The Pixel 6a’s Fingerprint Sensors Seem Fast

A screenshot showing the Pixel 6a next to the Pixel 6 Pro

Give it up to Android for keeping the fingerprint scanner alive. According to Malaysian YouTuber, Fazli Halim (who has already leaked details of the Pixel 6a that Google is launching on July 28), the Pixel 6a’s fingerprint scanner won’t be a disappointing dud like on the Pixel 6/6 Pro.

Over the weekend, 9to5Google surfaced Halim’s latest 14-minute look at the Pixel 6a. The video walks through more of the mid-range smartphone’s interface relative to the Pixel 6’s, though 9to5Google reminds us that this is not the final software build on the Pixel 6a. And while things might seem faster, it’s all conjecture until we get this smartphone in our hands to try out for ourselves.

At around the 5-minute mark, Halim shows off a quick comparison between the under-display fingerprint scanners on both the Pixel 6a and Pixel 6 Pro. The Pixel 6a unlocks twice within the time it takes to unlock the Pixel 6 Pro once. Still, the Pixel 6a does falter a few times after that initial test. In the second demonstration, the Pixel 6a takes three tries for a quick unlock. It seems the connecting thread is the Pixel’s programming requires a little more of a linger than other under-display fingerprint sensors.

Halim also tests the Pixel 6a against the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, though it’s no surprise that Samsung’s most beefed-up flagship outshines Google’s upcoming mid-range offering. As Halim says in English in the video—and according to the bi-lingual translation I attempted with YouTube’s subtitles—it seems like there’s “nothing revolutionary.” It takes three tries before the 6a unlocks in the video. Both times we see the Ultra unlock, it’s so much faster. It doesn’t even require popping up the scanning symbol on the screen for it to register the fingerprint.

As The Verge reminds us, Rick Osterloh did confirm last month that the Pixel 6a will ship with a different fingerprint sensor than its flagship predecessor. Hopefully, that bodes well for performance. I’ve wholly disengaged the fingerprint scanner on my Pixel 6 because of how often it faltered and instead opted for the traditional PIN unlock like the older Android days.

The Android platform seems to be holding on to the fingerprint as a primary security line, while Apple’s iPhone has completely done away with Touch ID. The technology appears to have been replaced by Face ID, which I can anecdotally say feels much faster than any fingerprint I’ve scanned on a Pixel, Samsung, and even a OnePlus device. There are rumors it will return to the main iPhone, but only the iPhone SE currently has Touch ID embedded in the power button.

The rest of Halim’s video walks us through some of the camera capabilities of the Pixel and shows a bit of the interface. But as I mentioned earlier, this isn’t a final software build, so it should only be taken with a grain of salt, though we do have a spec list for the Pixel’s camera hardware.

The Pixel 6a launches on July 28 for $450. Pre-orders will open starting July 21. The phone will have 6GB of memory, 128GB of storage, and support WiFi 6e, Bluetooth LE, eSIM, and contactless payments.

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