Windows 7 makes multi-touch worth having but only a handful of notebooks come with it.
And nice as a notebook is, sometimes you want a bigger screen to spread out on (whether you're ploughing through a spreadsheet or watching the Word Cup on one screen and catching up on email on the other).
Samsung's Lapfit LD220Z screen takes its usual bright, vivid and frankly gorgeous panels and put them in a design that's meant to fit better alongside a laptop.
FACE ON: The Samsung Lapfit LD220Z multi-touch screen – with hidden controls
Instead of the usual screen base, the Lapfit has a simple leg stand that pulls out from the back. It adjusts between 10 and 40 degrees so you can get it quite close to the angle of your laptop screen; a rubber-covered roller makes the stand move smoothly but the hinge is firm and combined with the two large rubber feet on the base of the display that means the screen stays at the angle you choose and doesn't slide around on the table.
There's a large hole in the stand to run cables through to keep them out of the way; that's nice but as many laptops have USB and VGA or HDMI sockets on the side you may still have a tangle of cables - to use the touchscreen you need both the VGI/HDI and the USB connection.
REAR VIEW: The support arm lets you change the angle of the screen so it matches your laptop and the cable tidy is handy
STAND UP: Rollers and rubber feet keep the stand stable
Although you can't connect the screen by USB only, you can daisychain other USB-connected monitors from the ports on the back and really spread out.
Samsung calls this the Lapfit not because it will fit in your lap but because it's designed to fit next to your laptop; losing the usual base helps but unless you have a laptop so large you hardly need a second screen the 21.5" LD220Z is going to be a couple of inches higher than the top of your screen.
That's not really a problem - Windows 7 is pretty good at adjusting window sizes when you drag things from screen to screen - and it's being able to spread out your windows so you can see several things at once that's the real advantage of a second screen. That, and being able to touch it.
You have to make the touchscreen your main monitor and put the Windows taskbar on it; that means you get the advantage of launching aps by tapping and flicking your finger for jumplists.
The Windows 7 Touch Pack is available for everyone now, not just system builders, so you can play some fun games and enjoy the handful of touch-aware apps already on the market (including scrolling through web pages in Internet Explorer and Windows Live Photo gallery, which has two-finger zoom); touch is also perfect for using the Lapfit as the main screen for Windows Media Center or the Zune software, if you want to sit that close. And kids are going to love it.
CABLE MESS: The cable tidy in the support arm only keeps things tidy if your USB and video port are on the back of your laptop
Samsung includes a chunky stylus that lets you write and draw on the optical touchscreen (which uses the same technology as HP's TouchSmart PCs); it's like writing with a crayon and you can get much the same effect with one finger, but as more touch software comes out it may become more useful.
Touch in Windows 7 is fast and intuitive – the main disadvantage is that you'll find yourself tapping your laptop screen as well. Yes, it does put fingerprints on the screen, but you don't notice them, even on this glossy screen, until it's off – and Samsung gives you a polishing cloth.
TOUCH SET-UP: Touch only works with Windows 7, which lets you calibrate the screen
The list price of £299 is a little on the high side but not that much more than other touchscreens on the market and it is a little more comfortable to have a monitor that sits at about the same height as your laptop screen.
We're not so keen on the hidden control buttons that only appear when you touch them, but like other Samsung displays this is a beautiful screen.
EASY: Touch gestures like flicking up with your finger to open a jump list work very smoothly
TOUCH AND GO: Touch gives you all the features you'd get with a mouse; touch the icon of a running app to see thumbnails
MORE SCREENS: You can't connect the LD220Z just by USB, but you can daiychain more monitors from the USB ports on the back
Liked this? Then check out 10 reasons why you need dual monitors
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