May 27, 2022


Future Technology

Why the Samsung Galaxy S22’s Fingerprint Reader Puts the Pixel 6 to Shame – Review Geek

The Pixel 6 and Samsung Galaxy S22 next to each other.
Justin Duino

Despite the Pixel 6’s strange bugs and unreliable application updates, it is arguably just one of the best Android units of all time. Shoppers have just 1 big criticism the fingerprint reader sucks. In fact, it left these types of a terrible taste in critics’ mouths that they’re now pointing to the Samsung Galaxy S22’s fingerprint reader as its Pixel-beating aspect.

At a glance, this may look like an unfair comparison. The Pixel 6 is a innovative new cell phone with a tailor made-manufactured Tensor processor, so we just can’t be expecting perfection. But if Google wishes to nail its forthcoming Pixel 7 release, it requirements to master from Samsung—a enterprise that after identified by itself in this incredibly predicament.

Yeah, the Pixel 6 Fingerprint Reader Stinks

Close-up of the Google Pixel 6 Pro camera bump
Justin Duino

In just days of the Pixel 6 launch, clients started complaining that the phone’s fingerprint sensor was unreliable or non-doing work. Some folks theorized that a bug was accountable for the problem, when other folks claimed that sure display protectors confused the phone’s biometrics system.

Google took a various stance—basically, it instructed consumers “you’re making use of the cell phone mistaken.” The business drafted a Support page explaining that you require to firmly push your finger versus the phone’s sensor, and that pulling your finger from the telephone far too immediately will confuse its “enhanced safety algorithms.”

Now, Google did give customers some beneficial strategies. The corporation recommended that customers retain their palms moisturized, which definitely enhances fingerprint reader precision (and your possibilities of scoring a sizzling day). But general, Google’s suggestions wasn’t all that helpful—the Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor stinks, and no total of moisturizer will solve that challenge.

A handful of months soon after teaching people to moisturize, Google pushed a software update to make improvements to the Pixel 6’s biometrics. Anecdotally speaking, we imagine that this update was helpful. But customers complain about the Pixel 6 fingerprint sensor just as a great deal as they did in November of 2021, so the update plainly didn’t do plenty of.

Maybe Google will use long run updates to further increase the Pixel 6 biometrics, but these updates will never solve the complications that customers are complaining about. I can say that confidently, as software is not the only factor that can make a fingerprint sensor gradual or inaccurate.

Optical Vs. Ultrasonic: It’s All In the Hardware

Samsung Galaxy S22's ultrasonic fingerprint sensor
Justin Duino

Most smartphones with in-display fingerprint readers, which includes the Pixel 6, use “optical” sensors to verify your identification. These optical sensors are fundamentally just cameras—they illuminate your finger, snap a quick photo, and look at that picture to all the fingers in your biometrics configurations.

There are some severe negatives to optical scanning technologies. If your fingers are filthy, dry, or damp, then they might not glance like “your” fingers any more. Not to mention, the optical scanning approach can be a little bit sluggish, and your fingerprint may look various based on how hard it is pressed towards your display screen.

Samsung will get all over these hurdles with exceptional “ultrasonic” fingerprint sensors, which use audio waves to produce 3D maps of your fingerprints. As you may well assume, these 3D maps present a large amount more element than uncomplicated 2D illustrations or photos.

That further detail sales opportunities to an boost in accuracy. If your fingers are dry, for occasion, the ultrasonic 3D map will nonetheless consist of ample information for identification. In addition, strain sensors in Samsung telephones can notify how challenging you squish your fingers in opposition to the display and compensate for their transform in form. (However, optical fingerprint sensors are nevertheless a bit a lot quicker than ultrasonic choices, as they conduct considerably less in-depth do the job.)

I should notice that ultrasonic sensors are technically additional safe than their optical cousins. Merely place, a 3D map of your fingerprint is more challenging to replicate than a 2D picture. But I don’t really take into account this an location of concern—if someone needs to break into your phone that terribly, they’ll at some point obtain a way all around any biometric methods.

Google can only pull so much out of its optical fingerprint sensors. Application updates can improve the technological know-how, for certain, but considerable adjust necessitates new hardware … ideal?

There is Nonetheless Hope for Google’s Optical Fingerprint Sensor

Google Pixel 6 Pro's front-facing camera
Justin Duino

The initially in-show fingerprint sensors were horrible. However, several suppliers viewed as the technologies a necessity—-the Iphone ditched its Dwelling button, which doubled as a capacitive fingerprint sensor, and other models had to do the similar.

Do you know which brand experienced the best in-display fingerprint sensor? Very well, I’m not sure both, but it was not Samsung.

Soon after a handful of several years of sticking capacitive fingerprint sensors on the backsides of its telephones, Samsung made a decision to debut the ultrasonic in-exhibit sensor. The result was an mind-boggling disappointment. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 lineup was greatly criticized for its use of the ultrasonic sensor, which was sluggish, inaccurate, and not able to function with some display screen protectors.

At that time, optical sensors had been significantly speedier than Samsung’s ultrasonic different (they’re now just a little bit faster). But they have been however fairly darn sluggish, unreliable, and unpopular among the numerous critics and prospects.

Cellphone companies, in particular Samsung, have successfully resolved most of these troubles. And this maximize in high quality isn’t the end result of mad, groundbreaking alterations. Corporations have just stayed the course and made incremental enhancements to hardware and program.

Google has not had the opportunity to make this kind of improvements—the Pixel 6 is its to start with cellphone with an in-display screen fingerprint sensor. And like Samsung, it will bounce again.

When numerous men and women are now encouraging Google to use an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor in long run Pixel equipment, I’d be surprised if the enterprise would make these types of a spectacular modify. Optical hardware isn’t the trouble here Google manufactured a bad fingerprint sensor, and it requirements to boost both software program and hardware to make a superior fingerprint sensor.

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