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Capacitive and resistive - what's the difference?

What do capacitive and resistive mean for touchscreen phones?

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blizzard7  Jul. 5, 2011 at 15:32

Without going into all the boring details, a resistive screen works by sensing pressure. This means that you could prod it with pretty much anything and get a response from a stylus to a finger to a ballpoint pen. Using a stylus does allow you to be more accurate (the surface area of a stylus is minute compared to a capacitive screen) but when it comes to using your finger, they can be less responsive than capacitive screens.

Capacitive screens work by sensing conductive objects touching the screen and your finger is one of those conductive objects. While not stylus accurate, it's a lot more responsive (to the point where sometimes your finger doesn't even need to touch the screen) than resistive screens when it comes to using your finger and capacitive screens unlike most resistive screens are built for multi-touch as well allowing for lots of clever gestures. The downside is that ordinary styluses cannot be used on this type of screen.

Almost every modern phone out there uses a capacitive touchscreen, an example of a device that uses a resistive includes the Nintendo DS and 3DS.

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