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Apple's iPad and iPad mini are the most touch responsive tablets, Android lags behind

Posted: , by Victor H.

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Apple's iPad and iPad mini are the most touch responsive tablets, Android lags behind
Apple’s 9.7” iPad and the iPad mini are the most responsive tablets out there, more responsive than Android tablets and Windows’ Surface slates. After releasing a study on touch responsiveness for phones, researchers from Agawi have published a comparison of how responsive popular tablets are.

The results are interesting because they show a pretty big difference in touch responsiveness between Apple products and Android devices. What’s even more interesting however is decoding where that difference comes from - is it an inherent one for the platform, or is it good optimization from Apple. We are yet to try and find an answer to this question.

Back to the actual touch responsiveness results, you’d see that the Apple iPad mini actually wins as it scores even better than the 9.7” iPad. The Nvidia Shield follows closely, and Microsoft’s Surface also ranks well. Android tablets score disappointingly low, more than 100ms.

Apple's iPad and iPad mini are the most touch responsive tablets, Android lags behind

Now, to understand these results (right below), you’d need to understand touch responsiveness, or the delay between you touch the screen and it reacts. Earlier research has shown that the current average of 100ms comes with a delay that the user can perceive - try writing something with a stylus and you’d see your writing trail your finger with a noticeable delay. At 50ms it’s still noticeable, but not so much. At 10ms, the delay is still visible, but much less. At 1ms it’s gone - the human eye perceives it as if it’s not there.

So while we’re still way off that 1ms ideal, on tablets the iPad mini and iPad are getting there fastest, but still slower than phones like the Apple iPhone 5 that scored a whopping 55ms response times. With no further ado, here are the touch response times for various devices.


source: Agawi

50 Comments
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posted on 09 Oct 2013, 07:44 9

1. PunyPoop (Posts: 624; Member since: 18 Jan 2013)


I totally agree!

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 07:53 2

6. kalloud (Posts: 74; Member since: 21 Jun 2012)


I wonder if Android is lagging due to software or hardware?. In other words can google improve touch responsiveness on existing Android devices?

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:04 11

9. addicted2088 (Posts: 47; Member since: 25 Sep 2012)


Software. Google never focused on the interface and responsive when starting with Android, only doing that with Android 4.1 and Project Butter. Couple that with its non-native Java code (yes, you can code in C or C++, but it still doesn't run natively on the OS), and you get a less responsive system than you'd like. Apple always focused on the user experience, and the optimization has resulted in a fast responding system.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:10 3

10. NexusPhan (Posts: 320; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)


If it's software, explain how the Nvidia shield running Android is just as responsive as the Apple iPad mini.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:18 4

13. NexusPhan (Posts: 320; Member since: 11 Jul 2013)


Actually it's 100% clear to me its almost all hardware. If it were software, why is the iPad mini so much slower than the iPhone 5 response time?

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:24 2

16. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


Interesting point, the Mini doesn't have a retina display. The iP5 scored much faster than both iPads, but all three run the same OS.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 16:20

38. ardent1 (Posts: 1983; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


You need to look at the data; they give the mean and the range. It would be nice if they also gave you the std dev so you can discern the coefficient of variation.

While the shield might be as responsive as the mini, it also will give you tremendous amount of frustration since you don't know how laggy it will be.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 19:29

42. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


For those of us who have had stat classes, that might be interesting. Problem is though, not many people take stat classes like we did, so it's really not important to the overall wealth of people who purchase and use tablets. I have to agree with Slammer in comment 19 below. People will often test out many different devices before making a purchase, and I'd make a wager that touch responsiveness that can barely be seen with the eye doesn't factor high on the list of decisions.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:16

12. kalloud (Posts: 74; Member since: 21 Jun 2012)


I hope that google fixes this with Android 4.4 :-)

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:22 1

34. sprockkets (Posts: 936; Member since: 16 Jan 2012)


You don't really know what you are talking about.

Project butter is just a method to draw the GUI in a smooth fashion, not so much about input responsiveness. The factors that contribute to that are drivers for the touchscreen, priority of threads for the screen and other factors in the kernel.

The whole non-native Java code argument is also crap - the code is JIT compiled at runtime and for all intents and purposes native running after the device boots up. Yeah, there is Java/Dalvik overhead, but that's not really the issue here anyhow.

As for "yes, you can code in C or C++, but it still doesn't run natively on the OS", you appear a bit confused. The NDK will take your C or C++ code and compile it to run on the various ARM or x86 instruction sets for the different devices in existence. Instead of it being JIT, it already is ready to go. Problem is, you have to make different binaries for each different arch.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 09:51

25. Tuxedo (Posts: 100; Member since: 19 Mar 2013)


If you look into Android's roots, it was a Blackberry wannabe with a hw keyboard input. It then took a whole other direction after the iPhone. Clearly a software issue. Just keep adding cores and RAM, that will do it!!

