The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a gorgeous, top-notch powerhouse ready to shake the smartphone market, but it does have an annoying design flaw and Samsung is well aware of it.
The latest Android flagships from Samsung boast sleek designs with a premium touch and feel, sporting a new curved, edgeless display called "Infinity Display." This bezel-free display covers the entire front panel of the device and eliminates the home button, offering extra screen real estate while also allowing for a comfortable grip even though the smartphone is quite tall.
Samsung Galaxy S8 Design Flaw
As amazing as the Galaxy S8 looks, it's not without a flaw. Since Samsung eliminated the physical home button from the equation in order to obtain that all-screen front panel, it had to come up with another solution for the fingerprint scanner and it's far from ideal.
Instead of being embedded into the home button below the display like on previous iterations, the Galaxy S8 fingerprint scanner is relocated on the back of the device, oddly placed near the camera lens.
Having the fingerprint reader adjacent to the camera does not only lead to an unnatural and uncomfortable grip, but it's also highly inconvenient for a couple of reasons.
First off, the Galaxy S8 is already tall and reaching the fingerprint sensor that's as high up as the camera often requires holding the device with both hands. In some cases, it's even necessary to turn the handset over to make sure you tap the fingerprint reader and not the heartrate sensor, which is located on the other side of the camera. Needless to mention, this awkwardness is even more intense with the larger Galaxy S8+ model.
Secondly, if that wasn't inconvenient enough, having the fingerprint reader right next to the camera also means frequent smudges on the camera lens, as it's nearly impossible not to touch the camera by accident when trying to use the fingerprint scanner.
Well aware of this design flaw and the inconvenience it brings, Samsung is actually displaying a warning message on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+, prompting users to clean the camera lens on a regular basis.
Beyond Simple Inconvenience
This Galaxy S8 design flaw has more serious implications beyond just simple inconvenience, as it takes a toll on user experience and security as well. The smartphone has several security features, but the fingerprint reader would be the preferred measure.
For instance, the Galaxy S8 also comes with an iris scanner that allows users to safely unlock the smartphone, but the iris scanner is not very fast, it doesn't work in the dark and it doesn't work if the user wears glasses. For some, having to take the glasses off each time you want to unlock the smartphone is frustrating and annoying.
Alternately, the Galaxy S8 also comes with a facial recognition feature, but it's not secure enough just yet and it can be easily tricked using a high-quality photo.
Consequently, with a less-than-ideal iris scanner and facial recognition, the fingerprint scanner remains the most reliable security feature on the Galaxy S8. It's the fastest way to unlock the smartphone and the most secure way to protect it, but the position of the fingerprint scanner severely mars the experience. The ideal placement would be at the center of the device's rear panel, away from smudgeable camera lenses, where the user's fingers can comfortably reach it.
Tough Choices For Samsung
While it's pretty obvious the location of the Galaxy S8 fingerprint reader is far from ideal, Samsung didn't really have much of a choice. Simply put, the reason for this design flaw is that Samsung didn't have enough time to perfect the flagship so it rushed it to market as best as it could.
The sleek Infinity Display and the removal of the physical home button posed some design challenges and Samsung initially wanted to embed fingerprint scanning technology into the display, but it ran out of time. An in-display fingerprint scanner would've taken far longer to produce and Samsung would've had to delay the Galaxy S8 launch until the summer or even fall. After the whole Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, Samsung couldn't really afford to wait that long.
Pressured to launch the smartphone sooner, Samsung had to find another solution and as a last-minute effort, it embedded the fingerprint scanner where the heartrate sensor was supposed to be, moving the latter to the other side of the camera.
Consequently, Samsung didn't really have any choice but to compromise in this aspect and launch the smartphone as it is, as finding a more convenient location for the fingerprint scanner would've delayed the Galaxy S8 release even further.
Samsung already had to skip the Mobile World Congress 2017 and postpone the Galaxy S8 unveiling for another month, so something had to give.
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 To Make Up For It?
While Samsung ran out of time and rushed the Galaxy S8 to market, the company is expected to do things right with the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 expected to hit the scene later this year.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8 should take things to the next level and feature what the Galaxy S8 lacks, including a dual rear camera setup and in-display fingerprint authentication.
The Galaxy Note 8 will not only have to make up for the Galaxy Note 7 disaster, but it will also hit the scene around the same time as the iPhone 8, so it will have some heavy competition right off the bat.