New video compares Touch ID to the Galaxy S5’s fingerprint scanner


Samsung hasn’t officially launched its next-gen smartphone, the Galaxy S5, just yet but the comparisons to Apple’s latest model are already starting. The S5 features a fingerprint-reader much like the iPhone’s, so YouTube user iCrackUriDevice put both phones head-to-head to determine which device sported the superior scanner.

Both devices have pros and cons. The iPhone 5s has the ability to scan your fingerprint from any angle, while the Galaxy can only detect a downward swipe across the scanner at a very specific angle. On the other hand, the Galaxy can use its fingerprint reader to authorize PayPal purchases, while the iPhone can only authenticate sales on Apple’s own iTunes store.

In terms of speed, both phones are pretty fast, but the awkward angle of the Galaxy’s scanner makes it difficult to get right on the first try or using only one hand, which can cause it to fail on the first few tries. Overall the iPhone seems to have the advantage here, though the Galaxy’s is a bit more capable. You can see the full review of both systems in the video above.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. tijeladeacai - 9 years ago

    Only a retard tries to unlock the S5 the way you were doing. But yes, the iPhone implementation is more versatile but not necessarily better. You need to hold the S5 with both hands (most of the time) anyways so there is no need to have a sophisticated sensor to get the job done.

    • Actually I have unlocked my phone most of the ways he showed in the video. It’s very convenient just pressing the home button when its place in any direction on my desk and I just want to change a song real quick.

    • Tony C (@Muadibe10) - 9 years ago

      Only a moron would respond as you have. There was nothing wrong with the demonstration. The fault is with the implementation on the Samsung phone. Just because the result isn’t what you want (yes, it’s obvious you’re a Samdung fan), doesn’t mean there is something wrong.

      Any person with an ounce of objectivity can see that the sensor on the iPhone 5S is a FAR BETTER implementation than on the Samsung. You should direct your anger at Samdung. Don’t blame the demonstrator.

      • thejuanald - 9 years ago

        You’re holding it wrong.

      • shareef777 - 9 years ago

        I’m a pure iOS fan, but still have to admit he’s right. The video shows the S5 swipes using the side of their finger. No one would naturally swipe in that manner. Additionally most S5 swipes were at an angle while the iPhone swipes were dead center. Not a fair comparison IMHO.

      • smigit - 9 years ago

        At the 3:50 mark he tested the side of the finger. There were also many test done at angles prior to that. The difference is, and probably the point of the comparison, is that iOS allows for those use cases where Samsung’s technology doesn’t. Obviously the Samsung was going to fail based on the tech it is built on, but from an end user perspective the point really is that the Samsung implementation is far less versatile in how the user handles it. To that end I think it is a fair comparison, but I don’t think its telling us anything we wouldn’t have been able to work out from the spec sheet.

        For what its worth, I probably use touch ID at an angle more often than not.

      • tijeladeacai - 9 years ago

        You are the moron here. Re-read what I wrote.
        The guy was trying to unlock the Samsung device upside down juts to show that iPhone was better.

      • mpias3785 - 9 years ago

        He’s simply demonstrating that while the iPhone 5s can be unlocked in any direction, the GS5 can only be unlocked in one.

        I’m still trying to figure out how more versatile is not better.

    • Tallest Skil - 9 years ago

      >there is no need to have a sophisticated sensor


      This is what Samsung’s paid shills ACTUALLY TELL PEOPLE.

  2. That’s a very demonstrative thing in terms of what priorities for Samsung smartphones are today.

    Apple paid $356m for AuthenTec to get the latest fingerprint scanner technology. It took them some time to get it right and release it in iPhone 5S and it is now the major selling point for 5S. I would say 60%-70% of the 5S owners use Touch ID every day.

    Samsung, on the other hand, used an ancient technology for the fingerprint scanner, which is not convenient for the typical consumer. It will appear in the specs of Galaxy S5 that it has a fingerprint scanner, but the majority won’t use it because it is not convenient at all (you can’t even unlock the phone with one hand, what a joke).

