Robots agree: iPhone touchscreen is most precise

Robots agree: iPhone touchscreen is most precise

Summary: Moto.com did some robotic testing of the sensitivity and precision of the latest crop of smartphone touchscreens and the iPhone appears to win the day.

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Moto.com did some robotic testing of the sensitivity and precision of the latest crop of smartphone touchscreens and the iPhone wins the day.

The test consisted of using a robot to slowly draw straight lines in a basic drawing app, making it easy to see the difference in touchscreen resolution from one phone to the next. The results are pretty telling. Perfectly straight lines indicate a high degree of sensor accuracy; less-precise sensors show the lines with wavy patterns, stair-steps, or both.

It concludes that the iPhone competitors use "last-generation silicon and touch panel components" but that Apple won't have as big of a lead for long.

In the long run, however, we don’t expect this high degree of touchscreen variation between handset manufacturers to continue in such dramatic form. Right now, capacitive touchscreens are a relatively new feature to appear in consumer electronics products. And as we’ve pointed out several times before, creating a seamless touchscreen experience is hard work that requires a high level of commitment to technology integration and interdisciplinary teamwork. Over time more brand-name manufacturers will acquire the expertise required to deliver excellent touchscreen products.

In my own testing I found the iPhone touchscreen to be vastly superior to the touchscreen on my Nexus One. My N1 frequently refused to accept touches in the lower area of the screen (causing me not to be able to answer calls, or retrieve voicemail). My Nexus One would often lose its calibration and select completely different areas of the screen than I was touching. When I inquired about the issue, Google offered that "there are some people who just may not have as good an experience with capacitive sensors." Sensing that this could be problem with my specific Nexus One I asked to have my unit swapped out, but HTC simply didn't reply to my emails.

Click over the labs.moto.com for a video of the robot in action and for the full results.

Topics: Hardware, Emerging Tech, iPhone, Mobility

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38 comments
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  • RE: Robots agree: iPhone touchscreen is most precise

    If this site is anything like Endgadget,

    Let the whining begin.

    The android, err robot arm validates the testing done by
    hand a few weeks ago.
    hill60
  • contradiction of previous post?

    Previously you said the Nexus One "slays" the iPhone. In this post you are saying the N1 has serious problems with its touch system and that you have personally experienced great difficulty using it as a result. It seems to me these are much more serious matters than the 10 "iphone slaying" points raised previously.

    So, on balance, which phone do you prefer?
    The Star King
    • Not a contradiction...

      I still find the N1 to be a superior phone to the iphone in (at least) 10 ways. The N1's flaky touchscreen is definitely a liability though, as is Google/HTC's "take it or leave it" attitude.

      I'm prepping a piece on the ways that the iPhone beats the Nexus One -- and there aren't many (think apps) -- but insofar as the touchscreen is concerned, the iPhone definitely wins.

      - Jason
      Jason D. O'Grady
      • I'm surprised you didn't mention Flash

        Lack of Flash support is often considered iphone's Achilles heal. But you didn't mention this in the previous article. Does the N1 support Flash? Did this improve your browsing experience?
        The Star King
        • Flash is not on Android yet

          It's supposed to come some time in the 1st half of 2010, and if it does it
          will definitely improve browsing experience.
          tikigawd
          • Yup - I want more ads to improve my browsing experience

            There are many like myself who currently block Flash just to improve the browsing experience btw.
            dave95.
      • But ALL touchscreens ARE the same!!!!

        Apple didn't invent touchscreens!!!

        And

        Mom says I have to clean my room!!!

        And

        I'm a moron who hates everything Apple!!!

        And

        Anyone who buys anything Apple must be a Jobs
        worshiper and thinks Jobs is Jesus!!!

        Sorry Jason... I just wanted to see what it
        felt like to be a Troll... That really
        sucked... It actually hurts to be that
        ignorant... LOL
        i8thecat
  • Hmm could it be

    that there is just a bigger problem that they are ignoring?

    <i>"Sensing that this could be problem with my specific Nexus One I asked to have my unit swapped out, but HTC simply didn?t reply to my emails."</i>

    Not to mention, non-reply would indicate very poor customer service. I won't buy products that have companies that won't stand behind their product.

    When I build a custom built computer, I always buy parts that come from reputable companies that stand behind every product they make. Asus, AMD, Thermaltake, and so on.

