A resistive touchscreen panel is a technology composed of several layers, the layers that allow control of positioning are two thin, electrically conductive layers separated by a narrow gap.
When your finger, presses down on a point on the panel’s outer surface the two metallic layers come in contact at that point, and that location is sent to the device – to perform some action or move the cursor. Resistive touchscreens are reliable, but can only be used to control a single point at a time.
While resistive screens provide the benefits of low cost and can be used with any stylus or even a gloved finger, the predominant drawback are the absence of multi touch support, highly sensitive to scratches, and poor visibility in sunlight.
Capacitive screens have proven to be far more responsive and have all but rendered resistive screens obsolete in the smart-phone market.
Capacitive touchscreen panel consists of an insulator such as glass, coated with a transparent conductor such as indium tin oxide (ITO).
Since the human body is also an electrical conductor, touching the surface of the screen results in a distortion of the screen’s electrostatic field, measurable as a change in capacitance.
Different technologies may be used to determine the location of the touch. The location is then sent to the device to be interpreted. Unlike a resistive touchscreen, capacitive requires contact with your finger – it is much more flexible and precise, but you can’t use it with gloves, though you can use a capacitive stylus if the device supports them.
Capacitive touchscreens also support multi-touch operations that let you perform more complex tasks with a single action, and from an engineering perspective, they are much more durable and not so easily damaged than the resistive screen types.
In a nutshell, even though capacitive screen type tablets are a bit more expensive, I would definitely suggest to rather get one like that. Besides, if your tablet is dispatched from China, the shipping cost will be the same for a much more valuable more user friendly longer lasting tablet.
Remember, it’s the capacitive screen of the iPhone that made it so popular, awarding Apple with a 52% market share.
Related: “Tempted by an Android Tablet?”