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iPhone tops, Droid worst in touchscreen test

updated 10:40 am EDT, Wed March 24, 2010

Robot test shows Apple, HTC best at touch accuracy

Apple has by far the best touchscreen accuracy of any smartphone maker, a new round of MOTO testing has discovered. A follow-up on the finger-only test has used a robot to gauge the absolute accuracy and has found that only the iPhone's touchscreen could draw consistently straight lines on most of the screen. The Nexus One was second but still produced wavy lines, a behavior that also carried over to the Droid Eris.

Other devices performed noticeably worse or had mixed results. The BlackBerry Storm2 and Palm Pre performed almost as well as the iPhone with a regular touch but quickly lost accuracy and input with a lighter touch. Motorola's Droid fared the worst with noticeable errors regardless of the strength of input.

The results differ from the original test using actual human hands but should still reflect the level of detail and sensitivity of the screen itself. More consistent performance in the finger test can be attributed to the nature of human input, where users can adjust pressure and speed on the fly. Researchers conducting the test, however, have argued that it shows a high-quality capacitive touchscreen is necessary for a good smartphone as a poor one can create problems.

The gap in quality between Apple and others should eventually close once companies get more experience developing touch, MOTO said.

By Electronista Staff


  1. slapppy

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Mar 2008


    Yet bloggers, techs

    Yet the bloggers and techs experts on the net have nothing but admiration for Droid. It's the best, its the iPhone killer, the screen is awesome, touchscreen works great.... so who's telling the truth?

  1. trenchcoat77

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2003



    Robots are well-known Apple fanboys, right?

  1. rtamesis

    Dedicated MacNNer

    Joined: Jan 2000


    why let facts get in the way of a good story?

    These results are not going to stop those bloggers and so called tech experts from telling each other that the Droid is better than an iPhone. It's a form of shared delusion that convinces them that they are so cool and makes themselves feel good about themselves that they belong to an exclusive club that knows they are right.

  1. Gazoobee

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Feb 2009


    @ slappy

    The finger size used on the test is rather small, and the accuracy (or the perceived accuracy actually), increases with increases in finger size according to the chart. My finger-width (16 mm), is more than double the "large" size in the chart for example.

    All of the big brands (Nexus, iPhone, Pre), seem to draw almost straight lines at 7mm so I'm guessing that in real world use, they would seem almost identical in capability to the end user. Only when trying to make delicate selections and gestures would the "lesser" screen show their flaws, so maybe most users simply don't notice.

  1. dliup

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2006



    The same type of people also said Palm Pre is the best.

  1. ff11

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2004


    @ Gazoobee

    Good points, although you never touch the screen with the entire width of your finger. If you want a better measure, get your screen good and dirty, then draw a line across it with your finger and measure the width of the smear.

  1. Woode

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007


    Seems even more telling

    than the finger-only test. Who knew the Motorola Droid's screen sucked so bad?

    Just goes to show that it takes more than some wannabe to cobble together a few parts to equal what Apple apparently took much time to perfect.

  1. ricardogf

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2003



    So, where is our DEAR Winblows fanboy friend Testudo in times like this? Droid what? Google what? Moto what? Palm what? Two years on, there is still NO CREDIBLE COMPETITION to the iPhone.

    Faced with sheer facts, he happens to disappear from this website with his tail between his legs.


  1. luckyday

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008


    I'll bite

    Perhaps the iPhone's screen is the most accurate, but what if that doesn't matter. Perhaps the iPhone's screen capabilities exceed the requirements of the user. What if that is the case? What if the only instance where the iPhone's superior screen matters is if playing a game where you draw lines on the screen with your finger.

    I haven't heard reports of the Droid or the Eris having a poor touch screen, so it seems like this isn't an issue in practice. Perhaps HTC utilized a cheaper touch screen that was sufficient for its purposes and attributed more of the cost to a faster processor.

    We don't know the algorithms used in the software either. Is it not possible this is a software issue?

  1. luckyday

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2008



    What the h*** does this article have to do with MS? Your post is the most embarrassing thing I've read all day. Only 50 Cent would be proud.

    ... not to mention touch screen accuracy is only one characteristic of a phone.

    Please tell me what community college you go to. I'd like to donate a few windows computers.

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