Let’s celebrate this one good decision by Samsung.
The Galaxy S8 has been pretty unanimously well received by staunch loyalists and critics alike; it appears that Samsung did most everything right this time around, both in making its flagship feel like a sizeable upgrade and a natural evolution.
This is the fingerprint sensor swipe of the Gods.
But some shade has been thrown at Samsung over the placement of the fingerprint sensor: because the Infinity Display necessitated the removal of the physical home button from the Galaxy S8, the company had no choice but to put the sensor on the back. This isn’t a unique placement; companies from Huawei to LG have made the phone’s back a familiar sight for fingerprint sensors, but none are as close to the camera lens as the Galaxy S8’s.
After using the phone for a few days, there is no reason to panic: I’ve quickly grown used to the new arrangement, and can consistently hit the sensor with either my left or right index finger without smudging the lens. But that’s not why I’m OK with the placement.
Perhaps anticipating some of the ire, Samsung got out ahead of the criticism by adding of the most useful features of a rear fingerprint sensor: a swipe gesture to pull down, and retract, the notification shade.
It’s a setting hidden away in a few menus, and it’s turned off by default, but it’s there, and that’s all that matters. It’s also completely changed the way I use the phone, since I now know to position my right index finger in such a way as to be ready to unlock the phone and swipe down on the sensor in one fell swoop. The sensor is also able to unlock the phone without turning on the screen, something that previous Galaxy devices were missing.
For some people, this one inclusion may not be enough to make up for the disappearance of the front fingerprint sensor, but, to me, all is forgiven.