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Samsung Galaxy S9 facial scanning: How it stacks up against Face ID

With the Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus, Samsung has tried to cow back the facial recognition initiative from Apple and the iPhone X.

But with the latter system light years ahead, can the Korean company do the business?

Or is it still simply playing catch up? We take a look to see whether Samsung has got the edge on Apple.

Want Samsung's latest flagship phone? Here are our best deals for the Galaxy S9.

Prefer Apple? Check out our best iPhone X deals.

Iris scanning backed up by facial recognition

iris scanner

Rather than using straight up facial scanning to unlock the Galaxy S9, Samsung has opted to stick with the iris scanning tech that it relied on with last year’s Galaxy S8.

However, with iris tech not always working well in low light (according to Samsung itself) this will default to face scanning whenever conditions aren’t perfect, using a new, unified feature called Intelligent Scan.

The proof will come in the testing, but this already sounds average compared to Apple’s Face ID.

Fingerprint scanner still included

Samsung Galaxy S9 fingerprint scanner hero size

Whereas Apple decided to drop Touch ID, its fingerprint scanner, from the iPhone X, Samsung is still offering the option to unlock with either your face our your finger.

The Galaxy S9’s fingerprint scanner has been moved to below the main camera (it sat next to it on the S8, which was a major design flaw) and can be used to unlock the phone or secure areas, just like facial scanning.

This is a feature some still love and, in our minds, is a bonus.

But its continued inclusion does also suggest Samsung doesn’t have 100% faith in the S9’s face scanning prowess.

No facial payments

Samsung Pay S9

The iPhone X’s lack of fingerprint scanner meant Apple had no choice but to ensure Face ID worked with mobile payments, both online and in–store.

The Galaxy S9’s face scanner doesn’t do that.

While for many users that isn’t a deal breaker, it does suggest that Samsung doesn’t have the wherewithal to make it happen, a concern when this phone is the company’s flagship product.

Animoji but amped up

Samsung S9 animated avatar

It was long rumoured that Samsung would try and take on Animoji, Apple’s facial scanning feature that allows users to put their own expressions on emoji.

Samsung’s rival effort, AR emoji, allows you to put expressions on cartoon versions of your own face, with 18 options to choose from.

Where this stands out, though, is the fact they can be shared on any messaging platform, including WhatsApp, unlike Animoji, which are confined to Apple’s iMessage only. It already sounds better than Apple’s take.

Face ID wins

iPhone X Face ID facial

The Galaxy S9 promises to be one of 2018’s very best phones.

But the simple fact is that when it comes to rivalling Face ID, it simply doesn’t manage to do so in a meaningful way.

Apple’s 3D facial modelling tech and security is so advanced that rivals will need longer to catch up.

It may well be we have to wait for the Galaxy Note 9, due later this year, to see if Samsung can beat its biggest competitors headline feature.

Still need the newest Samsung? Take a look at our best deals for the Galaxy S9.

Only trust Apple? Here are our best iPhone X deals.

Category: Features
Tagged: galaxy s9, iphone x
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