A touch screen monitor is one that has the ability to detect where its screen is being touched. It looks like a regular monitor but is more expensive on average. While they will probably never replace the keyboard and mouse on a desktop computer, they still have many practical uses. They are used in retail stores, factories, tourist locations, and many other places. In fact, they are so common that almost everyone would have seen or used one at some point. Apart from their touch sensitivity, there are a few other features to look out for when comparing models.
When someone presses the surface of a touch screen monitor, the location of the contact point is sent back to the computer through a serial or USB cable. The application that is being displayed on the monitor at the time will respond to the input if the point is within certain areas, such as the inside of a button. It will then perform some action and show some new information on the screen, providing feedback to the person who touched it. This ability removes the need to have a keyboard, mouse, or trackball to interact with the computer, however, it is only practical for very simple tasks.
A touch screen monitor is normally found in displays that are used by the general public. Many people find pointing easier and quicker than using another type of input device and the monitors are harder to steal or damage. Photo kiosks have them to help people select and edit the photos they want to print. A touch screen monitor is often combined with an electronic cash register in stores and many automatic teller machines also have one. Industrial machines have them because they are less susceptible to damage from dust and debris. They are also used as interactive information kiosks at airports, railway stations, and other major places that tourists visit.
Before choosing a touch screen monitor, it is important to know the difference between the two main types. The capacitive type only responds to a touch from a conductor, such as a bare finger or metal stylus. It will not respond to a touch from a gloved finger or a plastic stylus, which are both insulators. When a conductor touches the screen, a change in voltage occurs at the spot and this is detected by the monitor. The other type of touch screen monitor is called the resistive or pressure sensitive type. This type has the advantage of detecting contact from any object and works by measuring the change in electrical current caused by the contact pressure.
Apart from its ability to detect contact, a touch screen monitor is like any other monitor. There are several essential features to look for when comparing the various models. It should have a high native resolution, so that the images on the screen do not appear blurry. It should also have a low response time, so that moving images do not leave a blurry trail behind them. A high contrast ratio makes colors on the screen look more vibrant. Integrated speakers are a good feature to have, provided they have sufficient power output. Finally, the base of the monitor should be solid and fully adjustable. Some models have an arm that clamps onto the desk, allowing the monitor to be quickly moved out of the way.
Buyers also need to be aware of some of the problems that can affect a touch screen monitor. It is possible to damage the touch sensitive layers on the screen by hitting them with a hard object. Typing with a virtual keyboard on the screen is slower and more uncomfortable than typing with a normal keyboard. Greater care needs to be taken when cleaning the screen so as not to damage the touch sensitive layers, which can happen if corrosive cleaning products are used. With proper care, a touch screen monitor should provide many years of service.