Agawi TouchMark

Say what you will, but Apple owns the most responsive mobile OS and has the smoothest multitouch implementation by leaps and bounds.

Unsurprisingly, the Retina display hardware is a major part of that accomplishment – and I’m not talking about pixel density or image quality.

No, the key contributing factor to the iPhone’s multitouch immediacy is the short response time of the device’s touch panel on the hardware level. In fact, Apple’s capacitive touchscreen implementation runs circles around competition, a recent barrage of tests have proven.

The iPhone 5’s four-inch Retina screen is significantly faster than any of its rivals – up to twice as fast as its nearest competitor. Jump past the fold for detailed findings…

Agawi recently carried out a series of TouchMark tests to determine the touchscreen response times of a few popular smartphones like Apple’s iPhone 5 and iPhone 4, Samsung’s Galaxy S4, Nokia’s Lumia 928, Motorola’s Moto X and HTC’s One.

As seen on the chart top of post (lower is better), the iPhone 5’s Retina screen is more than twice as responsive as Samsung’s Galaxy S4 (or any Android or Windows Phone 8 device tested) and more than 50 percent faster than its predecessor, the iPhone 4.

Since touchscreen hardware has significant latency itself, our best guess at Agawi is that Apple’s touchscreen hardware is better optimized or more sensitively calibrated for capturing and processing touch.

Part of that owes to iOS processing touschscreen input way faster than Android. That’s because iOS is based on Objective C, a runtime environment that’s significantly snappier than Android’s Dalvik and CLR runtimes.

At the end of the day, this could be exactly why people are consistently praising Apple mobile devices’s fluidness and responsiveness.

As a result, “the best written apps on iPhones will simply feel more responsive than similar apps on the current gen of Android devices”. Plus, it could be why the iPhone’s keyboard “generally feels better than the Android keyboard to many people,” Agawi notes.

Agawi’s measurements could also indicate that the touchscreen lag – observed when moving your finger across the iPhone 5’s touchscreen in a rapid succession – may have been a software issue after all, one Apple has likely patched with one of iOS updates.

Touchscreen responsiveness is part hardware and part software.

That’s why Agawi has gone out its way to couple its in-house built Touchscope hardware (seen below) to custom software algorithms for accurate measurements. The kit measures the response time by capturing the time difference between activation of the Force Sensitive Resistor on the glove and the Light Sensitive Resistor positioned over the device.

Agawi Touchscope hardware

The system also employs high frame rate cameras that capture footage at 240 frames per second – twice as fast as the iPhone 5s’s Slow-Mo mode – and a special app that flashes the screen white as quickly as possible in response to a touch.

“The apps contain minimal logic and use OpenGL/DirectX rendering to make sure the response is as quick as possible,” explains the team.

Agawi originally reported TouchMark scores twelve days ago, but we figured the findings were postworthy enough to share here for the sake of discussion.

The iPhone has always been famous for its fluid animations, responsive user interface and the best multi-touch implementation on any mobile device hands down. Therefore, it is encouraging Apple’s engineers have remained focused on these qualities throughout the years, don’t you think?

  • Taf Khan

    Apple 1 – 0 The Rest of the world

    Lets face it, Android, Blackberry OS, Win Mo, Symbian…. None of them stack up to equal or better what iOS has to offer. 😛

    • Vamos

      Dude, Symbian was awesome OS. Mainly because it was designed to use less resources. I remember my old Symbian phone with ~250 Mhz CPU and 128 RAM. And it supports multitasking (maybe even better than Android)

      • Taf Khan

        Well Symbian on my N95 was pretty cool, so maybe Symbian comes in 2nd place before the others. 😉

      • Cameli Paulos

        ohh thakx for the latest news
        but i have used Nokia symbian phones & it wasnt fast
        & iPhone launched in 2007 has same kind of configuration & it was way faster & fluid than that symbian OS phones coz of iOS!!

      • Vamos

        You’re welcome. Want some more latest news? Lemme remind you. The first iPhone had 412MHz ARM chip, it did not support multitasking (even copy-paste) and there was no App Store.
        P.S. Are you sure it was Nokia device? Maybe Android /s

      • Cameli Paulos

        he he!
        you are a nokia/symbian engineer & we are dumb people who dont know anything about technology
        i used Nokia 6600, 6630, 3250, N91, N73, N95, 9300 Communicator, E90 Communicator & last was 5800 Xpress music which i compared (for touch screen even speed wasnt that good like iPhone but…) with iPhone & lost trust in nokia. but really loved nokia & now i regret for that!!!

    • Charlie Val

      I own an iPad 4 and my Note 2 does a lot more. It may be a tad smoother but the things Android can do, iOS can’t compare.

      • Stefan Matar

        man, here are apple-fanboys around, watch out what you say^^

      • ClaudieX X

        May be you don’t belong here…. Is like going to germany and said.. Wach out!! Blue eyes everywere !! Boy… go to an Android fan page an live your life.

      • Philthy

        As a blue eyed german i can say that you have a place in the iDownloadblog Hall of Fame with the dumbest Post ever written on this Blog. Have you ever been in Germany or you have this “knowledge” from the TV? Probably your education came also from television otherwise you wouldn‘t write such BS.

