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Last post Author Topic: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?  (Read 13804 times)

J-Mac

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All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« on: January 25, 2012, 12:00:40 PM »
The Dell POS computer I purchased for my wife, Robin, a few years ago is finally, finally nearing its end. (Never thought I would actually hope for a computer to die!!)When I purchased this box Robin had never used an actual computer. Only terminal-type devices for companies where she had worked. She mostly like PC games but I was hoping (dreaming maybe?) that she would take an interest in more computer-related activities if she had one. Sad to be so naive this late in life!! She developed an interest alright: Facebook! I loaded her machine up with several thousand of the family photos I have been collecting for the past few years, along with as much of my music tracks I felt she could stand. She does look at the photos now and then; never, ever listens to music on her PC; but she does do email now. So... email, Facebook, and PC games. That's about it, at least so far.

The computer I bought for her was a very inexpensive Dell - an Inspiron i510 desktop. Decent specs, particularly for someone who doesn’t do that much that requires any more power or memory. But being a Dell this machine has cost me a lot of hours troubleshooting things that just shouldn’t need to be troubleshot (Is that even a real word?!) in the first place! (I truly hate Dell, if you haven't figured that out by now - they have caused me much grief over the years). Only reason I got the Dell box was that it cost so little and I figured I would basically treat it as "disposable". For those interested, the computer cost a grand total of $500 - a $150 rebate, which in early 2008 was pretty cheap! Like most Dell PC's almost all components are made-for-Dell-only and so replacement parts must be purchased from Dell IF they still even stock them. Other components commonly do not fit into the non-spacious cases.

Anyway... back to my real reason for posting: I've been looking for a replacement for her computer - the CPU fan has died and I can't find one that will work without either paying Dell about 60% of the original cost of the whole computer, or modifying the case, forcing another fan in, and crossing my fingers. Ain't gonna bother - too damn old for that! While looking I noticed more than a few All-In-One PCs, and since Robin gets along fine with an iPad I know the touch screen will agree with her. I'm looking specifically at an Asus Multi-Touch - which I discovered means that you can perform tasks with both hands touching the screen rather than just a one-finger tap kind of operation. (I put that very nicely technical, didn't I?) Also it has an Intel i3 3.10 GHz, 4 GB DDR memory, Windows 7 Home Premium... a lot of nice touches that the touch screens usually haven't had till now. Or so I have read. Here's a link to it at Newegg.com:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16883220101

Regular price is $849, and the sale price (gotta put it in the shopping cart to see) is $799. I am wondering if anyone here has an All-in-One and/or a Multi-Touch computer and if so, could you please let me know how you - or whomever you know - likes it.

Thanks!

Jim

40hz

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 12:38:26 PM »
I have a few clients that opted for all-in-ones for high visibility locations such as the front lobby reception desk or security guard's kiosk.

They've generally been ok. A little pricey for what you get in the tin, but that's the tariff you pay for pretty packaging. Just remember - it's a non-standard form factor. So any hardware maintenance you may someday need to do will be a headache at best - or a depot repair at worst. So far I haven't had to crack one of these puppies open to do anything. But I dread the day when I might.

Asus has been a reliable brand in my experience. Better than some Dell models and no argument about it. I've also had good luck with eMachines/Gateway and Acer - which is my current preference if you're on a tight budget.

When my  GF went shopping for a new machine, (actually, she only went out to pick up a copy of Windows 7 to upgrade her XP machine) she looked at the all-in-ones and desktops while she was there. She came home with an "on sale" Acer 17" laptop with Windows 7 installed. The price she got was exceptionally good so it was a very cost effective decision. As she described it: I think I bought a copy of the "new Windows" and they threw in this i3 laptop for a hundred bucks. (Now you know why we always have her do the shopping when we need a new car!)

She doesn't take her new toy anywhere. It's permanently enshrined on her desk. She refers to it as her "rolltop" PC. As far as she's concerned, the lid is like the rolltop on a desk. It keeps things neat and out of sight (she hates cables with a passion bordering on mania) - plus she no longer has to dust her screen or keyboard every so often. (Big big big plus that part!)

