Galaxy A7 Power Button Fingerprint Scanner and Face Unlock: How Well Do They Work?

Samsung recently lifted the covers off its first smartphone with a triple camera setup – the Galaxy A7. Starting at a competitive price of Rs. 23,990, the all-new Galaxy A7 packs in an Exynos 7885 SoC, coupled with 4/6GB of RAM and 64/128GB of internal storage. As with most other modern smartphones these days, the Galaxy A7 also packs in a fingerprint sensor and a face unlock feature for biometric authentication. However, with the Galaxy A7, Samsung has taken a new route with the fingerprint sensor and has replaced it from the back of the device to the power button. The face unlock feature remains as basic as ever and just makes use of the front camera to authenticate the user’s face.

If, in case, you’ve been meaning to purchase the Galaxy A7, there are a couple of things you should know about the fingerprint scanner and the face unlock feature. Firstly, lets talk about the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy A7:

Galaxy A7 Power Button Fingerprint Scanner

Unlike other mid-range smartphones from Samsung released earlier this year, the new Galaxy A7 differentiates itself from the pack not only due to the triple camera setup but also because of the fingerprint scanner placement. The fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy A7 has moved from the back panel to the right edge of the device and has been embedded within the power button. According to Samsung, the new approach (which isn’t exactly new, as a number of phones from Sony have followed the same fingerprint scanner placement for quite some time) takes a more ergonomic approach to unlocking the device.

Galaxy A7

As most Android users are already accustomed to unlocking their phones with the power button, which is usually placed on the right edge of the device, placing the fingerprint scanner makes the biometric unlocking process a bit more fluid. You will no longer have to fumble with locating the fingerprint scanner on the back of the device. However, all’s not hunky dory with the new fingerprint scanner placement.

Galaxy A7

Due to the fact that the fingerprint scanner now rests on the power button, it occupies significantly less space than its back panel-placed counterparts and registering a new fingerprint on the smaller fingerprint scanner takes an unusually long time. On top of that, you aren’t really able to register your entire fingerprint which means that there are chances that the scanner won’t identify your fingerprint if you place it at an awkward angle in a hurry.

Another aspect of the fingerprint scanner that has held a lot of importance for Android users is the speed at which the device is able to identify a fingerprint and subsequently unlock the device. In this regard as well, the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy A7 isn’t exactly ideal. Compared to the likes of the Poco F1, which has a tiny, circular rear mounted fingerprint scanner, the Galaxy A7’s fingerprint scanner takes a bit of time to unlock the device. It most definitely isn’t as slow as the in-display fingerprint scanner found on the Vivo V11 Pro, but it surely isn’t as fast as the one found on the OnePlus 6.

However, I wouldn’t go as far as to say that the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy A7 is bad. It’s fairly accurate and once you get used to the placement it doesn’t feel as slow. In my case, I got used to placing my thumb on the fingerprint scanner while pulling the phone out of my pocket and by the time I got the phone in front of my face, the device would be unlocked, which is why I feel that the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy A7 is pretty decent. Now, moving on to the face unlock feature on the Galaxy A7:

Galaxy A7 Face Unlock

As I mentioned earlier, the face unlock feature on the new Galaxy A7 makes use of just the front facing camera to authenticate the user’s face. As you’d already know, compared to the IR-assisted face unlock feature found on the Poco F1 and the Vivo V11 Pro, the face unlock feature on the Galaxy A7 isn’t as secure or as accurate.

Galaxy A7

On top of that, the feature isn’t even as fast as the one found on OnePlus devices, which also make use of the front camera to authenticate the user’s face. In my time with the device, I barely used the face unlock feature because it’s not only painfully slow but also doesn’t work more often than not.

The device also had trouble identifying my face when I registered by face with my hair open and then tried to unlock the device with my hair tied in a bun. The device also faced the same issue with my glasses, making the experience rather unpleasant. Which is exactly why I didn’t use the face unlock feature on the device as much and I believe you wouldn’t either.

Samsung Galaxy A7 Fingerprint Scanner and Face Unlock

In conclusion, Samsung seems to have hit a gold mine with the placement of the fingerprint scanner and using it just felt a tad bit more seamless than using a fingerprint scanner placed in any other location. Even though the company might have been a bit late to the party, it’s great to see that it’s still open to making some changes to its design that will definitely be beneficial for the end user. On the other hand, if you’re a big fan of fast and accurate face unlock, you should probably stop considering the Galaxy A7 and take a look at the Poco F1 or the Vivo V11 Pro, both of which have fast and accurate IR-assisted face unlock features.

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