Android Headunit touch panel types

Resistive Touch vs Capacitive Touch

Touch Panels

All android headunits have touch panels. Sometimes they are called a touch screen, but the display screen is a distinctly different part from the touch panel. The touch panel is clear and sits directly on top of the display. The touch panel is the thing that accepts the finger taps and swipes. The display panel shows the images.

Touch panel technology

The two competing technologies behind the touch panel are Resistive Touch and Capacitive Touch. They both accept finger taps and swipes on your android headunit screen but they do it in different ways.

Resistive Touch

Resistive Touch is the early and well established for of touch input. Several layers of plastic and glass are made up to cover the entire display panel. The top layers of plastic will deform slightly when touched and this can produce a change in electrical resistance in the layers. This electrical resistance change can be interpreted as a ‘touch’ on the panel.

Disadvantages of the Resistive touch panel on an android headunit are due to the multiple layers that make up the resisitve touch sensor. Multiple layers over the display panel can reduce the brightness of the screen and doesn’t quite show the true display.

Advantages of Resistive touch panels for an android headunit are the lower manufacturing costs over the Capacitive touch panel. Other advantages are a greater durability and the good reaction to touch by a gloved hand.

Capacitive touch panels

Capacitive touch panels are found on some android headunits. They operate by detecting the electrical charge transferred from the human body to the touch panel. The layers of a capacitive screen are still layered over the display panel but they are not so bulky as they don’t need to flex.

Advantages of the Capacitive screen are a better contrast and brightness from the screen under it than you get with a resistive touch panel. This is due to the fewer and thinner layers required to operate a capacitive touch sensor. Capacitive touch panels are more sensitive to the touch of a human hand giving it the ability to read more simultaneous touches. 5 touch points are a common feature of a capacitive touch panel.

Disadvantages of the capacitive touch panel when used on an android headunit is primarily the cost. The higher cost to produce capacitive touch panels reserves the improved technology to the more premium models android headunit produced. Due to the capacitive input detecting the electrical charge of the human body, using gloves won’t produce a successful tap response.


We expect more android headunits to be fitted with the superior multi touch capacitive touch panels into the future. The cost to produce these panels has been dropping and consumers are expecting a response more like their phone for their headunit.

An staff blogger. I am a multi-skilled dogs-body and I also make the coffee ☕

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