The difference is the sublimation ink. When the ink is heated, it turns from a solid to a gas that embeds itself into the polyester fabric/coating. When it cools, it goes back to a solid and becomes a permanent part of the fabric/coating. This means that your transferred design adds no additional layer on top, so there’s no difference in feeling between the printed image and the rest of the fabric/product surface. This also means that the transfer is incredibly durable, and under normal conditions, the images produced will last as long as the product itself.