Front, back, or side: Where does the fingerprint scanner belong?

Front, back, or side: Where does the fingerprint scanner belong?
While it was Motorola, not Apple, that was first to market with a fingerprint scanner on a modern device (the Atrix 4G), it's hard to argue against Cupertino's subsequent success with Touch ID, and the proliferation of the category since. In the time since the iPhone 5 debuted said tech, the market has grown ever more saturated with phones packing a scanner, some of them offering a novel approach.

Today, you can get a scanner embedded into the rear panel, one nestled on the bottom front bezel, and as of fairly recently — on the side, where your power key would usually go. All of these placements offer distinct advantages and disadvantages, and it's madness trying to objectively rank them, but that doesn't mean people won't have preferences. For one, we all use marginally (or vastly) differing grips with our devices, and that changes a whole lot.

So if you were to pick the placement of the fingerprint scanner, would you go front, side, or rear? Vote now to settle the debate!

Front, side, or rear: Where does the fingerprint scanner belong?

Front
39.65%
Side
40.17%
Rear
20.18%


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49 Comments

49. technitude

Posts: 263; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

Since I place my phone in a cradle in my car (for navigation), the button in the back is hard means removing my phone usually, which is annoying. A side button (that could double as a phone snapper) would be pretty cool though. Miss that button from my old HTC 3D.

46. surethom

Posts: 1776; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

I have ALWAYS said front, but that was untill i got the Nexus 5x, its so much better on the back, by the time the phone is out of my pocket, I have unlocked the phone with my finger scanned & easy to unlock on desk pick up scan & down in 1 second.

51. Turbocomppro

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

I pull my iPhone out from my pocket with my thumb on the home button and the rest of my fingers on the back. Never slipped and always unlocks my phone by the time it gets to my face. But I can also unlock it while it's sitting on a desk without picking it up. And while in a car dock without having to reach around the back. I had a LG G2 and G3 so I know how convenient back buttons are. It's just that sometimes, they really aren't. The side could work but I really don't see how the back or side scanners can be more "comfortable" then the front. It really is the best place to have it.

44. darkkjedii

Posts: 31805; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Front for me.

39. sonisoe

Posts: 440; Member since: May 06, 2009

front is the most flexible... you put your phone on your desk facing up, you can use your pointing finger to unlock and glance without having to pick up the phone... if you do need to pick-up the phone, use your thumb to unlock...yes you'll feel more natural pressing a side button than your thumb reaching the bottom of your phone, but thats fine with me...

38. jellmoo

Posts: 2701; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

I like the front simply because it makes it way easier to unlock the device when it's sitting face up on my desk.

37. Plutonium239

Posts: 1263; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Fingerprint scanners are antiquated and not secure. Anyone, if determined can lift your fingerprint off the phone itself or something else you touched and create a duplicate than can easily fool these sensors. Iris scanners, such as in the Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950 XL are the future. Much more secure, you can't fool these sensors by making a duplicate iris. The pattern of your iris cannot be lifted off your device like fingerprints can.

35. solidsnake695

Posts: 132; Member since: Jan 04, 2013

i think those front voters are all iphone and samsung lovers just like phonearena

43. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 748; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

Well, it's located on the home button. Which is far more easier. Same goes for the side for the xperia z5. But having a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone pose challenge since some users are clumsy. And most of the time. The phone is laid down on a table with the screen on top. So how can you unlock your phone easily without lifting your unit?

32. TylerGrunter

Posts: 1544; Member since: Feb 16, 2012

I vote for front + hidden under the screen and not with a HW button.

27. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Rear isn't too bad tho..

26. Djz89

Posts: 447; Member since: Aug 25, 2014

front or fide IMO, rear is not the way to go.

