NEC E232WMT: Ready For Primetime
Is the E232WMT qualified to fulfill your touchscreen desires? We believe it is. At $629, the price of admission lands well above what you'd pay for other 23-inch monitors. But adding a touch layer is not without cost. On the upside, NEC goes beyond simply adding one feature to an existing panel and calling it a day. By designing a proper stand and incorporating a camera and microphone, it created a fairly unique product with no real competition at present.
Video-wise, it performs as well as any high-end business-class display we’ve reviewed. The image has excellent contrast at all brightness levels. Color, grayscale, and gamma are all very close to our specs. Even without calibration, the sRGB mode provides a solid picture with properly saturated color and fully-rendered detail. Our only recommendation is that you avoid the dynamic contrast option.
Ergonomically, NEC leaps ahead of its minimal competition. Using a touchscreen effectively means placing the display in different positions than you would a desktop monitor. The stand will undoubtedly be copied by others because it is, by far, the smartest design we’ve seen. No matter how you choose to interact with it, you’ll find a configuration that’s comfortable.
We tried it with a few different machines, from desktop PCs to laptops. Our favorite setup was to place a keyboard directly in front with the E232WMT at a 15-degree angle. Visually, it’s sized perfectly. If the screen were any bigger, the top would be too far away unless you made it more vertical. Then it would be harder to use multi-touch gestures effectively. Twenty-three inches seems like a sweet spot. You get a lot more room to work with than any tablet offers, but not so much that you have to move your body to reach one edge or the other.
And don’t be put off by a 1920x1080 resolution. The extra pixel density of QHD at this size would translate to really tiny icons and on-screen buttons. Even with a high-resolution touch layer, you can only be so precise with your index finger.
With tablets and smartphones so deeply integrated into our daily lives, it stands to reason that some users will want to replicate that same kind of interaction on the desktop. We don’t expect the E232WMT, or any touchscreen monitor for that matter, to suddenly trigger a paradigm shift in the way people use their computers. But if you’ve been waiting for a well-designed product to create a new kind of workstation, this may very well be it.
The feature list is certainly long enough. Ten-point multi-touch, an integrated camera, a stereo microphone, and USB 3.0, all accessible through a true plug-and-play connection. Just connect the cables and go; there are no drivers to install. NEC's price lands in the luxury range for sure, but for now it’s the best product of its kind out there.