The Galaxy S20 could miss out on one feature I had been excited about

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If there’s one aspect of Samsung smartphones that has gone through too many changes too quickly, it has to be the fingerprint sensor. For years, Galaxy smartphones had a physical home button at the front. When the time arrived for Samsung to equip its phones with a fingerprint reader, the company did what everyone expected: It integrated the fingerprint reader into the home button. The Galaxy S5’s swipe-action fingerprint sensor aside, it was a very convenient experience to use those physical front-facing fingerprint readers, whether it was a flagship phone or one on the budget end of the spectrum.

The first major change to the fingerprint reader came to Galaxy phones in 2017. With the Galaxy S8, Samsung ditched its traditional physical home button and moved to an all-screen design. The fingerprint sensor got pushed to the back of the phone, and Samsung decided to place it at the side of the camera. That implementation, as many (
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) would agree, was plain horrible. A year later, Samsung shifted the fingerprint sensor to below the camera module to make it easier to reach and
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instead of admitting it was just fixing a design flaw that shouldn’t have existed in the first place.

Then, a year after that, Samsung’s fingerprint reader implementation went through another drastic change: The Galaxy S10 introduced us to the ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor. Under-display scanners were highly anticipated by long-time fans of Galaxy smartphones, as it meant the fingerprint sensor would return to the front of the device. Samsung’s quite proud of it as well: The company calls the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor revolutionary and boasts how it provides “invisible yet vault-like security”
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.

For me, the in-display fingerprint reader has been more of an annoyance than anything close to impressive. It’s been almost a year since I started using the ultrasonic fingerprint reader on the Galaxy S10+. When I reviewed the Galaxy S10+, I had been skeptical of the in-display sensor. Since the sensor is under the display, you have to spend the first week or two learning to place your finger at the correct spot without always having to look at the phone. Well, nearly twelve months later, that’s something I still struggle with.

Maybe I’m stupid (there is plenty of evidence that I am, but I choose to ignore it), maybe I have poor motor skills. But the in-display fingerprint sensor continues to embarrass me. All too often it tells me to cover the entire fingerprint sensor, and sometimes, I have to go through a couple of tries even when looking at the fingerprint icon on-screen. That’s why I was so excited when, a few weeks ago, Qualcomm unveiled an upgraded version of the ultrasonic sensor that we see on the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Note 10 series.

You see, the newer ultrasonic sensor has a fingerprint recognition area that is
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. And that means it is less pedantic about where you place your finger – it’s also more secure, as the larger surface area allows you to scan two fingerprints at the same time. It’s basically the perfect solution for folks like me, who continue to have a less-than-ideal experience with the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor on a Galaxy S10 or Note 10.

Unfortunately, it seems the new Qualcomm sensor will not be making its way into the Galaxy S20. A recent leak that
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, including real-life pictures of the device in action, suggests that the fingerprint sensor is not being upgraded. And that might end up being the most disappointing aspect of Samsung’s new flagship for me. Sure, I will mostly use facial recognition for unlocking the phone, but fingerprint scanning is needed in almost everything else, such as securing apps like Samsung Pay.

I had assumed Samsung would make things better by upgrading the fingerprint sensor on the Galaxy S20 to Qualcomm’s new solution, but it looks like nothing is going to change on that front. The Galaxy S20 is going to bring some amazing upgrades, like improved cameras,
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, and
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, but it pains me to think that my day-to-day experience of using the device will continue to involve a serious nuisance that I have been unable to overcome despite having had plenty of time to do so.

What do you think? Would you have liked to see Samsung bring Qualcomm’s newer ultrasonic fingerprint sensor to the Galaxy S20, or do you think the one on the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 is good enough? Let me know in the comments!

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