Tablet PC Interactive Display Shopping Guide: What to Look for in a Touch Screen

Tablet PC Interactive Display Shopping Guide: What to Look for in a Touch Screen
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The Importance of a High Quality, Responsive Display

As you are probably aware, there are various types of tablet computer, from the popular Apple iPad and Android Honeycomb devices to the expensive Windows tablet PCs, which work like a standard laptop but without a hardware keyboard.

You might even have noticed some of the low end devices which are effectively large mobile phones, running old versions of Android and suffering from a lack of functionality thanks to licensing issue between the manufacturers and Google concerning devices of that size.

All of these types of devices are available for you to purchase now, but before you do, you should consider what is possibly the most important single element of any tablet computer - the touch screen. A tablet PC’s interactive display is vital for you to be able to interact with the software that is on offer, and with a touch screen system that responds poorly this can be difficult.

There are various qualities that you should be looking for in a tablet touch screen, and if the device you are considering meets these requirements then you can look forward to being a satisfied customer!

Image credit: Motorola Mobility Media Center,

Tablet Display and Touch Screen

There are various different types of display available for tablets. Some devices sport standard LCD displays, LED back-lit LCDs or even ultra-high resolution Super AMOLED.

A pricing hierarchy naturally exists here, with the standard LED displays appearing on the budget tablets and the Super AMOLED on the high-end devices. As you might have guessed already, choosing a tablet based on the display can prove expensive.

Along with the element of the display that relates the graphical information from the tablet, an additional layer also exists, designed to enable you to use your fingers to interact with the tablet and the software running on it.

There are two types of touch screen, capacitive and resistive, and the choice you make will considerably affect the way in which you use your tablet. A capacitive touch screen is particularly ideal for use with fingers, and most tablets also offer multi-touch, which means that more than one finger can be used at once, which allows various gestures to be used with the tablet operating system.

Resistive touch screens, meanwhile, are generally intended to be used with a stylus, or else they require a firm prod from the finger (this is because resistive screens are made up of two layers, and when contact is made by a stylus or finger, a circuit is completed; by contrast, capacitive devices detect changes in the screen’s electrostatic field caused by the presence of a finger). While this was a popular means of interacting with the original PDAs from HP, Palm and Microsoft, the arrival of capacitive touch screens resulted in this technology being largely discarded.

Resistive touch screens are often found on budget tablet devices, and usually result in a poor user experience.

Protecting and Cleaning Your Tablet Display

The Apple iPad 2 screen requires plenty of care

In addition to choosing a tablet PC based on its interactive display type, you should also be making your choice based on the ease with which you can clean and protect the display.

There are clear and obvious reasons for this – the display on a tablet is the monitor, mouse and keyboard rolled into one. As such you will require a means of protecting the device from scratches, grease from your fingers and any splashes that might stain the display.

When purchasing a tablet, check first for screen protectors that can be used with that device. These screen protectors are thin layers of film that take little away from the ability to use the touch screen but protect the device from scratches. As such they’re pretty vital, and will set you back up to $15 – a small price for protecting your investment.

It is also worth remembering that your tablet touch screen will require cleaning quite regularly. This is mainly because fingers possess natural grease, and by rubbing them across the screen of your tablet on a daily basis you will build up a bit of dirt. Usually this can be cleaned with a lightly dampened piece of tissue paper, but you should be checking whether there is a special method of cleaning your particular tablet display.

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Trying Out the Tablet and Using the Touch Screen

One final note that you should bear in mind: don’t purchase a tablet without trying it first. Even with a capacitive touch screen the operating system or hardware may not be up to snuff, resulting in a sluggish device that is of no benefit to anybody.

You should find a demo device in your local electrical retailer to try out for many reasons, not least to find out some of the answers to the points raised above concerning the cleaning and maintenance of your potential purchase, but also to see just how easy your chosen tablet is to use.


Author’s own experience.