Before I'd go with a unibox I'd definitely think about getting her a big screen laptop instead. They're cheaper and more powerful so you get a much better 'bang for the buck' ratio. And you're no worse off hassle-wise than you'd be with an all-in-one if something inside it breaks.

lady-on-laptop.jpg

Plus, the ladies (most from my observations anyway) seem to prefer laptops over desktop PCs. Take that with a dram of whiskey however. Because no two (ladies or computers) are ever exactly alike.

 8)

« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 12:48:11 PM by 40hz »

mouser

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2012, 12:56:47 PM »
What 40hz says resonates with me.  The all-in-one touch computers seem like a great gadget to have on display for public use -- i want to mount one on my wall.  But I find it hard to imagine actually using the touch features when actually sitting down to use the computer.  Touch interface works well on an ipad or phone -- where what you are doing is playing and noodling about -- but not as a main computer.  just my 2 cents.

J-Mac

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2012, 01:08:15 PM »
Thanks 40hz.

Maybe I just haven't had much luck with laptops but I have found working inside a laptop to be pretty tight! Then again my only experience inside laptops were all Dell laptops - and I have a feeling that those aren't the best by a long shot. (Also ditched a Dell laptop because it needed a battery and Dell was the only resource... A generic battery company started selling Dell-compatible but stopped when Dell sued them. Battery price from Dell: $259!! In a four and a half year old laptop.)

I know that the All-In-One pricing isn't the best, but I have to say that looking at regular desktops with comparable specs hasn’t been that fruitful at $799. Except for PCs like iBuyPower, which I found out can NOT be upgraded. Three components - mobo, power supply, and CD/DVD player. All else is "integrated". Blah...  But the Asus, Acer, Toshiba, etc. are priced right up there if I compare similar specs. (Desktops, that is. Don’t think Robin wants a laptop.) I'm keeping far away from both Dell and HP. Also - and this is heresy for me - I was even thinking about buying a separate warranty for it. Yikes! I never buy extended warranties! But I have heard from a few friends that Amazon's Square Trade warranties are excellent, especially for computers. The cost is reasonable, though Amazon has its price for the same Asus All-in-One at $849, so that adds another $50 on to the Newegg price.

Do you know anyone who has had to dig inside one of these AIO's?

Thanks again!

Jim

J-Mac

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 01:20:45 PM »
What 40hz says resonates with me.  The all-in-one touch computers seem like a great gadget to have on display for public use -- i want to mount one on my wall.  But I find it hard to imagine actually using the touch features when actually sitting down to use the computer.  Touch interface works well on an ipad or phone -- where what you are doing is playing and noodling about -- but not as a main computer.  just my 2 cents.

Understood mouser. However this is my wife, who for the most part doesn’t touch her keyboard unless she is posting to Facebook. No productivity apps, no office-type stuff, no utilities... She really doesn’t use software other than games, Facebook, and email. No kidding there. And I have been trying to get her to discover more things she could do for almost four years now! She's just not interested. BTW, this Asus does come with a wireless keyboard and mouse, so the touch screen isn't the lone input source. I don’t know.... this is a tough one for me. Personally I wouldn’t touch one of these for anything that I do.  I recently got me a nice, new power desktop from Puget Systems - same builder that Java Jones used. 3.8 GHz Intel Core 7, 16GB of fast RAM, SSD system drive, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570 graphics card...  I couldn't live with a touch screen for myself. But I have to consider how Robin will use it. I think she will appreciate the Multi-Touch screen more than the standard PC user. But that kind of preference is really tough to tell. Can't ask her because of her "I don’t NEED a new computer" philosophy. (Of course she does not realize that her chip is going to die very shortly with an inoperable fan! I dare not tell her... yet!)

Decisions, decisions.... I am weighing all advice here. Highly respected opinions!

Thanks mouser!

Jim

40hz

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2012, 01:33:23 PM »
Just ran a quick rundown to configure a similar machine...

