Fingerprint scanner face-off: Samsung Galaxy S10+ vs OnePlus 6T vs Galaxy S9 vs Apple’s iPhone

Facial scanners and time-of-flight cameras stands out as the approach of the longer term, however till we get there, fingerprint scanners are nonetheless the most well-liked option to lock down our private information. And like fingerprints themselves, all scanners aren’t created equal. So we put them to the check in a wide range of in style telephones!

The telephones

Galaxy S10+

Samsung’s latest handset dispenses of the bodily scanner on the again of the cellphone for a much more cutting-edge one. Contained in the Galaxy S10+’s show you’ll discover an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor that makes use of sound to learn the ridges in your fingerprint.

OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T additionally has an in-display fingerprint scanner, however it makes use of Qualcomm’s optical sensor. Meaning it makes use of a quick burst of sunshine to light up your fingerprint and permit the scanner to learn it.

Galaxy S9

Up till the Galaxy S10+, Samsung used a bodily fingerprint scanner identical to each different Android cellphone. On the Galaxy S9 it’s positioned somewhat increased than it’s on different Android telephones, however it’s approach higher than it was on the Galaxy S8, when it was to the fitting of the digicam lens.

iPhone 6s

Apple was one of many first cellphone makers to carry a fingerprint scanner to a cellphone in Contact ID, and from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone Eight it remained inside the house button beneath the display screen. The iPhone 6s is a three-year outdated cellphone, however it makes use of the identical second-gen scanner because the final iPhone to characteristic a fingerprint scanner, the iPhone 8. The one distinction is that the button on the iPhone 6s is the older one which clicks, reasonably than the solid-state one on the iPhone 7 and eight.

Christopher Hebert/IDG

I used the Galaxy S10+, OnePlus 6T, iPhone 6s, and Galaxy S9 for this check.

The checks


The primary check I ran was a pure velocity check: To see how briskly I may unlock every cellphone 10 occasions. To maintain it uniform, I used two fingers: One to unlock and the opposite to show the display screen on and off. My dominant hand was positioned over the respective sensor to scale back fumbling, and I used three step for every cellphone:

  1. Press the ability button to show the display screen on.
  2. Unlock the cellphone with my fingerprint.
  3. Press the ability button to show the display screen off.

And I repeated that 10 occasions for every cellphone. I ran the check a few occasions to get a mean and scored one of the best occasions. I restarted the check when there was a missed scan, however I let the opening animation end earlier than I turned the display screen off.

galaxy s8 fingerprint Christopher Hebert/IDG

The Galaxy S9 makes use of a typical sensor, however its placement isn’t one of the best.


The subsequent check was rather less methodical. Principally, I needed to see how the sensors would work in three comparatively frequent circumstances: water, cleaning soap, and particles (on this case, powdered sugar). It didn’t time the checks, however I tracked what number of occasions every cellphone was capable of unlock when my finger was moist, soapy, and powdery. To conduct the check, I stuffed three cups stuffed with water, soapy water, and powdered sugar, and I dipped my scanning finger in every of them, tried to unlock every cellphone quite a lot of occasions, after which repeated.


The least scientific however extra necessary check I ran was accuracy. I needed to see how shortly I may take every cellphone out of my pocket and unlock it, taking all variables into consideration. Just like the velocity check, I carried out the check a number of occasions and took a mean. For every cellphone, I put it in the identical pocket (my proper), with the highest of the down going through down and the display screen going through away from my leg. Then I reached inside, took it out, and unlocked it, stopping the timer as quickly as the house display screen appeared. I grabbed it the way in which I usually would and stored my eyes closed to attempt to make it a real check of how correct I wanted to be and the way simple the sensor is to seek out with out trying.

The outcomes

Velocity check

As you’ll be able to see within the video, the iPhone was the straightforward winner when it got here to hurry. Apple was one of many pioneers of the fingerprint revolution, and its scanners have at all times been among the many quickest round. The dimensions of the scanner additionally helps, as does the position beneath the display screen.

op6t fingerprint Christopher Hebert/IDG

The OnePlus 6T makes use of mild to scan your fingerprint.

