Is Samsung about to make a terrible mistake with the Galaxy S10e's fingerprint scanner?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Is Samsung about to make a terrible mistake with the Galaxy S10e's fingerprint scanner?
The new Samsung phones are almost here and leaks are plentiful! Seriously, the excitement has been all but snuffed out due to a number of very detailed images and information quips that kind of spoiled the surprise way ahead of Samsung's big reveal.

So, what do we know? We will see a grand total of three Galaxy S10 phones. Yeah, Samsung is pulling “an Apple” here, with two uber-expensive flagships and a third, more “affordable” variant, which will be just as powerful as its bigger siblings but have a few corners cut here and there.

We are talking about the Galaxy S10e, of course. The flat-screened, smaller edition in the upcoming S10 line. One of the corners it will have cut is the extremely advanced under-the-glass fingerprint scanner. Instead of that, the Galaxy S10e will have a fingerprint reader embedded into its power button.

Yes, its power button… on the side of the phone.

Now, I’ve never been a fan of side-mounted fingerprint scanners. They are kind of the worst location you can have one — an awkwardly thin strip that’s hard to hit right if your phone is laying on a table, or if it's in an armor case or plopped on a stand.

To make things worse, it seems that the Galaxy S10e’s power button will be placed in an uncomfortably high position. Not in the center of your phone, where it will be easily in reach for your fingers, but high up on the frame.

Now, despite not being fond of the side-mounted scanner in the past, I’ve been able to live with it. The Sony Xperia phones and even the Samsung Galaxy J6+ have used this design concept successfully. All thanks to the fact that the power button was located in a central place on the frame, where your thumb or index finger will naturally rest when you pick the device up with your right or left hand, respectively.

Not with the Galaxy S10e, nuh-uh. With the renders and pictures we have now, I can only imagine that unlocking the phone with your right thumb or your left hand’s index finger will be an awkward ordeal, requiring you to shuffle the phone in your hand and hope you don’t drop it. That's a pretty annoying addition to an already uncomfortable design decision in the first place. In size, the Galaxy S10e is supposedly going to sit somewhere between the iPhone XS and iPhone XR. Both of these devices feel a bit long and reaching the top of their frames is not easy. Thankfully, they don't have vital control buttons up there.

Add to that all of the aforementioned inconveniences associated with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, and we’ve got a user experience that I would describe as less than optimal. Considering that people who buy flagships usually love their phones and unlock them dozens or even hundreds of times per day, I find it a bit disappointing that this is the placement Samsung decided to go with.

But hey! This is all based on a couple of leaks. Who knows — maybe Samsung identified this issue and rectified it prior to starting up the production lines? Odds are low, but one can hope.

Related phones

Galaxy S10e
  • Display 5.8" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3100 mAh



1. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I totally disagree. I have had phones with fingerprint scanners at the front, side and the back and I have to say that the side was the most natural position. It just shares with the rear mounted scanner the disadvantage of not allowing to unlock the phone while lying on the table, but other than that the side mounted fingerprint scanner was the most natural position and I miss it.

5. Kuroki

Posts: 183; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

ah yes. When sony did it, it was stupid and outdated. when samsung does it, it's suddenly a natural position.

34. davthom123

Posts: 120; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

Sony used to put it in an unnatural position.if its well positioned on Samsung's galaxy s10 it should be fine

42. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I had Sony and it was in perfectly natural position.

7. Cat97

Posts: 1862; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Side is a perfect placement, vastly superior to rear and 90% as good as the front. The power button is placed high because it should also work in a car cradle which can cover more than half of the sides. Remember, this will be a small phone.

17. technitude

Posts: 263; Member since: Dec 19, 2013

If they called it a thumbprint scanner, everybody would get it. It is a fairly natural position for those that hold their phone in their right hand.

26. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

It's also good for left handed people. I use my phone with both hands and unlocking using the thumb or the index is same comfortable.

37. AngelicusMaximus

Posts: 674; Member since: Dec 20, 2017

Your comment is completely contradictory. How can something be perfect, but only 90% as good as something else? Clearly it's not perfect.

45. Cat97

Posts: 1862; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

For the price...:)

31. androiduser

Posts: 510; Member since: Jun 18, 2014

I agree, I have the s6 edge which is around the same size as the s10e and the positioning of the fingerprint scanner seems perfect to me

64. GoTstan

Posts: 386; Member since: Jul 25, 2015

My man. The power button makes the most sense. That or the home button (which don't exist anymore). I use the fps on the home button of my note 4. With a case. It works just fine. It may be slower than today's phones, I'm OK with that. Doubling up the fps with the power button makes a ton of sense to me. As for where the button is located, which this article is mentioning, I believe we have gotten so nitpicky with phones today. It's ok where it is

65. romeo1

Posts: 814; Member since: Jan 06, 2012

On sony phones i had no problem unlocking the phone if it was on the table just register both of your thumbs and index fingers

67. fay99

Posts: 118; Member since: Mar 16, 2012

This is PhoneArena. What do you expect its author would write? To those PhoneArena fans, do people normally activate/turn on their phones by pressing the power button? Do you think a smarter design is to press the power button here and then move your thumb there to the fingerprint scanner? You think it's stupid to turn on and unlock the phone by a single step?

2. delthor7

Posts: 10; Member since: Nov 30, 2012

Agree. While I'm totally fine with side-mounted, this one's waaay too high.

10. Fred3

Posts: 495; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

it's placed high because it's a small phone so basicly your hand position will be higher and not low like a galaxy it's just right

73. androiduser

Posts: 510; Member since: Jun 18, 2014

False, I have s6 edge and it is indeed too high and I decided not to buy the s10e because of it. And no s10 due to the big size

74. Fred3

Posts: 495; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

False, I had the S6 for a year and did not have any problems with where the buttons located

3. middlehead

Posts: 453; Member since: May 12, 2014

My only concern is how high up they put it. Front would be ideal, but I'd still MUCH rather have a slightly awkward side unit than any rear mounted scanner. Most importantly, the screen finally being flat again outweighs any potential awkwardness with the fp reader.

4. surethom

Posts: 1665; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Once again Samsung placing a fingerprint sensor way to high, what is wrong with them. I much prefer front mounted fingerprint sensor, also on the side means a much smaller sensor to scan your finger print which can cause problems.

6. someguy2261

Posts: 253; Member since: Feb 12, 2016

I think they are going to be giving it away for free , finger print scanner in side button will be the main reason. And even if they give it to me for free I don't want it. BIG MISTAKE.

75. middlehead

Posts: 453; Member since: May 12, 2014

Turns out You are the big mistake. The 10e's doing fine, and more than fine in Europe.

8. maherk

Posts: 6773; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

I love how you took an article from Sammobile and made it yours.

13. darkkjedii

Posts: 30969; Member since: Feb 05, 2011


35. maherk

Posts: 6773; Member since: Feb 10, 2012

36. Vancetastic

Posts: 1104; Member since: May 17, 2017


41. darkkjedii

Posts: 30969; Member since: Feb 05, 2011


43. sissy246

Posts: 7078; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

WOW!!!!! They usually give credit to the source, not this time.

62. paul.k

Posts: 293; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

Unfortunate timing. People can have overlapping opinions and ideas.

69. andynaija

Posts: 1255; Member since: Sep 08, 2012

Lol. Ok.

9. BuffaloSouce unregistered

If not being able to use the FPS because it's laying on a table or plopped on a stand is an issue, there's a simple fix... Quit being a lazy f**k and pick up the damn phone,it's not hard

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

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