    If you cannot get this company to stand behind a product within the same year the product was released, well then I would buy from someone else.
    Snooki_smoosh_smoosh
  • RE: Robots agree: iPhone touchscreen is most precise

    I've read all of the "iPhone vs. Nexus One " verdicts, and the
    decisions seem to always favor the Nexus phone. It seems that
    the fanboys are desperately grasping at ANYTHING to be able to
    claim that the iPhone is better at something. I had the iPhone 3G
    and recently switched to an Android. I can tell you first hand that
    the iPhone is extremely outdated.
    free1369
    • This is Apple marketing FUD

      It turns out that Apple paid for this study. No
      surprise.
      NonZealot
      • please provide evidence...

        that Apple paid for this study.
        The Star King
      • Okay NZ

        cough up the evidence Apple paid for this study...

        Double Standards Queued.
        athynz
  • These results don't count, according to Apple zealot rules

    From moto website, it turns out that the founder and
    CEO "used" to work for Apple.

    http://www.moto.com/about_02.html
    [i]J. Daniell Hebert
    CEO and Co-Founder
    ...
    and later joined Apple Computer as a researcher of
    advanced manufacturing systems[/i]

    It also states that moto is privately funded,
    obviously by Apple.

    Sorry Apple zealots but whenever any report comes out favoring anything MS and it turns out that anyone that
    had anything to do with that report has even the tiniest connection to Microsoft, that report is
    immediately invalidated in your eyes. Well, same goes
    here.

    Cue the double standards...
    NonZealot
    • obviously by Apple

      "obviously by Apple"

      Sure NZ, you're often SO accurate.

      You're as spot on as a 2007 investment realtor saying, 'You can't
      loozzze!"
      Win3.1
    • So the guy used to work for Apple

      so did the CEO of Palm... Jon Rubistein was the head of iPod and Mac divisions for Apple. What's your point?

      And while it does indeed say that Moto is a privately funded company there is no proof that Apple is funding it or has anything to do with Moto... Again, provide some proof or stop spreading the FUD.

      And yes I'd say the same exact thing if Herbert worked for Microsoft or Google and the results favored the WM based phones or the Android based phones... unless and until there is proof that one company is funding Moto to make a biased report.

      However, the results jive with my own personal experiences with the iPhone and the Driod... admittedly my experience with the Droid was limited to playing with the demo model in a VZW store but I felt the device to be less responsive than my iPhone.

      The WM/ Android Zealots may not count this due to Herbert previously working for Apple and the Apple Zealots probably would not count it if Herbert worked for MS or Google but for the rest of us until there is definite irrefutable proof that Apple is paying Moto I'm not buying your kool aid.
      athynz
    • You like this sort of logic don't you!!!

      [i]Sorry Apple zealots but whenever any report comes out favoring
      anything MS and it turns out that anyone that
      had anything to do with that report has even the tiniest connection to
      Microsoft, that report is
      immediately invalidated in your eyes.[/i]

      Maybe it does invalidate it - maybe it doesn't.

      Check the methodology and argue the facts.

      This quoting supposed zealots from other posts, often with what they
      didn't say then arguing against that rather than the facts is just
      pointless.

      Yo sir are a zealot, and you know it -so cut this crap.

      How many times do you think you can say 'cult' and 'zealot' without it
      becoming obvious what you are doing?

      And do you really think calling yourself NonZealot is believable past
      the first posting?
      richardw66
      • Please, Do not feed the troll

        This fool is a Nothing But Microsoft member, he has in the past, posted
        negative B.S. on every article containing the word Apple in it. Things like
        facts and logic do not fit in the Zealot?s world. This is the type of fool
        that complains that Apple?s hardware is overpriced junk; then claims to
        have purchased a MacBook Pro, just to install windows on it. No one
        really believes the garbage spewed by the Windows Zealot. At least Mike
        Cox is funny, this fool is the village idiot.
        Rick_K
  • So what. My finger is large enough

    to not matter. Now unless they start to make icons .0062" square, such accuracy shouldn't be an issue.
    John Zern
    • Jason reported "real world" problems with the N1

      which appear to reflect the robot's verdict:

      "In my own testing I found the iPhone touchscreen to be vastly superior to the touchscreen on my Nexus One. My N1 frequently refused to accept touches in the lower area of the screen (causing me not to be able to answer calls, or retrieve voicemail). My Nexus One would often lose its calibration and select completely different areas of the screen than I was touching."
      The Star King
      • That sounds more like a mechanical problem

        as I have never seen a screen drift by as much as he mentions.

        My assumption would be that the phone is somewhat defective, and needing to be replaced.
        GuidingLight