When looking at desktop PCs, especially those that could run Windows 8 I’ve pointed out many times that most screens are not touch screen. This of course is probably something that Microsoft would love to change. As people who want to stick to the desktop variant of the PC look to touch screens it’s interesting to see what is available. One that is available is the Viewsonic VSD220, which comes with a surprising little extra.
The VSD220 is a 22 inch touch-enabled screen that looks to fully update the PC user to windows 8. Along with this advantage though comes a surprising extra, but something that obviously is a welcome thing, if it works well enough of course. The surprise is that the VSD220 comes with Android built into the screen, making this not just a Windows 8 PC but also an Android tablet, though at 22-inch it’s not likely that you’ll walk around with it.
Build The screen itself at 22-inches looks quite nice, it’s stylish in design and makes full use of the space provided. The only connections coming from the screen itself is a micro HDMI input port, Micro SD card slot, Ethernet post and some USB connectors. The mini HDMI can be used as a DVI port with a converter if needed. This gives the screen a clean design without any unsightly connections and wires, other than the power cord of course. With only one connection this does give it limited connectability in practice though and as many modern computer screens can also be used with consoles a lack of extra HDMI ports could be an issue for some users.
As noted as well as being a touch screen monitor that can be used with Windows 8 it has Android built in. What this gives you is a 22-inch tablet which is a fairly huge resolution for the Android Operating System to use (1,920 x 1,080 full HD). This means of course that the android apps will be stretched to fit the screen, which is something that you’ll obviously get used to. The OS is Ice Cream Sandwich which is not the most up to date version Android but still one of the best. It’s interesting to see what peoples reaction would be to Android used in this way, now that the OS is being pushed onto all kinds of appliances and tech such as screens like this and cameras, what is next? The oven? I guess it’s the future.
Performance and Image Quality
The bad news on the Android side is that the VSD220 uses the TI OMPA4 dual-core processor, and with the big screen this can be sluggish at times, to the point of being noticeably slow. This may be improved if the OS itself is updated in the future but the choice of processor is something that will probably have to improve in future versions, if they come. This may be a “proof of concept” approach to see if there is a market out there for the use of Android like this, but if that is so then the OS needs a chance to shine, not struggle with a weaker processor. You won’t be doing things such as looking at the Android browser when you have a PC to give you a higher resolution, and Android games will have little use when you can just load up games through Windows 8 that work at a higher resolution and are designed to work on a screen like this. It’s a case of a nice gimmick but needs more thought in it really.
On the PC screen side of things the image quality is good and performs as expected from a 22-inch monitor. The colours are rich and image is sharp, everything is ok here. PC games and overall use, especially with HD content fit your needs and everything is fine here. With windows 8 it should be noted though that the raised bezel of the screen can cause problems with using the gestures that are a part of Windows 8.
At £330/$419.99 this is not a bad price for a hybrid screen like this but if you are just looking for a normal LCD PC screen you can get bigger with the same price. With the slow Android performance and the touch screen being let down on Windows 8 though it does seem a case of nice try, but one that is wasted. It’s definitely a concept that is interesting and if the OS is upgraded and a faster processor is provided this could be something special, for people who want an Android enabled screen. If the VSD220 does anything though it proves that the concept does work, and it can be done. Now just to see it done better.