Here’s How Apple’s Touch ID Compares to Samsung’s Galaxy S5 Fingerprint Scanner

Samsung’s (SSNLF.PK) recently unveiled Galaxy S5 will officially be available on April 11. However, customers can play with the device at select retail stores. As noted by CNET, other retailers have jumped the gun and are already selling the device. Thanks to official early peeks from tech-focused news sites and unofficial leaks, several videos comparing Samsung’s latest flagship device to Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone 5S have emerged online. The latest video was created by well-known Apple researcher Tanner Marsh at iCrackUriDevice, and it compares Samsung’s Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner with Apple’s iPhone 5S Touch ID.

According to Marsh’s review, both devices feature simple fingerprint enrollment processes. However, Samsung’s fingerprint scanner operates differently from Apple’s in several ways. Unlike Apple’s iPhone 5S Touch ID sensor, which requires that the user press his or her entire fingertip down, Samsung’s device features a narrower sensor that works by having the users swipe their fingertip across it. And while Apple’s Touch ID scanner is based entirely on the home button, Samsung’s scanner requires users to begin their finger swipe on the lower portion of the touchscreen before moving it over the home button.

As seen in the video above, Samsung’s approach to fingerprint scanning appeared to present several problematic issues. Samsung’s fingerprint scanner seemed to have trouble reading a fingerprint unless the user swiped their finger straight down over the scanner. On the other hand, Apple’s Touch ID was capable of reading a fingerprint from any orientation. Since Apple’s method doesn’t require any swiping motion or particular orientation, it also appeared to be better suited for one-handed operation.

It should be noted that Marsh is not the only reviewer to notice usability issues with Samsung’s Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner. Reviewers at The Verge called Samsung’s fingerprint scanner “quite unreliable and virtually impossible to activate when holding the phone in one hand,” and said that “it was very particular about the speed and orientation of the swiping motion used — if we weren’t doing a perfectly straight swipe down, it would refuse to unlock the phone.”

Marsh also pointed out that some users may have problems enrolling their fingerprints on the Galaxy S5 if their fingers are too small. He noted that a user’s finger must cover the majority of the scanner in order to get the device to register a fingerprint. As a result, users with small fingers may have to resort to enrolling a thumb instead of a finger.

Despite the usability issues, Marsh praised Samsung for giving users the ability to use the Galaxy S5’s fingerprint scanner as a method to secure payments through PayPal. Although Apple has not set up a third-party payment service that uses Touch ID, users can use their fingerprint in lieu of their Apple ID when making purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store.

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