We've tested the Dell interactive Touch Monitor: a Surface Hub alternative?
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We’ve tested the Dell Interactive Touch Monitor: a Surface Hub Alternative?

 

At Kickle, we’ve tested the Dell Interactive Touch Monitor. And you know what? It’s not bad: a great touch-experience, smooth design, and even “extraordinary” as far as ordinary computers go. But would this screen suffice as a Surface Hub alternative or a Skype Room System alternative? Hm…

Reading time: 7 minutes. Enjoy your reading.

Who are we? We are Kickle.

Kickle transforms any space into an innovative and productive meeting room. Skype for business videoconferencing (skype room system), wireless display, room booking, whiteboard, and so much more. Kickle comes with everything needed to conduct your meetings with perfect peace of mind.

So, we’ve tested the Dell Interactive Touch Monitor. To be specific, we tested the Dell 55 4K Interactive Touch Monitor (model C5518QT), but you also have the option of the 86 4K model (C8618QT). In this article, we will focus on the user experience rather than going for a hard technical review.

Note: the 70-inch (C7017T) uses an older technology than the 55 and 86-inch models and does not offer a slide-in slot. For these reasons, we’ve chosen not to include this model in our write-up.

So let’s get right into it.

Dell Interactive Touch Monitor: What is it for?

Dell Interactive Touch Monitor

First question: what is the Dell Interactive Touch Monitor? Well, it’s a large-size touch screen (goes without saying). DELL’s idea is to offer a “flexible” product: a screen that can be used as a standalone unit (you connect your device to it via a cable) or together with a computer, is more or less powerful depending on your needs, and on which you can install any software or operating system. It comes with two pens, two speakers, and one remote. I’ll get back to this in just a minute.

Second question: what is it for? As with other large-size touch screens (CTouch, Promoethean, Samsung, Prolight, etc.), the Interactive Touch Monitor is a great tool for ideation rooms, efficiency rooms, presentation rooms, and training rooms. It can also be used for digital signage (that requires a touch experience), although there are probably better screens out there for this. You can have a look at our whitepaper if you’d like to learn more about this topic (and go straight to page 6 if you’re in a hurry).

Third question: who is it for? Dell’s first priority target is the corporate market as well as medium-to-large-sized companies who are in the process of digitalization. It’s true: every company today wonders what they can do to foster better engagement and efficiency during meetings.

The second target is the educational market. I’m not an expert of this market so I rather prefer not to talk about this. With that said, there are four DisplayNote licenses offered with each screen. Displaynote is a wonderful product for students. At Kickle, however, we are interested in the corporate market, so we will stay focused there (sorry to our teacher friends!).

Market and Focus

Before diving deeper into the test, I have just a brief word to share concerning the market and competition. There are 32 million meeting rooms in the world, with the current penetration of interactive displays falling under 3%. 2021 is forecasted to see 3.6 million large-size touch screen displays installed. The market will increase by a factor of 10. In a nutshell, video projectors  (for meeting rooms) will be replaced by wide touch screens within the next 5 years.

(source: Futuresource consulting – Interactive Displays 2017 – Brand shares and forecasts – WORLD).

This Dell interactive touch monitor will clearly be competing with all of the majors of the large-size touch screen market, as well as with Surface Hub. However, the approaches are not the same. While Surface Hub offers a consistent experience (it’s an all-in-one product), the Dell touchscreen relies on an integrated computer. So it’s up to you to select and install the best software on it (therefore, I would suggest taking a look at Kickle :)).

As for the price, here’s a quick summary. There are two models: C5518QT and C8618QT (the 70-inch is is outside the scope of this review as it uses older technology). In order to get a “real” total cost, we’ve included on-site support and an optiplex 7050 micro i7 (this would work well with Kickle or a “normal” Windows 10 usage).

Note: you can connect any computer to this screen, but using an optiplex is much better. You’ll understand why shortly.

Model C5518QT
55 inches
C8618QT
86 inches
Public price $ 3,200 $ 7,750
Integrated PC
(optiplex 7050 micro i7)
$ 939 $ 939
Total (public price list) $ 4,139 $ 8,689

 

 

 

 

 

 

The touch and the user experience

The panel and the touch experience

First and foremost, let’s get into the touch experience. Dell Interactive Touch Monitor uses the InGlass technology, from the Flatfrog company. Dell is not the first manufacturer to move to flatfrog technology. Why? Probably because they wanted to give it some time so that the technology, by this point, is tried and true.

How does it work?

Invisible light waves are emitted into a transparent glass where they are then detected on the opposite side by a detector. When an object touches the surface, it causes a disturbance that is measured and calculated at an X,Y position.

