Touch Or Not, Dell's P2714T Is A Solid Performer
From a purely video performance standpoint, Dell's P2714T is an average to above-average FHD monitor. Its contrast runs mid-pack, but its color, gamma, and grayscale accuracy are among the best. It’s not exceptionally bright, however, we consider it bright enough for almost any application we can come up with. And even though it probably won’t be on your favorite gamer's short-list, our benchmarks show the panel to be responsive in both screen draw and input lag. The decision to buy comes down to whether or not you need that touchscreen functionality and are willing to pay a premium for it.
If you’re interested in using Windows 8 the way Microsoft intended, a touchscreen is mandatory. We won’t go as far as to say that it’s better or worse than using a mouse; it’s just different. A power user probably won't get a lot from this interface on the desktop. Someone well-versed in keyboard shortcuts, and who is quick with their pointing device, will move through traditional applications much faster. Having to lift your hand from the keyboard to reach out and touch your monitor definitely takes more time. Of course, the cool factor is still quite high. We enjoyed using the touch functions in Windows even when it slowed us down. Having fun can certainly have a positive impact on productivity!
It remains to be seen if mainstream software will be redesigned to take advantage of touch. The operating system is an obvious first step, and Microsoft answered that call (whether it was asked to or not). Now it's up to application designers to create the desktop experience we’ve grown accustomed to from our tablets and smartphones. And that brings up the biggest question of all: do we want our desktop computers to emulate our portable devices?
One of the main purposes of the touchscreen in a portable device is eliminating the need for a keyboard or mouse. It’s not clear if that same touchscreen is useful when the keyboard and mouse are present. So far, we’ve had the choice of one or the other. Now we can have all three if we really want. In my opinion, gaming is the genre to watch. The possibilities of simulation and first-person games are greatly expanded when touch interaction is available. We’ve already seen some truly cool titles on tablets. Perhaps the future will bring us games not even imagined today.
At present, we see the P2714T used more in public spaces or shared environments where many people interact with a computer or point-of-sale system. There is plenty of screen real estate for things like restaurant menus, mall directories, or in-store ordering systems, for example. And there are many educational applications that would be at home here. Imagine a classroom with one of these at every desk.
Dell has always been a leader in monitor technology and features. It’s no surprise that it's among the first to market a display like this. The company now has hardware to complement Microsoft's vision on the operating system side. We’re excited to see where the evolution of the human/computer interface leads.