Apple’s Touch ID vs. Samsung fingerprint scanner

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Date: Tuesday, April 8th, 2014, 08:51
Category: Android, Apple, iOS, iPhone, Software, User Interface

touch-id-iconIn three days, anyone who has been longing to get their hands on a new Samsung Galaxy S5 will get their wish, assuming quantities are sufficient. The internet has already been awash with reviews and first looks, but video demos of Samsung’s fingerprint scanner, making its debut on the S5, have been of particular interest. Over on YouTube, user iCrackUriDevice has a pretty thorough comparison between the S5′s scanner and Apple’s Touch ID scanner on the iPhone 5S. (does anyone else see the irony in the 5S vs. the S5?)

As you can see from the video, setting up scanning on both phones seems similar and straight-forward. Where the Galaxy S5′s scanner seems to drop the ball is in the physical scanning of the user’s finger. The oblong design of the S5′s home button makes it necessary to swipe the finger downward across the button in order for the phone to get an accurate scan, and as shown in the video, the scanning sensor isn’t very forgiving. The swipe needs to be almost precisely vertical for a reading, while Touch ID can read a fingerprint without swiping and in several orientations (assuming you have done enough training in the Touch ID settings). This problem coupled with the S5′s size makes it nearly impossible to unlock the phone with one hand.

I’m looking forward to iFixit’s teardown of the Galaxy S5 so we can find out a little more about its scanning hardware. It may be possible for future software updates to help increase accuracy of the sensor as well as train it to read prints in different positions. Admittedly, my experiences with Touch ID had been frustrating at best until iOS 7.1 came out, which seems to have made scanning much more reliable.

Ignoring current reliability, which do you think is the better implementation, Apple’s or Samsung’s? If any of you end up getting a Galaxy S5, tell us what you think about its scanner over at our Facebook page!

 

 

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