Mobile

iPad has the fastest touchscreen, and Kindle Fire HD beats pricier Android tablets

Above: Agawi TouchMarks II measures touchscreen speeds.

Image Credit: Agawi

Apple’s iPad has the speediest touchscreen, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD is surprisingly faster than more expensive Android tablets, according to a new TouchMarks II benchmark survey by app streaming firm Agawi.

The Apple iPad Mini came out on top with a response time of 75 milliseconds, or more than twice as responsive as the Google Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0, said Rohan Relan, the cofounder and CEO of Agawi, an interview with VentureBeat. The fourth-generation iPad came out at 81 milliseconds.

Agawi's TouchScope measures touchscreen responsiveness.

Above: Agawi’s TouchScope measures touchscreen responsiveness.

More surprisingly, the new Kindle Fire HD released on Oct. 2 also has a faster touchscreen than the Google Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 8.0. The Kindle Fire HD measured at 114 milliseconds, compared to 135 for the Nexus 7 and 168 for the Galaxy Tab 3 8.0.

“The iPad significantly outperforms all the other devices, but Amazon did well even though its device is $90 cheaper than the Nexus 7 and $160 cheaper than the Galaxy Tab 3,” Relan said. “This is important because tablets are more often used in gaming and interactive music applications.”

Nvidia’s Android-based game device, the Shield, came in at No. 3 at 92 milliseconds, while the Microsoft Surface Windows RT came in at 95.

Agawi previously made headlines with its debut report on touchscreen speeds when it found that Apple’s iPhone 5 touchscreen was 2.5 times faster than Android devices. In that sense, the iPad’s superiority isn’t a surprise, Relan said.

Relan said his team is still investigating the reasons why the results come out the way they do. He said that Amazon may be willing to sell its hardware at a loss, and so it may have included better touchsreen components in its device.

Apple may also have increased the polling frequency for touches, which could cause a tradeoff of speed versus battery life.

The TouchMarks benchmark measures the touchscreen latency, which is as important to users as display quality. Most competitive discussions focus on pixels per inch and quality of image. The TouchMarks II benchmark measured the minimum app response time [MART] scores. The benchmark tests the lightest possible apps, measuring how immediately they respond on a given device. Agawi’s AppGlimpse division plans to regularly measure the speed of various devices.

Agawi specializes in tech that runs rich, interactive apps in the cloud and streams them to iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 8 devices. The company’s team of engineers test responsiveness so they can measure just how acceptable the cloud-based content is to users. The team built a device dubbed Touchscope that can measure response times to a level of accuracy that is plus or minus 4 milliseconds. It then adds the cloud processing response time to calculate the actual delays experienced by users.

“App responsiveness is judged by how quickly an app can respond to your touch inputs,” said Relan. “MART scores are really important in understanding how fast a touch device can possibly respond to your touch, even if the app is doing absolutely nothing else.”

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