Fun-size Galaxy S10 reader hints why finger scanning could be hit or miss (teardown)


One of the most interesting new features that come with Samsung's fresh-out-of-the-oven Galaxy S10 family is the presence of an in-display finger scanner biometry. It is a second generation one, arguably for the first time in a commercial phone, and is pretty good though not on the level of touch scanners that are not embedded in the screen judging by our time spent with them.

If you want to see what the actual hardware that makes Qualcomm's second-gen ultrasonic fingerprint reader looks like in the Galaxy S10+, there is a teardown for that. In one word: tiny. The area that the scanner covers, is no larger than a fingernail and perhaps that explains why our experience with it was hit or miss. 

We did enter the fingerprints as required by Samsung's guidelines, but when we started using the reader, it couldn't easily detect our fingers, especially at the angle that the big Galaxy S10+ requires when you are holding it with one hand. Some of us had to push the phone upwards, balance it on the pinky, and only when we placed our thumbs parallel to the frame were we able to quickly unlock the phone. Live and learn. 

There are some designs that allow for the whole half of a screen to be used for recognizing fingerprints but these are still in the development stage and most likely won't be mass produced until next year's flagships. Until then, we are grateful for the all-screen design possibilities that in-display finger scanners allow anyway.

Related phones

Galaxy S10+
  • Display 6.4" 1440 x 3040 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4100 mAh

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7 Comments

1. dimas

Posts: 3240; Member since: Jul 22, 2014

Engineering and quality control issues. Article is right, S10e side fingerprint sensor was easier to use when I tested them. Lucky if samsung can fix this thru software update.

2. chris2k5

Posts: 180; Member since: Nov 17, 2012

Sadly a hardware engineering issue so no software can fix this. You really have to be spot on or you will end up typing in your pass code. Ultrasonic Gate

3. Japultra

Posts: 132; Member since: May 16, 2014

From all the videos I've seen seen of the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, it works just as fast as a regular one.

4. Vyshak75

Posts: 59; Member since: Mar 03, 2016

Its just that people are hard pressing on the sensor area as how they are doing with the optical one. Ice universe have already tweeted a video showing that in S10 you just need to touch the screen for a millisecond and it will unlock. If you press it, then it takes time.

5. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1497; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

6. sissy246

Posts: 6907; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

They know it works the best of any, they just have to out it down to make it look bad.

7. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1497; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

Yup. I agree.

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