Google Pixel gets face & fingerprint unlock right; no one else does | Tech

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Biometrics have made it way more conveinent to unlock our smartphones, but there’s a debate on if face, or fingerprint unlock is the better solution. Many Android brands have taken the approach of “why not both,” adding both face and fingerprint unlock to their devices, but Google’s Pixel is the only one that’s done it correctly.


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Fingerprint unlock has been available on Android for about a decade now, and Apple has also offered it since 2013’s iPhone 5S. But while the iPhone moved over to “Face ID” a few years ago, fingerprint sensors are still the name of the game on Android, they’re just now found underneath the display. Which one is “better” really comes down to a matter of preference, but we’ve never really seen any smartphones truly integrate both.

That’s largely because it’d be cost prohibitive to do both properly. A fingerprint sensor is, of course, a hardware component that’s dedicated to recognizing your fingerprint. It serves no other purpose than that. Over on the iPhone (and Google’s Pixel 4 series), a series of cameras, sensors, and an IR projector serve to ensure facial recognizable is not only accurate, but reliable and secure. Anyone can do facial recognition with just a camera, but it’s been shown time and time again to be horribly insecure.

Despite the insecure nature of camera-based face unlock, that hasn’t stopped many Android brands from offering the…

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