If you’d like to learn more, give our whitepaper a read: https://www.kickle.com/meeting-room-touch-screen-whitepaper/

Dell Interactive Touch Monitor technology

The touch experience is really (really) good, almost as good as a capacitive screen (Surface Hub, or a CTouch PCap screen). The touch experience depends of the performance of the integrated computer (that’s why we’ve chosen an optiplex i7).

We’ve tested the Kickle whiteboard on the Dell touch screen and the results are impressive. See below. The orange points are the number of touches we can detect.

Tested on a DELL 55

Tested on an 2 years-old IR touschreen

The touch responsiveness is 8ms. So that’s almost equivalent to a capacitive screen at 6ms.So compared to Dell, there’s half touchpoints detected. Not bad right?

There are 20 touch points. You can use the stylet to write (up to four stylets at a time, which is plenty), your finger to move elements around, and your palm to erase.

If you’d like, you can use the flatfrog whiteboard, which is free if you use it on a flatfrog/InGlass screen (like Dell indeed). This is a simple and fantastic whiteboard.

Stylus

There are two passive pen styluses. There’s also a sort of magnetic pen-holder that you can mount on the bezel of the screen. Quite useful.

Dell Interactive Touch Monitor stylus and remote

The audio experience

There are two speakers: 10w each for the 55-inch screen and 20w each for the 86-inch. Depending on the room size, you may need to add additional speakers.

Dell Interactive Touch Monitor speakers

Viewing angle, anti-glare, anti-reflection

A few months ago, we tested another flatfrog screen (using an older version of flatfrog/InGlass technology). While the touch experience was also very good, the anti-glare and anti-smudge experience was bad. We see much improvement with this new version, however. It’s probably as good as an IR screen.

The viewing angle is 178 degrees, so no prob!

 On/off power

There is no front button to power off/on the screen. The button, rather, is hidden just below the screen. I consider this to be a good point, so that the on/off power can be managed by the software (either Windows 10, or another third party application like Kickle).

There’s no simple way to power-off the computer. This is quite a pity. If you turn off the screen, unfortunately it does not turn off the optiplex.

Dell Interactive Touch Monitor power on-off

 Front USB

There is no front USB port. This is quite a pity. It’s so convenient for a user to connect their USB key to the front of the screen, rather than having to connect it to the back panel.

The 3 buttons

If you’d like, you can lower the screen by touching these three buttons. This is useful if the screen is placed too high for your purposes. If it’s within your budget, you can buy an electrical wall-lift.

Dell Interactive Touch Monitor 3 buttons

 Extraordinary” for an ordinary computer

As mentioned above, we chose to test the optiplex 7050 micro i7, which is a “normal” PC. And that’s exactly what is “extraordinary” about it :). You can slide an “ordinary” optiplex into the back panel of the screen using the removable chassis.

Dell Interactive Touch Monitor optiplex Dell Interactive Touch Monitor optiplex 2 Dell Interactive Touch Monitor optiplex 3 Dell Interactive Touch Monitor optiplex 4 Dell Interactive Touch Monitor optiplex 5 Dell Interactive Touch Monitor optiplex 6 Dell Interactive Touch Monitor optiplex power supply

About on-site support

Well, we all know DELL and their powerful on-site support. DELL provides the same support for touchscreens (next business-day replacement). The thing is, you will have to put the screen back into the cardboard packaging yourself. The 86 Dell screen weighs about 100kg—not that easy right? I’m pretty sure that DELL will find a way to improve upon this in the future, but it will be sure to come with a cost. In the meantime, touch screen competitors will offer the benefit of their own maintenance channel.

And what if the optiplex fails? No problem, just slide it out, put it back inside its packaging, and DELL support will do the rest. Now this, we like.

Dell Interactive Touch Monitor: A Surface Hub alternative?

If you add the Kickle software to your Dell Interactive Touch Monitor and use a Logitech meetup webcam (or any other webcam; just know that Logitech is a DELL partner), then yes, indeed, the Dell interactive touch monitor is a cost-effective alternative to Surface Hub. It costs approximately half the price of a Surface Hub.

If you’d like to know more about Kickle, just ask for a quote or a test.

Kickle transforms any space into an innovative and productive meeting room. Skype for business videoconferencing (skype room system), wireless display, room booking, whiteboard, and so much more. Kickle comes with everything needed to conduct your meetings with perfect peace of mind.

 

I hope this article was worth reading! Feel free to reach me at 

Matthieu Lourdel
matthieu.lourdel@kickle.com


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