Study finds iPhone 5S & 5C touchscreens inaccurate, but Galaxy S3 is spot-on

iphone-accuracy

So iPhone owners can claim that their touchscreens are more responsive than those of Android users, but are they as accurate? That’s the question the folks at OptoFidelity wanted to answer, so they built a machine to do the heavy lifting and set about plotting their data. The results were quite surprising.

Using a precision-calibrated robot arm and finger to continuously touch smartphone displays at specific coordinates, the intended result was than compared to the actual data points registered by the operating system. The verdict? The display used in the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C (and iPhone 5, by extension) is far less accurate than that of the Samsung Galaxy S3.

iphone-keyboard-accuracy

While the Galaxy S3 was accurate uniformly across its display (the very outside edges being the one exception), the iPhone’s display registered touch input in a far less precise manner. The most accurate portion of the screen happened to correspond with where the phone’s virtual keyboard rests, but even then accuracy was spotty.

In the end, overall accuracy comes as slightly more important how quickly a phone can register touch input, especially when it’s mostly a matter of milliseconds. Based on how difficult the inaccuracy of the iPhone’s display makes typing on the device, it’s wonder we have seen so many autocorrect memes pop up.

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  • Jiro K

    I’m guessing they just picked any android device they had laying around

    • TheHowiie

      Or the s3 is more responsive than the 4

      • leo98918

        Or they are showing how Android is more advanced than the iPhone.

        • TheHowiie

          But we already knew that lol

      • Raifid4

        Upgrading from S3 to the S4. I did see the S3 more responsive. The quad-core Snapdragon 600 does compensate with lag issues from the S3

    • leo98918

      What better way to put Android up against the iPhone? Its only fair, to Apple that is, seeing as how an older device is better than Apple’s latest and greatest.

  • mondaykiz

    why not the s4?

    • Xx1WarChild1xX

      their simply demonstrating the technological superiority of android Tech to Apple demonstrating that a android device of a previous generation can easily thwart the latest in and greatest in Apple technology…a tradesmen to the lack of effort Apple puts into their products these days. And about dame time you gaveca plus one for team android Kevin!…. the hell is wrong with you posting all that Apple garbage in the past and putting down android on an android forum which you use to root for….kudos.. keep it up

  • Derek L.

    That’s extremely impressive!

  • Finky343

    My Iphone 5 has the worst keyboard response I’ve ever encountered. Going back to Android next month.

    • JonANDROID

      Good job kid, good job!

  • LifeIdGood

    The touch technology is not the same. Unless there was a live finger attached to the robot, this was a meaningless exercise. The iPhone touch screen expects a finger (after all it is capacitive) and is tuned for that.

    • Allwayswrite

      you’re an idiot…of course they factored for touch response medium.

    • Eric Butler

      Hey dumbass. Samsung’s (and any Android phone for that matter) screens are capacitive as well. Dope

      • tomn1ce

        He must be butt hurt that the iphone didn’t do so well against the GS3… -_-

    • Christopher Todd Smith

      Galaxy S3 is capacitive as well.
      The touch technology IS the same!

    • leo98918

      If you read the article and not skim through it, you wouldv’e read that there was a “finger” attached to the robot. I’m sure it was they same material that are on those multi-purpose styluses, not the S-Pen type, that replicate the touch of human skin. And like Chris Todd Smith said, they are BOTH capacitive screens… Are you up on your tech????? Also your name has a typo… -_-

      • LifeIdGood

        What a bunch of cry baby droid idiots. I did not say that both were not capacitive, I said the technology was differnat. And it is. Both use capacitive screens, but the way they are implemented and calibrated are very different.

        Touch screens are calibrated for their intended use. In a phone, that is to be held in ones hand and touched with a finger. Not held in a vise and touched with a rubber tipped piece of metal. What this study tells me is that Samsung did not bother to calibrate the screen for hand held use, and Apple did.

        • Cesar Ortiz

          “touch technology”. Nope. Clear as water.

          EDIT: just insulting people makes you look more childish.

        • leo98918

          I’m just going to quote you, if someone else were to write this, you would read it how we are reading it.

          “I did not say that both were not capacitive…”
          Uh, yes you did. The third quote proves it.

          “I said the technology was differnat.”
          There are two different types of capacitive technologies, Surface capacitance and Projected capacitance. Projected is used on glass screens/surfaces, surprisingly that’s what the screens are made out of on BOTH devices. So it seems like they are using the same technology. Oh wait, I forgot Apple reinvented the wheel and created their own touch technology, the iTouch. No wait, that’s their MP3 player.
          Also there’s a typo in your quote -_-

          “The iPhone touch screen expects a finger (after all it is capacitive)…” Right here, it sounds like your saying the SGS3 is a non-capacitive device. This is what made me troll you.

