Best touch screen monitor: our top interactive displays for 2022


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Best portable touch screen monitor

ASUS ProArt Display PA148CTV

ASUS ProArt Display PA148CTV


What is a touch screen monitor?

A touch screen monitor does exactly what it says – it’s a monitor with a screen that you can interact with through touch. You can use your fingers to interact with the screen in the same way that you would with your smartphone – you can swipe through apps, press buttons to close down windows, or pinch and zoom on different parts of the screen.

Touch screen monitors feature one of two different technologies, though it’s rare to find a screen using the older tech:

Resistive – these are the original touch screen monitors and work using a double-layered display. When the top layer is pushed against the underlayer, a connection is made, and this is how the screen knows where you’re pressing.

They work with anything applying pressure, so you could use a typical non-electrical stylus, and they’re very affordable. However, they’re also not very reliable and because they rely on a part of the screen being pushed inwards, you can only press one area at a time – there’s no multi-touch functionality.

Capacitive – these are the more modern touch screen monitors and the ones that are widely available now. Instead of a double-layer screen, they instead rely on the natural electric current of your finger as it connects to the screen. It’s the same type as used on your smartphone, which is why you can’t control your phone while wearing gloves.

It’s more expensive tech, especially when you’re dealing with a screen the size of a computer monitor, but it works more reliably and allows you to use multiple fingers at once for multi-touch controls. The only downside is that, if you want to use a stylus, you’ll need a powered one which creates a charge. But the screens are much more sensitive and accurate too.

Are touch screen monitors worth it?

Whether a touch screen monitor is worth it or not really depends on your personal preferences and how you use a PC. They aren’t for everyone, but they do offer some fantastic benefits.

Reasons a touch screen monitor would be a good choice:

One of the best reasons to choose a touch screen monitor is the extra control options you can enjoy. There’s more to it than pushing buttons, swiping, and using pinch-and-zoom though. With multi-touch controls, you can set up all kinds of shortcuts to make it faster than ever to open programs, run particular tasks or manage your workload.

The issue is training yourself to remember to use them. Operating systems already have a bunch of great keyboard shortcuts that most people don’t know about or don’t remember to use. Touch screens make it easier since you can just memorize certain finger movements/controls, but you still need to remember to do it instead of reverting back to keyboard and mouse controls.

If you’re someone who is flexible in your approach to PC controls, then this is worth it but if you think you’ll just forget and go back to traditional inputs then consider whether a touch screen is worthwhile.

Another great reason to buy a touch screen monitor is if you like to add handwritten notes to a project. It’s ideal for collaborative working (providing your handwriting is legible!) and is often much easier than having to highlight a section and leave a typed comment. But you’ll need a powered stylus for this to work, it’s unlikely that any notes you leave with your finger will be readable, or if they are they’ll be quite large and limited in terms of how detailed you can be.

Reasons to avoid a touch screen monitor:

Because you can use a stylus with a touch screen monitor, you might assume that it’s the perfect option for a graphic designer. They can use it as essentially a large drawing tablet, right? Well sort of, except that even with a high-quality screen and stylus there still won’t always be pinpoint accuracy to the level needed for drawing.

And more importantly, a touch screen monitor won’t have the necessary resolution and color accuracy for creating professional-quality artwork. Serious designers would be better sticking with a traditional monitor and a separate drawing pad.

Also, while it might seem like a minor point, it’s not a good idea to get a touch screen monitor if you like your display to look clean all the time. This isn’t a personal slight – no matter your hygiene, your fingers are going to leave smudges and dirty marks on a touch screen, and it’s going to impact how good the screen looks. You’ll need to clean it a lot more regularly.

Things to consider when purchasing a touch screen monitor

One of the most important things you have to realize when deciding to buy a touch screen monitor is that you won’t be able to get the same quality screen as you would with a non-touch model. A $400 touch screen monitor is unlikely to look as good as a $400 non-touch model.

Resolutions tend to be limited to Full HD (you can get 4K but it’s extremely rare/pricey) and, more importantly, color accuracy tends to suffer too. You just can’t get the same quality features in a touch screen model, because instead the touch functionality is prioritized.

Also again, remember that you’ll need to pick up a soft cleaning cloth to go with your monitor, and you might want a special cleaner too, in order to keep the display free from smudges. Never use standard glass cleaner – the chemical content will damage the screen. Isopropyl alcohol or eyeglass cleaner will suffice.

Best touch screen monitor: Understanding the specs

Here’s a quick rundown of the main spec you should be looking out for when choosing a touch screen monitor:

Touch points

Most touch screen monitors have 10-point multi-touch technology now – it’s fairly standard across the range. This means you can use all 10 digits at once in different ways to trigger different shortcuts. This is the peak, there’s no need for any better than 10-point tech unless you want to start getting your toes involved as well and that’s a little weird.

Screen size

Whereas non-touch monitors can go up to 32” for a typical display or even larger for ultra-wide, most touch screen monitors tend to be either 21.5” or 23-24”. There are a couple of larger screens at 27” but you won’t really find any larger. That’s because using a touch screen on a huge scale isn’t really ergonomic, and also the display won’t look great on a massive screen, because…

Resolution

Touch screens are generally limited to Full HD. There are very few 4K touch screen monitors available. Full HD is plenty for most tasks but don’t buy a touch screen monitor if you intend to watch a lot of movies or boxsets in high quality. And if you do buy a 27” touch screen that’s Full HD expect the resolution to be stretched to its limits.

Color Accuracy

Generally, touch screen monitors won’t have the same color accuracy as a high-end monitor without touch functionality. For most users who are just using the monitor for internet browsing or standard work, this won’t be an issue. But for movie and gaming content, or for professional design work, you may notice the difference.

You should try to make sure you choose an IPS monitor, which will give the best color and contrast for a touchscreen. Non-IPS options may be a little cheaper but won’t look as good.

Connectivity

Touch screen monitors usually don’t have the same range of connectivity options as a non-touch model. HDMI is pretty standard but DisplayPort connections are rarer, though there are some great touch screen monitors that do have this option.

Touch screens need more power than a standard monitor, so you can forget about powered USB-C options – you’ll need a separate plug for the monitor, definitely. And for the same reason, don’t expect extra USB-C or USB ports that provide power passthrough either. They’re possible but extremely rare.

Angle

One last key consideration when choosing a touch screen monitor is the angle that you can use it. Some will be a standard monitor with tilt options, but others have a more flexible stand that allows you to manipulate the monitor in more ways than normal, including laying it at a much lower angle.

Check out the stand options to see how you can position the monitor, as you may end up working on it in different ways, depending on what tasks you’re doing and your desk setup.

How we test and choose touch screen monitors

When we’re recommending a monitor (or any product), we always try to physically test it before we publish our guide. That way, we can really get to grips with how it works and make sure we understand every nuance. Sometimes though, that just isn’t possible. And when that happens we’ll base our recommendations on our expertise in monitor spec, as well as relying on our knowledge of the wider range and any prior models from the same manufacturer.

We will get to testing every monitor we recommend, and when we do we’ll update this guide immediately, if necessary.


Best touch screen monitors in 2022

Dell P2418HT touch monitor

DELL P2418HT

Pros