    For Samsung in this case it was more important to respond to Touch ID, rather than to introduce a technology that is really going work for its customers.

  3. nicequal (@nicequal) - 9 years ago

    Guess one should compare how secure your fingerprint is once it’s stored on each device too.

    • Mike Knopp (@mknopp) - 9 years ago

      That was exactly my thought also. When Apple released TouchID it seemed like every analyst and journalist was all over Apple about security concerns. Then Apple went into great detail about how security was built into every level right down to a secure section of the processor. What is Samsung doing about securing their user’s fingerprints? Where is all of the furor over Samsung’s security?

  4. Mahesh Kirpalani - 9 years ago

    Jeez….samsung really screw it up when it comes to the sexiness factor of design when you see them next to each other like that. And I don’t get why people keep critisizing Apple for making similar looking devices year after year, when Samsung clearly does the same except for changing the screen size. Seems to me that it’s going to be pain in the ass changing out that screen with the biometrics incorporated into it.

    • g0bez - 9 years ago

      I could be wrong, but the way I read this, the biometrics aren’t actually in the screen, they’re in the button. The track on the screen is there to help bring your finger in for a straight landing, since the sensor is so picky about angle of the swipe. Probably also helps make sure you get enough of your finger scanned over the button… too short of a scan and it won’t have enough data.

  5. Yunhua Ji - 9 years ago

    Samsung is always making jokes. Can you believe the quality of the touch ID even if their device is released half a year later than iPhone 5S? MUST BE KIDING ME. I will feel shamed if someone else take out his/her samsung and says “Hey dude, my phone is as great as yours.”

  6. Alessio Bonadio - 9 years ago

    I think that the cons of the iPhone 5S are only on software side, maybe they will disappear with iOS8, but the problems of the Galaxy S5 are hardware issues, they are using a technology that was in laptops 10 years ago

  7. Jason Elmore - 9 years ago

    I dont know about you guys, but my iPhone 5S Touch ID sucks. It works great for 1-2 days and then completely stops working at all. I’ve went through about 10 different techniques and tutorials training the phone, but it always turns out the same. I guess my hands sweat to much, but i thought it scanned well below the epidermis.

    • OneOkami (@OneOkami) - 9 years ago

      You may wanna have the hardware checked out or replaced. Touch ID has always worked superbly for me.

      • g0bez - 9 years ago

        Yes, I agree — I use mine 100% of the time, and I can’t remember the last time I had to go in for a retry.

        Yours could be hardware, or it could be that you didn’t record a diverse enough range of angles of your fingers. I swear I scanned *every* *single* *angle* on the digits that I knew I’d be using to unlock.

        The only exception is after I burned my thumb (not a bad burn, but bad enough to be red / swollen for a week or so)… my thumb would only scan about 10% of the time. As it healed the success rate improved.

        Good luck!

  8. Derek Kostovick - 9 years ago

    The two handed thing is a crucial issue for me. I know it’s an assumption, but I will go ahead and assume most people get out their phone with one hand (from a pocket, jacket, etc.) and once out the process of putting in the other hand to be able to swipe vertically down seems very clumsy. I’d love to be able to check it out for myself! My sister’s Galaxy SII just busted on her and it’d be a huge thing for her to have that new S5! :)

  9. Drew (@gettysburg11s) - 9 years ago

    I think either phone has a good implementation of biometrics. The S5’s is more exacting, but its essentially the same idea. The big difference here is versatility. The S5’s lets you use Paypal for payment out of the box, which lets you pay for goods and services from tons of vendors. With the iPhone, there is only one, Apple. Also, Samsung will allow an API for developers to implement the reader in their own apps. Apple? Nada. Maybe that will change when iOS 8 comes out though. Of course, you can jailbreak on an iPhone, but that basically hacks your phone and makes it far less secure (that may anger jailbreakers, but hopefully they are aware of what they signed up for).