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 13:56 1

35. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


Google was producing two versions of Android at the same time, one was a BB style keyboard phone and the other was a full screen phone. The concept of the full screen phone after the iPhone is incorrect.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 11:06 2

30. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2614; Member since: 26 May 2011)


It's more to do with the expansive choice of options in the Android ecosystem. Apple can more finely tune its hardware and software because the choice is so limited. Google can't optimize for all of the different hardware, so it's up to the manufacturer to add optimizations.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 09:17 1

23. takeja (Posts: 35; Member since: 16 Aug 2013)


Milliseconds are not important, more important are the great vulnerabilities and limitations of the iPhones or iPads

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 09:53 1

26. alps0975 (Posts: 3; Member since: 04 Mar 2013)


serach for 'Ski-winter' on PA , you will find new with video which tells that Samsung wins. No reponse from ILOphone

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 07:46 13

2. HalaMadrid (Posts: 92; Member since: 04 Sep 2013)


iPads are Kings Of Tablets

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 07:57 5

8. Lampriya (limited) (Posts: 158; Member since: 05 Oct 2013)


Apple is King of Innovation. I love my iPhone 5s so much. But samsung is gonna copy the fingerprint sensor like it usually did before.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:14 16

11. CanYouSeeTheLight (Posts: 623; Member since: 05 Jul 2012)


Not sure if trolling or just stupid. Apple's innovation regarding phones and tablets died with Steve Jobs, yes the 64 bit chip and fingerprint sensor are nice features but two stand out features in a new phone is hardly innovation. Oh, and everyone copies from everyone or so it seems, Apple copies from others too, an evident example is Braun, most of the "Apple iconic designs" are actually Braun's. I do agree the iPad is the best tablet but the UI looks like a giant iPod,

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 10:03

28. jack123 (Posts: 30; Member since: 07 Jan 2013)


Agree, just like when ya swipe to exit task it just look webOS on hptouchpad except on hptouchpad you can make bound from the bottom to exit the app.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 16:22

39. ardent1 (Posts: 1983; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


Now that is a DUMB comment.

Braun didn't make electronic consumer devices running on OS.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 19:15

41. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


Why the condescending stance? Are you saying Apple's designs aren't similar to Braun's?

http://visual.ly/braun-or-apple

Nothing about the OS was mentioned in comment 11 outside of the iPad UI. Designs don't have to be software, check out the link and the hardware designs are clearly evident.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 23:36

46. maysider (Posts: 38; Member since: 11 Aug 2013)


iPad is the best tablet? Nice joke

With android we have multi user API, widgets, free browser choice.....sorry, iPads are just giant rocks for us

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 10:02 5

27. duder52 (Posts: 27; Member since: 14 Jun 2013)


Trolling or just uninformed? The fingerprint sensor has been out for a while and on other phones. Motorola had one a few years ago. The 64 bit processor is a marketing gimmick, as the phone doesn't have enough RAM to take advantage it. Having said that, qualcom and AMD have 64 bit mobile processors due out very soon and I bet the phones that they go into will actually have enough ram in them to make them worthwhile.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 23:22

43. Lampriya (limited) (Posts: 158; Member since: 05 Oct 2013)


So where is Motorola now? It isn't even avaliable in my country. If the 64 bit is not useful., why is Samsung planning to release it next year? Stop hating Apple, If there's not ios, Android won't exist either.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 23:31

45. maysider (Posts: 38; Member since: 11 Aug 2013)


It's incredible how brainwashed are you

sorry, but iPhone is the real dumbphone, its really not a smartphone, just see the facts how an iPhone is inferior and vulnerable:

bit (dot) ly/17CPlOn

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 07:46 2

3. FranksGT (Posts: 167; Member since: 29 Aug 2012)


Never had a issue with My Windows RT device, my iPad Mini is slow as it gets to be honest.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 07:50 2

4. Ninetysix (Posts: 1070; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


You should do your own testing where the RT wins.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 07:53 2

5. taikucing (unregistered)


samsung always lags.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 07:54 3

7. Lampriya (limited) (Posts: 158; Member since: 05 Oct 2013)


This is why people loves the iPhone. Like I said, copy cat can't beat the original.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 15:06 2

36. cc3493 (Posts: 121; Member since: 06 Jul 2013)


The original what? It's not the original smartphone or even original "touch" phone. They've been using those technologies for years! Iphone just popularised it.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 23:26

44. Lampriya (limited) (Posts: 158; Member since: 05 Oct 2013)


The original touch screen smartphone on the earth. Android just follwed ios.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 23:38

47. maysider (Posts: 38; Member since: 11 Aug 2013)


Nicely brainwashed and stupid....Apple ripped off LG Prada but removed features and made a dumb phone....read the facts ;)

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 15:22

37. timepilot84 (Posts: 44; Member since: 16 Aug 2012)


Yep, Palm Treo is the best smartphone ever made.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 16:26

40. ardent1 (Posts: 1983; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


That is your opinion, and opinions are not facts.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:21 1

14. Googler (Posts: 813; Member since: 10 Jun 2013)


Would have preferred the Sony Z to be in this, fastest tablet I've owned yet. Also surprised they only tested one WP tablet.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:24 3

15. poping (unregistered)


my office colleague is even more sensitive...

i look at her and she turns pink...

