The Android interface is designed to be managed with at least 3 buttons: the back button, the button and the one of recent applications. Nowadays, These buttons are found integrated into our mobiles in two different ways: physical or capacitive in our frame or integrated into the screen itself.
Today, We open a new debate as a result of these two implementations, so that we will previously analyze each one of them and then draw some conclusions from the best and the worst of each one.. At the end, you will have a survey in Discoosion where we can see which solution is the most preferred.
Capacitive buttons vs. buttons on screen, let the discussion begin
We’ll start by going back in time, to find out how it all started. It was the physical buttons, that is, integrated into the frame of the device, the first to come to light. It was not until 2011 when Google together with Samsung created the Galaxy Nexus, the first Android mobile with on-screen buttons, thanks to Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich.
In the wake of the Galaxy Nexus, on-screen buttons grew like foam. Not only the Google Nexus range has implemented it to this day, but we could say that firms like LG, Sony or HTC have practically a complete template of devices with on-screen buttons.
For starters, the great advantage of the on-screen buttons is visible to the naked eye: less frame and physical body of our mobile itself, in addition to having “more screen”. This last statement is the most disputed, since in effect we have more screen but it is a “useless” piece, since it is only used as a button bar. However, with the arrival of Android 4.4 KitKat, this bar becomes transparent and disappears as soon as we run games or applications that require full screen ().
Thus, when we hear “that a smartphone has a 6-inch screen” we often forget that button bar, which reduces it to approximately ~ 0.3 inches. Another advantage could be considered ability to customize these buttons offered by Android, such as changing their icon, their position on the screen or their color, as well as removing or adding new ones.
To finish, also highlight the debate on the durability of on-screen buttons, since on the one hand they will never wear out (not like physical buttons) but on the other hand there is a risk of invalidity of one or more buttons when suffering a screen break through this lower area where they are usually placed. Examples of terminals with buttons on the screen are the Google Nexus, the latest LG G, such as the G3, G4 and G5 or also the Xperia Z range from Sony.
The capacitive buttons are not the same as the physical buttons, that is, both are integrated into the frame and therefore outside the screen of our mobile but some are tactile (capacitive) while the others are buttons themselves. The latter were the first, but today they are almost extinct.
On many occasions we can find devices with a combination of both types of buttonsthat is, the back and recent apps touch buttons and the physical, in the middle of the terminal, as companies like Samsung or Xiaomi do. Others like bq, OnePlus and more prefer to have all 3 of the capacitive type.
The main advantage of capacitive buttons is the possibility of enjoying more “pure” screen, that is, without buttons. Like the previous implementation, it also has its weak point, since we gain more screen but lose in dimensions, since we integrate these buttons in the frame from our terminal.
Another advantage of this implementation also comes in relation to the buttons on the screen, since as we have mentioned, the latter disappear when playing a video or running a game, so if we want to close the application or “pull” backwards, we must do two , one to show the button bar and one to go back. Instead, With the physical or capacitive buttons, they are always there, so that we can press them whenever we want.
These buttons also have a disadvantage, and that is that can wear out over time (especially the physical ones), both in its icon and the button itself, with so many keystrokes that we give it. Some say that your response is usually not that quick like a button on the screen, but from my point of view the difference is negligible. Also noteworthy is the inability to customize and modify them to our liking, since they will always be there whether we want to or not.
So which one is better?
Which implementation offers more screen or less screen? What solution is better in the long term? Which of the two is less susceptible to external damage? This is where you come in. To clarify any doubts, we have opened a survey in which you can leave your opinion and politely discuss these questions.
Anyway, unless one of the two types is a great nuisance to us, this section is not the most significant when deciding or judging a device, since we will probably end up testing terminals with one or another implementation, without noticing any difference.
Related topics: Other Android