Physical vs Capacitive Home Buttons

ReanimationN

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 7, 2011
724
0
Australia
How do you guys feel about capacitive home buttons?

Since my first smartphone was an iPhone, a 3GS, I've become so used to the physical home button that the idea of not having one is abhorrent to me. I've demoed a lot of different phones in the past few weeks and the one thing that turns me off a majority of Android and Windows phones is the lack of a physical home button. I can't handle the idea of reaching for the power button on the top or the side of the device in order to wake up and unlock the phone. It just feels so clumsy and unintuitive. My favourite Android and Windows Phone devices are the ones who feature a physical home button, such as the Galaxy S3 and the Samsung Omnia W.

Did anyone else feel this way prior to getting a device with no physical home button? If so, did you get used to it, or did it remain an annoyance?
 

Jb07

macrumors 6502
Oct 31, 2011
433
1
Dallas
I prefer a physical home button, but you get used to having a capacitive button quickly. Capacitive buttons are nice because you can get more screen real estate without increasing the size, but I still like the feedback of a physical button.
 

ChazUK

macrumors 603
Feb 3, 2008
5,390
24
Essex (UK)
The way I held the Nexus S & my Galaxy Nexus, I'm used to the side power button so I use that the vast majority of the time on the S3). It is nice to tap the home button to wake it up when it is lying flat on a table however.

As I've used so many devices with capacitive buttons now, it doesn't bother me at all missing out on a physical home button but having one does have its positives.
 

Wrathwitch

macrumors 65816
Dec 4, 2009
1,303
55
having experienced at least 2 capacitive buttons on the S3 I wish that the home button was too. Mechanical parts can be prone to failure especially considering the amount of punishment they endure in the span of a year. I also really like the haptic feedback of my 2 capacitive buttons!
 

cynics

macrumors G4
Jan 8, 2012
11,407
1,756
I prefer capacitive buttons. Physical buttons are usually the first failure point to any phone.
 

TG1

macrumors 6502a
Feb 21, 2011
584
45
Capacitive. Physical buttons are harder for me to use, especially one handed.
 

Dontazemebro

macrumors 68020
Jul 23, 2010
2,173
0
I dunno, somewhere in West Texas
what's so unintuitive with a top or side lock? Obviously not everybody is trained to wake their device with a physical home button. Unless there's some unwritten gold standard I don't know about that states this.

To get your top button lock on. Hold the device in the palm of your hand and your index finger falls right on top of the button. Side lock, same thing except your thumb is in position to unlock it. Seems easy enough to me

#confused
 

Ddyracer

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2009
1,783
31
what's so unintuitive with a top or side lock? Obviously not everybody is trained to wake their device with a physical home button. Unless there's some unwritten gold standard I don't know about that states this.

To get your top button lock on. Hold the device in the palm of your hand and your index finger falls right on top of the button. Side lock, same thing except your thumb is in position to unlock it. Seems easy enough to me

#confused
Right, it's minor once you used to it. However, having the side button as the power has one drawback opposed to the top way. When adjusting your volume it's hard to feel which is which unless your pressing on volume down then you can tell your lowering the volume because it's furthest away from anything. However with the volume up it's a bit of a stuggle (for me) because the power and up volume are so close to togeher that you accidently press the wrong one.

I like what Samsung did to the buttons on the nexus. Volume is on a different side then the power. Much better than the button placement on android devices like mine.
 

boomboom2

macrumors regular
Apr 12, 2012
116
0
I like my Galaxy Nexus' on screen buttons. Especially when they disappear during video for maximum screen real estate for video.
 

SurferMan

macrumors 65816
May 14, 2010
1,267
51
South FL
Personally I love the capacitive buttons, was a little weird at first after having iPhones for so long, but it's so intuitive and functional vs just a home button. I.E. the back button on Android is absolutely priceless especially when multitasking or doing whatever, just blows Apple away especially in regards to tasking, wish Apple had something similar to that. No problem with the power button for locking/waking, thumb is right in the spot for it when holding the phone and volume buttons are right where your other fingers are on the opposite side, second nature (both the power/volume buttons and capacitive buttons).

