This paper compares the characteristics of a high-precision hydrostatic actuator to that of conventional hydraulic systems using servovalves. Servovalve controlled hydraulic actuators retain their market share as they provide precision movement and offer a very high torque to mass ratio at the final actuation point. The input current/output torque relationship of a conventional hydraulic actuation system is reviewed in a robotic context. This relationship is summarized by a mathematical model that can be expressed in a generalized form. This model is used for the analysis of flow and dynamic characteristics.The design and modeling of a recently proposed high-performance hydrostatic actuation system referred to as the ElectroHydraulic Actuator (EHA) is briefly reviewed. A prototype of this actuator has been produced and has demonstrated a comparable performance to servovalve controlled conventional hydraulic systems. The suitability of EHA and its ability to present an alternative to servovalve controlled hydraulic systems is assessed. In this paper the characteristics of the two systems are compared theoretically and by reference to experimental results.