In-display, Side or Rear fingerprint scanner on Smartphones, Which is the best?

    types of fingerprint scanner

    Which is the best between in-display, side or rear fingerprint scanner on smartphones? Today, we’ll provide you with all the necessary information you need about all three options of the fingerprint reader.

    Over the years, we’ve witnessed some sort of evolution in the world of smartphone authentication. There used to be a time when Password, PIN and Pattern were the possible ways of locking a smartphone for security purposes. While the trio still exists, biometric has now been introduced to the world of mobile phone authentication.

    Biometrics is regarded as the statistical measurement and analysis of people’s behavioural and physical characteristics. In the world of smartphones, there are two dominant types of biometric authentication – Face ID and fingerprint reader. The fingerprint scanner is the most common one and it’s usually located in different positions on a smartphone. This is the main purpose of this article as we look at which is the best between in-display, side or rear fingerprint scanner.

    Types of Fingerprint Scanner

    In-display, Side or Rear fingerprint scanner

    In-display Fingerprint Scanner

    This is the next generation of the fingerprint scanner. It is a position that is often reserved for premium and high-end smartphones. The fingerprint scanner is buried under an OLED display. Yes, this only works for OLEDs display, any smartphone sporting IPS LCD display will have to settle for either the rear-mounted or the side-mounted.

    The in-display technology works in two techniques – optical and ultrasonic. The optical in-display technology is the older one and works by projecting light. The area located on the OLED display for in-screen scanner illuminates your fingerprint. After which, a camera sensor underneath the display grabs an image of your fingerprint. It now compares the grabbed fingerprint with the fingerprint stored in the device. The phone unlocks once there is a match. Note, the whole process is done very fast and swiftly.

    types of fingerprint scanner

    The ultrasonic in-display technology makes use of ultrasonic instead of light. When you place your finger on the in-screen scanner, an ultrasonic (high-frequency sound) wave is produced and immediately interacts with the fingerprint and bounces back to the stored fingerprint for a match.

    Rear-mounted Fingerprint Scanner

    This is arguably the first position to debut the fingerprint scanner in a smartphone. Traditionally, there are more fingers to rest at the back when holding a smartphone. You can configure the rear scanner to use up to 4-5 fingerprint thereby making it easier to unlock the smartphone. One of the cons of this position is that the scanner is often located close to the camera module. Users tend to smear, scratch or even touch the camera lens a lot.

    Side-mounted Fingerprint Scanner

    Mounting on the side is often viewed as the best position for the fingerprint scanner. It is usually embedded with the power button on the right-hand side of the smartphone. It is quite easy to access, as there is always one finger close to the power button at all times. Unlike the rear-mounted, it doesn’t affect the camera module or the phone’s overall design. The disadvantage of this position is the size of the scanner. Since it is incorporated with the power button, it is often small in size compared to the rear-mounted which is much bigger and easy to touch.

    When it comes to deciding which is the best between in-display, side or rear fingerprint scanner on smartphones, a lot has to do with preference. But removing preference from the equation, a strong case can be made for the in-display fingerprint scanner.

    This is the direction where the industry is moving. It is only a matter of time before the side and rear-mounted fingerprint scanner phase out and we only have smartphones sporting the in-display fingerprint scanner.

    So if I may ask, which one do you prefer, in-display, side or rear fingerprint scanner?


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