Sparta Report

Is the Galaxy S8’s colossal new fingerprint scanner broken?

As always, the hype for new gadgets masks some issues that consumers should be aware of before they rush out the door to grab the latest and greatest new smartphone on April 24:

The scanner suffers from a multitude of issues. Not only is it small and shallow, but it’s also positioned awkwardly high up on the phone’s rear panel, just a couple of millimetres away from the camera sensor.

What this means is that when you try to find it with your finger, your punishment when you inevitably miss is twofold. Not only do you suffer the frustration of failing to unlock your phone, you also smudge your camera lens.

It’s undoubtedly the S8’s most irritating issue, not least because it seems so basic, careless and avoidable.

Bixby Voice, which works in a similar manner to Apple’s Siri, allowing users to control their handset with spoken commands, has been delayed.

In addition to the above-mentioned issues with the fingerprint scanner, Samsung’s Bixby Voice, which is meant to be a competitor to Siri and Google Assistant, does not work properly yet, and the button that is supposed to activate it won’t actually activate it. Furthermore, at first, you could map the Bixby button to something else like Google Assistant, but Samsung released an update to put a stop to that, leaving the button inert for the foreseeable future.

Other issues noted by reviewers include a relatively weak speaker, and the Independent article suggests purchasing either headphones or an external speaker. There are claims that the iris scanner included on the phone is also not well implemented.

Of course, these issues are a far cry from the exploding Note 7s, and they are relatively minor issues in the scheme of things – many people may not care about a fingerprint scanner or about using Bixby Voice.

I have no idea whether our readers or most smartphone buyers will care about this, as the Galaxy S8 otherwise appears to be a good quality smartphone and certainly looks attractive enough.

Nonetheless, it’s worth being aware of these issues before running out to the store. Day one buyers of these products often turn into reluctant beta testers.

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