Surface acoustic wave (SAW) touchscreens are used in many commercial and consumer applications. Like all touchscreens, they support touch commands. You can control a SAW touchscreen by tapping the display interface. SAW touchscreens, however, are distinguished from other types of touchscreens by their use of sound waves. They project sound waves across the display interface, which they use to detect touch commands. Here are some of the pros and cons of using SAW touchscreens.

Pro: High Sensitivity

Thanks to their use of sound waves, SAW touchscreens offer a high level of touch sensitivity. They are more sensitive than many other types of touchscreens. Some touchscreens, for instance, rely on pressure. You’ll have to press the display interface with enough force to create pressure and, thus, trigger a touch command. SAW touchscreens don’t require pressure. Touching the display interface will disrupt the sound waves in that area,, and the SAW touchscreen will respond by registering a touch event.

Pro: Supports Styluses

You can control SAW touchscreens with a bare finger, a gloved finger or even a stylus. Styluses, of course, are pen-shaped devices that are used to control various devices. While some touchscreens support styluses, others do not. You typically can’t use a stylus to control a capacitive touchscreen. Capacitive touchscreens will only register and respond to touch commands performed with a conductive object. SAW touchscreens don’t require the use of a conductive object, so you can control them with a finger or stylus.

Pro: Long-Lasting

SAW touchscreens are long-lasting. When you perform a touch command, you won’t expose the SAW touchscreen to any mechanical wear or tear. SAW touchscreens feature many different parts, but they don’t move during use. As result, SAW touchscreens typically last a long time.

Con: Susceptible to Contaminants

While they are durable and long-lasting, SAW touchscreens are susceptible to contaminants. SAW touchscreens work by projecting sound waves across the display interface. Any disruption in these sound waves will be registered as a touch command. Unfortunately, this means large pieces of dirt or debris may create false touch commands. The SAW touchscreen may think you are performing a touch command when it’s actually a piece of dirt or debris that’s disrupting the sound waves.

Con: Cost

You may have to pay more for a SAW touchscreen than an alternative type of touchscreen. SAW touchscreens are still relatively new, and when compared to other types of touchscreens, they are more complex. The end result is a higher price. If you’re on a budget, you may want to avoid SAW touchscreens and, instead, choose a resistive or capacitive touchscreen.