Larger, more accurate in-display fingerprint sensors are coming to 2019 smartphones


When in-display fingerprint sensors were first shown off at CES 2018, we were all in awe. Manufacturers who used the technology would be able to remove the fingerprint sensor from the back of the phone or from below the display and make it disappear. The first smartphones to feature this new technology showed up halfway through 2018, but it’s quickly become the norm for high-end devices.

That being said, the current generation of in-display fingerprint sensors can be frustrating to use. Since there’s no physical guide to help you place your finger, it’s hard to pinpoint just the right spot to unlock a device with an in-display sensor. Also, since the optical sensor is hidden below the display, it’s not as accurate as a standard fingerprint sensor. Both of these issues increase the number of failed unlock attempts and often force users to fall back to patters of face unlock.

Fortunately, those issues could soon be a thing of the past. Xiaomi president Lin Bin has shared that the company is working with a second generation in-display fingerprint sensor which is larger (25mm x 50.2mm) and more sensitive. The larger footprint of the sensor should theoretically make the in-display sensor much more accurate, but he physical size of the sensor will still be much smaller than the capacitive ones we’ve been using up until now. For reference, the fingerprint sensor on the back of the Pixel 3 is rough 90mm x 90mm, giving is a surface area of 8,100 mm² versus the 1,255 mm² footprint of the second gen in-display fingerprint sensor Xiaomi is planning to use. 

I’m sure that we all get excited to hear that upcoming devices will be equipped with new technology, but sometimes sticking with tech that is tried and true may be the better option.

Nick Gray
I'm a life-long tech enthusiast who has a soft spot for HTC. After writing about tech for more than a decade, I jumped at the opportunity to take on the role of Editor in Chief at Phandroid. Please contact me at [email protected].

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