PROS / The touchscreen on this monitor uses edge-lit LED lighting and a projected capacitive technology. You can touch the screen in 20 places at the same time and receive a response for each touch. Additionally, you can recline the screen to 15 degrees or rest it flat on a table.
CONS / This touchscreen monitor isn't meant for high-end gaming, so if you were to use it for that purpose, you would notice the slower response time of 12 milliseconds.
VERDICT / This touchscreen computer monitor has a nice picture and a sleek design. The screen is made to adjust to your arm so that you can comfortably use it and still have a great view with the wide viewing angles.
The 27-inch Planar Helium touchscreen monitor has a flat glass front and can process up to 20 touches at one time. With this responsive screen, you can scroll with your finger. You can also write in your own handwriting and have it converted into type. The screen reclines down to 15 degrees, or it can rest flat on a table. For these reasons and more, the Planar Helium PCT2785 is our Top Ten Reviews Gold Award winner.
Helium's display is an edge-lit LED LCD. LCD stands for liquid crystal display. All of the touchscreen monitors we reviewed are LCD touchscreens. However, the pixels on LCD screens can be lit in different ways. One lighting option is cold cathode fluorescent lamps (CCFL). Another is LED lights. The Planar Helium uses LED lighting. An LED LCD screen can have either LED lights across the whole back panel or lights along the perimeter of the screen. When the lights are along the perimeter of the screen, it's called edge-lit. The benefit of an edge-lit LED monitor is how thin the screen can be.
Working on a touchscreen monitor requires you to have a different desktop setup. Research shows that if you use a touchscreen monitor in a vertical position for more than a few minutes, it fatigues your arm and leads to a condition called gorilla arm syndrome. To avoid this problem, Planar's Helium touchscreen PC monitor relines back so that it rests between 70 and 15 degrees, depending on how you position it. You can even close the stand and rest the monitor flat on the table. This feature is great if you want to play games with another person, such as checkers.
For this reason, the viewing angle has added importance on a touchscreen monitor. If you have your screen lying flat on your desk, you'll want to have a touchscreen monitor with the widest viewing angle possible. At 178 degrees both vertically and horizontally, the Planar Helium has one of the largest viewing angles available.
The 1920 x 1080 resolution is high definition with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio. The refresh rate for the Planar Helium is 60Hz, which is standard among LCD touchscreens. The contrast ratio for the Planar Helium is 5000:1, which is much higher than any other touchscreen monitor we reviewed. The brightness of this screen is 264 candelas per square meter. This is not as bright as some monitors we reviewed. However, it's still higher than average for touchscreen monitors.
The response time is slower for this monitor than most of the other touchscreen monitors we reviewed. Most of the other monitors have a 5ms response time, but this monitor has a 12ms response time. Although it's slower, it's unlikely that you'll notice unless you use the LCD touchscreen for high-end gaming.
The pixel pitch for this touchscreen monitor is .31mm. The pixel pitch measures the distance between pixels. The closer the pixels are to one another, the sharper your image will appear. For this screen's resolution, its pixel pitch is standard.
There are several types of touch technologies to choose from when you purchase a touchscreen monitor. The Planar Helium uses projective capacitive. Many smartphones use this type of touch technology on their screens. Projective capacitive screens don't use cameras in the screen to identify when and where you touch the screen. Instead, the glass on the screen has an electrostatic field that distorts when your finger, gloved hand or stylus touches it. One of the benefits of this touch technology is that the screen can be thinner than it would be able to be otherwise because it doesn't require cameras. Additionally, the screen doesn't need a bezel around it. The other touchscreen monitors we reviewed have a bezel or plastic frame around the screen. The Planar Helium has a plane of glass with a black frame under the glass that gives the touchscreen monitor a sleek and classy appearance.
The projective capacitive touchscreen on the Planar Helium has mutual capacitance, which means it can process multiple touches at one time. In fact, this touchscreen monitor can process up to 20 simultaneous touches. This means that if you and 19 other people play a game on the Planar Helium at once, assuming you can all fit around the screen, the touchscreen will identify each of those touches that occur at the same time and will be able to process them. This is incredible, especially considering that many touchscreens can only process one or two touches at once.
One of the features this monitor has is that it converts your handwriting into text. While it had some trouble deciphering some of our scribbles, most of the time it accurately converted the words. For the times it didn't, we quickly picked up the skills for editing and correcting the text.
It comes with a 2-megapixel camera built into the top of the screen next to a microphone. Once you connect your Planar Helium monitor to your PC with the USB and microphone cables, you can use a video chat application such as Skype or MSN Messenger to talk to others.
Although this touchscreen computer monitor uses 43 watts of power, which is more than average for the screens we reviewed, some touch monitors use even more power. Additionally, the Planar Helium is the largest touchscreen, so it's reasonable that it would use more power than many of the other screens.
You can mount this monitor on the wall using the VESA standard mounting on the back of the LCD touchscreen. The computer monitor also comes with a cleaning cloth and a stylus.
This touchscreen monitor is 27 inches diagonally, with a height of 16.47 inches and a width of 26.48 inches. The Helium is a mere 1.95 inches thick. It's the heaviest screen reviewed, weighing 19.5 pounds. However, it also has the largest screen size of the touchscreen computer monitors we reviewed.
In addition to the USB port that connects the screen to a computer, this touchscreen monitor has two other USB ports that you can use to connect additional electronic devices to your desktop computer. The Planar Helium can connect to your computer using a VGA, DisplayPort or HDMI connection. Many of the other monitors we reviewed don't provide this many connectivity options.
The Planar Helium has a sleek design and high-definition resolution. The options for connectivity are more diverse than most of the other monitors we reviewed. Additionally, you can rest the monitor flat on the desk and still see the screen well because of the extra wide viewing angles.