That's one thing I didn't like about the GS3, the home button. See what the next Nexus is like.
 

Dr McKay

macrumors 68040
Aug 11, 2010
3,419
41
Kirkland
Before switching to a Windows phone, I'd owned every version of iPhone except the 3GS, during those 5 years I had to take 4 iphones back due to home button failures. Luckily most of them occurred within warranty. I love the capacitive buttons on my Nokia, even the little vibrate it does when you touch one.
 

ReanimationN

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Sep 7, 2011
724
0
Australia
what's so unintuitive with a top or side lock? Obviously not everybody is trained to wake their device with a physical home button. Unless there's some unwritten gold standard I don't know about that states this.

To get your top button lock on. Hold the device in the palm of your hand and your index finger falls right on top of the button. Side lock, same thing except your thumb is in position to unlock it. Seems easy enough to me

#confused
It depends heavily on the size of the device. For example, when testing the One X, I'd have to shuffle my hand up the device to be able to get a firm grip on the power button and then shuffle back down to use my thumb to unlock the phone. I have huge hands (I'm 6'5"), so I didn't have to move them much at all, but just enough for it to feel awkward and unintuitive (to me). It just didn't feel friendly towards one hand operation, which is how I use my phone the majority of the time.

In comparison, using the S3, I could do what I've done with every phone I've ever owned- hold it near the base, press the home button and swipe- everything being done on the face of the phone. No reaching around or upwards necessary. I think that's what I don't like- every phone I've ever owned, from old Nokias to my current iPhone, has been unlocked by a button combination or button + screen combination found on the face, or near the base of the phone. I've never used a phone where you have to reach for the side or the top.

It's good to hear people got used to it though. I'm tossing up between the One X and the S3, and if the capacitive buttons become less of an issue over time, I may give the One X a closer look- it has everything else going for it.
 

Vegastouch

macrumors 603
Jul 12, 2008
5,446
383
Las Vegas, NV
How do you guys feel about capacitive home buttons?

Since my first smartphone was an iPhone, a 3GS, I've become so used to the physical home button that the idea of not having one is abhorrent to me. I've demoed a lot of different phones in the past few weeks and the one thing that turns me off a majority of Android and Windows phones is the lack of a physical home button. I can't handle the idea of reaching for the power button on the top or the side of the device in order to wake up and unlock the phone. It just feels so clumsy and unintuitive. My favourite Android and Windows Phone devices are the ones who feature a physical home button, such as the Galaxy S3 and the Samsung Omnia W.

Did anyone else feel this way prior to getting a device with no physical home button? If so, did you get used to it, or did it remain an annoyance?
Love em...wish my GS3 had a capacitive home button instead of the physical button. Ive never had a problem...ever, with a capacitive button. The physical buttons wear out, break, get stuck......

Just got a Windows phone today on eBay(dont actually have the phone yet) and why i chose the HTC Radar over the Lumia ..because it has all capacitive buttons.
 

Dontazemebro

macrumors 68020
Jul 23, 2010
2,173
0
I dunno, somewhere in West Texas
It depends heavily on the size of the device. For example, when testing the One X, I'd have to shuffle my hand up the device to be able to get a firm grip on the power button and then shuffle back down to use my thumb to unlock the phone. I have huge hands (I'm 6'5"), so I didn't have to move them much at all, but just enough for it to feel awkward and unintuitive (to me). It just didn't feel friendly towards one hand operation, which is how I use my phone the majority of the time.
I understand what you're saying. I own the One X and also have huge hands (6'4"), but I cannot do a complete unlock & swipe in one full motion. Although I can easily manipulate the device one handed. The shuffle isn't that much and it's not like you need to continuously access the power button once you're using the phone. I had the Inspire 4G before this with the placement of the power button up top as well, so I guess it never really felt awkward for me.

Edit - what seems to work best for me is if I cradle the phone in between the tips of my fingers, I can unlock it with my index finger and then immediately palm it to swipe. It's almost like one complete motion.
 
