While touchscreens have been around for over a half-century, they didn’t become popular until the 1990s. Since then, touchscreen has become the preferred input technology for smartphones, tablets, human machine interfaces (HMIs) and many other devices. If you’ve ever used a touchscreen before, though, you’ve probably noticed its glossy surface. So, why do touchscreens have a glossy surface rather than a matte surface?

Better Image Quality

For capacitive touchscreens, a glossy surface can deliver higher-quality images. Capacitive touchscreens are almost always designed with a glass top layer. If a matte surface is used, the glass will look blurry, thereby lowering the image quality of the device. To promote high-quality images, manufacturers use a glossy surface. Unlike matte, glossy surfaces enhance the quality of images by creating brighter colors.

Prevents Fingerprints

A glossy surface prevents touchscreens from accumulating fingerprint smudges. In fact, the gloss itself usually consists of an oleophobic liquid that’s applied over the surface of touchscreens. Oleophhobic liquids are designed specifically to repel or “ward off” oils from a user’s fingers. When you touch a touchscreen device, some of the oils from your fingers will transfer onto the device. Aside from creating a dirty appearance, this can reduce the accuracy of the touchscreen.

To overcome the problem of fingerprints, manufacturers apply a glossy oleophobic coating over the surface of their touchscreens. Once applied, the surface will wick away oils that would otherwise leave behind fingerprint smudges. You can use an oleophobic-covered touchscreen without worrying about it accumulating fingerprint smudges.

Protects Against Scratches

In addition to fingerprints, a glossy surface protects touchscreens from scratches. It’s not a foolproof way to prevent touchscreens from developing scratches, but it can reduce the risk of scratches nonetheless. The glossy surface adds a small but important protective barrier over the surface of touchscreens. As a result, it’s less likely to develop scratches.

Comfortable to Use

The smooth texture of a gloss-covered touchscreen makes the device comfortable to use. If a touchscreen has a matte surface, it may feel somewhat rough, making it difficult to perform certain touch commands. Gloss surfaces, on the other hand, are smooth, making them more comfortable to use.

To recap, there are four main reasons touchscreens have a glossy surface: It offers higher-quality images, prevents fingerprints, protects against scratches, and it’s comfortable to use. While some touchscreens still have matte surface, most have a glossy surface for these four reasons.