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?




1. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

Unless there's a Home button on the front like the iPhone or the Galaxies, I'm all in for the side which is be accessible in any case, whereas the back position is almost a no go if you usually place the phone on a table

6. LetsBeHonest

Posts: 1548; Member since: Jun 04, 2013

Yeah, I prefer side too..

22. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Side is okay if you only use one hand for the phone, with my Z5c it's a pain somethings with the left hand because the middle of my index finger just won't get recognized. The top of the finger works perfectly but it's a serious irritation sometimes.

24. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

Re-map your finger more carefully and the issue is solved. I had to map three times my right thumb but now there is no problem with it or any other finger.

30. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

I've remapped like a hundred times and it's still choppy. I've chalked it up to a fingerprint problem more so than a scanner issue.

33. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

There are reports over the internet that there fingerprint scanner is crap,


Posts: 9; Member since: Jan 28, 2015

Who makes the fingerprint sensor in the Z5?

42. sgodsell

Posts: 7368; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

I think the best scanners are yet to come. They will be under the screen, so the bezels can be reduced even more.

50. Turbocomppro

Posts: 8; Member since: Nov 19, 2013

An old trick with the old iPhone 5s is to register the same finger 2 or 3 times. I use my right thumb likely 80% to do the unlocking. So I register it as 2 different fingers. I'd say the phone will not miss 98% of the time now. Other times my finger may be wet or I lift off too quickly.

17. aBoss

Posts: 164; Member since: Sep 15, 2014

Sony is the best. The side makes the most sense due to screen ration and button placements are normally on the side. Sony > Samsung > Apple

34. j2001m

Posts: 3061; Member since: Apr 28, 2014

I be thinking you have not used it

36. Leo_MC

Posts: 7432; Member since: Dec 02, 2011

Why would Samsung - the copycat - be better than Apple, considering iPhone has one of the best fingerprint scanner on the market?

47. tedkord

Posts: 17357; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

Because a) they're not copycats, any more than Apple is and b) just like with Samsung Pay, they did it better.

29. zeeBomb

Posts: 2318; Member since: Aug 14, 2014

Side, back then bottom

2. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

front -> no, its just bad for screen-to-body ration side -> if it make side bezel thicker, then no rear -> yeah, since I always have 3-4 finger doing nothing back there

4. Feanor

Posts: 1365; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

The Sony Xperia Z5 has a side placed scanner and it has normal, thin side bezels.

14. Amw86

Posts: 44; Member since: Oct 14, 2013

It works like ass tho.

16. bur60

Posts: 981; Member since: Jul 07, 2014

100% accuracy for me..

31. kent-gaga

Posts: 609; Member since: Apr 10, 2012

like a nice a-s-s, actually

48. Xperia14

Posts: 1208; Member since: Sep 01, 2015

No, it is really accurate despite that pocketnow video. They probably didn't set it up correctly. That's important, because it only recognizes a part of your thumb, so you have to register different parts of the same finger correctly.

15. Benoit

Posts: 57; Member since: Oct 16, 2014

Why would a front fingerprint scanner be bad for screen to body ratio? The latest Samsung smartphone make good use of their front face.

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".

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.

7. Feanor

Posts: 1365; 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: 457; 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.

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: 1365; 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: 1555; 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!

9. swole_Nerd

Posts: 17; Member since: Nov 24, 2015

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

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