There’s no getting around the fact that switching from Windows 7 or Windows XP to Windows 8 can be disorienting and, for many, a quite frustrating experience.
Part of that frustration stems from the fact that much of what’s drastically different in Windows 8—the Start Screen and most of the apps in the Windows Store—were built for touch input. And unless your PC is a laptop, all-in-one, or convertible purchased in the last year or so, it probably lacks a touchscreen.
The good news is, there are quite a few touchscreen monitors available these days that will let you swipe and tap your way around Windows without having to go out and buy a whole new system. The bad news is they’re really expensive, often approaching $500 or more for name-brand models with 1080p 23- or 24-inch screen sizes.
Samsung usually makes stylish devices that also rely a bit too much on plastic. That carries over to the S24C770T monitor as well.
Samsung’s 24-inch Series 7 770 touchscreen monitor (model S24C770T) is expensive, even among this pricey group, with an MSRP of $599. But the panel does perform well in most of our benchmarks, outclassing Dell’s 27-inch P2714T on most accounts, aside from maximum brightness.
The Samsung S24C770T also features 10-point touch, and a nicely stable hinge stand, which reclines the screen down to a touch-friendly 55 degrees. But the 23-inch version of the Dell monitor (model number P2314T) mentioned above can be had for as low as $420 as of this writing.
With all of this in mind, is Samsung’s offering, which offers more style and an extra inch of screen real estate, worth the lofty price?
A nice-looking exterior
If we had to generalize about the design of Samsung’s recent consumer electronics, from PCs to TVs to smartphones, we’d say the company usually makes stylish devices that also rely a bit too much on plastic. That carries over to the S24C770T monitor as well.
The silver metal stand, edge-to-edge glass, roughly half-inch screen bezel, and seemingly brushed-aluminum back make for a very attractive display. However, the material that makes up the back of the S24C770T is actually plastic, rather than aluminum. Nevertheless, it still feels substantial and fairly solid, which is certainly appreciated, given the S24C770T’s high price.
Because the screen is designed to tilt, all the ports are found around back, attached to the stand. There’s a power jack, two HDMI ports, a mini USB port (which you’ll need to use for touchscreen input), and a headphone jack. The pair of HDMI ports is appreciated, allowing the screen to do double duty as a TV (via a cable box) or a screen for a game console.
The S24C770T also has built-in speakers that fire out of each side of the monitor, which Samung’s reviewers’ guide bombastically states “will make you feel like you’re in the first row of any concert.” The speakers do get appreciably loud for a monitor. However, the sound is very muddy, with muffled-sounding highs. If the front row of a concert sounded like this, we’d be asking for our money back, and perhaps making a hasty appointment with an ear doctor. A good pair of $20 desktop speakers (or a decent headset) will deliver much better audio.
The speakers may not be deserving of much praise here, but the stand/hinge that holds the screen up is impressive. First off, it holds the screen stable on a desk, without any annoying wobbling when tapping or swiping on the display. As we said up top, you can recline the screen with ease to any angle you like, from just shy of 90 degrees, down to 55 degrees, which is much better for touch input than a vertical display.
We would, though, appreciate it if the screen reclined even more. At 55 degrees, the screen seems better suited for touch input when standing over the screen than it does when tapping and swiping while sitting.
Because of its reclining design, the stand doesn’t allow for any height or swivel adjustment. But, because the stand is a single piece of metal, you could put a riser (or a large book) under the screen to raise the height of the screen. That’s not as easily accomplished with Dell’s competing P2314T and P2714T touch monitors, which have a two-piece reclining stand mechanism.
Also, this may be obvious, but you’ll need a bit more desk space to use the S24C770T reclined than you would with a standard monitor. When reclined, the monitor consumes about a bit less than a foot of desk depth.
A simple setup, with some snags
Setting up the S24C770T isn’t all that difficult, but there’s more involved than there would be if you were connecting a standard monitor. Samsung includes an HDMI cable that’s about 60 inches long, which is enough for most setups. However, you’ll also need to connect a mini USB cable from the back of the monitor to your system in order to handle the touch data. The USB cable Samsung includes is only about 38 inches long, which isn’t lengthy enough to reach from behind our main monitor to our desktop. You may have to purchase a longer cable if your computer isn’t close to your monitor or you have a multi-screen setup.
If you prioritize price, design, deep blacks and a nice reclining stand over color accuracy and brightness, then Samsung’s S24C770T is a good choice.
Once you have these cables connected and the power cable plugged in, the screen should be detected automatically as your system boots. The monitor will also automatically switch to the HDMI port with an active signal, which is nice, as the monitor’s on-screen controls, which you manipulate using buttons on the bottom right edge of the screen, aren’t great (more on that later).
We set up the S24C770T in Windows 8.1. Samsung says the monitor also works with Macs, though given that OS X isn’t designed for touch input the way Windows 8’s Start Screen and its accompanying apps are, we imagine most buyers will be using the monitor with Windows.
If you’re using the S24C770T as your sole screen in Windows 8 and you’ve connected all three cables (HDMI, USB, and power), the screen should work after a minute or so of automatic setup. Windows will take this time to install the appropriate drivers for the monitor’s touch features.
We ran into a bit of a snag on our system, though. We left our main monitor (a 40-inch Sony HDTV) connected, while adding the Samsung S24C770T as a second monitor. When we did this, both screens worked, but when we tapped and swiped on the Samsung screen, the touch input registered on our Sony screen, affecting the icons and open windows on that display instead of the Samsung monitor.
