what you should do. If you have Windows 7, I’d be tempted to simply look for the best-looking monitor that meets your needs, and that you can afford, with or without touch.
Personally, I think it’s not likely that you’ll find an external monitor with touch that’s affordable.