Last edited:

Calidude

macrumors 68000
Jun 22, 2010
1,731
0
I think buttons should only be on the side of the phone, not the face. Volume rockers and power buttons seldom get used and thus last WAY longer, but if you have a home button that gets pressed every single time you use the phone, its gonna wear out pretty fast, break, or get clogged. Just look at all the threads here about "crunchy" home buttons. Yuck.

This is one of the reasons I love my Galaxy Nexus. No home button to worry about.
 

Dontazemebro

macrumors 68020
Jul 23, 2010
2,173
0
I dunno, somewhere in West Texas
I forgot to add that this also includes the Otterbox Commuter case which makes it a tad bit bulkier.

I'm testing now to see what it's like without a case on.

Edit - interesting findings.

It feels slippery without the case and placing it between the tips of my fingers doesn't give me a firm grasp. I could foresee a few drops using this method.

It's also a lot easier to palm the device and since I'm naturally right handed I figured this would be the most ideal method, but while I can easily palm + index finger on the power button + swipe to open with my thumb all at the same time. It feels a little bit awkward going from left to right.

It feels much better left handed since it's more natural for my left thumb to extend from left to right.
 
Last edited:

NZed

macrumors 65816
Jan 24, 2011
1,136
1
Canada, Eh?
Love em...wish my GS3 had a capacitive home button instead of the physical button. Ive never had a problem...ever, with a capacitive button. The physical buttons wear out, break, get stuck......

Just got a Windows phone today on eBay(dont actually have the phone yet) and why i chose the HTC Radar over the Lumia ..because it has all capacitive buttons.
Lumia 900 main buttons are all capacitive too.
 

unlinked

macrumors 6502a
Jul 12, 2010
697
1,199
Ireland
I can't handle the idea of reaching for the power button on the top or the side of the device in order to wake up and unlock the phone. It just feels so clumsy and unintuitive.
It really boggles my mind as how one button is more intuitive than another.


Anyway buttons seem a bit prone to wear and tear. My personal preference would be the way my N9 works. Double tap on the screen to wake up.
 

Vegastouch

macrumors 603
Jul 12, 2008
5,446
383
Las Vegas, NV
Lumia 900 main buttons are all capacitive too.
Yeah but i dont have AT&T and didnt want to spend a bunch. I got the Radar for $155. I like Windows 7.5 and its a trial phone for Windows for me that will eventially go to the Wife in a couple weeks or so if she can get used to it.
 

blackhand1001

macrumors 68030
Jan 6, 2009
2,595
22
Neither. On screen buttons ftw.
Yup. I love my Nexus's on screen buttons. Glad to finally see Motorola and Asus putting them on phones. The nexus was really the only one so far before the padfone and atrix hd. They look so good also especially on the nexus's super amoled. It also allows Google to change the layout down the line if the new OS changes.
 

AlexJaye

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2010
210
188
Texas
How do you guys feel about capacitive home buttons?

Since my first smartphone was an iPhone, a 3GS, I've become so used to the physical home button that the idea of not having one is abhorrent to me. I've demoed a lot of different phones in the past few weeks and the one thing that turns me off a majority of Android and Windows phones is the lack of a physical home button. I can't handle the idea of reaching for the power button on the top or the side of the device in order to wake up and unlock the phone. It just feels so clumsy and unintuitive. My favourite Android and Windows Phone devices are the ones who feature a physical home button, such as the Galaxy S3 and the Samsung Omnia W.

Did anyone else feel this way prior to getting a device with no physical home button? If so, did you get used to it, or did it remain an annoyance?
Abhorrent, really??

But my iPhone home button craps out every now and then. Pretty irritating. I wouldn't miss it at all.
 

zbarvian

macrumors 68010
Jul 23, 2011
2,004
2
I prefer having a physical button, but after a year or so all my iPhone's home buttons have gotten really finicky. So I'm sure I could easily adapt to a capacitive home button. I'm crazy about the onscreen buttons of the Nexus though, using software buttons precludes the possibility of hardware issues and can lead to some sleek looking devices.