What is resistive touch screen and capacitive

Capacitive vs. Resistive Touchscreens What are the differences?

When buying a touchscreen, it is not always advertised whether it is a capacitive or a resistive touchscreen. However, touchscreens of both types are used throughout the electronics industry.

If you pay attention you will notice the difference between the two screens. With capacitive touchscreens, such as B. on very expensive smartphones and tablets, they react to the slightest touch. Meanwhile, resistive touchscreens require more pressure or the use of a pen.

The reason each type of touchscreen responds so differently is because of the technology behind it.

How resistive touchscreens work

The resistive touchscreen has always been the most commonly used type in industrial electronics. This is mainly because they are cheaper to manufacture and easier to use in difficult environments.

The technology relies on resistance, which is the pressure exerted on the screen itself.

This type of touch screen is made from two very thin layers of material separated by a thin gap. The top layer is typically some type of clear polycarbonate material, while the bottom layer is made of a rigid material. Manufacturers typically use PET film and glass for these layers.

The top and bottom layers are lined with conductive material such as indium tin oxide (ITO). The conductive sides of each layer face each other.

Finally, spacers are placed in the thin gap between the two layers so they don't touch when the screen is not in use.

The diagram above shows a simple guide on how this technology works.

  • 1: The upper, flexible polycarbonate layer
  • 2 and 3: thin, conductive indium tin oxide layers
  • 4: Spacer points between the conductive layers
  • 5: The rigid soil layer, typically made of glass
  • 6: Sensors that detect changes in voltage when conductive layers touch

If you use your finger or a pen Apple Pencil vs. Surface Pen: Stylus Over Substance? Apple Pencil compared to Surface Pen: Pen over substance? The low pen has grown up, but should you go for Apple or Microsoft? Read more about the screen. This creates a change in resistance (increase in voltage). The sensor plane detects this change and the tablet or mobile phone processor calculates the coordinates of this change.

The 3 types of resistive touchscreens

The resistive touchscreen technology is based on electrodes that apply a uniform voltage across the entire conductive area. This provides a specific voltage value when an area of ​​the two years comes into contact with each other.

The type of resistive layout determines the durability and sensitivity of the entire circuit.

4-wire analog

In a 4-wire analog setup, both the top and bottom layers contain two “bushbars” electrodes.

These electrodes are aligned perpendicular to each other.

The electrodes in the top sheet are the positive and negative Y-axes, while the bottom electrodes are the positive and negative X-axes.

Using this type of electrical coordinates, the mobile device can detect the coordinates at which the two layers came into contact with each other.

5-wire analog

A 5-wire analog setup consists of four electrodes placed on each corner of the bottom layer. There are four wires connecting these electrodes together.

The fifth wire is the "sensor wire" embedded in the top layer.

When your finger or stylus touches any area of ​​the two layers, the sensor wire sends the voltage for the coordinates to the processor.

With fewer components and a simpler design, the 5-wire analog circuit is a bit more durable than other designs.

8-wire analog

The most sensitive resistive screen design is that of the 8-wire sensor circuit.

The layout is similar to the 4-wire analog, but each of the stick electrodes contains two wires. This introduces some redundancy into the circuit.


This is because even if one of the wire pairs loses resistance over time, the second wire will provide a secondary signal to the processor.

This means that a more expensive resistive touchscreen with an 8-wire analog circuit will last longer. It also avoids the "drift" problems of older phones when trying to locate your finger or stylus.

The disadvantages of resistive touchscreens

Resistive touchscreens are designed to sense the position of a touch, and early generation touchscreens could not respond to two-finger squeezing or zooming actions.

However, later generations saw some mobile device manufacturers introduce new algorithms and other tricks that made two-finger touch possible.

Some other limitations are:

  • Less sensitive to light touch
  • In many cases it is not possible to work with gloves
  • A thick top layer creates less clarity for the display
  • The screen material is usually more easily scratched or damaged

In most cases, such touchscreens are difficult or impossible to repair. Insane Tablet and Phone Touchscreen Repair Tips To Avoid Insane Tablet Touchscreen And Phone Touchscreen Repair Tips To Avoid These crazy looking tips will only damage your screen even more. Continue reading .

How capacitive touchscreens work

Capacitive touchscreens were invented almost 10 years before the first resistive touchscreen. Even so, today's capacitive touchscreens are very accurate and respond instantly when touched by a human finger. How does this work??

In contrast to the resistive touchscreen, which is based on the mechanical pressure of the finger or the pen, the capacitive touchscreen uses the fact that the human body is naturally conductive.

Capacitive shields consist of a transparent, conductive material that is usually coated with an ITO coating on a glass material. It's the glass material that you touch with your finger.

Surface capacity

In a surface-capacitive structure, there are four electrodes at each corner of the touchscreen, which maintain a voltage level over the entire conductive layer.

When your conductive finger comes in contact with any part of the screen, a current will flow between these electrodes and your finger. Sensors located under the screen detect the change in voltage and the location of this change.

Projected capacity

In a device using a projected capacitive structure, transparent electrodes are arranged along the protective glass coating in a matrix formation.

A row of electrodes (vertical) ensures a constant current when the screen is not in use. Another line (horizontal) is triggered when your finger touches the screen and the current flow is initiated in that area of ​​the screen.

The matrix formation creates an electrostatic field in which the two lines intersect. This is one of the most delicate types of touch screens. For example, some phones can sense a finger touch before touching the screen itself.

Projected capacitive technology allows you to use the touchscreen even with thin gloves.

Resistive vs. capacitive touchscreens

Resistive touchscreen advantages are:

  • Lower manufacturing costs
  • Higher sensor resolution - you can tap small buttons with just your fingertips
  • Less accidental touches How (and why) to turn off touchscreen input on Android and iPhone How (and why) to turn off touchscreen input on Android and iPhone If you need to temporarily turn off the touchscreen on your Android device or iPhone, perform follow the steps below: Step Instructions. Continue reading
  • Can sense any object that hits the screen hard enough
  • More resistant to the elements like heat and water

Capacitive touchscreen advantages are:

  • More durable
  • Sharper images with better contrast
  • Offer multi-touch sensing
  • More reliable - works even if the screen breaks (until you replace the touchscreen. How to Replace a Damaged Cell Phone Screen How to Replace a Damaged Cell Phone Screen) If you've damaged your cell phone screen - you may have dropped it or sat down, while the device was in your pocket - you immediately gave yourself a headache. Can the phone ... read on)
  • More sensitive to light touch

The choice of a capacitive or resistive touchscreen depends heavily on the application of the device.

How are touchscreens used?

Most devices with resistive screens are used in manufacturing, ATMs and kiosks, and medical equipment. This is because most industries require users to wear gloves when using the touch screens.

Capacitive screens are typically used in most consumer products such as tablets, laptops, and smartphones.

Without cutting-edge touchscreen technologies, we could never enjoy cool new applications like Opera with a handheld browser for Android. Opera Touch for Android makes one-handed browsing on larger screens. Easier Opera Touch for Android Makes One-Handed Browsing on Bigger Easier Screens The Opera Touch browser for Android is the best one-handed mobile browsing app. Here are the reasons why. Continue reading . Applications are only expanding as the technology continues to refine.

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