      • ClaudieX X

        Germans Anger… the world knows about it… dont care that they are sooo wrong they will do and said what they care. Im so sorry about talking about you at first place.

      • Stefan Matar

        The way you said that makes me feel that you have a very weak personality :/

        I’m sorry for you

      • ClaudieX X

        Im sorry for you… that you came here… a blog about apple things and start making jokes about it. And then you talk about personality… come on…

      • Stefan Matar

        I didn’t really made jokes, I just told him to watch out

        But I don’t want to discuss anything right now

        have a nice day

      • ClaudieX X

        Thanks! God bless you…

      • Saria Hajjar

        Listen to me you sîck fück! everytime you feel like a dïćk-head, go burn in hell… When that guy gave his opinion, i didn’t start shouting “he’s an android fan-boy thats why he said that” i respect that guy for giving his opinion but a little prick like you deserves nothing but the beating of a lifetime

      • blastingbigairs

        You do realize this is a tech blog right?? You okay bro??

      • Saria Hajjar

        I never been better but i just hate these pathetic people that always uses something that its not meant to be used, i mean sometimes there are fanboys but not every situation has a famboy

      • Cameron Chao

        Sure, you can have fun experimenting with doing pointless stuff on your note 2, but at the end of the day, Apple does the main stuff correctly and with a lot less problems than what Android is known for.

      • mehrab

        Thank you for saying what i wanted to correctly.

      • RarestName

        Third party applications like Dropbox work better on Android than on iOS.

      • Cameron Chao

        Since you put it that way, most other apps found on both iOS and Android works better for iOS, because of how fragmented Android is. Oh and thats if the app is even available on Android. I much prefer iCloud to Dropbox anyway, since im almost all Apple.

      • RarestName

        iCloud is not the same as Dropbox. I use both of them.

      • mehrab

        Your note 2 does uncessary things that in reality you never use. Whats the point of doong more? Play withyour shitty features we”ll play withour apps games and actaul useful aesome implemented features

      • blastingbigairs

        Android may do a few more things, but even after all these years, it’s still not as refined as IOS. Can you say cheap and cheesy???

    • LUFC4LIFE

      Get real, fanboy. My HTC One pisses all over my iPhone 5, and Android does so much more than iOS will ever do … Have you ever used a top end Android device? Your response suggests not, otherwise you’d never have made your, frankly speaking, brash and incorrect statement.

      • Umut Bilgiç

        Lol. The thing you responded to says that symbian should be the second best Mobile OS. Nothing to do with fanboy, android-kicks-ios’s-butt stff. At least be on topic before raging harmendously and writing 9 year-oldish comments.

      • Cameron Chao

        Many of us have, the most important things most people have to do on a smartphone can be done on an iPhone, and doing it with an iPhone is a much better experience than on an Android. Even so, this website is pro-jailbreak, there are TONs of stuff we can get with jailbreak, most of the things iPhone users want of Android can be found with Jailbreak, thats because developers may copy from it. Sure maybe you can still do more with Android, but i cant think of anything software related that i want my iPhone to be able to do that Android can, why not you tell me.

      • Umut Bilgiç

        Couldnt agree more.

      • Taf Khan

        I purchased a HTC One for the wife, I agree in that its a nice phone, probably the best Android phone yet. But for me iOS still better. I prefer the feel of ios, it runs smoothly, is responsive, allows me to do what I want efficiently, no messing about. The Apps are great and never crash or refuse to install, things on ios just work the way they should do.

        That’s my opinion based on my experience.

    • Matt G

      One thing that iOS lacks is sharing within apps. A big function and time saver that android has in comparison.

      • Cameli Paulos

        ohhh if your OS can share a app means it is the best one on the planet?
        so nice of you :p
        i guess i can share app in app store with email & it is there from some years.
        & it feels very good when u send anything by email…professional feel
        you send data via bluetooth & get or send so many viruses, this is not a problem with Apple iPhones

      • Now I love iOS but I agree about the sharing. You are very wrongly informed. The poster was suggesting how sharing files and pictures between apps works on android. Its far more versatile than iOS. He isn’t literally talking about sharing apps. So before you jump all over someone for stating their opinion, make sure you have your facts straight.

      • Cameli Paulos

        same thing was there not there in Apple. as apple dont want to deal with viruse (there are very less viruses for apple compare to android) so they never provided FTP support for bluetooth but in iOS 7 they added it for iPhone 5 & onwards iPhones with WIFI transfer.

  • fraggot

    What does the display have to do with how responsive the touch sensors are?

    • Zaidan Umar

      Lemme guess, maybe because the touch sensors and the display is the same thing!

      • LUFC4LIFE

        My TV has a display but there are no touch sensors, you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.

      • Umut Bilgiç

        He was talking about touch sensors being hardly implemented deeply with display on iOS devices. Not yo TV. Your logic is ancient get a new one 😛

      • Zaidan Umar

        Exactly, that’s what happens when you skip to the comments without reading the article

  • Barry

    Personally, I feel like Androids have smoother screens in general, which feels more comfortable. With iPhones, I always have to use the top of my fingers because when I swipe with the index of my fingers, it always feels so harsh when I swipe.

