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Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Capacitive vs Resistive Touchscreens

Nowadays, most smartphones and tablet devices come with a touchscreen. There are broadly two types of touchscreens: capacitive and resistive. Choosing a device with the right screen type can make a world of difference, as the user experience is impacted by the response from the device when a user touches the screen.

The question is, which type is better? The answer is clear. Have a look around and see what the top manufacturers have chosen.

Capacitive screens require direct finger interaction. They do not work with pen, stylus or fingernails. They are a pain to use in the winter, as users are required to take off their gloves before the screen can sense their touch.

Resistive screens work with pen, stylus, fingernails or fingers. However, the quality of resistive touch screens and software that analyze the signals from the touchscreen varies. There are resistive touch screen smartphones that work best with sharp objects only. (ie. the chance of selecting a wrong object with a finger is very high) In addition, users tend to lose a stylus or two thought the smartphone's life time. Furthermore, some resistive smartphone doesn't even come with a stylus!

Although resistive touch screens have been around for a while, it is not surprising that most manufacturers have moved to capacitive touchscreens as they can "sense" better. Furthermore, capacitive screens are generally more robust and solid, compared to the soft nature of resistive screens. A resistive screen would curve and bend downwards every time a sharp object touches its surface; every touch also scratches the surface at the same time.

If you are after an overall better user experience, choose a smart device with a capacitive touchscreen. Remember, you would need a touchscreen that does not work with a pen or fingernail.