In-display fingerprint sensors have repeatedly been in news over the last two years,
but we finally have a phone in India that actually implements the technology. Vivo
X21, the new flagship, is the first phone to bring the pathbreaking in-display
fingerprint sensor and it does so at a reasonable price.
Traditionally, the fingerprint sensors used to be on the front, because that’s where
they make the most sense. After all, even before smartphones had fingerprint sensors,
we were accustomed to stretching our thumb to draw the unlock pattern on the screen.
Unlocking your phone with a front fingerprint reader fits right in the same manoeuvre
and is in line with what our muscle memory has been habituated to. Also, it’s the only
biometric unlock tech you can use with your phone resting on your table.
In due course, with the rise of narrow-bezel 18:9 screens, the fingerprint readers had
to be shifted to the second-best spot – the back panel. There simply was no room on
the front to accommodate it. This stopgap solution always felt like a compromise and
was naturally met with some resistance. Certain OEMs got rid of the fingerprint
sensor altogether, while others tried to cram them below the tall 18:9 screens in an
ungainly manner. That’s also why the Face Unlock surged in popularity as it allowed
consumers to unlock using the Phone’s fascia, but it is nowhere as consistent or
secure as a fingerprint sensor.
But perhaps we can now put all of that interim mess behind us. The Vivo X21 finally
reinstates the fingerprint reader on the front!
How does the Vivo X21 in-display fingerprint sensor work?
The in-display fingerprint sensor on Vivo X21 is an optical-type sensor. As soon as
you touch your thumb on the guided area, the part of the screen illuminates your
finger. The reflected light helps the sensor map the ridges and valleys of your fingers
and it then matches them to the registered pattern to unlock. On the X21, the whole
process works seamlessly.
Vivo has also added cool unlock animations that kick in as soon as you touch your
registered digit on the screen. You can also choose between different unlock
Also, consumers don’t have to press the power key to see the guiding light for the
sensor. There is an option to keep the sensor Always On (that’s how we prefer it).
Since the handset has an AMOLED screen, keeping the sensor on isn’t harsh on the
battery at all.
Apart from being more accessible, the in-display sensor on Vivo X21 also has the
advantage of working with sweaty and moist fingers.
Vivo also adds a Face Unlock which is extremely fast and only triggers when you
press the power button. To unlock with the fingerprint sensor, you just need to place
your finger on the apt area of the screen (which is something you can do even without
looking at the display).
Does the Vivo X21 in-display sensor works for in-app authentications in banking and other apps?
The in-display fingerprint sensor isn’t merely used for unlocking. You can also use it
to authenticate access to banking and other sensitive apps.
Whenever you need to authenticate an app with the fingerprint sensor, you will see
the sensor light up brighter than rest of the screen. Just scan your finger or thumb to
Vivo X21 In-display fingerprint sensor experience – Does it work?
The Vivo X21 offers a gorgeous display, powerful chipset, along-lasting battery with
fast charging, extremely fast Face Unlock and comes in a premium glass casing. Even
with all these positives, it’s the in-display fingerprint sensor that steals the show and
gives X21 a definite edge.
Since we were cycling through rear-mounted sensors for more than a year before we
tested the new technology on X21, we weren’t quite sure if we still retained the same
fondness for the front sensors. Surprisingly, we immediately took to Vivo’s in-display
reader which works exactly as it should! This only strengthens our conviction that in-
display sensors are the future.
The new tech is the epitome of innovation we’d like to see on our phones. It solves a
problem, makes life simpler, and is cool enough to amaze us every single time!
As of now, the in-display fingerprint sensor is available only on Vivo X21 in India.
You can buy Vivo X21 from Flipkart or Vivo’s online store for Rs. 35,990.
Advantages of in-display fingerprint sensors
- Feels more natural and are more accessible than rear-mounted sensors.
- Unlike Face Unlock or Rear mounted sensors, they work even when your phone is lying on your table.
- Unlike capacitive sensors, they work with sweaty, wet, and cold hands.
- And of course, they Add a cool factor to the phone.