Massworks ID75 USB Touchscreen

The Massworks ID75 USB Touchscreen - Page 2


The Massworks ID-75 USB Touchscreen
Limitless Possibilities?

By, Marco Chiappetta
September 5, 2001


We tested the Massworks ID-75 using both Windows 2000 and Windows Millennium. Installation of the ID-75 under Windows Millennium went very smoothly, we did not have any problems whatsoever. Installing under Windows 2000 was a different story though. Once we installed the included software and drivers, and re-started the test machine, we were prompted with the expected "New Hardware Found" dialog box, but the drivers were not automatically installed. We had to manually browse to the folder where .INFs are stored under Windows 2000. Uncompressed copies of the drivers are not included on the driver CD, so once the hardware was installed, we had to hunt the driver files down ourselves.


Installation and Setup
Some good...Some not-so good...


With the software and drivers completely installed, and the ID-75 connected to your PC, accessing the configuration software is only a click away...



An icon is placed in your system tray that gives you quick access to the ID-75's main features. Users can activate and deactivate layouts, setup application tracking or load a specific layout. By deactivating layouts, the ID-75 is basically disabled, and will sit idle until reactivated. Application tracking does exactly that...tracks applications and loads a specified layout. Application tracking is great because it eliminates the need for any intervention once a user assigns a particular layout to a particular application. For example, when PowerDVD is launched, the PowerDVD layout will automatically open and the ID-75 is ready to use. Once the initial setup is done, the ID-75 integrates seamlessly with any application. Users can also assign a default layout that will be displayed when their machine first boots. We set our ID-75 to load a custom layout we designed with links to our favorite websites on one side, and our most commonly used applications on the other.  Without having to touch our keyboard or mouse, we can open our browser and read our favorite sites, and launch Outlook to check our's great!

Creating your own layouts is done using the supplied software...



Although the layout software looks fairly simple, it is very powerful and unfortunately not terribly intuitive.  Novice users may have to overcome a fairly steep learning curve, while more "savvy" users should be able to figure things out with a bit of trial and error.  Given the virtually limitless possibilities provided by the ID-75 and it's layout software, we would have hoped for some detailed documentation, or at least some sort of electronic tutorial, but there was none included.  Hopefully Massworks will rectify this in the future.  With the layout software you technically have control over every bit of "real estate" on the ID-75's screen.  Users may import bitmaps, and assign an action when the bitmap is touched.  The actions can be anything from a simple keystroke to complex macros (Including launching applications, playing sounds...etc.)  Although the ID-75 is being marketed as a game controller, it really has virtually unlimited functionality.  A quick trip to the forums on the Massworks web site will show the number of unique projects currently in the works.  While working on this review, Massworks also released a beta display driver for Windows 2000 users that allows the ID-75 to act as an extended desktop.  Imagine playing games on your monitor while keeping track of e-mails or your ICQ list on the ID-75's display.  Linux drivers are also available, as well as examples on how to directly access the ID-75 using Visual Basic or C++.  The ID-75 has an open architecture.  The folks at Massworks continually work with individuals trying to help them specialize their ID-75...browse their forum and you'll see what I mean...


Aside from the layout software, the ID-75 also ships with about 20 pre-made layouts for many "top" games and utilities.





The above layouts are for Black & White, PowerDVD, Quake 3 and Unreal Tournament.  We tested the ID-75 with all of these titles with mixed results.  For "slower" paced games like Black & White, or when using the ID-75 with PowerDVD, it is an excellent edition.  Just touch the screen in the appropriate spot and bingo...your game / application does what it's supposed to.  We found using the ID-75 during heavy action in Quake 3 or Unreal Tournament counterproductive though.  It's much easier and more convenient to scroll through weapons with a mouse-wheel or keyboard, rather than removing your hand from the keyboard to touch the ID-75.  This was only be the case with "fast paced" action games though.  With simulators, strategy games, "slower" games and applications, the ID-75 is definitely an excellent tool.


We had a tough time taking clear shots of the ID-75 while in use, but the two pictures below show the included "Favorites" and Serious Sam layouts...




I'll be bugging the crew at Massworks to get HotHardware added to their included "Favorites" layout, we'll let you know how we make out! :)



When all was said and done, I must admit that using the Massworks ID-75 was definitely a pleasurable experience.  Having the ID-75 alongside my keyboard while working and being able to simply tap the screen to open another application, or check my e-mail was very convenient, not to mention very cool!  The only things I can honestly hold against the ID-75 are it's less than perfect installation under Windows 2000, and the price...a hefty $299US.  If you think of the ID-75 strictly as a game controller, it is impossible to justify the cost unless you have an unlimited budget (and a hardware addiction).  If you consider the number of possibilities available to you by simply having piece of hardware on your desktop, the price becomes a bit more palatable though.  The Massworks ID-75 functioned exactly as it should, and it definitely the type of "gadget" a hardcore gamer or true PC enthusiast would love.  We give the Massworks ID-75 a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of...



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Tags:  USB, Work, touch, screen, tou, id, K, CHS

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