          “Touch screens are calibrated for their intended use. In a phone, that is to be held in ones hand and touched with a finger.”
          Oh that’s right, the Galaxy S3 wasn’t meant to be held in ones hand and touched with a finger, it was intended for people to use with a stylus…. or was that Samsung’s Note series line that use the S-Pen AND touch… with one’s finger.

          Also like I said, those stylus they used, replicate the touch of a person’s skin. I don’t think the rubber tip is going to throw off the accuracy of the screen, it is what it is.

          Here is the quote of the day:
          “What a bunch of cry baby droid idiots.”
          I’m just gonna leave it at that, let everyone else say how they feel about this.

          • Cesar Ortiz

            I Second that.

    • Cesar Ortiz

      y u mad that sammy won this round?

  • David Narada Brown

    is this a samsung paid article?

    • odongo

      hahahaha!!! Excellent comment man!

      • David Narada Brown

        the others just dont have a sense of humor!

    • Zombie

      Samsung would have put a Galaxy S4 in the comparison, not an S3.

      • David Narada Brown

        u do realize that this was a joke from yesterdays post right? I absolutely do not like iphones. in fact i have a galaxy nexus (on its last leg just hoping it makes it to the nexus 5 release date) and a iphone (work phone). but i really dont use the iphone for anything at all. I havent even downloaded an app on it. so i wasnt trolling and im not an apple phanboy either. just a joke ok?

  • dtb24

    If this is true then it certainly explains a lot. When I use my iPhone I am always making mistakes when typing or when selecting stuff . I always just blamed it on the screen not being as large.

    • QwertyJuan

      I wouldn’t doubt it… I have been SOOOOOO frustrated at times by my iPhone keyboard. Now I know why.

  • jnt

    Just to help balance things out a bit, I’ve gotta point out that Kevin posted something relatively negative about the iPhone and positive about an Android device. :P

    On a more serious note, I’ve always found the iPhone’s keyboard good, but I’m a pretty accurate “tapper”. But there are times where I hit a spot 3-4 times (like downloading an app) and it won’t register until I move my finger slightly to where it actually *feels* a bit off. This could very well explain that, because that has never happened on any Android device I’ve used over the past couple of years.

    • Ryan O’Neill

      Yeah, like the tiny little “clear notifications” button from iOS 6. In all the times I’ve borrowed an iPhone, I never once successfully hit that button.

      • jnt

        Yes! That is a perfect example… lol. I forgot about that one.

  • jgarrido

    Journalism 101: If you want your news to be seen as credible, be sure to cite your sources.

    • jnt

      and proof read… “it’s wonder”; “the intended result was than”; “slightly more important how quickly”

    • TheOtherGuy

      He already has some “techy”, “flashy” and “colourful” pictures…. doesn’t that make it credible enough? :)

    • llf

      It says OptoFidelity, but no link to any research paper.

    • jnads
      • jgarrido

        Same here, but you missed the point. It’s not the job of the reader to do the research the writer has assumedly already performed.

        Here, take Wikipedia, for example: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journalism

  • steveb944

    I KNEW IT! Every time I typed on an iPhone I’d get the wrong letters. I thought it was the tiny ass screen, but not it makes sense!

  • Rash

    When we compare typing or using keyboard between IOS(Apple) and android(samsung) than take device with the same screen size. With our same fingers using both devices like iphone or galaxy s3/s4, we forget we get larger screen area(keybord) to touch which turns out more accurate(not responsive). So such article is worthless knowing Apple I am sure they do much better job than others plus as some said, both use capacitive screen.

    • joseph mcfadden

      actually the article is perfectly worth while. you need to do a little research before you shoot it down. a larger screen SHOULD have a larger ppi rating to compete with the effectiveness of a smaller screen. if the apple 4″ screen has a ppi of say 300, the s3 with a 4.8″ screen size is 1.2x larger than the iphone and therefore would want to sport a rating of 360ppi to have the same accuracy. the fact that this study takes into account the ppi of the screen proves 100% accuracy. this post, however, just goes to show how far apple fanatics will go to keep telling themselves they did not waste money on their device.

      • phinn

        I don’t see how that is true. It seems to me that PPI should be fixed regardless of screen size, that way you have more total pixels as you increase in size to then have the same accuracy.

