We reviewed a few touchscreen monitors in 2014 and thought at the time that they might catch on as a new category. With the proliferation of phones, tablets, phablets, and pseudo-desktops like the Surface, it seemed logical that users might want to add that functionality to their traditional workstations.
Obviously that revolution didn’t happen, but the genre isn’t dead either. One of the monitors we looked at back then was Dell’s P2714T. That display is no longer available, but today we have a new product in the lab from the same company. The P2418HT is an IPS panel with 10-point touch and FHD resolution in a 24” size. Let’s take a look.
Clearly, users are not clamoring for touchscreens on the desktop. But if Dell sees a market for a brand new monitor, we can’t ignore it. And commercial applications are still a major driving force behind the adoption of large touchscreens.
The P2418HT is a fairly typical IPS panel with a 23.8” viewable area, a super thin bezel, and projected capacitive touch with 4096x4096 resolution. That should make it very attractive to artists and designers who need that fine control when drawing directly on the screen. 10-point touch means it supports gestures like swiping, pinch-to-zoom, and multi-finger/two-handed operation. As far as we can tell, it is not pressure-sensitive like the latest round of iOS products. Windows users can expect plug-and-play operation with versions 7, 8.1, and 10.
We’ll be running the P2418HT through our usual battery of color and luminance tests along with some hands-on use connected to a Windows 8.1-equipped PC.
Packaging, Physical Layout & Accessories
Dell has now committed to foam-free packaging for all its newest monitors. Our sample arrived in a stout box that opens clamshell-style. The accessory tray contains an IEC power cord along with high-quality DisplayPort, USB 3.0, and VGA cables. You also get a quick start guide and a CD with supporting software. We didn’t have to install any drivers to enable the touch function with our PC.
The stand and base must be assembled by bolting them together and clicking the result onto the panel. Cable management is accomplished with a snap-on input panel cover and a fabric sleeve that keeps everything neat and tidy. You’ll see in the photos below how well designed the stand is. It enables positions more suited to a display like this.
From the front, the P2418HT looks like many other 24” monitors. Its styling is simple and elegant with a barely-visible bezel just 5mm wide. Across the bottom is a larger 11mm strip that contains a set of small, down-facing buttons for OSD navigation. The keys click with Dell’s familiar firm quality. The overall package is extremely solid and well built.
Any desktop-based touchscreen needs a well-designed stand and Dell has met this goal easily. The upright hinges about one-third of the way up to allow the panel to go all the way down to the desk surface. It won’t quite go completely flat like NEC’s E232WMT, but it’s still a comfortable angle for drawing. You’ll note in the second photo above that the steepest angle can be maintained at multiple heights. The base is extremely heavy and works well at balancing both the weight and movement of the panel. You will have to make a concerted effort to knock the P2418HT over.
Cable management is well thought out too. This is where Dell’s included cables come into play. They’re more flexible than most and can easily make the sharp bends required when using the snap-on input panel cover. Once the wires exit that small hole, you can wrap them up neatly with an included fabric sleeve and run them through the upright. This keeps everything out of the way when operating the stand. We found no hiccups when moving our sample around.
The input panel contains one each of DisplayPort, HDMI, and VGA inputs. There are no built-in speakers, but there is a 3.5mm analog output for either headphones or powered speakers. Dell offers a small soundbar, at additional cost, that attaches to the bottom of the panel if you want an integrated look. The USB hub supports version 3.0 with an upstream and two downstream ports. Two additional outputs are version 2.0. One of these supports charging while the P2418HT is in standby mode.
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