Does the Position of Fingerprint Scanner on Smartphones Matter?

It’s complicated, you know.

By Prajith

    We can all agree on one thing, fingerprint scanners are one of the most important features we look for while purchasing a smartphone. First introduced with the Apple iPhone 5s, fingerprint scanners (Touch ID as Apple likes to call it) were widely regarded as a gimmick. Nevertheless, it's a standard affair now.

    Does the Position of Fingerprint Scanner on Smartphones Matter?


    While Apple integrated these sensors right under the home button beneath the display, other OEMs (Original Equipment Manufacturers) have had their fair share of experiments done so as to find the perfect spot for the sensor.

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    The most common positions among all of them are - at the front (below the display), at the back (below the camera), and on the sides (below power button). Which is the most feasible location, you may ask?

    Well, that's a tricky question to answer. We will leave that for you to decide. But, just to make things easier for you, we will list out the pros and cons of the said locations.

    Beneath the display, under the home button

    This is one of the most common locations for the placement of a fingerprint scanner. It's mainly because of two reasons: one it is intuitive and two it is convenient. This, however, was true only until smartphones with massive screens became standard. Once bigger screened smartphones went all-pervasive, things started falling apart. Holding a smartphone with a single hand and authenticating the fingerprint simultaneously is still a herculean task for some. And that's exactly the reason why OEMs have moved its location to the back of the smartphone.

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    At the back, below the camera module

    Speaking of which, the fingerprint scanner if located back, beneath the camera module, has one big advantage (which the smartphones with a fingerprint scanner at the front lack) - convenience, especially with smartphones which have a big real estate.

    However, it is not an all pros and no cons affair. With this type of arrangement, users will have to pick the smartphone to unlock it. For instance, let's say you are at work, and for obvious reasons you'd place your smartphone on the desk. Now, whenever you've to unlock the smartphone, you'll have to pick it up into your hands (unlike what's the case with the smartphones with the sensor integrated into the home button).

    On the sides

    You may not have seen many numbers of smartphones with the fingerprint scanner placed on the sides. Companies like Sony have used this kind of arrangement. For instance, the recently launched Sony Xperia XZ has a fingerprint sensor located on the side. And for a moment, it feels like the best spot to place the sensor for its convenient and intuitive. But, that's the case only until you are using it without a case for your phone. Put on a back case, and the convenience vanishes into thin air.

    Final words

    Eventually, it all narrows down to one question. Which is the most feasible location for the fingerprint scanner? Like mentioned earlier, it is for you to decide, some people tend to like one kind of setup while a few others like a different setup. At the end of the day, it's all about your preference and comfort.

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