        • jacob

          I would even go to say that as the screen size increase, the PPI would go down. For example, the retina screen on the iPhone is 326, on the iPad mini it’s 299 And 264 on the iPad. You see where I’m going anyway

    • Balansi Kherwyn

      It is not the size of the screen that matters, it is the density of pixels. That is where you base your measure of touch accuracy.

      :Unrelated post:
      The PPI of the S4 is so dense (441) PPI and yet they don’t call it retina. If Apple has this kind of PPI, they will call it SuperRETINA X Ultra Majestic King of PPI. Yup, Apple has lost the game they created.

      • real0325

        Lmao!

    • No_Nickname90

      Didn’t they use a robot to do the test, and not humans? And didn’t they say the robot touched exact points on the screen and the screen registered different points on the screen than it should have?

      And you’re right. Apple *can* do better, so why aren’t they? They have the software to do it, but they’re not using it. They just want it so no one else can do better than them.

  • zourite

    Weird. I don’t believe it.

    • ScottColbert

      Yeah, Apple fanboys have a hard time with reality.

      • zourite

        LOL
        You obviously didn’t get what I meant.

      • No_Nickname90

        Let me translate what Zourite said to Android lingo since you think they’re being an Apple Fanboy.

        Apple patent some technology to make their screens be better than Android, and of course not share it and use it to sue Android.

        But Apple is stupid, they’re not even using the software correctly. They shouldn’t even have issues like this. This proves Apple is just a patent troll.

  • simpleas

    HAHAHAHA OWNAGE!

    And look at the Author! ROOFL

    • Cesar Ortiz

      Does not matter who the author is, He made a very interesting article like many he did back in the past (:

      • simpleas

        i was complimenting the fact that Kevin wrote it, sorry if i came off otherwise…

        • Cesar Ortiz

          If that’s the case, why did you write ” ROOFL”? o_o

          • simpleas

            First of all kiddo, I wrote it because I find that funny. And second I can write whatever the f I want to. now stfu.

          • bridgebuilder78

            STFU, you stupid slitty-eyed gook.

            Go back to Kolea.

            We will always remember Virginia Tech.

          • Cesar Ortiz

            Wow, Where did all that come from? cursing and using ROFL,OWNAGE makes you the kid here. Please correct your sentences before posting things that are taken the wrong way!

  • phinn

    It’s nice Android finally has something to 1up iPhone on since the responsiveness of iPhones blows away Android.

    Honestly though, typing texts extremely quickly on both phones, although Android has come a long way in both regards, I still find iPhone to be both more responsive and more accurate.

    • UMA_Fan

      I agree. I can two thumb type blistering fast on an iPhone and everything registers. I can’t seem to type at that speed (without swype) on Android no matter what keyboard I use. I guess the screen responsiveness test explains it.

      • IOS is for winners

        Agree with you my Iphone brothers, Iphone is the best phone in the world. Nothing comes close to perfection, Making it the best and best-selling phone ever.

        • SBaka

          Then why are you on this website commenting.

          • Lou_Sasshole

            This is how some people deal with their post purchase decisions to feel better about themselves. They have to justify their purchase to others to make themselves feel like they’ve made the right choice even though deep down they know they made the wrong choice but want to be “cool” or “hip” so they keep their iCrap devices even though they know it’s a 3rd rate product.

      • Jason Crumbley

        I call bullshit. I have a Note 2 and a 5s and you are blowing smoke out of your ass.

        • UMA_Fan

          I’m a fast thumb typer. Just how it is for me.

      • No_Nickname90

        You should use an HTC keyboard, then calibrate the keyboard to your touching. That has helped me a lot for speed texting. Actually, that feature is godsend.

        Now about HTC’s way of tapping a custom word in the prediction bar and it adding it ALL the time is a different story. =.=

  • Guest

    Iphone is way more responsive than crapsung phones by lightyears away. There’s no need to make tests to know that something is very responsive. You should just buy an Iphone and an iPad and your life will be much easier.

    • IOS is for winners

      Iphone is way more responsive than crapsung phones by lightyears away. There’s no need to make tests to know that something is very responsive. You should just buy an Iphone and an iPad and your life will be much easier.

      • mhmmd123

        The topic not about which is the more responsive , he talking about accuracy. Go back and read before make any comment please.

        • IOS is for winners

          Google Translate isn’t working for you this time huh buddy?

          • New_Guy777

            damnyouautocorrect. Proof that with iOS, your life is much harder. Plus, I only buy smart devices. Anything without a file browser is a toy.

          • IOS is for winners

            What Proof? Are you just throwing out statements just to look smart? I never had any problems with iOS nor translating, your buddy @mhmmd123:disqus says otherwise.