Acer AM3910-UR30P (PT.SDXP2.001) Desktop PC Intel Core i3 540(3.06GHz) 2GB DDR3 500GB HDD Capacity Intel HD Graphics Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit @ $360 (link)

All-in-one has the newer chipset - but for what your lady is going to be doing, it shouldn't matter.

Add in an additional 2GB DDR3 RAM to bring it to 4 total to match the spec @$25 (approx)

ASUS VS Series VS247H-P Black 23.6" 2ms LED Backlight Widescreen LCD Monitor 300 cd/m2 50000000:1 (ASCR) @$185 (link)

So $360+25+185 = $570 vs $799 for a total savings of $229. And that's without even checking for specials or seeing if any additional package deals or discounts are available. Yoiks!

So basically, it comes down to deciding if the form factor and touch capability are worth the price differential.

If you really have your heart set on a touchscreen - it's probably already a moot issue. So maybe an all-in-one is where you want to go based on this particular 'client' you're working with. ;D

Note: I'd definitely get the longest extended warranty they offer if you do decide to go down that road however. :tellme:

Luck! :Thmbsup:

----

On a related note: I'd also love to hear from anybody who has ever had the pleasure of cracking the case on one of these StarTrek boxes. Anybody? Anybody?


mouser

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2012, 01:34:15 PM »
Quote
Can't ask her because of

I don't know.. does seem like if the computer is for her you might at least try to ask her if she would prefer a laptop or a desktop.  if you know you are going to get a desktop, then there is no real harm in getting an all-in-one touch screen pc for her -- for the extra bucks it seems like you might as well, for your planned use.  but what 40hz says about a laptop being a better fit for many people is really true, so i wouldn't dismiss that choice.. a laptop is after all the ultimate all-in-one.


Stoic Joker

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2012, 01:39:38 PM »
Do you know anyone who has had to dig inside one of these AIO's?

Yeah, me. And you don't want to. However we do have some of the HP (310-1124f) TouchSmart AIOs here at the office. We got them refurbed for like $500 each. and much as I'd planned on hating them - I fought Against using them for months - They really aren't that bad. I've got one of the 22" ones on the test bench running Windows 8 ... And it's doing a fine job of it.

I'm just dreading the day I have to crack the case as the last one I worked on was a total nightmare to even get into the thing. It actually took two people and a full day to change the F'ing video card.

40hz

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2012, 01:44:20 PM »
Quote
Can't ask her because of

I don't know.. does seem like if the computer is for her you might at least try to ask her if she would prefer a laptop or a desktop.  if you know you are going to get a desktop, then there is no real harm in getting an all-in-one touch screen pc for her -- for the extra bucks it seems like you might as well, for your planned use.  but what 40hz says about a laptop being a better fit for many people is really true, so i wouldn't dismiss that choice.. a laptop is after all the ultimate all-in-one.



I agree with Mouser on involving her. If she doesn't think she needs it, she's gonna be pissed at you whether you ask her first or just show up with a box someday. So ... ;D

And regarding maintenance:

the last one I worked on was a total nightmare to even get into the thing. It actually took two people and a full day to change the F'ing video card.

Ok...that's good enough for 40hz. Stoic's high on my list of reliable sources. And no slouch when it comes to rolling up sleeves. If he says it's a total nightmare - it's a total nightmare.

Count me out if one of these things ever breaks. (Sez 40hz, who is indulging in pure wishful thinking here. ;D )



« Last Edit: January 25, 2012, 01:50:01 PM by 40hz »

J-Mac

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2012, 02:05:22 PM »
OK - I know she wouldn’t want a laptop because whenever she has used mine she bitched like crazy about it! Hates the smaller keyboard - says she can't get used to typing on it and makes far too many typos because of the smaller configuration. Also, since she loves playing PC games she says that she needs the full number pad. Now I realize that she could use an external keyboard and also an external number pad - I actually have both for my laptop - but let's face it: she's not going to lug it around with all that hanging from the laptop! For mobility she much prefers her iPad 2. So a laptop is pretty much out, though it is still close between the All-in-One and a standard desktop.

