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Compare Touch Technologies:

5-Wire Resistive 4-Wire Resistive Capacitive Surface Acoustic Wave
Technology
Utilizes the bottom substrate for both X- and Y-axis measurements. The flexible coversheet acts only as a voltage-measuring probe. This means the touch screen continues working properly even with non uniformity in the cover sheet's conductive coating. The result is an accurate, durable and reliable touch screen that offers drift-free operation.
Must use two layers to create X- and Y-axis measurements. For the Y axis, the flexible top coversheet acts as a uniform voltage gradient, while the bottom substrate acts as the voltage probe. The constant flexing that occurs on the outer coversheet will change its electrical characteristics (resistance) with use, degrading the linearity and accuracy of this axis.
It consists of a glass panel with a capacitive (charge storing) material coating its surface. Circuits located at corners of the screen measure the capacitance of a person touching the overlay. Frequency changes are measured to determine the X and Y coordinates of the touch event.
It is based on sending acoustic waves across a clear glass panel with a series of transducers and reflectors. When a finger touches the screen, the waves are absorbed, causing a touch event to be detected at that point.
Advantages High touch resolution High touch resolution High touch resolution High touch resolution
 
Pressure sensitive, works with any stylus
Pressure sensitive, works with any stylus
High image clarity
Highest image clarity
 
Not affected by dirt, dust, water, or light
Not affected by dirt, dust, water, or light
Not affected by dirt, grease, moisture.
All glass panel, no coatings or layers that can wear out or damage
 
Tested for 35 Million Touches without failure on single point  
1 Million Touches without failure in one location
Tested over 160 Million Touches without degradable
Tested over 50 Million Touches without failure. DustProof models with unmatched touch life than any other technologies
 
More durable then 4-Wire Resistive technology
Affordable Touch Screen technology
Most Durable
Most durable and Cost Effective than Capacitive
Disadvantages 80 % clarity 80 % clarity
Must be touched by finger, will not work with any non-conductive input
Must be touched by finger, gloved hand, or soft-tip stylus. Something hard like a pen won't work
  Resistive layers can be damaged by a sharp object.
Less durable then 5-Wire Resistive technology, resistive layers can be damaged by a sharp object.
   
    1 million-touch life max    
    Less Accurate Over Time    
Applications
Resistive screens are very durable and can be used in a variety of environments. This type of screen is recommended for demanding point-of-sale systems, restaurant systems, industrial controls, and other workplace applications.
Resistive screens are recommended for individual, home, school, or office use, or less demanding point-of-sale systems, restaurant systems, etc.
Capacitive type touch screens are very durable, and have a high clarity. They are used in a wide range of applications, from restaurant and POS use to industrial controls and information kiosks
SAW Touch Screen is all glass there are no layers that can be worn, giving this technology the highest durability factor and also the highest clarity. This technology is recommended for public information kiosks, computer based training, or other high traffic indoor environments.
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