25. SSJSim

Posts: 12; Member since: Oct 17, 2014

Home button is the best placement. I was hoping for Androids (sans Samsung ones) to be influenced by the iPhones' fingerprint sensor addition in their home button, so they'd add their own physical home buttons... But noooo. They decided to be eccentric and keep them on the back and side. That's why Samsungs are the most successful Androids since they have physical home buttons and off screen keys and iPhones are the most successful in the market. Onscreen keys are NOT ergonomic. Period. Usually, I don't spark controversy with any postings I make online, but this is something I wanted to get off my chest. Granted, many on here will bash on my opinion as they've adapted to the onscreen keys, but I'm just gonna make this a "strike first, ignore the replies" kinda thing.

28. Fellwalker

Posts: 549; Member since: Apr 04, 2014

Personal preference! Sorry to disagree but I hate the Samsung physical button. Pressing it with what I feel to be the same pressure can take me varyingly to the home screen, Google now or Samsung hello. Conversely I've been very happy with my nexus 5 and before that my 4, 7 and 7(2013). I regret buying a tab s when I knocked my 7(2013) to the concrete and smashed the screen, but the nexus 9 was too big. When I had an HD2 I loved it's 5 physical buttons, because they just did the one thing they were each supposed to do. Maybe if Samsung had 3 physical buttons instead of those two side capacitive things that are never quite where you press, and if the centre button only ever did one thing, I'd be happy with it. As with the poll, it comes down to personal preference and there is no right answer.

23. dil2abu

Posts: 315; Member since: Nov 09, 2011

Side for sure..

20. bodzio1809

Posts: 407; Member since: Aug 28, 2013

Front under screen. Wait for 2016 flagships with S820.

18. plasteek

Posts: 265; Member since: Jun 07, 2015

I want a phone with front (table)+back (handled)scanner !

13. HtPsycho

Posts: 27; Member since: Aug 14, 2015

Just Not On The Back.

10. .KRATOS.

Posts: 444; Member since: Mar 15, 2013

Well the best way is on the screen put ur thumb on the screen n it unlock the phone but I guess we still far away from this kinda technology still

9. swole_Nerd

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 24, 2015

i kinda like on the back the way LG has on their phones

19. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

Agreed LG's placement is excellent

41. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 748; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

What if you dropped your phone? Doesn't that damage the fingerprint sensor?

8. smooth4lyfe

Posts: 25; Member since: Mar 23, 2013

For those that are left handed, it would be uncomfortable if it was on the right side...the front is universal comfort for all hands

11. Feanor

Posts: 1450; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Not true. I'm right handed but I use my phone with both hands (I'm an ambidextrous smartphone user :-))) I unlock my Z5 with the right thumb, when my phone is in my right hand, and with my left index, if I have my phone in the left hand.

12. mixedfish

Posts: 1574; Member since: Nov 17, 2013

The front is universally uncomfortable for all hands.

21. Hexa-core

Posts: 2131; Member since: Aug 11, 2015

The front is universaly natural and easy for all hands!

7. Feanor

Posts: 1450; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I think the side position of my Xperia Z5 P is the most natural position. Only disadvantage is that it's side is so small that it only scans a small portion of your finger and therefore you need to be very careful and map the entire surface of your finger properly in order to have it working right. I had to map my fingers a few times until I got it right and now it works as a charm. Others (amongst them a friend of mine) are complaining that the scanner doesn't work reliably, but I think it's only a matter of careful initial mapping.

45. middlehead

Posts: 486; Member since: May 12, 2014

I've mapped my thumb as 3 different fingers on my Z5C and I'd say it still only has a 30 or 40% success rate. My lifetime rate is definitely below 20%. It's a good thing I didn't buy it for the fingerprint scanner, because it has been terrible.

5. ososucre

Posts: 25; Member since: Aug 12, 2013

i would prefer front side, If it is in the back or left/right side, it would be useful for one or two fingers.

3. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

I would like to have the whole display a fingerprint scanner. Then I will unlock the device normally but if someone else touch my phone it should say "Nice try Asshole:p".

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