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Buy a touchscreen display for a Windows 8 PC

Future proof your monitor for Microsoft's new OS

Windows 8 is really all about having a touchscreen interface - so if you are buying a display for your PC, you'd be well served to get one that is equally adept at running Windows 7 and Windows 8. Here's our guide to buying a display for Windows 8.

QUESTION I need to replace my ageing PC monitor and I want to buy one that will work well with Windows 8 when it launches. I've read that Windows 8 works best with a multitouch display, but I don't want to replace my entire PC. Can I buy a touchscreen now that will work with both Windows 7 and 8?

HELPROOM ANSWER Windows 8 is designed to work on tablets as well as PCs, and therefore is designed to be easy to use with a touchscreen. Windows 7 also supports touch input, although the interface is far less sophisticated. Many displays are available that support touch input in Windows 7, but the requirements for Windows 8-certification are much more stringent
and the vast majority won't pass muster.

That's not to say the current crop of touchscreens won't work at all, it just means that Windows 8-certified displays will deliver a better experience.

If you're going to choose a monitor now that you hope to later use with Windows 8, one important thing to watch out for is the design of the bezel. Because Windows 8 makes use of gestures, which require you to swipe your finger inwards from off the edge of the screen toward the centre, you'll find that displays with raised bezels usually make it very difficult to touch the far
edge of the screen.

It's a requirement of Windows 8 certification that the bezel should be flush with the display or incorporate a 20mm border between the edge of the display and the start of the bezel.

Few standalone monitors provide this feature, although there are some all-in-one PCs that come with flush touchscreens
(such as the Lenovo IdeaCentre A720, although it isn't officially Windows 8-certified).

You'll also want to ensure you get a monitor that supports at least five touch points to take advantage of all the new gestures. Most current touchscreens support only two-fingered gestures.

Avoid these, and also any product that doesn't have a capacitive touchscreen. Some cheaper, older models have infrared sensors, or even webcams that detect your position.

Although it isn't Windows 8-certified and doesn't have edge-to-edge glass, Dell's ST2220T 21.5in multitouch display has received favourable comments from some users who have tried it with Windows 8.

Most other display manufacturers also make touchscreens, but we would recommend waiting until fully certified models become available rather than spending any serious money now.

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