Review: Acer T232HL Touchscreen Monitor

Acer T232HL Touchscreen MonitorRecently I decided to replace one of the monitors at my (workstation/desk) and came to the conclusion I wanted to get a touch screen. Primarily I use my desktop for work purposes, but it also functions as a gaming computer; therefore, I wanted a screen with a fast response time and a high contrast ratio. Unfortunately, this limited me to very few and very expensive choices. I ended up choosing an Acer 23” Touchscreen LED with an impressive contrast ratio and a response time designed for fast motion movies and games.

My previous setup was a LG Flatron 22” and an old Dell 19” Tube monitor which has been in use for 8 years. Upon unboxing the Acer I discovered it would not fit in the designated monitor spot built into the desk, but then realized this is not a bad thing. If the monitor was set back into the desk I would be required to reach forward to use it as opposed to having it at my fingertips.

Once I had the monitor fully set up and connected, I enabled the touch and pen inputs and had to calibrate it so the touch inputs would be accurate. This is when I realized there was about an inch or 2 of unused black space bordering the screen and had to adjust the horizontal and vertical position/stretch. This task was very difficult because I was unable to adjust it through the monitor menu settings. After searching online, I found this was a common problem for people who had connected the display with the HDMI cord. Fortunately, however, my AMD video card has settings to magnify the display through ATI’s Catalyst Control Center program. Once I had increased the screen size by 9-12%, I was able to eliminate the black border and recalibrate the touch input.

Once I had it set up and calibrated, it felt like using a very large Windows tablet. Using the touch features instead of the mouse was fun and easy to adjust to.


Price: $499.99
OS Used: Windows 7 & 8 (video to come soon)
Ownership Length: Over one month
Buy at Amazon.com (aff)


Pros
1) Appearance: Extreme detail quality, no blur with fast motions, amazing color, vivid detail, wide viewing angle
2) Touch input: 10 point multi-touch screen allows use of all of your fingers
3) Windows 8 compatibility
3) Three USB ports on side for easy access
4) Flexible tilt stand

Cons
1) Price: I could have bought a new computer for the price of my monitor
2) Cleaning: Touch screens are very prone to getting smudged with fingerprints, so it requires much more cleaning than a regular monitor

Summary

This is by far the best performing monitor I have ever used; its quality is on par with the LED televisions on the market. It is a large monitor and will take up a lot of desk space depending on how you set up your workstation, but it can be wall mounted if necessary. The 10 touch input allows for fast and accurate touch screen interaction, making on-screen navigation and typing user-friendly. The multi-touch input also enables you to access the gesture features in Windows 8. Even in fast action sequences in movies or games, the display has no motion blur and delivers high quality moving images. The only drawback is that many games have yet to enable touch input capabilities, which means some games are unsure how to process the touch inputs. Overall I am very satisfied with the monitor and believe that as the technology develops it will be perfected over time and will become more functional.

Using Windows 8 With Touchscreen

Review: Motorola Razr HD

Why I Went With Android over iPhone

Motorola Razr HDMy first decision when buying a new phone was what OS to choose. I narrowed down the options pretty fast to iOS (iPhone) or Android, because RIM’s Blackberry lacks support from new app companies and Windows Phone doesn’t have much traction either. I didn’t want a phone that would be obsolete in a year.

My previous phone was Android-based, and it was decent but not great. I found that quality was inconsistent among the available apps and widgets—basically, a lot of them were terrible, which meant I had to sift through and research much more apps than I had anticipated. However, I was already using their products, such as Google Docs (now Drive), Google Voice, Gmail, GTalk, Google Music, and more, on an everyday basis.

I also considered getting an iPhone because I already have an iPad, which uses the same OS. iOS is very easy to use and isn’t flashy, and I enjoy its simplicity. In addition, the App Store seems to be more refined with better options.

In the end, the decision came down to which OS is most compatible with my current lifestyle. I already had the highest data plan, the prices were about the same, and both use 4G. For online file storage, a must for business on the go, I use Dropbox, which is available for both Android and iOS. I use most of the free Google web apps already, and the decision became even easier when Apple decided to use their own navigation system in place of the very trusted Google Maps. It was clear that Android fit my everyday needs far better than iOS.

Here is my review after over a month of use:


Price: $199 with 2-year contract from Verizon
OS: Android 4.0.4
Ownership Length: Over 1 month
Buy at Amazon.com (aff)


Pros:
1) Battery Life – Lasts over 2 full days at moderate use
2) Kevlar Back – Very durable and no need for an additional case. Just put a decent screen protector on the front and you are good to go.
3) Unlock Screen – The default unlock screen allows you to turn the phone to vibrate, make a phone call, view texts, or take a picture without additional steps. This is very handy.
4) Developer Features – I had a developer phone before and the features in the Razr HD are far superior. They include things like pointer location and CPU usage which gives better feedback on how your app works with the device.

Cons:
1) Size – It’s a very large phone and takes some getting used to. The width causes problems with one handed use at times.
2) No Charging Signal – There is no indication on the screen that the phone is charging.

Camera:
The camera is pretty good for outdoor pictures and average for low light pictures. The shutter speed is decent which is good for taking clear pictures. It works pretty well as an everyday point-and-shoot, but you are unlikely to win any awards with them. Instagram’s effects can always improve the look of these photos.

Suggested Things to Use With it:

Apps:
1) Waze Navigation (Here) – Waze is a GPS platform that routes you around bad traffic based on other user’s input. For example, it senses when you are driving slow and prompts you to input traffic conditions. The people using Waze behind you then are able to be automatically rerouted based on that information.
2) Google Voice for Voicemail (installed) – Google Voice allows you to change your default voicemail to your google number. Google then converts your messages into text so you can get a quick idea of its content. Android now allows you to integrate the voicemail with your contacts so can see the missed call and listen to voicemail from the recent calls list.

Mount: I use an Arkon Slim-Grip Windshield Mount ($11.23 at Amazon.com) for my car and I highly suggest it. I use it daily for GPS purposes and it moves around nicely without coming off the windshield. It actually fits most smartphones according to its description.

Summary:

My overall experience with the Razr HD has been great. The battery life makes a huge difference. I work anywhere between 12 and 16 hours a day, including an average of 3 hours with GPS direction, and still don’t come close to running out of battery life. Most of the time I can even go two days without charging while I sleep. The other thing I really like is the integration with the Google products I already use. Android has come a long way over the past 2 years. I would definitely recommend the Motorola Razr HD to anyone considering an Android-based phone.