I reviewed the iQOO 9 Pro a while back here at Android Police, but there’s one thing I just can’t get over, even a few weeks later. Its ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner is incredibly fast. This is because the iQOO 9 Pro is one of the first internationally available phones to launch with Qualcomm’s third-generation 3D Sonic Max sensor, and it will be the first to be used in devices as recently as the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Much higher than the previous version.
Before I get into the inside of baseball, I want to point you to our fingerprint scanner comparison post, going over the differences between capacitive, optical, and ultrasonic fingerprint scanners. The gist here is that capacitive sensors use electrical circuits and do not work with the bottom display. You must have first seen them on the home button of the iPhone. Then there are optical fingerprint scanners that need to light up your fingerprint (hence the name) and scan optionally – the current Pixel 6 generation has switched to in-display variants of those. Ultrasonic sensors, meanwhile, map your prints using sound waves, just like echolocation is used by bats, dolphins and other animals to navigate the world. These are mostly found under the display of the new Samsung flagships.
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Qualcomm’s scanner relies on the latter, and it is currently the method that has proven to be the safest and fastest method for under-display sensors, but also the most expensive. With that out of the way, let’s find out what makes the new Sonic Max sensor special.
a seamless setup experience
Upon setting up a phone with the third-generation Qualcomm sensor for the first time, you’ll immediately notice a difference to any other fingerprint scanner, including other ultrasonic sensors. When you enter your fingerprints, you only have to touch the sensor once.
It’s an awkward experience if you’re using the scanner to enroll your fingerprint by repeatedly tapping it in slightly different angles to (hopefully) make sure in the future when you don’t hit the sensor all the way. The phone will be properly unlocked. After this dazzlingly quick setup process,
I was skeptical about the iQOO 9 Pro’s certification performance, but I was pleasantly surprised by its long-term reliability.
Qualcomm claims the sensor is the fastest in the mobile industry, unlocking in under just 0.2 seconds, and while I don’t have the equipment to confirm this claim, I can at least say that statement sounds accurate. Is. When compared to the optical sensor found in the Pixel 6, this ultrasonic solution is more reliable and much easier to hit. It feels on par and sometimes even faster than the capacitive sensor found in the power button of the Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite.
When you hit the sensor right in the middle, it usually unlocks immediately, making the process feel less like a fingerprint scan and more like a simple tap. You don’t need to apply any extra force as you sometimes have to do with optical sensors – the Sonic Max is happy with a light touch. Things get a little more iffy as you move a little closer to the edges of the sensor, but that’s to be expected. And given the size of the sensor, you’d be hard pressed to get it in the first place.
For me, only problems arise when unlocking the phone after a long period of deep sleep, the sensor suddenly aligns with the Pixel 6’s optical sensor and takes a few extra milliseconds, but that’s okay.
The sensor manages to explain in another area as well. Qualcomm says it’s massive, measuring 20x30mm – “more than 4x the size of the 3D Sonic Gen 2.” That makes it easier than ever to hit it, and provides a remedy for one of the arguments used against in-display fingerprint scanners. Unlike the capacitive sensors on the back or in the power button, the in-display sensors don’t offer any haptic features to help you locate them. They don’t have anything to guide you to where you need to place your finger, so when they’re older, it’s hard to miss them when you can’t fully look at your screen when you’re unlocked. would have been.
It’s also possible to adjust the size of the unlocked area, although I can’t imagine why you’d want to intentionally make it smaller – it’s pre-set for the largest possible area.
fun bits and pieces
If you’re confident that you’ll be able to hit a small area to unlock your phone, the huge sensor offers another advantage. You can split it into three separate areas, so you can tap a certain part of the sensor to jump directly to the app of your choice. While lockscreen shortcuts are nothing new in themselves, this method requires no additional authentication, no friction compared to other lockscreen shortcuts. Personally, I opted for Google Pay and Telegram’s quick access.
This method leaves you with a smaller unlocking area, but I still haven’t found it particularly difficult to hit the right spot for the intended action. After all, we’ve all been conditioned to hit small spots on old phones already.
iQOO also offers two unlock sizes for the sensor. The default round variant helps you avoid hitting the sensor at the very edges which can lead to unsuccessful authentication. There’s also a square version that roughly shows you the actual outline of the sensor (albeit with a slight error). It really gives you an idea of how spacious the sensor is, giving you a small glimpse of the inner workings of the smartphone.
Considering that the third-generation Sonic Max has been on the market for over a year, it’s a shame that it hasn’t made it into a phone much other than the iQOO 9 Pro and iQOO 8 Pro from half a year ago. , both of which have limited international availability. While the second-generation ultrasonic sensor found in the Galaxy S22 series isn’t a slouch, either, it would have been great to see the latest and greatest in Samsung’s flagship lineup.
After using the iQOO 9 Pro and its incredible fingerprint sensor for a while, I can’t wait for more manufacturers to jump on the bandwagon, integrating the sensor into all the best Android phones out there. The experience is just on a different level.
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About the Author
Manuel Vonau (1613 articles published)
Manuel is a tech enthusiast and Android fan based in Berlin. When he’s not writing articles for Android Police, he’s probably out and about as a videographer.
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