Fingerprint readers are perhaps the most utilitarian addition to phones in the last five years. In the early days, the most popular position for these readers used to be on the front, right below the screen where there were clubbed with the home button.

The simple approach, however, wasn’t tenable with the war against bezels. In fact, we have only now circled back to front fingerprint readers with optical and ultrasonic in-display sensors that are finally snappy and reliable – even on affordable phones.

But there’s a problem. For convenient implementation, these sensors need to be laid under AMOLED screens*.

Yes, the side-mounted fingerprint sensors have existed for years, but there has been a recent surge in their popularity, particularly on affordable phones with IPS LCD panels. Many users actually prefer these to conventional rear-mounted or front in-display sensors.

*In-display sensors for LCD screens exist but aren’t in use on any popular phone.

Side-mounted fingerprint sensors: Advantages and Disadvantages

Side-mounted fingerprint sensors are capacitive sensors, and as all capacitive sensors, they have the advantage of being easily accessible. You can reach out for such sensors without looking at your phone or without holding your phone upright. They are also relatively more consistent.

Another advantage is fingerprint gestures. The tangible nature of these sensors make fingerprint sensor-related gestures like scroll up, scroll down or double-tap action possible.

But side-mounted fingerprint readers have some disadvantages too. Those positioned on the right aren’t as comfortable to access by people who are left-handed – especially on big phones.

Most of such sensors can read partial fingerprints, but only when consumers are careful while setting them up.

1. Samsung Galaxy S10e

Samsung Galaxy S10e (quick review) is still a relevant option for consumers who need compact phones. It’s still a bit pricy for a bottom-tier, yesteryear flagship, but I guess recurring sales should offer opportune buy moments.

The Galaxy S10e is a cute, premium phone with a very accessible side-mounted fingerprint sensor that’s more reliable and convenient than what Samsung offers even on current S20-flagships. The phonehas a 5.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen, and is powered by Exynos 9820 octa-core processor. The 3100mAh battery and the resulting backup is on the lower side, and that’s the main compromise you’d have to live with.

2. Poco X2

The Poco X2 is a budget champ that offers remarkable value for the asking price. The phone has a 120Hz refresh-rate IPS LCD screen and is powered by Snapdragon 730G octa-core chipset.

Partially severing ties with Xiaomi allows Poco to deliver a relatively ad-free version of MIUI. This one has 27W fast charging support to go with the beefy 4500mAh battery. The camera performance is also quite decent for the price.

3. Realme 6 and Realme 6 Pro

Realme’s 6-series phones opt for high refresh-rate screens over AMOLED panels. Both of these are big phones with side-mounted fingerprint sensors and punch-holes to accommodate selfie cameras.

Realme 6 Pro Review with Pros, Cons and FAQs

The Realme 6 Pro (review) is powered by Snapdragon 720G octa-core chipset and the Realme 6 (review) gets MediaTek’s Helio G90T. Both of these phones are powerful performers, offer 30W fast charging, and have 64MP sensor led quad-cameras on the rear.

4. Redmi Note 9 Pro and Redmi Note 9 Pro Max

Xiaomi’s Note9 Pro and Note9 Pro are sizeable phones with side-mounted fingerprint readers. These phones are powered by Snapdragon 720G octa-core chipset that integrates NavIC support, have centrally aligned circular notches, and run Android 10-based MIUI 11 software.

Redmi Note 9 Pro Max launched in India

There are 4 cameras on the rear. The Note 9 Pro gets the 48MP Samsung GM2 as the primary sensor, while the Note 9 Pro Max has the 64MP GM1. The Pro and Pro Max also differ in terms of RAM and Storage configurations and fast charging speeds.

Best Phones with Side-mounted fingerprint sensors

Side-mounted sensors on modern phones are always-on type. Which is to say that you won’t have to first press the power button-cum-FP reader before scanning begins. I guess these do help manufacturers using IPS LCD panels differentiate their phones and we expect to see many more phones with the side-mounted sensors as the year proceeds.

Phones with side-mounted fingerprint readers

Phone name Starting price
Samsung Galaxy S10e Rs. 40,999
Poco X2 Rs. 15,999
Realme 6 Pro Rs. 16,999
Realme 6 Rs. 12,999
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro Rs. 12,999
Xiaomi Redmi Note 9 Pro Max Rs. 14,999

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