    • Tonka Thor

      Are you serious? The article is talking about the performance not screen texture.

      • Barry

        It’s about screens. That’s enough for me.

      • Toni

        Funny enough I sometimes have the same feeling sometimes (just sometimes) my finger gets “stuck” on the screen when swiping on my IPad that never happens on my Nexus 4, though I have to say that the touch responsivenes of my N4 is not nearly as fast and precise as on my iPad.

      • Moi

        That never happened with my iPad !

      • Jim

        maybe it’s time to stop picking your nose then touching the screen…
        or maybe you should wash your fingers more often…

      • Moi

        In manny many anderoid phones I have to push multitouch buttons so hard as a real physical button to work but it’s very better with apple multitouch.

    • Barry

      Wauw, what’s with the downvotes. Lel.

    • BoardDWorld

      I only get that after a couple of hours playing Infinity Blade, but you wouldn’t get that problem, not with that game at least… 🙂

    • mehrab

      Yes its more slimish and slippery and smoother
      Iphone screens are more balanced

  • omrishtam

    cuz it’s better?

  • sn1p3r

    I’ve had the galaxy s1,2,3 nexus, note 1, iphone 4s and now the iphone 5. And I can tell you that the iphones have the fastest user interfaces and touch screen responsiveness, hands down!.

  • Gate

    Typo?
    “… the iPhone 5′s Retina screen is more than twice as responsive as Samsung’s Galaxy S4 (or any Android or Windows Phone 8 device tested) and more than 50 percent faster than its predecessor, the iPhone 5.”

    Should be iPhone 4?

  • Joseph A. Ahmad

    I do Android and Windows mobile OS’s have some great feature, but this article just reminds of what I always forget when I use my iPhone. Whenever I pick up an Android, I’m pretty impressed by it, but then I scroll or swipe, and it all becomes a buzz kill. It just doesn’t compare to iOS and its responsiveness. Seriously.

    • Umut Bilgiç

      Man. You just summed up everything I had in my mind, thanks for the great comment. I just dont get why people can get critisized over the piece if tech they use. It is about your financial situation, your needs and what not. Calling someone iSheep or Fandroid wont get us anywhere. At the end of the day, you are the one getting to decide what to buy. No body is getting brainwashed. I personally love iOS, just becouse it feels cleaner and smoother. That doesnt mean I am a “n00b” about computers anyway. I have graduate degree on software engineering and computer architecture. I love Android too, but dont use it for couple of reasons: From what I have been feeling about it after using it for quite some time, it just felt like a piece of clutter. It was not very user friendly (at least that ia what I experienced). And, U prefer iPhone’s build quality over anything. Cant lie though, it is frustrating sometimes the possibilities availinle for android users :p

      • Joseph A. Ahmad

        Build quality for iPhones are second to none. The only thing that comes close to the hardware of an iPhone is the HTC One. And you’re absolutely right, for casual use, it is definitely nice to have a user friendly interface as opposed to all the complex settings you see on Android, which are nice to mess around with, but to get things done, are not entirely necessary.

      • RarestName

        iSheep

      • Joseph A. Ahmad

        I own PCs, I’ve used Androids before, I’m everything but blinded to the world outside of Apple. Much respect to you, though.

      • RarestName

        It’s supposed to a joke (ಠ_ಠ)

      • Joseph A. Ahmad

        It would be easier to tell in person, satire isn’t really easily perceived over the internet, but excellent joke! lol 😀

      • Umut Bilgiç

        Exactly! HTC One has the best quality for an android phone in my opinion!

  • Erik

    Very very true. This is why I can’t get an android. That split second after you click.. It’s just not as responsive or smooth as iOS.

  • Sokrates

    FINALLY. A proof of what I’ve been trying to tell people since the iPhone came out.

  • Tom

    apple again is king

  • TesticularFortitude

    Dan will claim this is a ‘feature’ of Android.

  • Does this have the same result for the Retina iPad?

  • Cameli Paulos

    what i think is iPhone’s OR apple iOS is BEST mobile operating system.

    now fan-droid will spit shit on this comments but who care for such shitters.

    i know so many features which come in android first & in iOS later come as BEST in iOS. android just launch new things but there are so many issues in that features but when apple reinvent it in iOS it become the best.
    same thing happen for so many hardware related features available in iPhone.
    take a e.g. of notification center it was actually developed by some jailbreak tool (as i seen so many pages even i think it’s android) then android given it but when apple given same in iOS it has so many ideas, its clean.
    notification has only notifications & you need to swipe from below to get control center to access other features.
    notification center in android is so much of things coming at once. bit confusing where iPhone’s notification center is nice

    • mehrab

      Control centre airdrop multitasking notification centre was copied from android and bla bla wahtever they are perfected features they were done RIGHT.

      • Cameli Paulos

        yes it is copied from android.
        who denying that?
        i said i never liked the way it was on my android phone. in iOS 7 its very well executed
        as apple fan i like the way iOS is & as droid fan u love your droid

  • blastingbigairs

    Yet another reason I will never go back to a Samstunk device!!