40hz - Thanks for the pricing from that you quoted; I shall review those now.   :)

Thanks!

Jim

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 02:15:01 PM »
Do you know anyone who has had to dig inside one of these AIO's?

I did.  And SJ's experiences ring true.  If anything, he's being nicer than my experiences.  It's like a BMW in the fact that much of the engineering that has gone into making it pretty is also designed to keep people without the correct (i.e. manufacturer) tools out.

40hz

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #11 on: January 25, 2012, 02:53:03 PM »


40hz - Thanks for the pricing from that you quoted; I shall review those now.   :)

Thanks!

Jim

You're welcome. It took about three minutes.  ;D

On a more serious note though, do some shopping. Look at the chipset, the graphics and do a mix and match to get exactly what you're looking for if you do go with a desktop. That's why you buy a desktop: to get exactly what you want. (A quick and dirty spreadsheet helps.)

If you want to cut into the saving differential between that all in one and a desktop, consider upgrading the video since she likes games. There's some excellent inexpensive graphics cards that can do wonders. How much you'd need would be determined by the games she'll play.

FWIW, with the games I play I've found the Intel built-in with an i5 CPU chip on the board is more than I need.
« Last Edit: January 26, 2012, 07:17:31 AM by 40hz, Reason: corrected grammar »

vlastimil

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: January 25, 2012, 05:01:07 PM »
I recently bought a display with multitouch screen for my grandma and it works reasonably well for her. She usually only does email, voice chat, internet browsing and photo management in Picasa. The touch screen on a PC simplifies some things, but having a real keyboard and mouse attached is a must. Using real keyboard is faster than the on-screen keyboard and a real mouse is more accurate than the touch screen. A good number of PC applications do not work well with touchscreen - the controls are sometimes too tiny, especially when the applications ignore the DPI setting of Windows. Maybe in a few years, the situation will change.

J-Mac

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: January 25, 2012, 08:37:01 PM »
Thanks wraith & 40hz.

BTW, remember folks that the specs I am considering aren't for me! 40, I just did purchase a desktop for me and it took quite some time! And a spreadsheet of all aspects. I personally will not be using this computer. Also I am fairly certain that I will be getting the Square Trade warranty I mentioned above, so I would expect to not have much at all to do inside the box.

vlastimil: I did mention above that the Asus I looked at comes with a wireless keyboard and mouse, plus I already have a Logitech K800 wireless KB and Anywhere MX wireless mouse for her.   :)

Thanks!

Jim

kyrathaba

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: January 25, 2012, 08:58:52 PM »
Kinda hard to go wrong with a large screen laptop. Portable if she needs it to be, but she can use it as a stationary PC if she has a favorite desk or nook where she likes to sit while computing. You definitely want to get as much screen real-estate as possible on a laptop.

J-Mac

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #15 on: January 25, 2012, 09:01:44 PM »
Kinda hard to go wrong with a large screen laptop. Portable if she needs it to be, but she can use it as a stationary PC if she has a favorite desk or nook where she likes to sit while computing. You definitely want to get as much screen real-estate as possible on a laptop.

...And a full-size keyboard ...and a number pad... Yes, these can all be added - even an external monitor. But since she hates these things about laptops, why should I get her one?

Thanks!

Jim

wraith808

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #16 on: January 25, 2012, 09:32:02 PM »
But since she hates these things about laptops, why should I get her one?

+1!  That should be the overriding principle.  Even though I hate Dells, I got my mom one.  It satisfied her needs, and the support was good for her.  So if you think this will satisfy her needs best, get a good service plan and get it.

bmikey

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #17 on: January 25, 2012, 09:54:15 PM »
It really depends on what you are going to intend the use for.

I mean, I reckon that would be more appropriate where there is real need for some interaction between the machine and the user, which as said is just the perfect setup for a receiving counter.

But nevertheless, you could always go for it just because it is a trusted brand and the technology is relatively new for your consumption.

