Opinion

The eyes have it: is the Galaxy S8 fingerprint sensor designed with discomfort in mind?

Back when Samsung announced the new iris scanner in the Galaxy Note 7, the Korean giant said it had been working on it for 5 years straight. We’d seen very little information about the iris scanner, so the company’s announcement was a pleasant surprise. What Samsung does to one high-end Galaxy S phone, however, often finds its way to the other (the S Pen excepted, though that could change this time around), so we have it on good authority that the iris scanner will arrive in the Galaxy S8.

Well, according to leaked photos of the next “Galaxy” (or, should I say, Galaxies, plural), Samsung intends to push its iris scanner to the forefront of the user experience, sidelining the fingerprint sensor for some who preferred their clicky home button and fingerprint authentication all in one. Leaked photos show that Samsung will reposition the fingerprint sensor from the bottom bezel of the front display to the back cover, to the right of the back camera (with the flash to the back camera’s left). Official Galaxy S8 cases confirm the same, so it seems to be a done deal at this point.

The decision to move the fingerprint sensor does bring mixed reaction, though. There are some who find the front-mounted home button and fingerprint sensor to be more intuitive and easy to use. Placing the fingerprint sensor on the back of the Galaxy S8 isn’t necessarily a decision made in the name of intuitiveness.

There are those who’ve never liked the front-mounted fingerprint sensor, so a back-mounted sensor allows these individuals to have more front-display real estate. Additionally, back-mounted fingerprint sensors are growing in popularity, with high-end smartphones such as the LG V20, Google Pixel and Pixel XL, along with veteran phones such as the Huawei Nexus 6P utilizing the same.

At the same time, however, advocates of the fingerprint sensor’s traditional location would argue against what seems to be an awkwardly-placed sensor on the back cover. After all, Samsung is not placing the sensor in the middle of the back cover, as has been the case with a majority of phone makers that opt for a back sensor; instead, Samsung is placing the sensor adjacent to the back camera, requiring users to reach up for it instead of having it accessible where your fingers touch the back cover.

With the re-positioning of the fingerprint sensor, and the work placed into the iris scanner, Samsung could be encouraging users to go with the company’s own vision (pun intended) on the matter: ditch the fingerprint sensor and adopt the iris scanner with your eyes wide open.

I personally think that fingerprint scanners are problematic on the back cover because users cannot see their finger and have to place it on the sensor “hoping” they get it right. Front-mounted sensors have always been easier to use in that regard because you can automatically see where your finger is placed on the home button – no extra steps needed.

For those who want their home button back and don’t see themselves adopting the iris scanner in the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, let me encourage you to give it a try before you become frustrated with Samsung’s new sensor placement. The iris scanner, like the fingerprint sensor, has its share of flaws, such as its quirky operation in certain lowlight settings, not to mention the 20cm distance from the human eye or the 25-35cm distance for the visually challenged who wear either glasses or contacts.

In our Galaxy Note 7 review, though, I found the iris scanner so effective that Samsung’s awkward placement of the fingerprint sensor in the Galaxy S8 gives me yet another excuse to use the iris scanner exclusively. Your mileage (or vision, rather) may vary.

So, yes, the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S8 is awkwardly placed, but I have a feeling Samsung has done this by design. If there’s any new biometric form that can change your mind about the traditional home button/fingerprint sensor setup, though, the answer lies in your vision. The eyes just might have it.

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Aditya Dhall
Aditya Dhall

The fingerprint sensor is in its weardest position and if it comes to be true I will not buy the S8 for sure (I am a big fan of Samsung) . I will have to buy iPhone 7 instead. I hope the sensor is in front so that I can buy S8 and respect for Samsung remains.

Eki79
Eki79

I’m keeping my phone in a car mount while driving, and opening it with the fingerprint scanner on the home button, could not be easier… and can be done without taking my eyes off the road.
Can’t do that with a rear mounted scanner, or the iris scanner.

pinetreehater
pinetreehater

Not to mention the Iris scanner is slow. I still have my note 7. The scanner itself takes about two seconds to fire up. Then you have to practically hold your eyes wide open to get it to work. It really is a pain. I’d rather keep my home button.

eHoolie
eHoolie

The whole “phone laying on the table” argument is a big deal to me. I personally need to be able to unlock the device while its on its back, or in a holder in my truck.

deardevil
deardevil

i completely agree,because i can simply at work click on the home button and see what notifications interest me,and navigate on the phone without having to hold it.even with iris scanner i have to lift the phone all the time.

andrekua
andrekua

There’s nothing wrong with it being placed on front or back. It’s just that people who had hard time unlocking (myself included, I had lot of skin peeling on my thumb) will find it easier to unlock by switching to another finger if it was placed in front. If it’s on the back, then I would have to keep index finger in good condition, otherwise it could be just annoying for the whole week.

