Clever Dual Touch LCD screen
by, 27th June 2012 at 12:00 PM (18838 Views)
I have had several of these installed at the primaries where I work. As a projector replacement they work well on paper, no shadow cast, no bulb to replace, evenly lit accross the display, less wires makes for a tidier installation, toughened glass etc. There's quite a few reasons to replace those aging projectors or if you have a new build then the increased labour costs of projector installation may well off set the overall cost of one of these.
I'd say the weight of one of these might be the first thing to consider, I have one mounted to a plasterboard partition but there is a substancial piece of chipboard to reinforce it. I would guess these weigh in at around the 50KG mark so budget for reinforcement if mounting to a non structural wall.
we had our supply and fit carried out by a local firm in Bolton (IDN) As a standard part of the installation they have wired the screen back to a VGA and sound distribution box on the wall. As the PC is HDMI out capable (DELL optiplex 390) this was unnecessary, as the HDMI cable can go straight to the LCD screen and has the benefit of carrying the audio as well. This then leaves the local monitor to run from the VGA cable as a duplicate output. This seems to be a standard installation to allow for VGA only capable computers. .
The driver installation was straight forward plug in the USB and HDMI and then a bit of messing with display resolutions to get the best combination. The best setup with the HDMI cable is running an Intel HD graphics 2000 driver version 18.104.22.1689 1280X1024 60Hz seems to be the resolution that is working best for me on both cloned monitors.
In use the screen is as you would expect it to be, reasonably quick to respond and accurate enough for most clicks and drags, certainly good enough for most teaching activities. There is a calibration software but you only really need to use it once as unlike a projector installation the board to projector isn't changing everytime someone closes a door! We have the dual touch variety which in theory is great allowing you that ipadseque pinch and unpinch for zooming. In reality Dual touch isn't something that works well or is even necessary on a screen this size. There are also several customisable "flicks" which allow drag up/down and forward/back I havn't found these particularly useful or straightforward to perform. and usually they happen when you dont want them I practiced them for a while and gave up.
Some fine control that is required for say resizing a text box in word is better performed with a mouse, the screen just doesn't handle that very fine control very well, but in fairness you wouldn't do this on a smartboard either. I would say this is part of the learning curve as what you can and can't do that teachers would need to get used to. More annoying is the slight offset at times from where your finger is to when item you think you are clicking on despite any amount of calibrating. Also the double click pause duration. You can set this up in windows but it affects all users. The cursor responds with a ripple to show where it thinks you have clicked so you can adjust, but it is not 100% accurate, is it any worse than a smartboard? I'd say about the same. Also you have right click if you press and hold and wait for the circle to complete, I sometimes use this instead of the double click to open an icon as its more reliable than double clicking and waiting.
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The screen is reflective glass, strip lights on the ceiling or unblinded windows directly opposite will make viewing more difficult, but so long as its not excessive bright sunsine its not really that bad. If you move your head a few inches to one side it makes it possible to see what a strip light was obscurring previously. I have asked the children here what they think and they don't see it as a problem, and certainly better than a projector screen in similar conditions. Projectors compete with ambient light so lights nearer the screen cause more problems, as the downside to these the issue is with reflective light, light sorces further away are more of an issue.
The sound quality is very good, easily up to music or playing DVDs The only issue I would say is the audio cable running via a standard 3.5mm headphone jack tends to be bit noisy on one laptop powered installation. I have noticed some background hum with the speakers powered above half way, but it also picks up internal hardrive/cpu EM noise so its probably the usual consumer grade sound cards/ unearthed power supplies etc that are at least partly to blame. I may try a better shielded cable to see if it makes a difference.
The software that comes with it is pretty poor. Lynx 4 is meant to take on the role of Smartboard software replacement, at which it fails. So consider if your staff have a million resources in notebook they wont import and display, they will need to be converted, or run with smart software (if you have the license currently.) Also the proxy support on Lynx is an issue, I couldn't get it working so the inline browser wont work on it. Not a biggy just use your existing browser, just an annoyance that it doesn't work as it should, I have been the the developers site and tried modifying the registry to correct it without success.
Overall these are definitley a better install over a projector, and not unreasonable considering the cost of a new projector install they are neater. From display point of view I would say no question they are better. From an interaction point of view I would say they are on a par with the accuracy and response of a smartboard. There are a few other vendors out there offering similar products, whether they are actually the same hardware underneath is yet to be seen.
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