To fix this and get touch to work on the Samsung monitor, there are two options. If you don’t mind the Samsung display being the primary monitor, you can right-click on the desktop, choose Screen Resolution, choose the S24C770T (which shows up as S24C770 on our system), and click the “Make this my main display” checkbox. Then, click OK or Apply.
Once we did this, the touchscreen worked flawlessly with touch apps. Dragging windows around proved to be an easy task as well. However, we did have to disable the screen (again using the Screen Resolution window) to get games or other non-touch programs to launch on our larger Sony screen.
If you want touch to work, but you don’t want the Samsung display to be your main monitor, you have to do some more tweaking in Windows. Open Control Panel, and use search in the upper-right to jump to Tablet PC settings. Launch that, and click Setup. Your screens will now turn white. On one of the monitors, text will appear asking you to confirm if the highlighted screen is the touchscreen with a tap. If it isn’t, hit enter to toggle between screens until the text is on the Samsung display, then tap the screen anywhere.
That will fix the problem and allow you to use the S24C770T (or any other touchscreen monitor) as a secondary display. The process is a bit involved and can be initially confusing, but this isn’t Samsung’s fault, so we can’t fault the screen for a confusing Windows setup process. It’s also likely that most who buy the S24C770T will be using it as their only or main display, so many won’t have this issue.
Anecdotally, the S24C770T’s panel looks good, with excellent horizontal viewing angles and vivid colors. But because the screen is covered in glass, reflections can be an issue if you have overhead lighting. The screen can also wash out in direct sunlight, and when viewing the screen at a low angle (when it’s reclined), contrast suffers, with whites not seeming as bright and blacks not looking as deep. All of these issues are exacerbated by the fact that the screen’s maximum brightness doesn’t seem all that bright.
Brightness does indeed seem to be the Samsung’s Achilles heel.
To get a clearer sense of just what the monitor is capable of, we ran the S24C770T through our typical round of tests. We find it to be a decent performer on most fronts, generally besting Dell’s P2714T touchscreen monitor, though brightness does indeed seem to be the S24C770T’s Achilles heel.
The Samsung S24C770T starts off testing well, managing to display 98 percent of the sRGB gamut and 75 percent of the Adobe RGB gamut out of the box (calibrating the display, though, did bring the former down to 97 percent). But brightness topped out at just 201 lux—quite low for a premium monitor, and lower than Dell’s P2714T, which managed 256 lux.
Aside from brightness, the Samsung display manages much better. Measured contrast, for instance, was a stellar 690-1 out of the box, although it did dip to 400-1 after calibration. Black levels were also much better than on the Dell screen.
Color accuracy wasn’t great out of the box, as is often the case with LED-lit general-purpose displays, with blue returning a delta error (a measure of how much two color samples deviate) of 2.69. Anything below 2 is generally good for a non-professional monitor. Cyan was literally off the chart, with a delta error of 8.8.
After calibrating the display using the same Spyder4Elite tool we use to test displays, the delta error of blue dropped below 2, and at 3.01, cyan’s delta error was a bit more manageable. Post-calibration, the 2.55 yellow delta error we got was slightly problematic, and the screen was even dimmer.
Calibration did help correct the screen’s default gamma, though, which started out at 2.5, but wound up at 2.3—a lot closer to the ideal 2.2 target.
Overall, the Samsung Series 7 770 S24C770T has a good-looking display, with much deeper blacks than Dell’s P2714T, good viewing angles, and the ability to display slightly more of the color gamut than Dell’s offering. On the flip side, the Dell screen is brighter and displays more accurate color, especially when calibrated.
You’ll need a special tool for calibrating, though. On top of that, most adjustments to the image will need to be made with software. The S24C770T’s on-screen controls are extremely limited, permitting only brightness and volume adjustments, as well as switching between HDMI inputs, and a timer for switching the display off.
Color accuracy won’t really be an issue for general users who just want to use apps and watch movies, at least not as much as the display’s disappointing maximum brightness. In direct sunlight, the S24C770T appears washed out, and overhead lighting can cause glare and reflections which can overpower the image.
Pricing, is the S24C770T’s real problem. Its display is arguably better than Dell’s S24C770T overall, and we’d choose Samsung’s stand/reclining mechanism over what you’ll find on Dell’s touch monitors any day.
The 24-inch Samsung Series 7 770 S24C770T is currently selling for $599—the same price that Dell’s much larger 27-inch P2714T is selling for on Amazon. The 23-inch version of Dell’s touchscreen display, the P2314T, is currently selling for as little as $420 online, and all three of these screens have the same 1080p resolution.
If price isn’t an issue and you prioritize design aesthetics, deep blacks, and a nice reclining stand over color accuracy and brightness, then Samsung’s S24C770T is a good choice. As much as we prefer Samsung’s panel and stand, unless prices change, most buyers who do their research will probably opt for Dell’s 23-inch P2314T, due to its much lower price. Given the current $180 difference, we can’t say we’d blame them, even if the Dell monitor is an inch smaller.
- Generally good performance for a mainstream monitor
- Attractive exterior
- Excellent hinge lets screen easily recline for better touch input
- Screen doesn’t get as bright as we’d like
- Included USB cable should be longer
- Reflections pose problems in bright environments
- Muddy sounding speakers