SRINATH B
SRINATH B

I am not happy with this design..I am big fan of Samsung but now with leek images that FP scaner position is not looking good. I heard FP is in under the screen but sadly it’s with camera I am disappointed with this design.

schwift
schwift

I thought the same until.. I tried holding my S7 Edge a few times and noticed that’s where my finger fell.. What we may not notice is how we move our index finger over to avoid smudging up the camera lens. So it might actually be a good spot for the reader..

Allyn K C
Allyn K C

In general, I have no problem with a sensor on the back – it’s the awkward placement that will be an issue for me. I’m right handed, but always hold my phone in my left hand (freeing my dominant hand to use a pencil, stylus, keyboard, etc). When I hold my phone, my index finger naturally settles to the left of the camera – meaning, wrong side from where Samsung appears to have placed the fingerprint sensor. To unlock with my finger will mean an awkward extension across the camera lens. Best case scenario, this will result in grease marks… Read more »

Turbotomate
Turbotomate

I can imagine that there will be 2 FP Scanners. One on the back and ine under the display. So people can choose which to use and a 2-factor authorization wouöd be possible.

NotReallySamsungFan
NotReallySamsungFan

Highly highly unlikely. 2-factor authentication means 2 different factors, I.e iris and fingerprint. Iris will almost certainly be here so it is so much more likely that the under display technology isn’t ready and will only be ready for the Note 8.

kloony11
kloony11

I have said since the beginning that Samsung will be pushing the Iris as their first choice for authentication. The technology has been tweaked since the Note 7 so it might even work with sunglasses on the S8. Eventually, everyone will get used to it and look at the fingerprint scanner as an old fashioned way to unlock your phone. For those who want to know, the main reason why the fingerprint scanner is next to the camera is because there is no room for it under the camera. The battery placement/wireless charging and NFC get in the way… If… Read more »

mantaka
mantaka

2018? Apple will do that for sure this year, same with Note8… S8 for now looks not work to upgrade, the placement is horrifying and how the hell do you unlock your phone laying on the table? Pick it up? Why i should? More leaks and I will be waiting for Note8, finger crossed it wont explode this time…

Mawty
Mawty

When i was with my S4 i was saying that Fingerprint unlocking is just useless and its only a gimmick! But when i bought the Galaxy S6 i saw that its not a gimmick because using only your finger to unlock the phone is not only awesome but its usefull and more secure not only because its harder for people to learn your pass code but because its simple and fast! You just put it and BAMN your done! So i think that the position of the fingerprint sensor is very important because people like me count on a good… Read more »

Jias5
Jias5

I am really hoping that the sensor is under the glass too

naranova7
naranova7

People who constantly wear glasses are not quite the “minority” of the users, and one wouldn’t want to take off their sun glasses every time they want to use their phones. So the iris scanner is not a very functional way of locking phones. In contrast, gloves are not always worn and fingers are not always wet, so that’s a much more functional lock. There could however be much more locking methods that are way more functional than even the finger print sensor but iris lock is literally a step in the wrong direction. Keeping the iris lock as a… Read more »

Mreveryphone
Mreveryphone

The iris scanner on the Note 7 was inferred so it could scan in any light situation. I used mine quite often and eventually it would unlock my phone in milliseconds of me positioning the phone to read my irises… It got so fast that I really didn’t have to position the phone in any weird positions for it to recognize my irises.. I welcome the iris scanned with wide open eyes!!!

Djean
Djean

Have you consider that the front fingerprint sensor is as difficult to use? It’s always hard to find the right position to have the phone unlocked, and most of the times I have to wait 29 seconds to try again. I already tried on my imagining what would it be the place in the back that the fingerprint scanner is going to be placed, and it seems easier. You just have to register your digitals the same way your hold your phone, so, if that works like this, it will be easier to use it;

Br1cked80
Br1cked80

I love how every comment about the fingerprint on the back gets – votes.
Thats real mature… Kids!
You just got a + vote from me 😉

jjcommonsense
jjcommonsense

You should probably reset your fingerprints and instead of touching the sensor in the same position each time, tilt and rotate your finger so that it captures as much of your fingerprint as possible.

Blackberry10
Blackberry10

If i have s8 I would no doubt prefer using iris scanner instead of finger print scanner

Br1cked80
Br1cked80

Well, atleast i can take the phone up from the pocket and activate the screen on its way up. I have been missing that, since i change my Nexus 5x out with a S7. It makes more sense to place it on the back, and not at the front/bottom of a screen.
Only ppl i hear complain about it, is Samsung users. Everyone els like HTC, LG etc all love that the S8 will move it to the back.

Splendid31
Splendid31

i hate the position of fingerprint sensor in back and in the top next the camara
i hope its not true because its bad position there.

o0MHJ0o
o0MHJ0o

Yes, but Google built in fingerprint technology into marshmallow. there are several apps I have downloaded that use fingerprint authentication to give me quick access. so I use it much more than just unlocking my phone. and the Iris scanner is said to work best in the dark, I doubt it will be used for Samsung pay purchases or google play ones.

jjcommonsense
jjcommonsense

Wasnt the iris scanner used for Samsung Pay purchases with the Note7? Seems like I remember that.