We tried the world's first in-screen fingerprint reader and it worked fine


The first fingerprint reader built inside the display of a phone is here and we got to take a first look at the technology at CES 2018.

Unfortunately, it was not Samsung, LG, HTC or any other major Android phone maker that has introduced the new feature, but Chinese phone maker Vivo. The tiny chip is integrated under the AMOLED display of the Vivo phone and uses optical technology to read your fingerprint and... it works well! The technology behind it is actually made by Synaptics and below you will find a detailed explanation of the tiny new chip that sits under the screen glass and what it does, but first - the real impressions.

The best thing about this implementation of a fingerprint scanner is that it looks practically invisible. The chip itself is tiny, so Vivo puts a visual cue to where exactly you have to press in order to unlock the phone. Place your finger there, wait for a split second and the phone will unlock with a cool animation taking place. It is just a bit slower than what you might be used to from a traditional fingerprint scanner, but not much slower.


As to the technical part and the chip itself, it is the new Synaptics Clear ID FS9500, a tiny chip the size of a fingernail designed to work with phones with an 18:9 and 20:9 orientation. The Clear ID SF9500 sensor itself measures just 0.69mm in thickness and does not make smartphones significantly thicker. It is a CMOS device, designed to be placed below an AMOLED screen. In order for it to work, the finger has to be illuminated, so that the fingerprint scanner can read the reflections of the finger scan. To create this reflection, part of the screen has to light up, and then the finger reader will capture the reflection between the AMOLED pixels. Synaptics says that the fingerprint scanner itself is very frugal, consuming merely 80mA of power. The whole setup also uses the built-in accelerometer in the phone and other sensors to know when to activate the fingerprint reader and light up the appropriate part of the display.

The overall process takes just 0.7 seconds, not quite as fast as the 0.2 seconds that are commonly advertized for traditional fingerprint scanners these days, but still faster than the average of 1.4 seconds it takes to use face recognition.

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47 Comments

1. notfair

Posts: 755; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

Synaptics not Symantec and why you are at it why don't you add also Apple to this list "unfortunately, it was not Samsung, LG, HTC or A_ _ _ E"

4. Victor.H

Posts: 1076; Member since: May 27, 2011

Thanks, it's fixed now. Mostly because I was thinking of Android phone makers, but yeah, Apple could have done this also.

6. notfair

Posts: 755; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

cheers mate.

31. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Don't cheer him so quickly. Read it again. Talking about not adding apple to the list.

55. kevin91202

Posts: 642; Member since: Jun 08, 2014

Don't expect an Apple shill to correct it.

42. sgodsell

Posts: 7440; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Right now only smartphones with OLED displays are supported. So no LCD displays would work. However if Qualcomm's ultrasonic scanner could see the day of light, then any display screen would be supported. Plus it would work through a metal case as well.

5. afrohoxha

Posts: 262; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Apple didn't have any plans to make an onscreen fps ;).

7. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Yet they have several patents suggesting they did ;)

25. DolmioMan

Posts: 335; Member since: Jan 08, 2018

They also have patents for a wraparound screen, doesn't mean they're planning to implement it in the next iPhone, or in fact any iPhone at all.

32. sissy246

Posts: 7124; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Not according to all the ifans. Apple was going to be first and everyone would fallow ;) NOT, LMAO

10. bucknassty

Posts: 1352; Member since: Mar 24, 2017

why is it unfortunate? cause apple didnt do it... thats why

40. ahmadkun

Posts: 613; Member since: May 02, 2016

go easy with him notfair .. LOL

54. theunspoken

Posts: 310; Member since: Jul 06, 2017

Apple after 3 years, we have implemented the most advanced in screen TouchID dubbed the InTouch ID in the iPhone XIII blah blah....

2. L0n3n1nja

Posts: 1578; Member since: Jul 12, 2016

Small Chinese phone manufacturer did what Apple failed to do. Haha

9. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Not a Chinese phone manufacturer did, but Synaptics.

27. DolmioMan

Posts: 335; Member since: Jan 08, 2018

Well he's technically correct if what Apple failed to do was buy an under display fingerprint scanner from Synaptics.

37. Klinton

Posts: 1409; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Samsung and Apple could do the same with Synaptics , but as you read, it's not as fast as the FPS' of today. Yet. BTW I can't understand why is so important FPS to be under the screen?

43. kiko007

Posts: 7502; Member since: Feb 17, 2016

I've asked the same thing multiple times. Functionally speaking, this doesn't seem to add much if anything to how current scanners operate. It just sounds like a cool innovation that isn't really meant to do something aside of being visually appealing.

46. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Fingerprint work on front with bezeless design. so no need make big notch on screen just for fingerprint.

50. ColinW

Posts: 412; Member since: Jun 04, 2014

Far better to be visually appealing and faster, than a notch that is ugly and takes away screen space

47. medtxa

Posts: 1655; Member since: Jun 02, 2014

Now try to think why we need face id instead. mindblown!

48. HansP

Posts: 542; Member since: Oct 16, 2011

The screen is an AMOLED screen, so, this is obviously Synaptics and Samsung doing the work. AMOLED is made by Samsung.

11. Papa_Ji

Posts: 856; Member since: Jun 27, 2016

Not a small manufacturer ...... Vivo+oppo+1+ = bbk electronic = World's second largest smartphone OEM

30. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 734; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

But once the screen cracks. Especially where the in screen fingerprint scanner. How would you replace the components?

51. worldpeace

Posts: 3135; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

Just replace it, like always.. The sensor is literally under the screen, not built inside the screen..

3. Sammy_DEVIL737

Posts: 1529; Member since: Nov 28, 2016

I'm surprised that the unlock time have been improved alot in this working prototype.

8. Landon

Posts: 1245; Member since: May 07, 2015

Put this on the Note 9, slim the top bezel, and remove the bottom bezel and you'll have my money Samsung.

12. GreenMan

Posts: 2698; Member since: Nov 09, 2015

We are living in the FUTURE! I've seen this technology in movies countless times and not even for once did I think it would actually be possible. In any case, this phone is what The iPhone X should've been! Bravo! And... G'Day!

13. Hollowmost

Posts: 424; Member since: Oct 10, 2017

I prefer the fingerprint scanner on the Back so I can unlock my phone in 0.15 second than on the display with 0.7 second to unlock ....

14. cmdacos

Posts: 4264; Member since: Nov 01, 2016

Lmao. Definitely adds time back into your day...

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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