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

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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.

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