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NEC E232WMT 23-Inch Touchscreen Monitor Review

When Windows 8 added 10-point multi-touch support, we expected a flood of desktop touchscreen monitors to hit the market. That hasn’t happened yet but NEC is making maximum effort with the E232WMT. Today we check it out in our lab.

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.

  • joravecz
    Christian, you apparently didn't do your homework. There are multiple touchscreen models available from Viewsonic, Acer and others. To say the NEC is the second touchscreen after Dell looks incorrect to me. I've been waiting for reviews of those other models, but if you don't know they're out there I guess I'll be waiting for a while.
    Reply
  • blackmagnum
    I have never thought that business-consumer minded NEC would sell touchscreen models. The FAR reaching effects of Windows 8!
    Reply
  • therogerwilco
    LOL
    since the two major operating systems, OS X and Windows
    So that means the two major phone OS's are Android and Windows phone!
    OSX isn't a major OS. It's at 6.74% right now.
    Reply
  • xenol
    The expensive con sort of irks me. Not that it's a con, but it just feels generically placed. Expensive compared to what? Someone may find all monitors over $200 too expensive, regardless.

    I dunno, just nitpicking.
    Reply
  • qlum
    LOL
    since the two major operating systems, OS X and Windows
    So that means the two major phone OS's are Android and Windows phone!
    OSX isn't a major OS. It's at 6.74% right now.
    It would probably be a lot lower if you disregard laptops. Maybe the Linux distros even surpass is then.
    Reply
  • Karsten75
    Can anyone say "gorilla arm?" LOL
    Reply
  • gc9
    "OSX isn't a major OS. It's at 6.74% right now."

    So by that reasoning, what do you think about the USA, which holds less than 4.5% of the world population? Higher spending customers are more important for some.
    Reply