Resistive Vs. Capacitive Touchscreens

Are you having trouble deciding between resistive and capacitive touchscreen phones? The following article will provide you with more information about both these technologies so you can make an informed choice.
There are plenty of new devices in the market that have changed the way we use phones. Our mobile phones are not just limited to make and receive calls or text our friends anymore, but now provide us with a whole new range of features, like 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi, gaming, video recording, imaging, and multimedia to name a few.

The latest feature doing the rounds is having a touchscreen display. This technology has made the use of phones easier and fun. All you need to do is slide your fingers across the screen to carry out different operations. However, as with all new technology, touchscreens too have their share of confusion, as there two types―resistive and capacitive.

Resistive Touchscreens
Resistive touchscreen panels are made of 2 layers of thin, metallic, and electrically-conductive layers. These two layers are separated by a very narrow gap. When one presses their stylus or finger against the touchscreen, the two layers come in contact. This process causes electricity to be conducted and it is sent to the operating system of the phone, registering a 'press'.

Capacitive Touchscreens
Unlike resistive touchscreens, capacitive panels are made of glass coated with a transparent conductor, like indium tin oxide. When one touches the screen, it causes the local electrostatic field to distort. This distortion is called change in 'capacitance', which is transferred to the operating system that calculates the command, and carries out the function.

Resistive Vs. Capacitive Touchscreens
Resistive PanelsCapacitive Panels
They are made of several thin, metallic layers that can conduct electricity.They are made up of an insulator, like glass, and coated with a transparent conductor.
These touchscreens measure the pressure or resistance created between two layers when touched.These touchscreens conduct electrons from the fingers and create capacitance that helps in carrying out commands.
These can function with a stylus or finger.These can function only by the touch of fingers.
Some functions, like swiping through contacts, zooming, typing, and scrolling, can be carried out with limited results.Some functions, like swiping through contacts, zooming, typing, and scrolling, are more responsive on capacitive touchscreens.
These are more durable as they are not made from glass.These are more prone to breakage as they are made from glass.
There are many layers that cause reflection of light, resulting in poor display in sunlight.There are not many layers, and therefore, can be seen better in sunlight.
Multi-touch does not function on resistive touchscreen phones.Multi-touch is excellent on capacitive touchscreen phones.
These phones are prone to dust particles.These phones are not prone to dust particles.
This is an old tried and tested technology that is much cheaper.This is a latest technology that costs more than resistive touchscreen.
Examples of resistive touchscreen phones:
  • LG Optimus
  • LG GW620
  • Sony Ericsson Vivaz
  • Nokia N97 mini
  • Nokia N900
Examples of capacitive touchscreen phones:
  • Apple iPhone 3GS
  • Apple iPhone 4
  • HTC Desire
  • Samsung Galaxy S
  • Samsung Wave

As you can see, there are certain technological differences between the two technologies. However, in use, capacitive touchscreens are much more responsive than resistive touchscreens. If you are buying a new phone, we would recommend that you buy one that features capacitive touch technology.
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