After installing Samsung's new Galaxy S10 Plus phone last week, I showed it to my partner and told him with unusual enthusiasm: "Look at him. This phone has a fingerprint sensor integrated directly on the screen. "
I pressed my thumb on the screen, where the fingerprint sensor was embedded. "No correspondence", reads a message on the phone. I have pressed again and I have received the same message. After five unsuccessful attempts, he asked for a secret code.
"Great demo," my partner said while she was returning to browse Instagram on her phone.
A few days later, Samsung released a software update that it described as a security patch for biometrics. After installing and re-registering my fingerprints, the Galaxy player has shown a clear improvement. The phone has recorded my fingerprints to unlock the phone most of the time, although there have always been occasional failures.
My chaotic experience with the print sensor confirms a conclusion: Face recognition is a more convenient method to unlock phones and Samsung is behind Apple in this area.
This is unfortunate at a time of soaring phone prices: if you spend so much money on a phone, you expect to get the best of the best, not a compromise. The Galaxy S10 Plus is not a modest gadget, with a starting price of $ 1,000. And Samsung is preparing to raise prices even higher with the Galaxy Fold, a highly anticipated $ 1,980 tablet that physically folds into a cell phone that can be put in a pocket, will be available in late April.
Apple has progressively phased out fingerprint sensors in its latest iPhones, having fully embraced its face scanning technology, which involves spraying infrared dots on your face to create a 3D image. This image is then used to check if you are the owner of the smartphone before unlocking the device.
Face recognition has proven more difficult to handle for thieves; it also connects you to your phone more consistently than a fingerprint sensor. Samsung phones are also equipped with facial scanners, but they use a less secure method to authenticate. More on that later.
Despite the hiccups, I liked using Samsung's new flagship device, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, which will be available from March 8th. This device was an upgrade from Galaxy S9 phones from Samsung, which were also excellent Android devices. Notable new features include a 6.4-inch high-definition display, a wide-angle lens for taking larger pictures, the ability to use the phone to wirelessly charge another device's battery, and a battery. improved that allowed the phone to last all day.
After using the Galaxy S10 Plus for a week, here is what I found.
Awesome wide angle photos
I started my tests by taking the Galaxy S10 Plus on the outside to try the new camera. The back of the device has a three-lens system, which means it has one more lens than some of last year's Galaxy phones equipped with dual lens cameras.
The new camera has an ultra wide-angle lens that allows you to take pictures with a wider field of view than traditional cameras, making it very convenient for photographing landscapes or large groups. To shoot at a very wide angle, you need to pinch inward to zoom in completely.
The results were impressive. A blow on a beach was so vast that it was capturing people standing on the sand, the waves of the ocean and the adjacent car park.
Another ultra-thick shot showed my dogs running along a pond and surrounding trees, from a blue sky and grass fields. The details of the ripples in the lake and the clouds in the sky were magnificent.
Initially, I was skeptical about the need for another camera lens on a smartphone, but the ultra-long photography was lovely. I hope this feature will be available on other phones this year.
An excellent screen and a robust battery
The new 6.4-inch screen of the new Samsung device is comparable to the 6.5-inch screen of Apple's iPhone XS Max and the 6.3-inch screen of Google's Pixel 3 XL. All produce crisp, rich images with precise colors and an excellent shadow detail. (If you asked me which screen was the best, I would call it a draw.)
As for the battery, the Galaxy S10 Plus had such a lifetime at bedtime, after a busy day, there was about 25% juice to the device. Samsung added that the size of the battery had been increased while improving the power management software.
Samsung is so confident in the battery of the new Galaxy phone that it has designed this device to wirelessly charge other gadgets, such as smart watches and other phones. The feature, Wireless PowerShare, uses induction, which is to capture an electric current to generate a magnetic field powering other devices.
To use the power-sharing feature, you must press a button in the phone settings and place another device that supports wireless charging on the back of Samsung. I stacked my iPhone and my Galaxy S10 Plus, and it took about 15 minutes for Samsung to replenish 5% of the iPhone's battery. This is a slow charge rate, although Samsung has stated that this feature was primarily intended to charge accessories such as wireless headphones or smart watches.
Improved fingerprint sensor, but biometrics lower than the iPhone
I found that the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus fingerprint reader was an improvement over previous models. However, the biometry of the device remained generally lower than that of the iPhone of Apple, the biggest rival of Samsung.
In In previous Samsung phones, the sensor was a physical button located on the back of the phone, near the camera, which often drove users to accidentally hit the camera lenses when They were trying to unlock their phone.
Now the sensor is at the front and integrated in the screen. Its ultrasound technology uses sound waves that read the ridges and troughs of a finger. This means that you can now unlock the phone flat on a table, and ultrasound technology will be able to scan your print through water or grease. In addition, since the captured image is so detailed, printing becomes much more difficult to machine than in the past with fingerprint sensors.
During my tests, I was able to unlock the phone while my hand was wet.
In contrast, Samsung is behind Apple in facial recognition. While Apple uses infrared scanning to create a precise 3D map of a person's face, Samsung's face scanner uses the camera to take your photo and then compares it to an image stored on the camera. Thus, a thief could trick the system by placing a picture of your face in front of the camera.
Because the shape of a person's head is unique, the probability of circumventing infrared-based face recognition with an incorrect face is one in a million, according to Qualcomm. In contrast, the rate of false acceptance of older facial digitizing techniques, such as Samsung's, is one in 100, and the rate of false acceptance of fingerprint scanning (including new ultrasound technology) is one in 50,000.
Nevertheless, I tried Samsung's facial recognition function. During setup, Samsung warns you that facial recognition is less secure because someone who looks like you or uses an image of you may unlock the phone. After taking a picture of my face, the function quickly detected my cup and unlocked the phone, but it did not bring me much confidence.
I shared my concerns with Samsung. Drew Blackard, director of product marketing for the company, said that based on customer feedback, the fingerprint sensor was the most popular method for unlocking devices. As a result, the company is focused on improving this feature.
He added that Samsung was studying facial recognition and had made it more difficult to handle the scanner with a picture of a person's face. "Is this an area we continue to look at?" The answer is, of course, "said Mr. Blackard.
I must say that Samsung's decision to focus on fingerprint detection instead of improving its face scanner is not particularly satisfactory. User comments are not usually an ideal way to design security features. After all, many people also like to use the same low passwords for all their Internet accounts.
This also bodes badly for other Samsung phones, such as the Galaxy Fold, which is one of the most anticipated handsets of the year. If tomorrow's smartphone folds like a book, but lacks some of today's best security features, it would definitely give me a break.