The Galaxy S8's iris scanner is too slow, so Samsung is also adding facial recognition

It appears Samsung is having some problems with the Galaxy S8's long-rumored iris scanner. According to a new report, the company has chosen to add facial recognition to its newest flagship, citing speed and reliability concerns as the root cause behind the decision.

The news comes in the form of a direct quote from an unnamed Samsung official, courtesy of Korea Economic Daily. The person claims that while iris scanning was found to be unsatisfactory in terms of reliability, its face scanning implementation works in less than 0.01 seconds, though that might be simply an exaggeration. Prototypes are also said to be currently in testing, but it remains unclear whether the iris scanning tech will be removed altogether, repurposed for face recognition, or will be used for both.

The move could also be fueled in part by recent rumors of the upcoming iPhone 8, which is also said to feature face scanning. Apple and Samsung have historically been rivals in the smartphone race, though, curiously enough, Samsung recently signed a deal to manufacture the newest iPhone flagship's OLED display.

It's worth noting, however, that Android already has a built-in option for face unlocking, as part of the Smart Lock functionality. It could be that Samsung has simply chosen to enable the feature, which wasn't present in the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge, as an alternative to the underperforming iris scanner. This would be an easy choice, as Google's face detection doesn't require any special hardware, but rather uses the front camera only. However, Samsung has been known to offer its own alternatives to existing Android functionality in the past, so for now we'll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, make sure to also check out our Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ rumor review.

Related phones

Galaxy S8
  • Display 5.8" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3000 mAh(30h talk time)
Galaxy S8+
  • Display 6.2" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2450 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3500 mAh(24h 3G talk time)



1. kerginaldo17 unregistered

Sammy, ditch the iris scanner.

2. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

All we need is good old FPS right, the other security features are just overkill.

22. buccob

Posts: 2980; Member since: Jun 19, 2012

After getting the Surface Book I am convinced that Windows Hello facial recognition (IR sensor along with regular camera) is the best way to access my computer... It doesn't need to update my face regularly (something that was needed for my old Asus notebook with webcam logon)... and the IR sensor recognizes me with/without beard and even in pitch dark conditions.... For a phone I like a good Finger Print scanner... I had the original Motorola Atrix 4G and the scanner always worked wonderfully for me.... and we all know that it was a very early attempt so... I would love to see a phone with both FPS and the equivalence to Windows Hello...... that would be the ideal case for me... PS: the Surface Book's tablet part is only 7.6 mm thick so it is feasible to implement it in a phone.

3. HomerS

Posts: 419; Member since: Sep 19, 2014

Samsung doesnt have problems with the Iris scanner for the S8, but has limitations like it did with the scanner for the Note 7.

4. flavius22

Posts: 218; Member since: Aug 23, 2015

If the iris scaner is going to be slow and the finger print sensor is on the back... having left handed people and right handed people.. i think it might be very well the decline of them. Risky move, but at least they have the guts to jump in. Whatever the outcome.

17. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

"having left handed people and right handed people.. i think it might be very well the decline of them." Is this really an issue? An adult can use his/her weaker hand to manipulate his/her smartphone. Using the S8's fingerprint scanner at the back does not require any force, so anyone, whether left-handed or right-handed, can use either of hand to unlock the S8 with ease.

20. sissy246

Posts: 7129; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

True I have been making a point to pick up my phone as if it has the FPS in the back. I have it down pat. I am ready for my note 8

5. Cat97

Posts: 1972; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

They should have focused their resources on putting the fingerprint scanner under the display, on the front of the phone, it would have been the ideal option. But they are lazy, until Apple doesn't come up with something, Samsung doesn't either...

8. Chuck007

Posts: 1412; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

According to rumors it was one of their priorities, but unfortunate for them yields ended up being damnright terrible. Besides, there still aren't guarantees Apple (being their biggest competitor) will be able to bake the fingerprint sensor inside the display. Though having said that I certainly wish so since cause the iPhone "Edition" (aka OLED iPhone) looks to be the most feature-packed phone rumored so far for 2017.

6. arming

Posts: 65; Member since: Jul 23, 2016

i've owned note7 before and iris works well except not working under sun light . So no way sammy could have iris problem in s8 . its more likely that they have better faster solution than iris already but they rather wait for i8 to come with iris for kicking butt . seems like a right timing . apple is mad, so is PA . thats why we are reading the buttt hurt article right now :p

16. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Don't use the phone under sunlight, so

24. Unordinary unregistered

That shouldnt be an issue for most of PA, not using the scanner under sunlight, since ya know, youre all basement dwellers.