The OnePlus 6T carried out effectively too. I used it in a well-lit room, which helps the optical scanner do its factor, however I used to be nonetheless impressed with how shortly I used to be capable of unlock every time as if the sensor was bodily beneath my thumb. The bodily sensor on the Galaxy S9 introduced up the rear, although that’s partially resulting from Samsung’s considerably sluggish animations. However even with my finger positioned instantly above it, the scanner on the S9 is on the small measurement and it’s fairly excessive on the again of the cellphone, making it somewhat trickier to hit.

The largest shock was the Galaxy S10+. Whereas it technically beat the S9 and I used to be usually capable of unlock it 10 occasions in lower than 20 seconds, I critically needed to focus to ensure my thumb was strategically positioned over the scanner. The slightest deviation brought about a false studying. If that is going to be Samsung’s methodology going ahead, it’s going to want some refinements within the Galaxy Word 10 and S11.

Situations check

The entire telephones unlocked with my finger caked in powdered sugar. The bodily scanners struggled somewhat—and I needed to clear the crevices of sugar after I was carried out—however all in all, you shouldn’t fear if you happen to’re consuming a donut and have to unlock your cellphone in a pinch.

Water and cleaning soap are one other story. Neither the Galaxy S9 nor the iPhone 6s unlocked in any respect with moist fingers, and the OnePlus 6T struggled too, unlocking solely after my finger was wiped down. However the Galaxy S10+, whereas not assured to unlock, was the one one which was capable of learn my non-dry fingerprint with any regularity. In order that’s positively a advantage of Samsung’s in-display sensor over the normal approach of doing issues.

Accuracy check

Within the all-important accuracy check, the iPhone 6s was the one cellphone I used to be capable of unlock in lower than 2 seconds (1.5 to be precise), however the OnePlus 6T wasn’t far behind at precisely 2 seconds. The Galaxy S9 took somewhat longer at three seconds—once more resulting from its awkward placement—however the S10+ was the large loser right here, taking greater than twice as lengthy to go from pocket to make use of.

And that represents my greatest time. I fumbled extra with the Galaxy S10+ than some other cellphone right here, and never due to its measurement. Samsung’s complete in-display system is temperamental, with little or no room for error. OnePlus’s optical scanner is much extra forgiving, and I’m not likely positive what Samsung gained by going this route aside from a barely cleaner again. It could really feel like next-generation tech in principle, however it’s clearly a step backwards in usability.

The winner

Whereas the iPhone handily received general, it’s received the oldest sensor right here and the one one which isn’t made anymore. That speaks volumes for Apple’s engineering: Apple has such religion in Face ID as a superior and safer methodology of unlocking and authenticating, it deserted top-of-the-line fingerprint sensors in the marketplace.

iphone 6s fingerprint Christopher Hebert/IDG

The iPhone 6s appears outdated, however its fingerprint scanner remains to be top-notch.

We are able to additionally glean some information on in-display sensors. Out of the gate, the optical scanner on the OnePlus 6T is healthier than the ultrasonic scanner on the Samsung Galaxy S10+, however it’s exhausting to say whether or not that’s as a result of placement, measurement of the scanner, or the general implementation of the system. Additionally, Samsung’s animations have been constantly slower than OnePlus’s and Apple’s, making the entire system really feel even slower than it ought to, even when it unlocked on the primary attempt.

All in all, it very a lot looks like a first-gen sensor, which is in itself a step backward. The Galaxy S9 and S8 may need suffered from bizarre placement of their sensors, however as soon as muscle reminiscence adjusted, the mechanism was strong. With the Galaxy S10+, it’s mainly a guess as to the place to place your finger—and most of the time, I missed. And with out some other safe choice—together with the iris scanner that debuted on the S7—the expertise on the S10+ is lower than nice.

Briefly, we’d like a 3D facial-scanning answer for Android telephones. Whereas Huawei has one on the Mate 20 Professional and LG launched a time-of-flight sensor on the G8, Face ID has but to be mimicked in a mainstream approach. And it must occur. In comparison with the iPhone XS, the entire fingerprint scanners right here really feel like outdated tech, however solely Apple has moved on to one thing higher.

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