...

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:25

17. amats69 (Posts: 827; Member since: 12 Nov 2012)


I agree! Thats the reason why until now i stick to apple ipads..i only got a little problem after upgrading to ios 7 but it is fix now after resetting my ipad 2 and 4.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 23:41

48. maysider (Posts: 38; Member since: 11 Aug 2013)


It's called brainwashing....you're the victim thinking that one millisecond is important for you

Just look how Apple products are inferior

bit . ly/17CPlOn

Read the facts, don't be brainwashed

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:33 6

18. ahomad (Posts: 131; Member since: 15 May 2012)


why they didn't include high end tablets only mid-range ones? the new note 10.1, Xperia tablet Z ...etc

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:37 6

19. Slammer (Posts: 815; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


Marketing at its best once again. Real world shoppers haven't proved that "touch screen responsiveness" is the reason for purchase. It can't because the differences are minuscule in average operation of real world use. Not one person I ever talk to has mentioned touch screen response as the reason for purchase. I can't imagine that so many people are purchasing an Android product because it lags. But, rather because Android actually has proved it can get the job done just as fast and easily as ios.

This touch screen response thing, once again, appears to be primarily a geek trait by geek sites, to elevate relevance of a preferred product or to get their paid marketing in order by such company.

John B.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:49 1

20. Ninetysix (Posts: 1070; Member since: 08 Oct 2012)


My favorite platform didn't win so it must be a marketing scheme. My favorite platform should have offered more $ in order for the review to be in their favor.

Chan Bee

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 09:32 3

24. Slammer (Posts: 815; Member since: 03 Jun 2010)


Ninetysix, Chastising me doesn't change the truth. It took a precision tool to render an end result that mere mortals would have never noticed the difference by naked eye.

As an ex-Apple user for 10 years, I can comfortably say that Apple is not the almighty bag of magic. Yes, It does a lot of things well. But, it also lacks in many areas. Please ascend to my experiences as helpful advice rather than mixing me in with young adolescents that shoot from their hips.

John B.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 11:08

31. DukeX (Posts: 327; Member since: 28 Aug 2013)


Yes i agree with Slammer. I doubt even an experienced gamer of 19 years like myself could even notice a difference in response time down to milliseconds. I honestly have not heard anyone say as to why they brought an ipad. Yes i haven't asked but i never really heard any personal reasons from them as to why they purchased one. My uncle who is retired from the army was the only person who told me as to why he has . ipad. Because he does so much traveling and a laptop is just extra weight on his bad back. Where as another relative of mine had an ipad for the funeral we were attending at the time of my uncle's visit all to just take pictures with in front of everyone.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 08:51

21. mr.techdude (Posts: 491; Member since: 19 Nov 2012)


Lol I like where u geting at but very true and even how is the human eye gonna notice the difference. Idiots

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 09:11 1

22. scriptwriter (Posts: 396; Member since: 13 Nov 2012)


Loving the propaganda in the graph above. Making the Nvidia Shield with a score of 92 looking like the worst of the lot by giving it a large section in red. Then giving the Nexus 7 a score of 135 but then giving it a tiny red area.

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 10:09

29. enderw33 (Posts: 3; Member since: 05 Jul 2013)


Lol...those are ranges of results...learn to read a graph

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 11:47

32. jaytai0106 (Posts: 809; Member since: 30 Mar 2011)


Screen lag was never a item on the list of problem with my phone... The number 1 problem I have is battery life... Let's talk about that...

posted on 09 Oct 2013, 12:22

33. grahaman27 (Posts: 234; Member since: 05 Apr 2013)


50ms difference really tat big of a deal? Can you tell the difference? Not I. Thats 1/20th of a second...

posted on 10 Oct 2013, 02:49

49. tryingHARD (Posts: 64; Member since: 31 Dec 2012)


So this explains my s4 cant answer calls due to lag. Annoying phone!

posted on 10 Oct 2013, 04:23

50. Trex95 (Posts: 518; Member since: 03 Mar 2013)


Actually since i start using Android phones/tablets 2 years ago i noticed that the most touch responsive Android device SGS3, SGS4, Nexus 10 and Nexus 4.

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