7. Bondurant

Posts: 785; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Yawn, S8 and Iphone 8 trying to catch up to the already released Huawei Honor Magic which has already implemented a perfect and smarter facial recognition

9. Macready

Posts: 1829; Member since: Dec 08, 2014

My S2 already had facial recognition unlock 6 years ago out of the box.... But this seems a rather nonsensical rumor anyway, since the Note 7 iris scanner was already pretty fast and pretty reliable under almost all circumstances. Add progress and a faster chip and what do we have...

11. mr.reckless562

Posts: 162; Member since: Dec 22, 2016

yes the S2 Did!!! Thank you!!! iphone ilags!!!

10. CincyGuy

Posts: 31; Member since: Oct 19, 2015

In the 3 weeks I owned a Note 7, I found the iris scanner to be slow and had a miss rate of about 5o%. All the times I kept moving the phone closer to, and then farther away from, my face to try and get it to unlock. Was hoping they had improved it by now.

12. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Maybe they put a finger print scanner in a good place for a alternative.

13. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1844; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

There are a ton of sensors at the top of the S8 so maybe they were already implementing facial recognition and gave the okay to leak this now... I had the note 7 and the iris scanner was lightning quick and after I got the muscle memory part figured out I knew just where to hold the phone for optimal execution. Most of the time I didn't even see the scanning screen and could unlock the phone while holding it naturally to do whatever I was doing with the phone... I'll be looking forward to using facial recognition if it's implemented correctly and hopefully not just taking pics of my face as the old face recognition did...

14. nctx77

Posts: 2540; Member since: Sep 03, 2013

Not good at all! The fingerprint scanner under the display is the best alternative to the physical home button. The iris scanner and facial scanners are just there for two factor authentication. The fingerprint scanner on the back is a odd location excuse you can't use it while the phone is laying down and people will constantly touch the camera in search of it.

15. TechGirl90 unregistered

I think they should just continue fine tuning the FPS and the Iris Scanner, Facial Recognition is pushing it to borderline overkill IMO. We all know how well the Facial Recognition was on Ice Cream Sandwich, it wasn't, it was terrible. Make it simple, don't overwhelm it with all these security options.

18. geordie8t1

Posts: 310; Member since: Nov 16, 2015

well i dont believe that samsung is having problems with the iris scanner at all, lets face it, the note 7 iris was super quick for the tech, and they have had a further 6 moths to develop it, now if they are having problems increasing the recognition time then ok perhaps that is the issue, i figured they would have just cannibalised the N7 hardware anyway unless its the wrong size??

19. amasog

Posts: 552; Member since: Aug 22, 2013

Will that work when you are in the middle of the dark? If not, then its just a gimmick. Oh and thats what gullible fandroids want. Gimmick and overly high specs even unnecessary. For bragging. Lols!


Posts: 130; Member since: Mar 09, 2017

According to me specs far Samsung galaxy S8+ -6inch 2k super omoled display 3D Corning Gorilla glass in compact body same as S7 edge. -SD 835 QC 4.0 -6GB DDR4 RAM 64GB internal Samsung UFS new SD card support -12MP dual camera with f1.5 tripel tone flash -8MP f1.5 with ois and front flash - finger print scanner on front under the glass like MI 5 plus -Iris scanner -ir blaster -3.5MM jack Water and dust resistance ip68 -3800-4000mah battery 0-100% in 70 minutes - fast wireless charging 0-100% in 120 mintues -

23. ElenaSandy

Posts: 12; Member since: Nov 20, 2015

"The move could also be fueled in part by recent rumors of the upcoming iPhone 8, which is also said to feature face scanning" SERIOUSLY PA!? samsung had this function since the S2, and now you're saying that it could be due to Apple implementing it on their next Iphone. You guys are really retarded.

25. pendragon0202

Posts: 164; Member since: Feb 23, 2015

I just read the original article in Korean. Why do you add to or misinterpret the original statement PA? According to the Korea economic daily, the Samsung official merely has said that iris scanning has its li itations in terms of improving speed and accuracy. So they are implementing facial scanning to complement the iris scanning to achieve 0.01 sec. Scan time. Where is "too slow" and "unsatisfactory " mentioned in the original article as you have mentioned? Or you are just adding this thing up just to paint negative image on S8?

26. audibot

Posts: 668; Member since: Jan 26, 2017

remember people the facial scanner started on the gs3 for them then they added the blink feature to show its a real person i loved it for the most part just need ir for night time face shot

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