The Galaxy S5 is another phone to join the list of phones that ship with a fingerprint scanner for unlocking the device. While the Motorola Atrix 4G was the first to have a fingerprint scanner, it was mostly forgotten as a feature until Apple reintroduced it to the market in the form of TouchID. HTC also released the One max with a fingerprint scanner, which was generally viewed with mixed reactions due to the swipe sensor. Overall, it seems that while no one has a perfect implementation, Apple has the best implementation on the market today.

I do think it's important to give Samsung some credit, as the Synaptics-provided capacitive fingerprint scanner does work. Although not perfect, the GS5 is definitely better with its fingerprint scanner than had it shipped without it.

Samsung integrated Paypal and Samsung Account verification into the fingerprint scanner software as seen below, which is neat and shows the direction that fingerprint scanners could take in terms of identification and verification.

The fingerprint scanner is a high-DPI capacitive one based upon the Chipworks teardown, and in effect, is identical to the fingerprint scanner in the One max. The big difference is that it's integrated into the home button on the front of the phone as seen above, although based upon my experiences the home button is the only area with high precision capacitive sensing. The sensor detects features of the finger by measuring the effect that the dermis of the skin has on the electrostatic field that is generated by the touchscreen, and at sufficiently high resolution, the sensor can interpret the effect accurately enough that a map of the finger can be generated.

What is different from the One max is that it is much more difficult to use. The enrollment process is simple enough, and is accomplished by swiping eight times over the sensor as seen above (just like with TouchID, you can enroll multiple fingers in place of one by switching the digits you swipe with during the 8 swipe training process). After that, the fingerprint scanner can be used as a unlock method, along with the Paypal and Samsung Account login as previously stated. Where things get difficult is actually unlocking the phone. The sensor is simply too low to reasonably use with one hand, especially because the fingerprint scanner requires straight swipes with very little diagonal deviation. The scanner is also quite sensitive to swiping either too slow/fast or swiping at an inconsistent rate, and will often fail if the user is not consistent in swiping from enrollment to unlock. Enrolling the finger at multiple angles does help a bit with the issue, but it doesn't fundamentally change the experience.

It's pretty easy to adjust to the GS5's fingerprint sensor if you give up on the hope of a one hand unlock. If you're ok with swiping with another hand, the sensor works pretty well and is a great alternative to a long password.

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  • xsoft7 - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    just remove the touchwiz UI!
    every single samsung device has lags because of it!
    after installing google edition\diffrent roms that not based on it, the lags dissappeard!
    the UI is their most weak point, no matter how fast the cpu\gpu or ram will be, the ui, after several software insallation will L-A-G. just go over youtube and see it for yourself! wether it is GALAXY note 1,2,3 or galaxy s 12345, or tabs. they are lagging! (except google edition)
  • BedfordTim - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    That is a deliberate feature put there so that you will upgrade to a "faster" phone. Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    The GS4 is the most stable phone of 2013. People who has actually held a phone know that people like you and xsoft7 are just trolling.

    Give it up. No one cares about your opinion.
  • theduckofdeath - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    *People who has actually held a GS4 know.... Reply
  • Astarael - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    *have Reply
  • noel_newell - Friday, October 3, 2014 - link

    In my opinion Galaxy S5 does not reach up to the same level as the competition, even from other Samsung phones (see ). For example HTC One M8 and Motorola Moto G are fantastic. But we can agree on one thing – Galaxy S5 wipes iPhone off the table any time of the day. Reply
  • earthrace57 - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    I hate to break it to you, but how stable it is when using apps isn't exactly relevant when using touchwiz. On my friend's S4, there is noticeable slowing when doing motions in the basic UI, which is what we are talking about. Reply
  • theduckofdeath - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    I hate to break it to you, every phone, no matter brand or OS can be slow if you install the wrong apps.

    Your "friends" phone is completely irrelevant to everybody who's actually used a GS4. Because we know you just full of it. How do I know I am more right than you? Because I know which Android phone is dominating sales. By a gigantic margin. If anything of what you're making up is true, Samsung wouldn't be as dominant, no matter how much money they would throw at their marketing department.
  • niva - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    Dominating sales has nothing to do with what you're describing. Have you tried the google play version of the galaxy s? The one that comes with stock android and doesn't feature the silly overlays? Yup, runs more stable than the "regular" galaxy s and actually gets updated in terms of software.

    The reason why manufacturers drop those skins is not so they "look different" only but because they can somehow rationalize not updating the software on the device later and force you into an upgraded device sooner.

    Anyone buying a non-nexus phone is in this boat unless they want to do some work on their own to keep the devices up to date and that doesn't always quite work out right in terms of stability.
  • darwinosx - Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - link

    Even Nexus phones are not always updated immediately as we have seen in the last year. Reply

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