One of our staff was playing around at 2 O’Clock in the morning and he found an interesting surprise regarding the screen on the Samsung Nexus S – it works without direct contact from your finger. After we discovered the device’s screen worked with the back of a fingernail, we frantically ran around testing what else the device’s screen would pick up. The results: surprising to say the least.

We got the device to pick up multi-touch gestures with the back of our fingernails, which led us to wonder exactly what was going on. And after the initial surprise of the sensitivity of the screen, we started testing the screen’s ability to pick up input through different types of fabric. We tried both a standard polo and a thick sweatshirt and they both came out working flawlessly.

This shouldn’t work. Capacitive touch screens, for those who are unaware, use the conductivity of the human body to sense input. For anyone who has used an iPhone or Galaxy S device with gloves, you would have noticed that it just will not pick up your touch and you are forced to take them off and use your fingertips.

We tried this with a wide array of current-generation mobile phones that we have immediately available and it seems that only Samsung devices showed any response of an input without immense pressure from the user.

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So what is Samsung doing differently to construct such an amazing screen? We honestly have no idea. In fact, we don’t even think they fully understand what is going on – or are even aware what they have done – which could be the reason we have yet to hear anything officially.

For the skeptics, we have gotten this to successfully work on our 3 available Nexus S devices with the backs of our fingernails and a wide array of fabrics. It’s worth noting that we still couldn’t get any input from a long fingernail, which leads us to believe that it’s relating to the heat produced that is transferred through the fingernail. But, even if it’s the heat from the finger that’s going through the gloves, it’s unlike any device we have tested so far, making it worth mention.


  1. After testing the N1, we can confirm that it does work. However, it is not working like the Nexus S and requires a substantial amount of pressure.

    It’s worth noting that our tests with the Nexus S required no pressure outside from a normal tap. We even got the device to recognize input without contact at all – holding a finger just above the display provided a recognizable input.

  2. Didn’t have any gloves handy, but my Epic works through my sweater, which I would guess is slightly thicker than the gloves in the video. Thanks for posting this. I would never have tried this, since I would automatically assume that it wouldn’t work. Yet another reason I’m glad I picked this phone.

  3. My wife uses her CDMA HTC Desire with gloves all the time. I can verify that the back of a fingernail also works. Phone is also called the BravoC.

  4. There’s a media pocket in my snowboard jacket with a clear plastic screen that i can use my Epic 4G through while wearing a pair of those thin $1 “one size fits all” gloves.

  5. My friend and I just discovered this a few days ago as I was wiping the screen of my HTC Desire. It worked through the tissue I wiped with, then through my t-shirt. Then he went to say that it should’t work with the back of his fingernail like with his old iPhone and pulled out his Nexus One and was proven wrong. It worked on both our phones.

  6. Just tested my HTC Hero though a pair of warehouse gloves. It’s not as responsive as bare fingers, but the majority of swipes work pretty well.

  7. it works on my Nexus One, however, just the screen. not the buttons.

    buttons (home, back, search, menu) does not work.

    works flawlessly on the Nexus S.

  8. I noticed it worked with my regular gloves not too long ago, of course it was after I bought touchscreen gloves. The soft keys even work, except for the back button for some reason, so that kinda sucks.

  9. It works better on the Nexus S because the glass panel is curved and the touch sensor is flat. The greatest distance where it registers a touch without contact will be in the middle of the panel. It’s a compromise for having the curved screen with a flat sensor.

  10. There is also a way to do it yourself with conductive thread. All you need is a current pair of gloves, a needle and the conductive thread (which can be found online). also has a really cool pair as well if your not into the DIY.

  11. Flashed a hacked ICS (4.0.3) on my Galaxy S (I9000), dunno if it’s the firmwares fault, but the screen works with gloves on 😛


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