Poll: Do you prefer physical or software navigational buttons?

Poll: Do you prefer physical or software navigational buttons?
With a few exceptions, the most notable of which being Samsung, most smartphone manufacturers have transitioned towards software navigation keys for their Android devices. We'd wager that designing for those cutouts and then connecting the separately-supplied buttons to the board adds overhead that many handset makers obviously don't feel is worth their while.

But while businesses are typically mostly interested in maximizing profits, us, the consumer base, are more about siphoning the most value out of a product. In other words, it's easy to see why a manufacturer's decision to skip on hardware or capacitive keys may not align with our own demands. Certainly, software navigation keys come at the expense of screen real estate – a highly-valuable asset for many of us. And yet despite this, it isn't uncommon for us to come across folks who seemingly shun physical or capacitive buttons in favor of a software implementation. 

Which group do you fall into? Let us know why!

Do you prefer physical or software navigational buttons?

I prefer physical/capacitive buttons
57.14%
I prefer software buttons
42.86%

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72 Comments

1. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

As a Windows Phone user, Capacitive keys ftw :)

4. itsdeepak4u2000

Posts: 3718; Member since: Nov 03, 2012

Personally I prefer Physical / Capacitive buttons for both Android as well as Windows.

9. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

I think Physical for ALL PHONES!!!!!! and their functions should be in an ALWAYS ON state, in case my phone decides to take a dump, in the middle of a critical function, for example, 1. navigating freeways, in traffic. or 2. getting a Hot ass Chicks Number in a busy ass night club. Lord KNOWS she cant be bothered to wait for ur phone that actually COMPLETES TASKS in the Backround to correct itself into Big Boss-Player-number getting Mac Daddy mode........kuz she has an iPhone! :-D (written while listening to Wolfgang Carter's - "The Way it Was." Look it up on YouTube if u Dont already Know!!!! PLAYA!!!!)

20. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

IMO PIE small bezels > Physical > Software small bezels > Capacitive > Software big bezels Capacitive are basically software buttons in terms of accidental hits They may as well extend the screen, use software instead of capacitive and reduce the bezels IMO PIE controls (e.g. LMT) is better than physical since PIE controls can't break, it doesn't real-estate as well and they are harder to accidentally hit as well

25. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

i guess im not as smart as i thought i was...... or im too lazy to look up the Acronyms i dont undestand......lols whats PIE, and LMT ???

47. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

LMT Launcher is a one of the many versions of PIE Controls Its basically software keys, but they are hidden To use them instead of a tap, its a swype So they don't take up screen space And there's a much lower chance of accidentally hitting them Also if you want you can also hide the status bar for even more screen space than physical buttons (the status bar stuff can be set to appear while you are swiping) The only negative is you need to root to get them And some people find them hard to get used to

71. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Till the software is able sense the need to press the home button everytime and tuck it away when its not need. Screen home button make the screen look uneven and its dead space in term of usability. I like XiaoMi Capacitive button and Samsung Home button design over LG screen button. That the main reason I staying away from G3

37. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Software all the way, they're more dynamic and able to show what each button does in a specific scenario such as the back button pointing when the keyboard is up to show that the back button will remove the keyboard. The other thing is that they can move to better accommodate orientation and are easier to hit with larger screened phones since you don't require any force and therefore, hand acrobatics.

46. Shubham412302

Posts: 569; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

on screen keys interfere while gaming. when google now suddenly comes out

2. AmitMajumder

Posts: 178; Member since: May 21, 2012

Physical / Capacitive. Because it doesn't take away precious screen real-estate!!!

5. DogeShibe

Posts: 1121; Member since: Jan 10, 2014

Most of the flagships come with over 5.2' screens. How much real estate do you want? Actually its about the convenience of the user.

10. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

lammmeeeee Screw ur "convenience" loser. is ppl like u that set back the development of phone tech!!! Bigger, Faster, Smarter, Stronger, ALWAYS, At ALL Times!!!!

23. james.blunt.1973

Posts: 41; Member since: Dec 15, 2013

Like u'r idea, nothing is never enough!!!

26. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

its not, is it? at least in speed, battery life, and relative size i mean. photo tech too

6. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

Thank you.

14. Suo.Eno

Posts: 556; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

What precious screen real estate? Have you not heard of immersive mode? Even old Galaxy Nexus can do this.

28. dsDoan

Posts: 235; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

Yes, it does. In the area where your physical/capacitive buttons are, there could have been more screen real-estate, dynamically occupied by on-screen navigation. By opting for physical/capacitive buttons, you are losing screen real-estate.

40. Cicero

Posts: 1115; Member since: Jan 22, 2014

Did you actually look on the phones. All with capacitive are with a more lenght from the bottom of the phone to the bottom of the screen the that with physical button.

38. laughmi

Posts: 283; Member since: Oct 28, 2014

You nailed it Amit

39. Amir1 unregistered

in a few years ALL phones will have on screen buttons only.

3. hmd74

Posts: 540; Member since: Jan 31, 2013

Software ones as long as they help companies make phones with less display bezels....

11. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

i hate bezel complainers. it such a cop-out. its the pickiest thing EVER!!! most companies makin phones have Bezels to help the phone screen actually SURVIVE dropz n such. so DONT B a Dumbass n then put ur "Bezeless" phone in an OtterBox Defender Case Afterward!!!

18. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Bezels dont really affect durability if designed right Just look at how many shattered iPhones with huge bezels there are

27. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

its kuz theyre MADE OF GLASS!!!!! HELOOOOOO????? man dude think PLEASE b4 u comment

19. Suo.Eno

Posts: 556; Member since: Feb 17, 2013

There's side bezels and then there's that top and bottom forehead w/ chin as I'd like to call it. Thinner bezels doesn't mean ZERO bezels I don't think any OEM on earth can pull that off logically on current available tech. And using a case is a matter of personal preference and not just to protect the sides. And you need to calm down with your name calling, that guy you've responded to certainly didn't do anything to warrant that.

24. vincelongman

Posts: 5677; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Exactly OEMs need to reduce the top and bottom bezels now The side bezels are already small enough Anyway smaller is only a mm or two Its just like how making phones thinner now is pointless IMO But reducing the top and bottom bezels can reduce a phones' height by ~1+ cm Which makes them far easier to hold and to reach the top corners

31. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

yes, the tops could use some trimming ill agree, but NOT at the expense of a big Front facing camera (5MP minimum), and all the cool sensors out nowdays, and the hopefully Physical buttons.

30. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

using a case is not really preferential. u could always use a Vinyl Skin if u TRULY care that much about design n style, over the protection factor that cases offer. And i have a hard time being calm when people are Voluntarilly that STEWPID!!

7. Loubielou

Posts: 603; Member since: Jul 11, 2012

This is Why Sony Phones are not to Popular with Consumers by missing the Home Button Out

12. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

not even. its the marketing and avalibility sadly enough. Gettin Better tho now. u seen the comercials sayin u can play PS4 on ur phone on ur Roof!?!? AWESOMMEEE!!!!!

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