So, what do I want out of my next laptop and what must it include?
Sharp PN-K322B Ultra HD Touch Monitor
This professional 4K monitor ships with a stand that facilities writing and drawing
- 4K resolution is excellent for image display and multitasking
- Stand allows the screen to tilt down to 25 degrees
- Bulky product
- Reflections can be annoying
Sharp's PN-K322B is a professional display product for those of you who need both 4K and touchscreen capabilities. Its image quality is excellent and it's an intriguing product overall because of its stand, which allows it to tilt down to 25 degrees.
Price$ 5,640.00 (AUD)
Sharp is no stranger to making high-quality displays, and with the PN-K322B, the company has a 4K, ultra-high definition LCD touchscreen that's aimed at the business sector. It comes in a size of 31.5 inches and it has a resolution of 3840x2160 pixels. That's only one of the drawcards, though; the other is a stand that allows the screen to be tilted downwards so that you can almost lean on it while you use it.
As far as desktop displays go, the Sharp PN-K322B is unlike any other you may be used to seeing. That's mainly because its stand is so big and bulky. It ensures that the Sharp screen takes up a large footprint on a desk, but in reality, it needs an even larger footprint considering what the stand can do.
The stand allows the screen to drop down and come forward, making the screen sit at an acute (25 degree) angle to the desk and giving you the opportunity to write on it and draw lines in almost the same way you would on a piece of paper. Indeed, unlike other office touchscreen monitors, it's not designed to just sit upright and accept finger-prodding input.
Sharp ships the screen with a fine-tipped pen, and you can draw on the screen without leaving much of a paw print, though you still can't completely rest your hand on it without leaving a mark while you write. Soft-tipped pens also work on the screen, and are a good choice of implement considering that the screen is clad in glass and hard-tipped pens can cause a bit of a squeak. We tested with Windows 8, but Mac touchscreen drivers are available for OS 10.9, too.
The glass cladding means it's a tough and reflective screen, but it also means that there is quite a gap between the pen and the 'paper', so to speak. You can see the distance between the pen touching the glass and the mark that is left on the screen, so it's not quite perfect for precision design and drawing applications. We think it's more suited to notation, writing, and any other tasks that don't require the precision that a dedicated drawing tablet can provide.
Multiple touch inputs are supported, and you can use 10 fingers on the screen simultaneously. With so much screen interaction possible, you run the risk of leaving your marks all over the screen, and this isn't a good thing if you then want to look at fine details and colours in high resolution video and images. You'd do well to have a screen cleaner and cloth nearby to wipe down the screen after prolonged touching sessions.
Swivelling isn't possible with the attached stand, but this shouldn't be too much of an issue considering that the viewing angles are wide (176 degrees). We had no problems viewing the screen from the sides, but the main hindrance was reflections from the office lights. It's best to use this screen in an environment that isn't overly bright -- keep it away from a window.
As for the screen's image quality, it's nothing short of excellent. Colours are accurate and contrast is deep, but not only that, image quality is crisp, both for desktop content and 4K video content that's watched in full-screen mode. With such a high resolution, you can see a lot more of a photo without having to scroll, and you can make out more details in a photo compared to a Full HD screen. This makes it a great screen for not only editing photos, but also for displaying them, and with the touch capability, you (or your clients) can swipe the screen to flip through an image library effortlessly.
Because the 4K resolution is spread across 31.5 inches of screen real estate, text doesn't look too small when using the native text and icon size, not like it does on a smaller 4K laptop screen, for example. The benefit here is that you can make full use of the large desktop to place multiple windows on the screen at one time for some serious multitasking. The bad part is, on a resolution so high, it's easy to lose the mouse pointer, so you might have to enable trails or make it bigger.
Inputs on the monitor are plentiful and all digital, with one full-sized DisplayPort interface and two HDMI ports. There is also a USB host port for the touchscreen input, a USB port for firmware updates, and there is a serial port present, as well analogue audio input and output. Other things you should know are that the monitor has a standard VESA mounting so that it can be hung on a concrete wall (the display on its own is 9kg), and it will consume up to 97W. Controls for power, input, brightness, menu, and volume are on the right side. There are also speakers built in to the monitor that do a relatively good job as long as you are listening from a close distance.
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