HTC One Max– the fingerprint sensor

23 Oct

htc-one-max-finerpirnt-coverTo make the One Max device more than just a “size upgrade,” HTC has decided to include in it a feature that is virtually unseen in any other phablet– the fingerprint sensor. Below, we take a closer look at the way the newly added biometrics component differs from Apple’s Touch ID, how it is set up, and whether it is indeed as good and as practical as the company claims it is.

A Comparison of two sensors

Unlike the case with Apple’s iPhone 5s, which buried and hid the fingerprint sensing component inside the home button, the HTC One max’s fingerprint sensor can be easily found at the back of the device, and is located just beneath the 4MP “ultra pixel” camera. A closeup of what the sensor component looks like can be seen in the picture below, for anyone who is curious:


Accessing the fingerprint reader –as well as setting the whole system up– involves no more than a few simple, easy-to-follow steps. First, users are instructed to encode up to three unique fingerprint images into the One max’s system. This is done by placing either the left or right finger onto the sensor, and swiping it downwards to allow the images to be recorded properly. After the One max manages to memorize the user’s individual fingerprint pattern based on the aforementioned procedures, the setup process is complete, and the fingerprint feature becomes ready for use.

One Max fingerprint sensor: the good and the bad

HTC’s One max currently allows only up to two kinds of operations to be performed with its newly implemented biometrics sensor– unlocking the phone device and quick-launching certain features and apps. On the positive side of things, the sensor is without any noticeable technical problems or lags when we tested around with it, and getting the authentication system to function as it should seems to be just as quick and seamless on the One max as it would be on the iPhone 5s. However, there are a few minor differences (as well as issues) worth pointing out.

First, whereas activating Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint system requires a user to simply place a finger (or thumb) on top of the sensor component, doing the same thing on the One max requires a constant swiping motion to be performed. The inconvenience for users here lies not so much in the act of swiping as it is in having to perform it on an enormous 5.9 inch device as well as towards a sensor that is both awkwardly positioned and hard to reach (swipe too high, for instance, and you might accidentally scratch or leave an unwanted smudge on the camera lens).

Making matters slightly less appealing for users, from a technical and convenience standpoint, is the fact that the power has to be turned on before the fingerprint reader can be used, and that the sensor is only good at recognizing downward swiping motions. When attempting to swipe from other directions (ie. upwards or diagonally), we’ve found the fingerprint sensor’s reading accuracy to be dramatically reduced.

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