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Dell 86 4K Interactive Touch Monitor, First Take: An imposing multi-user touch display for collaboration

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Written by Cliff Joseph on
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Dell 86 4K Interactive Touch Monitor

  • Editors' Review
  • Specs

As well as being one of the world's top three PC manufacturers, Dell also holds the top spot in the monitor market, with almost 20 percent market share at the end of 2017, according to IDC's latest Worldwide PC Monitor Tracker report. IDC also points to strong growth for larger displays, particularly 24-inch and 27-inch models. However, Dell has gone several steps further than that with its Dell 86 4K Interactive Touch Monitor.

As the name suggests, the Dell 86 is a full 86-inch touch-sensitive display, designed for presentations and collaborative work in business and education. To be precise, the Dell 86 actually measures 85.6 inches (2174mm) diagonally, and stands 46 inches high (1168mm) and 78.6-inches (1996mm) wide, and weighs in at a massive 120kg. The display provides 4K resolution (3,840 by 2,160 pixels, or 51.5ppi) with Dell quoting 178-degree viewing angles both horizontally and vertically, so it should certainly get people's attention in the conference room.

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Dell's 86-inch collaboration monitor weighs 120kg and starts at £7,191.20 (ex. VAT; £8,629.44 inc. VAT or $7,999.99).

Image: Dell
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At the back you'll find four HDMI, three USB Type-B, four USB 3.0, DisplayPort, VGA, RS-232, audio in and out, and RJ-45 Ethernet ports. You can also add a wireless module or slot in an OptiPlex Micro PC.

Image: Dell

Rather than the 10-point touch controls of conventional touch-screens, the Dell 86 can respond to 20 separate touch points when you or your colleagues are just using fingers, and can differentiate between four separate styli (two styli are included in the price of the system), allowing two or more people to easily work together at the same time. Tucked at the back of the 4-inch-thick panel (101mm), you'll find no less than four HDMI ports, along with DisplayPort and VGA, so it's easy to share the screen with multiple PCs. There's also a slot for a wireless module for screen-casting ($200, with UK pricing TBA), and an even larger slot that can actually accommodate one of Dell's small-form-factor OptiPlex Micro desktop PCs, which would allow you to effectively turn the display into a gigantic all-in-one PC.

Dell includes a four-user licence for the popular DisplayNote software for workgroup collaboration, but the Dell 86 will also work with standard apps, such as Microsoft's PowerPoint for presentations and the Portal mind-mapping software. We also had the opportunity to test it with the current Preview version of Microsoft's Whiteboard app, which helpfully turned our hand-drawn doodles into smoother, more precise vector graphics. The display responded quickly and smoothly during our demo session, and the sheer size of the screen makes it comfortable to use, with plenty of room for two users to sketch or take notes, or to make sweeping hand gestures to zoom in and out on images -- like Tom Cruise in Minority Report.

Naturally, a gargantuan screen such as this comes with an equally gargantuan price, starting at £7,191.20 (ex. VAT; £8,629.44 inc. VAT or $7,999.99) with a three-year warranty. And, if you want to bolt it onto a wall, then you'll need to budget an extra £877.69 (ex. VAT; £1,053.23 inc. VAT, or $800) for the VESA wall mount unit.

Conclusions

If you simply need a large, wall-mounted display for conference room presentations, then Dell and other manufacturers do provide alternatives that are considerably less expensive. However, the precise, multi-user touch controls of the Dell 86 make it an attractive option for organisations and workgroups that require a versatile display for collaboration and brainstorming sessions.

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