          • New_Guy777

            The fact that the majority of the posts on damnyouautocorrect are from iOS devices, despite the fact that Android is the MUCH larger ecosystem. Trust the evidence of your eyes. And mhmmd123 was making a valid point. The discussion WAS about accuracy, not responsiveness. That being said, where’s your evidence about responsiveness? My S3 may miss a press once a day, which is totally acceptable for smart devices, especially as I have screen on time of over 4 hrs every day.

      • A_Noyd

        Slam your heads against the screen a few times, I am sure that will work just fine… Um, also change your last name on here to Lemmings.

        • IOS is for winners

          If it makes you feel better.

      • Wesley

        I suppose you must be touching it the wrong way…LOL

        • IOS is for winners

          I’ll be the bigger man here.

          • Wesley

            That’s a huge fail. I pity you with your inferior dumbPhone.

          • IOS is for winners

            Right. Because your previous comment makes so much sense. now who’s the one to pity here? I’ll let your brain process that a few minutes. Think about it.

          • Wesley

            You really must be the bigger man if you can only hold a little 4 inch screen phone…

          • IOS is for winners

            Translation: I have no valid rebuttal.

          • New_Guy777

            Let’s see…No expandable storage, no replaceable battery, no file browser, no “intents” for rapid sharing to any service available, less functional notification center, no true multitasking, small screen with odd aspect ratios, no replaceable dialer/launcher/keyboard/etc., no installing apps from a browser, no widgets, no NFC, no IR blaster, NO FREAKING WAY I COULD EVER USE AN IOS DEVICE!

          • KyleRay

            Oh…. but…. but they have the mostest awesomest iTunes with it’s very own magical and revolutionary file system for browsing your music. ;-P

            Only that’s all it can browse and it’s Apple’s Achilles Heel in HFS+ root file system’s fault it can’t be properly browsed. It’s also why it can’t do true real time concurrent Multitasking either!

            Because it depends it’s 70’s MFS (Mac File System) based HFS with a Plus sign for “Preemptive Task Management” on a file system that stacks tasks one on top of the other. Which is simply having the ability to suspend one task or app, in order to run another more important at the time!

          • jimrebello

            Please don’t feed the trolls.

          • No_Nickname90

            He might be at work and just needs something to do. That’s why I feed trolls. LoL!!

          • jimrebello

            Lol fair enough.

    • ScottColbert

      Now about that accuracy….

    • No_Nickname90

      I NEED my phone to be accurate since I text fast and inaccurate. Heck, my inaccuracy may actually be accurate on iOS devices. LoL!!

    • ari_free

      You really meant to say “Android is awesome and iPhones are inaccurate.” Unfortunately, you typed this out on an iPhone and ended up with this nonsense.

  • Drew M

    Screen accuracy shouldn’t matter that much if the error correction is doing its job. I mostly use the gesture typing in the Google keyboard, and it works remarkably well even when I’m being sloppy with my typing.

    • New_Guy777

      Have you ever heard of damnyouautocorrect.com? Proof the nothing truly overcomes accuracy, especially without a Swype option in iOS

  • Bud Lutz

    I bought an iPhone 5C after not owning anything iOS since 2009 or so…..after having high-end Androids since, this was the FIRST thing i noticed on the iphone…..I could not believe how inaccurate the thing was. I was continually having to tap 3-4 times to get the right button and what not. I couldn’t figure out if it was just me, but I even told one of my iFanboy co-workers how inaccurate it seemed. Guess this could be the reason!

    • Bud Lutz

      and for the record….i noticed it mainly on “back” buttons located towards the top of the screen within apps

    • HotInEER

      I agree with this. I’m a huge Android fan, but have tried to dabble in apple’s world numerous times to only be let down. I have owned a Ipad 2 and 3, several iPod touches through the years even the latest version, and my daugher begged me for a iPhone 5C and I picked it up since Best Buy was running a special and got it for free. The first thing I noticed is it was not very responsive, had to press 3-4 times to get the right button, especially on typing. It’s horrilbe. I really do not understand the fascination with Apple products, and no, they just don’t work like everyone claims. Every product I have bought had issues.

    • Jason Crumbley

      I’ve noticed this playing words with friends when trying to move the letter tiles around. It’s slightly annoying.

  • real0325

    Get over yourselves and your crapple devices!

  • zourite

    Calculated offset. By design. Apple’s attention to details is awesome.

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/5230010

    • New_Guy777

      Um, no. damnyouautocorrect.com is proof that nothing replaces accuracy, especially without a Swype option on iOS.

