Up until last week it appeared the Galaxy S8 was a masterclass in design, then new leaks revealed Samsung had done something really stupid. Now new information suggests we were right to be concerned
CNet Korea brings the bad news. Based on information from what it claims is a credible witness, the site has created detailed schematics of the Galaxy S8 and they reveal Samsung does indeed appear determined to go ahead with a ridiculous reposition of the fingerprint scanner.
The renders match exactly with the prototype leak and show Samsung has not only moved the fingerprint scanner to the back of the phone, but placed it high up to the right side of the camera. These are decisions which make no sense.
Firstly, let me be clear, I have no issue with putting the fingerprint sensor on the back. Currently my favourite phone and daily driver is the Google Pixel XL which has it on the back in the upper middle third. It is intuitive to reach with an index finger and case makers simply cut a hole in the back for easy access. But this isn’t what Samsung has done.
Instead the schematics show Samsung has positioned the sensor at the top right of the phone beside the camera and this results in three key mistakes:
Firstly being higher up means it is harder to reach which will affect anyone with smaller hands, such as – well – all women! Secondly placing it to the right side may make it easier to use right handed, but harder to use if you are left handed or if you simply need to unlock your phone with your other hand. It happens. Thirdly the position means you’re going to accidentally put your fingers on the camera lens a lot. This will build up grease and dirt in the last place where you want it.
Am I making a mountain out of a molehill? I don’t think so. The fingerprint sensor has become the defacto way of unlocking a smartphone, something research says we do up to 130 times every single day. This means what initially could be a minor irritant will become highly annoying in a very short space of time.
Of course there’s the possibly CNet’s report and the matching information last week could be wrong. It happened before when early leaks suggested the Galaxy S8 would remove the headphone jack, something every subsequent report (including CNet’s) has denied. Then again this is February and the Galaxy S8 launches soon so I suspect the final design has been locked down for some time.
The good news is the Galaxy S8’s larger display, slick design and inevitably upgraded camera mean it will probably still be a massive success. But it remains frustrating to see Samsung get such a basic yet integral part of this phone badly wrong.