The presentation of the OnePlus 6T has brought us interesting changes to the OnePlus 6 a few months ago, and in addition to that little notch or the absence of a headphone jack there is another differential novelty: the fingerprint reader integrated into the screen.
This technology is not new, of course: we have seen how the Vivo X20 Plus UD started a trend that has later spread to other manufacturers, but in the new OnePlus 6T the difference is that we are facing a device that has a greater potential reach . That could mean the final takeoff of the integrated fingerprint sensor on the screen.
The OnePlus 6T, the last one to bet on the integrated screen reader
My colleague Juan Carlos López talked in detail about the new sensor integrated in the screen that they have used in the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
He explains how the difference in Huawei’s model compared to Vivo’s – which used Synaptics’ ClearID technology – was the use of a Qualcomm chip that worked with ultrasound.
Other devices such as the OPPO FInd X or the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition also had the Synaptic technology, which is based on the use of an optical sensor that we also spoke in Engadget some time ago.
In the case of the OnePlus 6T, the supplier of the chip is still unknown, but everything indicates that it will also be the Synaptics chip because OnePlus, Vivo and OPPO are under the umbrella of Asian electronics giant BBK.
There’s no need to give up the fingerprint reader on the front
The appearance of almost frameless mobiles has caused manufacturers to make the front-side fingerprint reader disappear, often doubling as a start button. Many have relegated it to the back-if they did not put it there already-while others have decided to completely eradicate it to base biometrics on facial recognition.
For some users – and I include myself – having a fingerprint reader on the front is especially important, and although facial recognition is an interesting alternative, some prefer that much more direct action to put the strike on the screen to authenticate and unlock the mobile.
For that reason the sensors of footprint under the screen become a very interesting option for these users, since the devices do not lose that function and can combine it with other methods of unlocking. The only visible consequence (and not much) is the slight increase in the thickness of the device.
In the presentation event of the OnePlus 6T the firm has confessed how it started working with this technology experimentally with the Oneplus 5T that was presented on November 18, 2017, and although they did not include it with the OnePlus 6, it finally they have decided to include it in the new OnePlus 6T, a more complete device and that of course takes a step forward in this trend.
A major boost for this option
The adoption of this technology on the part of the OnePlus 6T could suppose the definitive support to a tendency that of course raises interesting alternatives.
It is true that the fingerprint reader has not disappeared from the panorama of our smartphones, but facial recognition or iris recognition systems have become increasingly important among high-end devices and may change that in the future to other product ranges.
However, the inclusion of these integrated sensors in this model could be very relevant. Unlike other devices that have already been included as those of Xiaomi, Vivo, OPPO or Huawei, the OnePlus smartphone has a greater reach among the general public both by price and global distribution, and that could prove that these effectively Readers can be a solid option in the future.
It remains to be seen the behavior of these sensors, which at least in the Mate 20 Pro made it clear that they could not be compared with the behavior of the conventional physical reader: you have to place your finger in a very specific way and the response time is not comparable in said devices in our tests.
In the OnePlus 6T, however, it has been revealed that the unlock time is only 0.34 seconds, and if that speed is real and joins an accurate recognition even without supporting the finger “perfectly”, we could have a very interesting future candidate.
Soon Synaptics and Qualcomm could also be a competitor. A patent from Samsung discovered only a few days ago tells us about a system that also placed a sensor under the screen, but with a singular difference: the entire screen will be a fingerprint sensor thanks to a co-processor that would be in charge of controlling that part without “bothering” the smartphone’s CPU.
It seems therefore that these types of solutions are the order of the day, but to know if the trend is consolidated we will have to wait to know the performance in the OnePlus 6T and, of course, what happens in that first half of next year in which is likely that other manufacturers adopt this type of technology.