Fingerprint scanners. Can’t have a flagship smartphone without one in this day and age, but the Android handhelds that do support the futuristic method of biometric authentication are often accused of shoddy, gimmicky execution.
Even when done properly, the technology continues to stir up controversies, although Apple fans were very quick (and proud) to adopt so-called Touch ID recognition on the iPhone 5s, then the 6, 6 Plus, 6s and 6s Plus models, as well as the iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, and iPad Pro.
Many will argue Cupertino managed to deeply integrate the feature into iOS straight off the bat, letting its customers not only unlock devices via fingerprint, but also seamlessly authorize online payments, and logins in various proprietary apps.
Then again, as Samsung Pay gears up to roll out to a bunch of Galaxy stars, including some that don’t shine as bright as the S6 Edge+, and Android Pay looms large on the horizon, as part of Marshmallow’s basic set of native goodies, it’s time we took fingerprint-capable gadgets more seriously than ever.
To that end, we’ve gathered a handy list of ten Android smartphones available on Amazon today which support fingerprint magic. Before long, this will noticeably grow, as the Xperia Z5 trio, 2015 Nexus duo, and others join the party, but once again, let’s focus on the now:
- Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge Plus – $710 factory unlocked international
- Samsung Galaxy Note 5 – $698 and up
- HTC One M9 Plus – $509
- Lenovo Vibe P1 – $459
- Huawei Ascend Mate 7 – $419 factory unlocked
- Meizu MX5 – $387
- Meizu MX4 Pro – $365
- Lenovo ZUK Z1 – $379
- Samsung Galaxy Alpha – $284 AT&T unlocked
- HTC One Max – $333
First and foremost, let us stress we’ve tried to make today’s top ten as diverse as possible, so as not to be accused of Samsung fanboyism. Otherwise, we risked the Android manufacturer kings taking over nearly the entire ranks, having introduced mobile fingerprint compatibility back in early 2014, with the now ancient GS5.
That said, the S6 Edge+ predictably headlines the roster, despite its extravagant price tag, with silky smooth touch-based fingerprint functionality, Samsung Pay around the corner stateside, and an entire slew of unrelated ultra-high-end features, like a dual-edge 5.7-inch Quad HD AMOLED screen, Exynos 7420 SoC, 4 GB RAM, and 16/5 MP cameras.
No flashy curves, no European availability… just yet, a bundled S Pen accessory that you should be extra-careful with, and as for everything else, it’s the same as above. The fingerprint sensor is integrated into the home button, and unless a super-skilled, super-vicious hacker makes you his target, authentication and payments are nice and secure.
Technically unreleased in the US, the MediaTek Helio X10 powerhouse is up for grabs on Amazon via import specialists sans an American-valid warranty. The home key-incorporated fingerprint scanner is actionable by touch here too, and it allows you to set up to five different profiles for sharing the device, and its state-of-the-art data protection, with family and friends.
Why haven’t you heard more chatter about the M9+? Well, the cameras aren’t great, battery life is somewhat underwhelming, and HTC’s marketing moolah was wasted on Iron Man.
Hello there, battery monster that literally just got unveiled at IFA 2015! It’s excellent to see you commercially available, even if likely in very limited, imported inventory. It’s even nicer to hear Lenovo hasn’t skimped on fingerprint recognition quality, promising half a second unlock times.
The overall quality-price ratio is what makes the Vibe P1 stand out from the crowd, with octa-core processing power in tow, 2 gigs of memory, a 13 MP dual-LED flash rear cam, 5.5-inch Full HD display, 32 GB internal storage space, microSD support and, above all, a gigantic 5,000 mAh ticker.
Speaking of giants, the Mate 7 is no, not 7 full inches in diagonal, but pretty close, at 6. Much like the P1, its key strength is endurance, courtesy of a slightly smaller 4,100 mAh cell. The IPS LCD panel is 1,080p-capable, the 16 GB ROM microSD-expandable, and the Kirin 925 SoC octa-core-packing.
Too bad the rectangular fingerprint rig is a little harder to operate around the phablet’s back, and Android Pay capabilities baked into 6.0 Marshmallow are a sweet but unrealistic dream, as Lollipop hasn’t even replaced KitKat yet.
Stop being skittish about Chinese brands who haven’t officially penetrated the American market. Meizu’s time, for instance, will come, mark our words, either when the MX5 spreads worldwide, or when the just-announced Pro 5 takes off.
What makes the MX5 special? Take your pick – an always reliable touch-manipulated fingerprint ID apparatus, 5.5-inch FHD AMOLED display, octa-core Helio X10 CPU, 3 GB RAM, 20.7 MP photography virtuoso, 3,150 mAh battery, etc., etc.
Don’t let the first part of the name fool you. The MX4 Pro is as high-end as smartphones came in late 2014, touting 2,560 x 1,536 pixels resolution on a 5.5-inch IPS LCD screen (resulting in 546 ppi), Exynos 5430 octa punch, 3,350 mAh juice, and 20.7 and 5 megapixel camera excellence.
This brand and this device essentially came out of nowhere last month, with so-called 360 degree U-Touch tech among the primary selling points, plus Cyanogen OS support, a clean, minimalistic design, USB Type-C connectivity, and massive 4,100 mAh battery endowed with fast charging functions.
Expected out “internationally” in the near future, the Z1 should be in line for a Marshmallow update in a few months, which means Android Pay is coming to seal the already tempting deal including 3 GB RAM, 64 GB ROM, a 5.5-inch 1,080p screen, quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip, and 13/8 MP cams.
When’s the last time you thought of the venerable metal-framed 4.7 incher, the upper mid-ranger that started the high-end aluminum construction trend, and also registers and remembers your fingerprint… once you swipe it across the home button repeatedly.
Okay, so the implementation is seriously flawed here, the margin of error way too large, and the real-life utility of the biometric authentication mechanism almost nonexistent. But if you’re looking for bragging rights over owners of phones caught behind the times, and don’t want to spend a fortune in the process, this is still an option.
Besides, it’s supermodel skinny (6.7 mm), lightweight yet fairly robust, compact and Lollipop-running, thanks to a recent software makeover.
Aged 2 going on 3, the cumbersome 5.9 incher belongs in a museum rather than a user’s (humongous) trouser pocket. But it’s affordable… at last, welcomes all your content on a 32 GB ROM and microSD card slot, Full HD-sporting, 2 GB RAM-packing, and LTE-enabled on GSM networks. The actual fingerprint scanner is pretty glitchy, we’ll be honest with you, and almost impossible to reach, as it’s situated on the rear of an 164.5 x 82.5 mm slab tipping the scales at 217 grams.