Touchscreen analysis shows iPhone accuracy lead over Droid

By Prince McLean

A test comparing the accuracy and sensitivity of smartphone touchscreens across various makers gave the iPhone top marks ahead of HTC's Droid Eris and the Google-branded Nexus One, and much better results than the Motorola Droid.

The results, published by MOTO labs, noted that the company (which has no relation to Motorola) "has years of experience developing products that use capacitive touch, and we’ve had the opportunity to test many of the latest devices. Our conclusion: All touchscreens are not created not equal."

To demonstrate the differences, MOTO developed a simple test applying finger pressure across the screen using a drawing app. Accurate touchscreen performance comes from a variety of factors, the company reported, noting that screen sensitivity is a combination of hardware component quality and design and software integration.

Under light pressure, the iPhone passed the test with straight, unbroken lines, with only a loss in sensitivity occurring at the extreme edges of the device. The Droid Eris, Nexus One and Droid all experienced stair-stepping accuracy problems.

"On inferior touchscreens, it’s basically impossible to draw straight lines," MOTO reports. "Instead, the lines look jagged or zig-zag, no matter how slowly you go, because the sensor size is too big, the touch-sampling rate is too low, and/or the algorithms that convert gestures into images are too non-linear to faithfully represent user inputs."

"This is important," MOTO explained, "because quick keyboard use and light flicks on the screen really push the limits of the touch panel’s ability to sense."

One user commenting on the results wrote, "accuracy does matter, as anyone who has used a Droid vs an iPhone can tell you. It is much easier to accurately touch small HTML links on the iPhone than the Droid without zooming in, as one example. One can definitely feel the difference in everyday use in the greater accuracy the iPhone has over other touchscreen phones."