Thanks in large part to the iPhone X, using your face to unlock your phone is about to be trendy again. Face unlock is not a new feature for smartphones. Back in 2012, the Galaxy Nexus launched with face unlock. A lot of Android devices still have face unlocking, but it works a lot better nowadays.
The Samsung Galaxy S8/Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and LG V30 are recent phones that have face unlock. We already showed you how fast face unlock is on the V30, but how does it compare with Samsung’s implementation? We put the V30 up against the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus to find out.
First thing I wanted to do was compare the speed of face unlock. That was one of the things that made old versions of face unlock so inconvenient. If people are going to replace the fingerprint scanner with face unlock, it needs to be fast. Samsung and LG both have less secure modes of face unlock that you can use if you’re just worried about quickness.
Both devices can scan for your face immediately when the display turns on and unlock the phone without any additional input (you can enable a swipe if you want). In my testing, the V30 seemed to be just a hair faster. The V30 was quicker in all the different angles I used in the video. Sometimes the S8 was more noticeable slower, but for the most part, they were very close.
Next, I wanted to see if I could fool the face unlock with a photo of my face. The first thing I did was use a photo with both phones in the faster, less secure mode. I used the exact same photo for both devices. The Galaxy S8 was not fooled by the photo in the less secure mode, but the V30 was fooled every single time.
For the next part of the test, I enabled the advanced security modes on both devices. As you would expect, the Galaxy S8 was still not fooled by the photo. The V30 redeemed itself and wasn’t fooled by the photo either. The advanced security mode seems to actually work.
You’re not always going to be in a bright, well-lit environment when unlocking your phone. Low-light performance is very important for those situations. In the video above, we tested the face unlock in a dim room and pitch black room. Both phones performed well in the dim room, but obviously they didn’t work in pitch black. Check out the video to see for yourself.
I would consider the performance by both phones to be very good. The speed tests were very close with the V30 having a slight edge. One big speed bonus for the V30 is a feature that the Galaxy S8 doesn’t have. You can raise the phone in front of you and it will automatically wake up the screen and scan your face. The Galaxy S8 requires you to wake the phone first.
The Galaxy S8 has a slight edge when it comes to security. My photo couldn’t fool the S8 even in the less secure mode. That’s not to say the V30 performed badly in this test. The less secure mode was exactly as advertised: less secure. Once I turned on advanced security I couldn’t fool it with the photo. The S8 still gets the nod for being secure in both modes.
So which phone wins? For me, speed is the most important thing, so I pick the LG V30. If you’re more worried about security, you might pick the Galaxy S8. Either way, you’re getting a pretty cool feature. Is it as good as Face ID on the iPhone X? We’ll have to test that in the future. What do you think?