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The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G adds 3D face-unlocking to its security options

The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. (Source: Twitter)
The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G. (Source: Twitter)
Samsung has sneaked a 3D form of Face Unlock into the 5G version of the Galaxy S10 with its latest update. It works on this variant only as it has a time-of-flight (TOF) sensor in its front-facing punch-hole. Therefore, this phone's facial recognition may now approach iPhone-like levels of security and accuracy.

The Samsung Galaxy S10 series has recently been updated to One UI 2.0, a potentially improved version of the same based on Android 10. However, it seems the OEM forgot to mention something overtly in relation to the top-end, 5G-capable variant of this flagship line. This phone may now be able to use its TOF front-facing sensor to enact facial recognition-based screen unlocking.

The Galaxy S10 5G has had this 3D-sensing hardware online since its launch; despite this, Samsung made suprisingly light of this cutting-edge spec during this event. This may be due to the limited range of truly practical applications for the new type of camera. Similarly, the company must not have highlighted its fresh use in One UI 2.0 while rolling this update out to the phone.

It was up to the Twitter user known as @TEQHNIKACROSS to report the addition of 3D-TOF to facial unlocking on their S10 5G. They backed this observation up with a photo of the sensor's IR beam shining while the interface that sets this security feature up was activated. A second user, @jrwut, may have helped verify its presence by replying with claims that their device was incapable of scanning their face if either the conventional selfie camera or the TOF sensor was blocked.

This suggests that these 2D and 3D components work in tandem to deliver facial recognition on an S10 5G upgraded to One UI 2.0. Therefore, it may now be as effective as the Face ID feature found in newer iPhones. It may also represent a boost to confidence in the biometric authentication features of an OEM currently beset by controversy involving its premium fingerprint scanners. Then again, if this was really the case, Samsung could be making a bigger deal of "3D Face Unlock" right now.

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A photo shows the TOF sensor in action during Face Unlock set-up. (Source: Twitter)
A photo shows the TOF sensor in action during Face Unlock set-up. (Source: Twitter)

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 11 > The Samsung Galaxy S10 5G adds 3D face-unlocking to its security options
Deirdre O Donnell, 2019-11-10 (Update: 2019-11-11)