With the Galaxy Note 8’s announcement just a few weeks away, leaks have already spoiled the party. Unfortunately, while the device’s design looks every bit as elegant as the Galaxy S8, it appears it’ll inherit one of the device’s worst flaws.
When we reviewed the Galaxy S8, we praised the device’s sleek software and next-level camera. And the Infinity Display was out of this world. Months after its release, it’s easy to see why we called Samsung’s flagship the closest thing to perfect. The device is that good.
However, the S8’s oddly placed fingerprint sensor, which sits right next to the camera lens, kept us from giving the device a perfect ten, and it’s why we’re so disappointed to see the fingerprint sensor placed in the exact same spot in the Note 8.
The problem with placing the fingerprint sensor next to the camera sensor, besides the obvious, is that it can be difficult to reach, especially if you’re blindly feeling for it. Folks with smaller hands really have to stretch to activate the sensor—and it’s so easy to accidentally smudge the camera lens, which isn’t conducive to taking photos.
Not to mention the Galaxy Note 8’s screen is expected to be 6.3 inches, which means users will have to perform some Olympic-level hand gymnastics just to unlock their device.
We’re not the only ones who disliked the Galaxy S8’s fingerprint sensor’s placement.
MKBHD noted in his review:
I think the top fingerprint sensor might look a little bit better in some cases, but it definitely is harder to reach. Even with my larger hands, I legit disliked this location. I hold the phone with my right hand so I’m reaching the maximum distance up and over across the phone, over across the camera with my finger. Often I don’t quite make it or I touch the camera glass instead or I only partially cover the fingerprint sensor and it doesn’t quite work.
The Verge’s Dan Seifert had a similar experience:
The high placement of the scanner makes it difficult and awkward to reach with my index finger, even on the smaller S8. I have to practically perform finger stretches before I can reach it with any sort of regularity on the S8 Plus. Second, because it is right next to the camera and has a similar shape and feel to the camera module, I frequently touch the camera lens instead of the fingerprint scanner, smearing the lens with all of my lovely finger oils.
Seeing as there were so many complaints about the fingerprint sensor’s location, it’s curious to see Samsung remain steadfast with the design. The company clearly doesn’t take issue with putting it right next to the camera. And, to be fair, not everyone had a problem with its placement; it’s not a deal breaker, to be sure, but more like a major annoyance.
Fortunately, Samsung offers an array of alternative biometric options, including iris scanning and facial recognition. And it’ll only be a matter of time before we see companies outfit their devices with fingerprint sensors beneath their device’s displays.
Still, the placement of the Note 8’s fingerprint sensor has us shaking our heads with disappointment. We know it’s going to be an absolutely fantastic phone, buoyed by powerful specs, a dual-camera setup, and Samsung’s S Pen. But the hereditary blemish makes us a little less excited for the device’s upcoming release.