Unlock our smartphones was once a fight between PINs, passwords, and patterns, but the current champion in fingerprint scanning technology has become rock solid. It’s just a matter of where that matters.
There’s rarely a phone that doesn’t have a fingerprint scanner these days. Sony’s very strange problems stopped them releasing phones into the U.S. with a fingerprint sensor for years, a particularly poor experience given it was still an issue last year. Even then, Sony was one of the outliers offering a fingerprint sensor on the side, which did work, but have moved it to the back like many other smartphone brands. The best Android smartphones have a mix of options, but it’s not all just front, side, or back.
There are two emerging trends: face unlocking, which has varying degrees of security depending on the sensing technology being used, and fingerprint scanners hiding underneath the display. The latter is now an emerging technology but it’s still in its first-generation in actual use in smartphones such as the Vivo Nex, requiring a little patience at times as unlocks can be slow or not always work. There’s also an argument that this is just another feature that makes a phone harder to fix and more expensive to buy.
So when we asked about the best place for a fingerprint sensor two years ago, having the fingerprint on the back won out over on the front by a few clear percentage point. Two years later, with face unlock and under-display fingerprint sensors now part of the landscape, what would you guys vote for?
Here’s what we’re taking away from these results:
- The votes were pretty even across each platform, with on the back the most popular result for where you want your fingerprint sensor, followed by under the screen, with on the front in third.
- That makes a close result between back and front last time we asked now an easy win for on the back.
- Or is it? Given that under the screen also naturally has to be on the front, it could be argued that front plus under the screen can be added together, which would narrowly beat the back option in all the results. It’s not the same thing of course, though.
- Not many just wants face recognition, but that might be a little bit of the old ‘no thanks Apple’ opinion at play. And on the side barely rates either.
The comments were pretty black and white. You guys have strong opinions on where you like the sensor to be and a lot of ‘you’re wrong, I’m right’ type comments. Preferences are preferences, people, not a reason to start an argument! There were lots of strong comments on how useful the side fingerprint scanner is, even if it didn’t poll that well too.
Here’s what you were saying as the voting went down:
- Under the Screen: I will not buy another phone unless it has a fingerprint scanner under the screen. The rear fingerprint scanner to me has always been a workaround solution, kind of like the notch (from Android Authority’s man with the news and views C Scott Brown).
- Front: Picture this….you have your phone set on top of your desk and all you have to do is place your thumb on the sensor and you’re using your phone…..instead of picking it up then unlocking it then using it.
- And in response to that: I keep my phone face down to avoid the screen turning on and bothering me, so a front-sensor doesn’t help at all.
- Side: Can’t believe how people are ignoring the fact that side mounted fingerprint scanners (like on previous Xperia’s) is the most practical and natural implementation, especially on smaller “Compact” phones…
- Back: It’s way easier to reach when you take it out of your pocket in my opinion. It’s where your finger naturally rests.
- The real question is how much an under-the-screen fingerprint scanner is worth. I’d take a more affordable phone with a back scanner because touching the back is acceptable to me.
It’s clearly important to you! Who knows how the options and opinions might evolve in the next two years, but