      • zourite

        Swipping is great, that’s for sure.
        I miss it when I switch from my Nexus to my iPhone (but typing on the iPhone is more efficient than typing on the Nexus when not swipping).

  • Del373

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the same was true of the 5th gen iPod touch. It seems I have to tap slightly below most buttons in order to enact them, tapping directly on top of the button does nothing. :/

    I haven’t had any “damn you autocorrect” moments though. My iPod is very good about registering the correct letters typed, and the voice input is superb as well.

    …but again, when I click directly on a button using my Galaxy Nexus, it actually responds. I don’t have to click below it.

    • sabby

      you are typing with it wrong.

  • Jason Crumbley

    I have a 5s and I can confirm this. I’ve also noticed a noise that kind of sounds like the glue isn’t holding properly when I press the screen.

  • Steven Skwarkowski

    Ill just leave this here.

    *http://www.lolroflmao.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/fat-fingers-the-simpsons.png

    *I have larger hands and even the note 3 sometimes isnt responsive to my hands/fingers. Maybe Im just bad at Smart Phone!

    • No_Nickname90

      When I text, I have no aim at all. LoL!! That’s why I’m glad HTC has that texting calibration for their keyboard. I use theirs, but I HATE one thing about it.

      If I text “Blicking” and want to go fix it for “Blocking” I erase everything and leave “Bl”. Well I add “ocking” but then it starts auto-correcting the “ocking” and I have “bllocking”. =.=

      WTF!? So I’d have to use stock JB keyboard since it knows that I need to correct the entire word, but I need the calibration of HTC. =.=

      The dilemma. Can’t I just have a hardware keyboard please? LoL!!

      I also hate how HTC thinks EVERY, and I do mean “every” custom word you tap in the prediction bar should be added to the personal dictionary. =.=

  • Jason Parr

    Not too sure about the iPhone 5, However, at work we use iPad mini’s and I have actually noticed this very same thing with it. My last 4 androids have had better touch response than the mini. (Incredible, DROID charge, gnex and note3)
    This kind of makes me wonder if it is not a software issue more than a hardware issue. Typing on my note 3 is a far better experience.

  • No_Nickname90

    So now the choice is yours…
    Would you rather have better response with no accuracy
    or better accuracy with less response?

    I would love for better response, but accuracy is what I need the most. I HATE software keyboards. There just doesn’t seem to be a keyboard for me, so I just use the phone’s stock keyboard. I would hate for even worst accuracy then before. My gosh, I’d throw my phone.

  • master94

    lol Samsung trolled Apple, by making them pay for damaged screens.

  • Jacel Jara

    They should have tested the nexus 4 keyboard. It is my absolute favorite phone to type on with the exception of the old phones with actual keyboards. I used to have a GS3 and I have an Iphone 5s right now and what this study says about accuracy is totally correct. Also the response is also correct the gs3 response sucked especially on JB. On ICS it was great though.

  • Jeremy Bevington

    I just got an iPhone 5s for company phone. I figured, “Hey I’m an Android guy, let’s see how the other side is” well it’s…. uncomfortable, perhaps I’m not used to the IOS, but there are major issues with it. The touch response inaccuracy is top 3 gripes about this phone.

  • Zee

    I had my friend’s iPhone 5s for some time just to check this particular issue of the accuracy… Well I had absolutely no difficulty with the letters Q, O and P… Tested with messaging and writing notes… In fact, every time I typed the letters “Q,O,P” no matter how I held the phone, it was correct. So this combined with the fact that OptoFidelity’s main sponsors are MICROSOFT and NOKIA makes the whole article funny. It just shows how easy people can believe anything they read on the internet, without making in-depth research.

    • KyleRay

      Say what? Your profile says you made all of 3 comments. So I say you’re a troll and haven’t even considered that testing like this does not simply guess about the device’s accuracy, but actually maps it out physically and that’s impossible to dummy up like your totally unscientific results.

      So I’ll ignore your results and take an independent source’s results anyday over yours!!! ;-P

      Assuming OptoFidelity is connected to any company just because they are Finnish is ridiculous. They are simply advertising their own very well crafted testing facilities to manufacturers. Just like 3rd party Warranty Contract sellers use to sell contracts to any device maker, including WP8, Android and Apple devices buyers!

  • KyleRay

    I’m sure Apple fans will claim Samsung is cheating. So let the FUD wars begin!

  • nicholos

    The results of this test do not mean what you think they do. Try again.

    http://www.neglectedpotential.com/2013/10/iphone-touchscreen-accuracy/