If you want to convert your monitor into a touchscreen display, you can do it in less than 60 seconds thanks to a new product from Soladapt called TouchGenie.
We tried a 21.5-inch model, with a 16:9 aspect ratio, which currently retails on the vendor’s website for £161 (around US$ 268/AUS$ 299); a 16:10 model is also available for the same price.
The overlay is merely a clear glass panel that is fitted on a black rectangular metal frame. It does make your screen slightly dimmer so you might have to fiddle with your settings to get that right.
A nice idea… in theory
Setting it up couldn’t be simpler. Attach the supplied Velcro straps, then the sticky foam pads (essentially thick double-sided tape) to the monitor frame and plug in the USB connector (that’s at the end of a 1.5m cable) to a free USB port and presto, you’re off.
Its simplicity means that the whole solution looks a bit DIY-esque, something that you’d probably have purchased from Maplin’s.
It doesn’t need any drivers and is truly plug-and-play – plus you don’t need to calibrate it. Soladapt claims that it’s compatible with Mac, Linux and Windows; we tested it on Windows 8.1 and it worked flawlessly.
You can use your finger or the bundled stylus to control the cursor on the screen but don’t expect miracles.
The TouchGenie does not use capacitive technology and instead relies on Infra-red which means that control is not as precise as it could be.
Is it really for you?
You can do pinch and zoom but not much more since it’s a two-finger touch solution. In use, we found that it would only lock on your main display.
As a fan of multi-monitors, I use a three-display setup and mistakenly stuck the Soladapt overlay on my secondary one. Not a show-stopping issue but still a nagging one.
Ultimately, whether or not the Soladapt is right for you and your business will depend on what your intended use was for it in the first place. I am not convinced about the use of touchscreens in a business environment on the desktop.
Otherwise, there are monitors like the Hanns.G HT231HPB (£180/US$ 201/AUS$ 224 at Ebuyer) that do not cost more than the Soladapt and may warrant a full upgrade if you’re using something similar.
So the only other reasonable reasons to use a screen overlay would be if you absolutely can’t change your monitor because it is a specific model (e.g. a high value medical display) or if touchscreen capabilities are only temporary or if you want to reduce waste.