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Galaxy S10’s most sophisticated feature might be a good reason not to buy the phone

Published Jan 16th, 2019 9:03PM EST
Galaxy S10 Release Date
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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With the Galaxy S10 about one month away, we thought we knew everything there was to know about Samsung’s next flagship. But a brand new leak has us worried. If it’s accurate, then it might be a reason to avoid the Galaxy S10.

It took me about a minute to ruin my iPhone X, and all I had to do was to place the phone in a protective case and slap a screen protector on it. That’s because the handset packs a glass sandwich design that’s susceptible to both front and rear damage after accidental drops. More than a year later, I still have protective gear around the device.

The Galaxy S10 phones will also rock glass sandwich designs — that means they’ll have glass front and rear panels and a metal frame in between them. So you’ll probably want to protect both the rear and front glass with the help of whatever new accessories Samsung and its partners launch. Accessory makers have already created screen protectors for the phones, which have been featured in several leaks so far.

It’s a tweet from an accessory maker that delivers today’s bad news. “We have tested our cases on real #GalaxyS10 phones,” Armadillotek wrote. “The in-screen fingerprint does not support screen protector. So our vanguard will have no built-in screen protector.” If this is accurate, then you’ll either have to use a screen protector on the S10 and forget about using the sophisticated in-screen fingerprint sensor, or ditch the protector and hope for the best.

The Galaxy S10 will be the first Android phone to debut a brand new type of fingerprint sensor for displays, many reports have claimed. Developed by Qualcomm, the in-display sensor uses ultrasound to read fingerprints. Competing phones use optical sensors to get the job done, but the ultrasound sensor should be faster and more secure. This could explain why screen protectors might not work with the Galaxy S10. The ultrasound technology may require the user’s finger to be in contact with the phone’s display directly, rather than through a screen protector.

There’s no way to verify this claim right now, as the Galaxy S10 isn’t official. But it certainly sounds like the kind of compromise Samsung shouldn’t have to go for. Yes, you could always choose to use a different case — the kind that also protects the screen, not just the back of the phone. But wallet cases aren’t for everyone, and that’s not a good enough alternative. Not to mention that the Galaxy S10 will have a bigger display-to-body ratio than any Galaxy S model to date. And smartphone displays aren’t exactly shatter-proof, no matter how strong the glass is.

Samsung will unveil the Galaxy S10 on February 20th in San Francisco, at which point we’ll know more about the phone’s features and accessories.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.