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Capacitive vs Resistive

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by Catfish, Jul 27, 2010.

  1. Catfish

    Catfish Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Can anyone explain the key differences that end-users would notice between capacitive and resistive screens? What are the pros and cons of both?

    I am also interested to know what people think whether they would want a stylus as an option to use with a pad device?

    I wouldn't mind one personally if there was a need to draw something on it you could whip out the stylus and draw some decent pictures with it. Example for this might be in construction on a job site you may need to draw a section detail of some work for people to understand what they are building.
    Out of a capacitive or resistive screen, which would work for this type of application?

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  2. koppit

    koppit Well-Known Member

    A resistive touchscreen panel is composed of several layers, the most important of which are two thin, metallic, electrically conductive layers separated by a narrow gap. When an object, such as a finger, presses down on a point on the panel's outer surface the two metallic layers become connected at that point. You can use a finger, stylus, etc.

    A capacitive touchscreen panel consists of an insulator such as glass, coated with a transparent conductor such as indium tin oxide. As the human body is also a conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the body's electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance. Different technologies may be used to determine the location of the touch. The location is then sent to the controller for processing.

    Generally, capacitive LCDs don't require you to push with a large amount of pressure (think of the iphone, ipod), whereas a resistive screen requires that you put some amount of pressure before it detects an object there. Some are better than others.

    You can get styluses for both capacitive and resistive touch screens - but I think overall capacitive is better.
  3. koppit

    koppit Well-Known Member

    Just an FYI - most phones are capacitive.
  4. iggypop123

    iggypop123 Member

    resistive likely means get yourself a stylus
  5. Catfish

    Catfish Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    Ok so from an end-user experience I am thinking resistive would be more like "point and click" like with a mouse cursor (the stylus) and capacitive would be more like sliding of the finger across the screen (like Apple products).

    Would that mean a resistive display wouldn't really be suited to drawing with a stylus applications?

    The other thing I have for my PC is a drawing tablet. I don't know what technology that uses but it has a hard pad with a stylus with a compressable nib on it. The pad detects the location of the pen even when it is a few millimetres above the pad surface and the "pressure" placed on the pen's nib tells the computer how hard I'm pressing to draw.
    Which technology (resistive or capacitive) might provide function similar to this?
  6. koppit

    koppit Well-Known Member

    I'm pretty sure that is a form of capacitive, as resistive has no way to measure distance from the screen, whereas capacitive can measure the electrostatic field, which I think can be measurably changed above the glass.
  7. quadmasta

    quadmasta Newbie

    Most drawing tablets use RF to figure out where the pen is.
  8. undrwater

    undrwater Newbie

    From my understanding, only with a resistive screen can you write somewhat as if you were writing on a piece of paper. It's pressure sensitive, and one can create small details, or write small characters. I use a resistive screen tablet (old windows model), to conduct interviews from forms and make notes.

    Apparently there are styli that can work with capacitive screens, but the ones i have seen have a very large tip (like a fingertip), and do not allow for minute detail.

    If someone can show that capacitive screes have the capability for minute detail using a stylus, I would love to see that!
  9. Catfish

    Catfish Well-Known Member
    Thread Starter

    This is something I would be interested in, although admittedly I would probably rarely use it. Still I could let my 2 year old daughter draw on the tablet PC instead of on endless piece of papers, documents, clothes, carpet, walls etc.
  10. undrwater

    undrwater Newbie

    Some folks have made some DIY capacitive screen styli using the foam that RAM is shipped in. That could be ideal for a child. My twins are turning 3 next month...maybe I should buy 3 augen tablets!
  11. anthonygobot

    anthonygobot Well-Known Member

    Sorry to bring back an old post but I didnt want to repost. I was curious about Resistive vs Capacitive. I ordered a tablet with a Resistive Screen (laugh away) but what are the major draw backs to Resistive. I plan to use it for web browsing and maybe books/magazines. I have a Droid X and my gf has a LG Vu and honestly the Vu has a decent resistive screen. I understand the screen sizes and UI are totally different between a dumbphone and tablet but will I HAVE to use a stylus or does a finger nail do good enough? The iPad would be great to own but I dont have the money to throw at it and I definetly dont expect my tablet to compete.
  12. Hajile_Ibushi

    Hajile_Ibushi Well-Known Member

    Major drawback to resistive is their tendency to warp over time.

    My sisters nokia 5800 which is a resistive screen has started to becone slightly concave down the middle. She can no longer touch the edges with any accuracy because the warped center will always touch the second layer first.

    The larger surface of a tablet may actually give more opportunities for a section of it to get damaged. Like say, you hit it against something warm and ended up with a crease, or left it in the sun causing the screen to expand and buckle.
  13. jtbnet

    jtbnet Android Enthusiast

    I Second your great comments... but do want to add that there are cases where a resistive screen and a stylus can be prefered, such as apps using fine line drawing, handwriting recognition, etc... and yes you should be able to do simple things like click an icon, or swipe to switch homescreens with a decent quality resistive screen without needing a stylus... I've got 2 of the low price ZT-180 10" tablets with resistive screens and only grab a sylus when trying for real accuracy of touch is required... my finger works most times but you need to push a little :)
  14. Hajile_Ibushi

    Hajile_Ibushi Well-Known Member

    Yeah, capacitive absolutely SUCKS at handwriting! That's not a pen, that's a brush! How the heck are you supposed to write with that???

    This is me writing on my nokia 5800. Note that i'm writing at an awkward angle to be visible to the camera so i'm doing it slow, i normally write much faster than that. See those tiny horizontal guidelines? The LG Cookie (My previous phone) lets you write in really tiny letters that can fit in that and still recognize it.


    Compare that to a capacitive finger paint


    But again, in terms of durability i'd have to go with capacitive. My phone is still okay, but my sisters is warping. A design drawback that i don't see how can be avoided.

    PS: This is why the HP Slate went with the more expensive active pen. It's got the precision and handwriting capability of the resistive while maintaining the touch capability of the capacitive. It's what makes it the absolute best productivity tablet out there.
  15. jtbnet

    jtbnet Android Enthusiast

    Seconded Yet Again! You are right on the mark, I just wanted all benefits of both sides of the argument to be presented...

    But on he HP Slate Point... only a few can benefit and afford the premium to the cost...
  16. FrayAdjacent

    FrayAdjacent Android Enthusiast

    Resistive generally has that squishy layer on it that you have to mash with something to get it to respond. Usually this is a stylus. Think the credit card scanner doofer at the store that you sign with the plastic pen thing.

    Capacitive reacts to your finger, as it changes the capacitance of the area it touches. It does not require pressure or physical changes in the surface.

    Most modern cell phones and smart phones are capacitive. Other objects such as plastic pens do not affect the screen.
  17. Hajile_Ibushi

    Hajile_Ibushi Well-Known Member

    Well, it's a productivity device. It's assumed you use it for work so it actually helps you make more money out of it :p

    Price doesn't matter as much on productivity oriented devices because they're basically paying for themselves ;)
  18. SporkLover

    SporkLover Android Enthusiast

    Resistive screens have their place. For what you are going to use it for, hope that the drivers and the scrolling software are written well, because that can ruin browsing experience.

    The other downside, don't try and use it outside. Just about all electronic devices suffer from poor outdoor viewing, but with the multiple layers on a resistive screen the viewing will cut down on visibility a bit more than capacitive.

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