The new Galaxy S10 has a fancy new fingerprint sensor — but the old-fashioned version on the cheaper S10e is significantly better

Antonio Villas-Boas/Business InsiderThe Galaxy S10e’s capacitive fingerprint sensor works better than the Galaxy S10’s in-display sensor.
  • The fancy new ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor on the SamsungGalaxy S10 phones is a pain to use.
  • It was so frustrating to use that I opted for the less-secure facial recognition, which was faster and more reliable to unlock the phone.
  • The cheaper Galaxy S10e has a more traditional capacitive fingerprint sensor on its right edge, which works a lot better than the Galaxy S10’s in-display version.

The $US900 Galaxy S10 comes with the latest ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor technology that’s designed to work even when your fingers are wet or dirty. But it turns out that nothing beats the good old fashioned capacitive fingerprint sensor that can be found on the cheaper, $US750 Galaxy S10e.

Indeed, over the last two weeks with the $US1,000 Galaxy S10 Plus, I’ve opted to use the phone’s facial recognition instead of its fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone faster and more reliably.

That’s unfortunate, because fingerprint sensors are significantly more secure than the Galaxy S10’s facial recognition. I’m essentially sacrificing security because the Galaxy S10’s fingerprint sensor isn’t quite there yet.

Meanwhile, I tried the Galaxy S10e’s regular capacitive fingerprint sensor, and it’s far more reliable and faster than the flagship Galaxy S10’s in-display sensor.

Check it out:


The old-fashioned capacitive fingerprint sensor on the right edge of the Galaxy S10e unlocks the phone almost instantaneously, and I know exactly where to place my finger because it has guiding grooves that let me know where the sensor is.

I should admit that the S10e’s regular fingerprint sensor wasn’t 100% perfect, mostly when unlocking the phone in my hands.

I should also note that traditional capacitive fingerprint sensors don’t handle wet or dirty fingers as well as the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor in the Galaxy S10.

Still, the S10e’s sensor is significantly better than the S10 and S10 Plus’s in-display fingerprint sensor, as you’ll see below.


Meanwhile, there’s no easy way to tell exactly where the Galaxy S10’s in-display fingerprint sensor actually is, which is incredibly frustrating.

I feel like I’ve seen the “no match” notification more often than the sensor has unlocked the phone.


To bring up the visual guide for the in-display fingerprint sensor, you need to tap the screen, which makes the unlocking process much slower than it is on the Galaxy S10e.


Even with the always-on display feature turned on, it takes a relatively long time for the visual guide to appear, if it shows up at all.


Thankfully, this is something that can be fixed with a software update. We just have to hope that Samsung includes improvements for its in-display fingerprint sensor in its upcoming updates.

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

The Galaxy S10’s fingerprint sensor is a major disappointment in its current state, but it can be addressed with a software update.

Otherwise, the Galaxy S10 is a fantastic smartphone, and I’ve been using the facial recognition to unlock the phone faster, which has been working just fine.

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