Onto the main event, let's see if this is the multi-touch device to get. Installation is very simple. There's no separate software to install; just plug the included USB cable into the monitor and your computer, and you're ready to go. As long, that is, as you're running Windows 7 - but then there's not much attraction to touch with an older Windows OS anyway.
Unlike some other touch devices we've looked at, the Acer T230H is also perfectly calibrated out of the box. However, there is a slight issue with accuracy due to the touch technology used. Acer implements the same 'optical' touch sensing technology as the HP TouchSmart PCs, which relies on optical sensors integrated into the bezel at the screen's corners.
This is a radically different (and cheaper) approach to capacitive or resistive, and means you don't actually have to touch the screen at all; the sensors will pick up your finger (or indeed any other object like a stylus or piece of paper) about 1mm away from the screen. However, while it's great to have even the lightest touch register flawlessly, it does mean your other fingers can inadvertently 'press' too, which can be especially annoying when using the on-screen keyboard.
Overall though, the T230H's touch experience is very good. Its glossy surface makes for a smooth feel and the technology allows you to use two fingers at a time for multi-touch rotate, zoom and scroll. Though you'll spend quite a bit of time cleaning off fingerprints after use, navigating your way around Windows is a fairly painless process. The heavy, solid base means you can poke the screen with some force without causing any wobble.
Most importantly, how does Acer's £290 multi-touch monitor hold up in the value stakes? It's actually quite well positioned against the competition (though it's worth keeping in mind its sub-par three-year carry-in warranty). The aforementioned 21.5in Dell SX2210T comes in at well above £300, where an integrated webcam really doesn't make up for its smaller size and lack of adjustability.
Meanwhile the Iiyama ProLite T2250MTS is cheaper than the T230H but likewise lacks adjustments beyond tilt, is still smaller at 22in, and offers less connectivity. For now it's probably safe to say that the T230H rules the roost, especially since it's the biggest consumer multi-touch monitor available.
However, we're still not convinced of the need for touch capabilities on a monitor in the first place. Basically, on anything that you can't hold in your hand or at least lay flat on a desk or your lap, touch is nothing but a nice extra (unless you enjoy having sore arms) and not worth its considerable premium. For example, £300 will get you the excellent MultiSync EA231WMi, with even better adjustability and a vastly superior IPS panel that will give you image quality on a whole other level.
Acer's Full HD, 23in T230H might be the best of its breed, but 'touch' remains a feature that's not worth its substantial premium unless you specifically need it.