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iPhone 5S is hampered by a dodgy screen, say tech analysts

Testing with a 'robotic finger' found the iPhone 5S and 5C screens to be inaccurate across 75% of the display

Ever struggle to type accurately on your new iPhone, or find that your finger isn't 'tapping' where you expect it to? A new report from Finnish technology analysts OptoFidelity has revealed 'significant fails' in the iPhone's touch accuracy.

The surprising news shows that the screens on both the iPhone 5S and 5C are inaccurate across approximately 75% of their area. In comparison, a Samsung Galaxy S3 tested by OptoFidelity showed the same level of accuracy across the screen, only losing accuracy along the edges.

Left to Right: test results for the iPhone 5C, iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S4. (OptoFidelity)

The tests were carried out using a 'robotic finger', called a Touch Panel Performance Tester (TPPT), that taps the screen and  tracks its precise coordinates along with the exact point at which the screen 'thinks' it was touched. The results showed that over 75% of the screen, Apple's phones recorded a touch point that was more than 1mm away from the actual coordinate of the TPPT.

Accuracy was the same on the 5S and 5C screens. Both showed perfect accuracy across the lower left hand quarter of the screen, but results worsened towards the edges of the screen as well as across the upper section. Apple claims that its phones feature 'perspective correction' technology which compensates for the angle of vision and ensures that you click what you expect regardless of where it is on the screen.

The main consequence of any inaccuracies on the iPhone's screen is likely to be in texting, with the Q, P, O and I keys all affected, as well as the backspace key.

The iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy virtual keyboards - green shows good accuracy, red inaccuracy. (OptoFidelity)

OptoFidelity says they will not comment on any 'alleged perspective compensation features of Apple Products'. They point out that the accuracy tested by the TPPT is at a finer level than most people will recognize, but note that 'Typing errors occur when a user touches close to the edge of a button.'

As well as assessing the screen performance, OptoFidelity also tested the iPhone 5S and 5C for their web browsing and camera performance, and found that both significantly outperformed the Galaxy S3, opening browser windows quicker and launching the camera application quicker.



Apple has also been experiencing difficulties with some iPhone 5S handsets over their battery life, with some customers reporting that the battery didn't last as long as advertised. Speaking to the New York Times, Apple spokeswoman Teresa Brewer said 'We recently discovered a manufacturing issue affecting a very limited number of iPhone 5S devices that could cause the battery to take longer to charge or result in reduced battery life.We are reaching out to customers with affected phones and will provide them with a replacement phone.'

The iPhone 5S launched on September 20 to great reception, promising standby battery life of 250 hours and talk time of up to 10 hours, but some early customers have reported figures significantly beneath these. Apple has not said how many phones are affected, simply saying that a few thousand have been hit by the problem.

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