Opinion

The Galaxy S20 could miss out on one feature I had been excited about

If there’s one aspect of Samsung smartphones that has gone through too many changes too quickly, it has to be the fingerprint sensor. For years, Galaxy smartphones had a physical home button at the front. When the time arrived for Samsung to equip its phones with a fingerprint reader, the company did what everyone expected: It integrated the fingerprint reader into the home button. The Galaxy S5’s swipe-action fingerprint sensor aside, it was a very convenient experience to use those physical front-facing fingerprint readers, whether it was a flagship phone or one on the budget end of the spectrum.

The first major change to the fingerprint reader came to Galaxy phones in 2017. With the Galaxy S8, Samsung ditched its traditional physical home button and moved to an all-screen design. The fingerprint sensor got pushed to the back of the phone, and Samsung decided to place it at the side of the camera. That implementation, as many (but not everyone) would agree, was plain horrible. A year later, Samsung shifted the fingerprint sensor to below the camera module to make it easier to reach and made it seem like it listened to consumer feedback instead of admitting it was just fixing a design flaw that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

Then, a year after that, Samsung’s fingerprint reader implementation went through another drastic change: The Galaxy S10 introduced us to the ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor. Under-display scanners were highly anticipated by long-time fans of Galaxy smartphones, as it meant the fingerprint sensor would return to the front of the device. Samsung’s quite proud of it as well: The company calls the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor revolutionary and boasts how it provides “invisible yet vault-like security” on its official website.

For me, the in-display fingerprint reader has been more of an annoyance than anything close to impressive. It’s been almost a year since I started using the ultrasonic fingerprint reader on the Galaxy S10+. When I reviewed the Galaxy S10+, I had been skeptical of the in-display sensor. Since the sensor is under the display, you have to spend the first week or two learning to place your finger at the correct spot without always having to look at the phone. Well, nearly twelve months later, that’s something I still struggle with.

Maybe I’m stupid (there is plenty of evidence that I am, but I choose to ignore it), maybe I have poor motor skills. But the in-display fingerprint sensor continues to embarrass me. All too often it tells me to cover the entire fingerprint sensor, and sometimes, I have to go through a couple of tries even when looking at the fingerprint icon on-screen. That’s why I was so excited when, a few weeks ago, Qualcomm unveiled an upgraded version of the ultrasonic sensor that we see on the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 series.

You see, the newer ultrasonic sensor has a fingerprint recognition area that is 17 times larger than that of the first-generation sensor. And that means it is less pedantic about where you place your finger – it’s also more secure, as the larger surface area allows you to scan two fingerprints at the same time. It’s basically the perfect solution for folks like me, who continue to have a less-than-ideal experience with the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor on a Galaxy S10 or Note 10.

Unfortunately, it seems the new Qualcomm sensor will not be making its way into the Galaxy S20. A recent leak that revealed many details about the Galaxy S20, including real-life pictures of the device in action, suggests that the fingerprint sensor is not being upgraded. And that might end up being the most disappointing aspect of Samsung’s new flagship for me. Sure, I will mostly use facial recognition for unlocking the phone, but fingerprint scanning is needed in almost everything else, such as securing apps like Samsung Pay.

I had assumed Samsung would make things better by upgrading the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S20 to Qualcomm’s new solution, but it looks like nothing is going to change on that front. The Galaxy S20 is going to bring some amazing upgrades, like improved cameras, high refresh rate displays, and giant batteries, but it pains me to think that my day-to-day experience of using the device will continue to involve a serious nuisance that I have been unable to overcome despite having had plenty of time to do so.

What do you think? Would you have liked to see Samsung bring Qualcomm’s newer ultrasonic fingerprint sensor to the Galaxy S20, or do you think the one on the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 is good enough? Let me know in the comments!

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martindale
martindale

Please, stop with the cheesy click-bait headlines.

stoleriko
stoleriko

This is nothing compare to the shity Exynos prossesor Samsung will use outside of America. Another disappointing is the lack of ANC on the new Galaxy Buds.

djcbs
djcbs

To me the only place a fingerprint scanner should be in is the SIDE of the phone, like on the S10e (and other A devices). That’s the best way, it’s always accessible AND it allows for the notification panel pull down, something increasingly essential on these awful oversized dinner tables OEMs keep trying to shove down our throats. If it’s not there, I’m not using it. I hated every single minute I spent with the rear fps of the S9 and I’ve disabled the under-the-display one on the P30 because, while it works well, it’s just annoying to have to… Read more »

Abhijeet M.
Abhijeet M.

Yep, agree with you there. These in-display sensors are just a fancy feature that provides nothing but wow factor. Those physical sensors will always be faster, more accurate, and just plain convenient, especially in the power button (though that makes it less convenient for left handers).

drshishir
drshishir

cant they put the ultrasonic fps on the back side of the phone like we have on s9?

cardicek
cardicek

You got completely crazy, right? : D S10 top front and you want to blow it back? : D lol

stondec
stondec

Worst suggestion ever!

o0MHJ0o
o0MHJ0o

Is there any reason why it would not be? The tech isn’t new if it’s evolved/progressed. Which is very different to what ultra sonic was originally when it was announced a couple of years ago.
I’m hoping it’s gonna have it. Otherwise the price tag won’t be worth it.

Standingo
Standingo

I like my S10+ fingerprint sensor. And now that I can see on the AOD where to put my finger exactly, it works even better.

shezkhan123
shezkhan123

why samsung why 😭💔
i was waiting for this new fps and what no plz
realy ashame being a samsung die hard fan

JSH1973
JSH1973

The newer and bigger FP sensor would be nice but it is not a deal breaker or big tragedy if you ask me.
The one in the Note 10 works fine once set up properly and you are used to it but… Yes there’s room for improvement 🙂

Bobbingalong
Bobbingalong

i personally think the fps on the s10 is very good after the updates. all i had to do was remove the screen protector and used a wet applied protector.

i has worked wonders and super fast and reliable

london2tim
london2tim

better get used to the disappointment about s20 – the list is about to grow much larger
it seems more and more likely the new range is nothing but smoke in your eyes

Bobbingalong
Bobbingalong

I think I will get the s11 next year. Nothing worth while for an update especially the smaller model

dagger1
dagger1

I’m actually happy with the fingerprint sensor. Theres a trick that really helps a lot though: register the finger you use the most twice. Then it will never fail with that finger.
But It would be better if that wasnt necesary of course. A bigger scanning area like it was teased would have been appreciated.

pepo187
pepo187

Im satisfied with current fingerprint sensor on my S10+..once you get used to it its fine…its fast enough

sryffin
sryffin

“Maybe I’m stupid”
aren’t we all

stondec
stondec

““Maybe I’m stupid”
aren’t we all”
Speak for yourself!