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Find the best Touch Monitors for your business

Touch Monitors Buying Guide

What is a Touchscreen Monitor?

A touchscreen is used primarily for two purposes – to display information like a normal computer monitor, and to allow a user to touch the screen instead of using a mouse. You find touchscreens in places such as smartphones, GPS devices, restaurant cash registers, kiosks, and vending machines.

  • Elo 1515L Touchscreen MonitorElo 1515L Touchscreen Monitor
  • Pioneer TOM M5 Touch Monitor with MSRPioneer TOM M5 Touch Monitor with MSR

How does a Touchscreen Work?

  • There are several different touchscreen technologies available made by a wide variety of manufacturers. As such, each type of screen has strengths and weaknesses that make one type more appropriate for a certain environment than others. The technologies can be marketed using different names, but generally the technology types work the same way.
  • Resistive technology – Also called “Accutouch” by Elo. Resistive technology is one of the most commonly-found types. Resistive screens consist of a plastic sheet laid over the glass of the screen. The plastic has electrical sensors embedded. When a user touches the screen their finger interrupts the electricity between sensors, activating the screen and moving the mouse to the point of the interruption. Since the technology is pressure-sensitive, a user can touch the screen with any finger or any relatively narrow object, such as a stylus. It is typically recommended for use in relatively environments where there are minor contaminants, such as the grease of a restaurant or the dust of a warehouse, as most of these contaminants do not directly affect touch functions.
  • SAW (Surface Acoustic Wave) technology – Also called “Intellitouch” by Elo. SAW technology consists of extremely high-pitched sound waves emitted from sensors around the edge of the glass on a monitor. When a user touches the screen they interrupt those sound waves, causing a new pattern in the waves and allowing the controller to determine where the screen was touched. A user must touch the screen with a finger or special stylus, as there are only certain wave patterns that the sensors recognize. Any droplet of water or significant dirt build-up will interfere with touch functions, so this technology is best used in clean, relatively quiet environments such as retail stores or offices.
  • Optical technology – Optical touch uses multiple optical sensors at the corners of the screen to determine a touch point. This technology will work with virtually any input device including finger, stylus, gloved hand. Optical is scalable and size & application which works well with healthcare, retail, and interactive digital signage applications. This technology provides a very clear image since there is no overlay on the touchscreen surface.
  • APR (Acoustic Pulse Recognition) technology – Exclusive to Elo-brand touchscreens. APR consists of a set of passive microphones embedded into a hollow screen. When a user taps the screen, the microphones hear the sound and determine the location based on sound profiles built into the main board of the screen. APR is best used in larger monitors, such as digital-signage displays or vending machines, kiosks, etc.
  • Capacitive technology – There are several types of capacitive technology available, usually called “Projected Capacitive” or “Surface Capacitive.” These work by using the electrical resistance of your finger to interrupt a grid of sensors embedded into the glass of the screen. Capacitive screens are most commonly found on smartphones, iPods/iPads, and smaller touchscreen devices.

Other Common Touchscreen Features

  • Size & Shape – Models can range between 7 and 50+ inches. Most manufacturers have several sizes of touchscreen, but 15-inch and 17-inch models tend to be the most popular in the POS industry. Not all monitors are designed to fit on a desktop; some, like digital signage monitors, are so large they must be mounted to a stand, kiosk, or VESA wall mount. Open-frame monitors are available for users who need a screen but do not need the plastic casing around the components, such as the screen in a jukebox or kiosk.
  • Additional Peripherals – Touchscreens often have additional peripherals attached to the sides, top, or bottom in order to save precious counter space. Common items include integrated MSRs, customer displays, speakers, or fingerprint readers. These items can be field-installable (designed to be installed with minimal tools) or integrated (installed from the factory and not user-replaceable).

Common Touchscreen Monitors

  • Elo Touch (Tyco Electronics)
  • 1215L, 1515L, 1715L, 1915L – Some of Elo's base-model monitors. Available in Accutouch or Intellitouch with dual USB/Serial interface for touch, 15-pin VGA interface for video. 15-inch and 17-inch models support APR and Projected Capacitive technologies as well as field-installable MSR.
  • 1529L, 1729L – Some of Elo's multifunction monitors. Available in Accutouch, Intellitouch, or APR with USB interface for touch, 15-pin VGA and DVI-D interface for video. 15-inch model supports factory-installed MSR. 17-inch model supports factory-installed customer display, MSR, fingerprint reader, or speaker-bar with optional barcode scanner.
  • 1537L, 1739L, 1937L – Several of Elo's open-frame monitors. As these monitors are designed to be mounted in an enclosure or on a VESA mount, they have no stand and no plastic frame around the monitor. Available in Accutouch, Intellitouch, and APR with dual USB/Serial interface for touch, 15-pin VGA for video.
  • 3200L, 4200L, 4600L, 5500L – Elo's large-format Digital Signage displays. Meant to be customer-facing screens, they come with zero-bezel versions of the touch technologies for aesthetic value. Does not include any type of stand out of the box, though optional feet are available to stand the unit on a counter. Available in Intellitouch or APR with USB interface for touch, HDMI and 15-pin VGA for video.
  • Pioneer POS
  • TOM-M5 and TOM-M7 – Pioneer's touchscreen offering. Available in Resistive, Intellitouch, or Capacitive with USB interface for touch, 15-pin VGA for video. Additional peripherals include MSR, fingerprint reader, and customer display.
  • Logic Controls (Bematech)
  • LE1000, LE1017 – Logic Control's touchscreens. Available in Resistive with USB interface for touch, 15-pin VGA for video. Logic Controls also offers swivel mounts for the monitors as an option, both ceiling-mounted and wall-mounted versions.