Galaxy S21 might use Qualcomm’s bigger and faster ultrasonic fingerprint reader

Samsung was the only major brand to use Qualcomm’s first-generation Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader. However, its performance wasn’t top-notch due to the sensor’s small size and slow recognition speed. Qualcomm has now unveiled its second-generation fingerprint reader called the 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2, which could end up inside the Galaxy S21 series.

Qualcomm’s newly-announced ultrasonic fingerprint reader is 77% larger and 50% faster than the first-generation sensor used in the Galaxy S10 and the Galaxy S20 series. It means that the new sensor will be easier to locate while unlocking the device. It has an area of 64mm² in a square form factor (8x8mm). In comparison, the first-generation sensor was 36mm² big in a rectangular form factor (4x9mm). The company states that its new sensor can capture 1.77x more biometric data. It is also extremely thin at just 0.2mm, an advantage over rival optical fingerprint sensors.

The company said that the second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint reader would start appearing in smartphones in early 2021. We will likely see it being used in the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which will be unveiled on January 14. We might also see it on the Galaxy Note 21 series later in the year.

Qualcomm Ultrasonic Fingerprint Reader Second Generation

  • Model: SM-G991U
  • Dimensions: Bar: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm
  • Display: 6.2 inch / 157.48 mm Dynamic AMOLED 2X
  • CPU: Snapdragon 888
  • Camera: 12MP
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