Well-Built MultiTouch Monitors Provide Rugged Digital Signage Platform

Tyco's A Signage Pro

Kiosks, interactive exhibits, touch-screen input systems and other displays within human reach should be built to take a pounding; it's impossible to know the all dangers lurking within reach of human hands. Tyco Electronics addresses the market with a newly expanded line of interactive digital signage displays sold under its Elo TouchSystems business. The CRN Test Center received a review sample of the 3200L IntelliTouch Plus LCD display, and was impressed with its ruggedness and suitability to task.

Rated at 450 nits with a contrast ratio of 3500:1, the bright display gave no visual clue of its hidden durability. Its heat-strengthened glass complies with the ASTM C1048 specification, and it passed the impressive UL60950 ball drop test (video), making this 65-pound monitor (with stand) one tough customer.

The PC Option

The high-end PC module is built around a 3.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo (model E8400) processor running 32-bit Windows 7. Its peak Geekbench 2.1.11 score of 3328 ranked well on the all-time list of similarly equipped machines. A less costly Celeron-based version also is available. Better than its performance was its easy installation.


Turning The Screws

The aluminum-clad PC module slides on track-like guides into an opening on the monitor's back side and requires no further finagling, save its cover, which together with the PC, is secured with a pair of thumbscrews. Notice the unit's Gigabit Ethernet port and four USB 2.0 ports. The PC module powers up from the same control as the monitor, which is tucked away under the bezel's bottom right side and shrouded in rubber.


Also at bottom and further toward the back are HDMI and VGA ports, as well as inputs/outputs for COM and audio. There's also a port for the OSD remote-control, which we didn't receive but would have liked to test; the OSD was difficult to test with controls that are unfamiliar and out of site. We accidentally pressed the power button more than a few times; power and OSD controls are grouped together with no tactile differentiation. The OSD also can be controlled through the serial port. The company said it is enhancing its remote control capabilities further, but would not elaborate.

Stressing Over Cables

The absence of front-mounted controls is intentional, of course, since the 3200L is not designed to be serviced by the public. Once cables are connected, they can be secured and protected by a plastic cover that's fastened with a pair of included screws. The cover also provides a degree of stress relief for the cables.


The absence of front-panel controls and LEDs gives the black and grey display a handsome, uncluttered appearance. But it also requires controlling the OSD by feel in many situations. The OSD shown here was photographed while the monitor was laying flat on its face.

Testers found just one serious limitation of the 3200L. When the computer module is plugged in, the unit will not accept input from any other source; its auxiliary HDMI and VGA inputs are disabled. For its primary uses in retail, self-service, hospitality, transportation, education, health care and other public access venues, such a limitation might not matter. But the 3200L would not be a practical choice if the intention is to use it in any kind of double-duty role involving the PC module and inputs from other sources.

Getting A Grip

For a 32-inch monitor, this thing is heavy. The unit itself tips the scales at 53 pounds without the optional desktop stand, which adds another 12 pounds. The unit would have been downright unwieldy were it not for a pair of equally heavy-duty handles mounted near the top.

All in all, testers liked using the 3200L IntelliTouch Plus for its 16:9 aspect ratio and native resolution of 1366 x 768. We found this size and shape to be just about perfect for a touch screen running Windows 7, with fonts and buttons large enough to be easily readable and navigable, and keys on the soft keyboard a good size for fast, error-free typing. In addition to general Windows usage, testers evaluated the multi-touch sensitivity of the IntelliTouch Plus screen using Microsoft's Surface Collage photo manipulation software, part of Microsoft's Windows Touch Pack. Response times were instantaneous, and touch sensitivity was found in all areas of the screen.

Create Sticky Software

In addition to using Microsoft's touch tools for testing, we also downloaded trial software from Flypaper Interactive, which develops a Flash-based content management and UI development platform. This is some terrific stuff, and we'll be taking a deeper look for a stand-alone review. Meanwhile, if you're looking for tools and ideas for getting into the digital signage market, take a look at these Flypaper videos. Shown here is one screen from a movie-theater digital sign.

One of three in the IntelliTouch Plus series, the 32-inch 3200L is joined by 42-inch and 46-inch models, all of which also offer a zero-bezel Acoustic Pulse Recognition option, which combines the properties of resistive and capacitive technologies and is responsive to non-organic materials. For heavy-duty digital signage applications, the CRN Test Center recommends the 3200L IntelliTouch Plus display, which lists for $1604; the desktop stand adds $193; the optional PC module is priced at $1,043. For more information about the 3200L, read the CRN Test Center full review..