With the Modern UI in Windows 8 desktop and laptop users finally have an environment where touch operation has added value over the traditional mouse and keyboard combo. There still aren't many options to take advantage of this if you want to install Windows 8 on your older desktop PC, however. We previously test two 'Windows 8 approved' high-end touch monitors from Dell and Acer, and today we're taking a closer look at a more affordable touchscreen from Medion. It uses somewhat older hardware, but that doesn't mean it's obsolete by any means. The quality of this TN display is actually quite good.
Like we mentioned in our review of the Dell S2340T and the Acer T272HLbmidz touch monitors, Microsoft has very specific requirements for a touchscreen display to carry the official 'Made for Windows 8' label. It needs to have at least five touchpoints and a seamless touch surface that goes all the way to the edge of the monitor. The latter is needed for the charms on the side of the Windows 8 interface.
A touch-sensitive layer is expensive, and the larger the monitor, the more it costs. It's more complex to implement the larger the surface gets, and if something goes wrong with attaching the touch layer, the entire monitor has to be discarded.
It's also a bit of a gamble still for manufacturers. In Windows 7 Microsoft already integrated touch capabilities, and emphasised this future among consumers and its hardware partners. However, the touch implementation in Windows 7 was very rudimentary, and it never really took off among consumers. But by that time a number of manufacturers had brought to market several touchscreen monitors, generally based on IR detection, and the result was that no one wanted to buy them. At least they weren't able to sell enough volume to make a profit. The reticence on the part of manufacturers is understandable therefore, and the first Windows 8 certified monitors can therefore most likely not take advantage of large-scale production leading to lower prices.
Right now touchscreen monitors are twice as expensive as there traditional counterparts, and that likely won't help their popularity. So if you feel like experimenting with touch monitors, it will cost you, unless you go for the previous-generation that employ IR detection like the Medion Akoya X54000 we are looking at today. So what can you expect from an optical IR touch monitor for 159 euros?