Packaging, Physical Layout, And Accessories
The P2714T comes in a standard suitcase-style box with sufficient protection to withstand the rigors of shipment. HDMI and USB 3.0 cables come bundled, and the panel is kept slim by an external power supply. Dell includes the brick and a detachable cord. Rounding out the accessory package is a CD containing the user’s manual and drivers, a microfiber cleaning cloth, and a Velcro cable tie.
The panel seems very solidly put together. There isn’t the slightest hint of flex in any part. Given that a monitor like this is expected to get touched, prodded, poked, and perhaps even manhandled, beefy construction is a must if it's going to survive at least as long as Dell's three-year warranty period. Desktop displays typically aren't subjected to such abuse, so construction quality is an important new consideration. Dell’s has always been well above average, and this touchscreen is no exception.
The front of the panel is a single sheet of glass. The black bezel is actually behind that, so it won’t interfere with touch interaction. In fact, one centimeter of the bezel is designated a swipe-in area, which is a wholly separate gesture from a swipe that only takes place on the viewing surface. This technique is used to pull out graphical drawers onto the screen, which can be used for a variety of functions. For more on Windows 8 and its available touch-based interactions, check out The Definitive Windows 8 Review And User Guide.
Controls are tucked around the lower-right side of the panel. You have to operate them by feel, though that shouldn't be a problem because a small graphic pops up when you press any key, denoting the function of each. You’ll see a photo of this on the next page.
From the side, the panel looks slim and smooth. The plastic back panel is a single piece of hard plastic that wraps around to meet the front glass. The stand is aluminum and sports integrated rubber pads that grip any surface. Its hinge is very stiff, which means the monitor effectively holds any position you choose. Obviously there is no height adjustment, but you can expand the stand backwards until the panel is almost horizontal.
This is the lowest you can go with the P2714T. You wouldn’t use a typical computer monitor like this unless you were replicating Dillinger’s desktop from Tron. For a touchpanel however, this position can be very useful.
If you find the included stand too limiting, you can remove it to expose a 100 mm VESA mount.
Inputs face downwards and include DisplayPort, two HDMI connections, and VGA. The USB 3.0 upstream port must be connected to enable touchscreen functionality. The two downstream ports on the back operate at USB 2.0 data rates, while the two side ports are third-gen-capable. The audio line-out jack is for use with speakers only; it does not support headphones. Audio input is enabled via DisplayPort or the HDMI interfaces. Speaking of HDMI, it's MHL-compatible, which means you can display the content from your phone or tablet on the P2714T. And the ports will charge your device whenever it's connected.
Connecting the P2714T is a plug and play affair in both Windows 7 and 8. Simply attach a video cable (we used DisplayPort) to your graphics card and the bundled USB 3.0 cable to an available port on your PC. After a quick reboot, you’re up and running with touchscreen functionality. Response to our gestures was fast and smooth with no perceptible lag. The touch layer's high resolution manifests in the fluid motion of on-screen objects and the ability to select very tiny buttons and text with precision. The glass doesn’t feel quite as slippery as an iPad, but it’s very close. And it resists fingerprints fairly well. Dell includes a small cleaning cloth in the box. If you use your own, make sure it’s of the lint-free microfiber variety.
Using such a large touchpanel is undeniably cool, but we still need to run through our standard calibration and benchmark tests before we get too carried away!