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

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.

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



1. PunyPoop

Posts: 752; Member since: Jan 18, 2013

I totally agree!

6. kalloud

Posts: 155; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

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

9. addicted2088

Posts: 58; Member since: Sep 25, 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.

10. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

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

13. NexusPhan

Posts: 632; Member since: Jul 11, 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?

16. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 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.

38. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 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.

42. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 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.

12. kalloud

Posts: 155; Member since: Jun 21, 2012

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

34. sprockkets

Posts: 1612; Member since: Jan 16, 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.

25. Tuxedo

Posts: 356; Member since: Mar 19, 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!!

35. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 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.

30. MichaelHeller

Posts: 2734; Member since: May 26, 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.

23. takeja

Posts: 35; Member since: Aug 16, 2013

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

26. alps0975

Posts: 3; Member since: Mar 04, 2013

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

2. HalaMadrid

Posts: 92; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

iPads are Kings Of Tablets

8. Lampriya

Posts: 245; Member since: Oct 05, 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.

11. CanYouSeeTheLight

Posts: 1122; Member since: Jul 05, 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,

28. jack123

Posts: 278; Member since: Jan 07, 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.

39. ardent1

Posts: 2000; Member since: Apr 16, 2011

Now that is a DUMB comment. Braun didn't make electronic consumer devices running on OS.

41. Googler

Posts: 813; Member since: Jun 10, 2013

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

46. maysider

Posts: 38; Member since: Aug 11, 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

27. duder52

Posts: 27; Member since: Jun 14, 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.

43. Lampriya

Posts: 245; Member since: Oct 05, 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.

45. maysider

Posts: 38; Member since: Aug 11, 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

3. FranksGT

Posts: 167; Member since: Aug 29, 2012

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

4. Ninetysix

Posts: 2965; Member since: Oct 08, 2012

You should do your own testing where the RT wins.

5. taikucing unregistered

samsung always lags.

7. Lampriya

Posts: 245; Member since: Oct 05, 2013

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

36. cc3493

Posts: 158; Member since: Jul 06, 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.

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