Ski winter? Phone displays that can be used with gloves and nails
Nokia might have marketed the gloves-on and fingernail craze with the supersensitive screen on its Lumia 920, but before that we had Sony's Xperia sola which received a glove mode with the Android ICS update. Since then a bunch of major manufacturers jumped on the bandwagon. It's a pretty useful feature, especially when you live in cold climates, or are heading to the ski slopes on a regular basis, not to mention if you are on the construction project every day and get a phone call, or if you are a race driver. On second thought - don't answer that phone call during your NASCAR race, you are not Jean Girard!
The common thread among all phone makers that introduced smartphones with supersensitive displays is the touch layer made by Synaptics - a Californian company you might have not heard about, but which has likely made the touchpad on the very laptop you are reading this with.
Synaptics' engineers have managed to produce a powerful touch controller, which can use sophisticated algorithms to determine if the electric field, created by the touch sensors in your display, is being disturbed by a finger, glove, nail, stylus or another object, and weed out the noise from simple rubbing in your purse or pocket. This way you can answer a phone call or unlock the display to read an incoming message without having to remove your glove on the ski lift, or having to trim your ghetto French manicure.
We are rounding up a few of the smartphones with supersensitive displays that are out and about right now, in case you need to know which ones you can trust heading for the slopes.
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Nokia might have made the supersensitive touchscreen tech popular, but Sony was first with the Xperia sola, and takes it to a whole new level in the Xperia Z Ultra, whose 6.3" display, the largest on a phone, is a really conducive playground for any such experiment. Besides the usual glove/nail usage, it allows you to handwrite or simply doodle on its vast screen directly with a regular pen or pencil.
Samsung's flagship for the year also pumped up its Synaptics touch layer for a gloves-on performance, as you can see in our dirty mittens test video here.
The new Galaxy Note 3 is a marvel of Wacom digitizing, letting you do wonders with the supplied S Pen stylus, but Samsung has left room for the good old glove and fingernail performance as well.
Huawei also jumped on the sensitive touchscreen bandwagon with the Ascend P2, introducing the "Glove Mode" toggle in its interface settings.
The anorexic 6.18mm Huawei Ascend P6 is also laden with a supersensitive touch layer and a Glove Mode switch in the options menu.