    • Apple does go head fast into something just because they want to be fast but maybe with making their customers insecure (as Samsung does). They first want to assure the whole Touch ID works awesome and then they’ll be implementing other recognition use as PP payment. They thought it through.

    • PMZanetti - 9 years ago

      Oh yeah, they’re basically the same. Did you think that through any further than “well they both scan fingerprints right?” Clearly you did not. From a technical perspective, and users perspective, they are not similar in any way. Apple did a much better job than Samsung, and that’s being nice about it.

      Clearly Apple will open TouchID up to more options once they deem it safe and reliable to do so. Samsung, as usually, throws shit at the wall and hopes it sticks in minds like yours where bullet points trump reality.

  10. PMZanetti - 9 years ago

    What horribly written article. Samsung’s tech and implementation is garbage. Its a half-assed way of rushing the same feature as the 5s out the door. And this article goes so far to say, “Samsung has done more with it” because you make a PayPal payment? Come on. It would have to actually WORK first.

    Apple obviously plans to use TouchID for many other types of payments, but they didn’t rush it, because testing it with iTunes Store is much safer beta test for the idea than just throwing it out there.

    • liquidwolverine1 - 9 years ago

      Couldn’t agree more.

    • rettun1 - 9 years ago

      It DOES work, and one would have to be ignorant or 100% biased to say that the Samsung model doesn’t work. I agree they sacrifice some stability and usability by pushing it to market so quickly, but it certainly does things that Touch ID can’t. That much you can’t deny.

      That being said, touch is great on my iPhone. And I think tech sensor tech will keep itself ahead of Samsung’s for years to come

      • thejuanald - 9 years ago

        PMZanetti is one of the worst posters on this website when it comes to bias so don’t ever expect any sort of unbiased view coming from him. He may even be paid to hate everything non-Apple. If he’s not, he certainly talks like he is.

  11. liquidwolverine1 - 9 years ago

    Apple once again created something that the user doesn’t have to think about and just works, competition not so much. Might be frustrating for users, and I doubt it would be used as often for Samsung users, at least not for unlocking their phone.

  12. Andrew King - 9 years ago

    Apple technology better than Samsung! Hardware and software far more sophisticated. Great video.

  13. Gary Doan - 9 years ago

    The launch is next week, let’s see how the S5 works in the wild. There has been more than enough hype and enough vaporware to confuse anyone. Most people are shocked to hear that Glass, hasn’t even been released, since its been in the news well over a year.

  14. mpias3785 - 9 years ago

    This is a perfect example of the difference between Apple’s design philosophy and Samsung’s. Apple puts in the effort to develop a feature that is useful and as transparent to the end user as possible. Samsung just wants to be able to claim that they have the same feature with convenience being a low priority.

    That’s the benefit of selling user experience over just selling features.

    I use Touch ID constantly throughout the day to the point where it has become second nature. If it required the use of two hands or that care needed be taken to insure proper finger orientation, I’d have disabled it long ago.

    • tijeladeacai - 9 years ago

      I hope someday you will be able to charge your iPhone wirelessly. I do with my Note 3 and it’s awesome. Wanna talk about philosophy ?

      • mpias3785 - 9 years ago

        I charge my phone once a day. I unlock my phone every time I use it.

        Which is more inconvenient, grabbing my phone with one hand and carefully swiping in one particular direction with one finger of the other hand — every time I have to use the phone, or plugging in a connector before I go to sleep?

        Samsung’s engineers either have a goofy set of priorities or the marketing department has more say over which features are included than the engineering department.

        A fingerprint scanner looks good on a spec sheet, regardless of the fact that it uses old technology that that was tried and abandoned as a bad idea by another company.

  15. kbb9110 - 9 years ago

    Can you be any more biased??? Lol Hes swiping with the tip of his finger. Not where your fingerprint is hah. My galaxy s5 scanner works perfectly everytime!! Ive used all models of iphone and all the galaxy models and im sorry, i choose galaxy everytime.

    • kbb9110 - 9 years ago

      Japanese are better at electronics than Americans. Sorry iphone fan boys.