DougalS

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #18 on: January 25, 2012, 10:12:49 PM »
For those of you who have used an AIO, how do you find looking at the screen so close you can reach it with you hands? I hate using my laptop and screen together - I much prefer to use either an external monitor with the laptop keyboard or wireless kb with laptop screen pushed away (or both). Then again my tired old eyes like a bit of distance relief for extended viewing. I can't image using an AIO for anything other than a media centre or similar where I only make a few inputs then walk away.

J-Mac

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #19 on: January 25, 2012, 11:11:29 PM »
OT note: After getting my nice new monster 'puter delivered last week I found my 24" Acer monitor wouldn’t come out of sleep mode.  Looked into it and found, unfortunately, that the driver is not compatible with 64-bit and Acer is not going to release one! Well, that sucks!

So I got an Asus 27" LED backlit giant beast - thought I would need a crane to get it on my desk! Oddly enough the height of this monitor is almost exactly the same as the Acer - and actually a little shorter - but it is much wider! Guess that's how they maintained the 27" diagonal measurement. And now my neck is getting a workout as I keep having to turn my head left and right to see the whole damn screen!

Because this Asus monitor is shorter overall, the resolution is 1920 x 1080, while the Acer's resolution was 1920 x 1200. Looks pretty good to me, except for the "sitting too close to the screen in the movie theater" effect!

Jim

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2012, 05:53:32 AM »
You can find laptops with larger keys that are spaced similarly to those on a regular keyboard. My Dell Inspiron gives me no key-frustration.  But I take your point. If she hates several things about laptops, it's probably the wrong choice. 

40hz

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2012, 07:59:10 AM »
OT note: After getting my nice new monster 'puter delivered last week I found my 24" Acer monitor wouldn’t come out of sleep mode.  Looked into it and found, unfortunately, that the driver is not compatible with 64-bit and Acer is not going to release one! Well, that sucks!


I ran into a similar problem with a few older but very nice Samsung flat displays I still wanted to use. I was able to get them working mostly ok under W7-32bit, but not 64. And because there's no W7 drivers I'm stuck with 1024X768 if I want to be able to read what's on them. A email from Samsung confirmed that's the way it's going to be for these monitors under Win7. No new drivers.

If plugged into a Linux box however, I can run them at their native 1280x1024, tweak the color and calibrate them to my heart's content, and have the power features work properly.

face.jpg

Draw what conclusions you will. ;D

JavaJones

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2012, 03:23:40 PM »
Can't you just use generic display drivers for those monitors?

- Oshyan

J-Mac

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #23 on: January 26, 2012, 03:47:52 PM »
I tried letting Windows Update get a driver for it - which I never usually do - but that came back with no driver and a link to Acer's site. Google finds a lot of people grumbling about the same monitor, and most of them have also been unsuccessful finding a driver that works.  :(

I'm sure that one of my kids can put the monitor to good use - they all run 32-bit Windows.

Thanks!

Jim

40hz

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Re: All-In-One Multi-Touch Computers - Thoughts?
« Reply #24 on: January 26, 2012, 03:48:44 PM »
Can't you just use generic display drivers for those monitors?

- Oshyan

In my case, you can. But half of the nifty color features I bought them for aren't supported under Win7.

Something weird also happens with text at higher resolutions that you can't seem to fix no matter what. The minute you bump the display adapter up to 1280x1024@60hz, the monitor goes nuts...and tells you it's not at the optimal settings and suggest you switch to...wait for it...1280x1024@60hz!
 
Samsung has confirmed it's a known issue and that no fix is available. I'm inclined to agree since I've tried every monitor driver I could find and nothing works.

It also does it using two different vid cards that had no problems at all under XP - so there's some weird interaction going on between Windows and the monitors. I'm excusing the vid cards because it's the same problem with two different (make and model) adaptors.

Something in those monitors is telling Win7 something it doesn't want to hear.

And it's really not worth putting any more time or thought into it since they're 5-year old 19-inchers.

And they work just fine under Linux Mint. ;D