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The Nexus 5X and 6P Fingerprint Scanners are the Best.

nexus 5x fingerprint scanner

Last week, I wrote an opinion piece that attempted to convince the world that rear-mounted fingerprint scanners were the ideal implementation, not the home button locations that Samsung and Apple have sold you all on over the past couple of years. I took some heat for it, and that’s fine. After all, it was an opinion piece and I expect people to disagree with my stance. Now, with that said, I’ve attached a video below of the Nexus 5X fingerprint scanner in action, along with what I would consider to be proof that this is indeed the best way to do fingerprints. If anything, the scanners Google is using are just that much better than everyone else’s. 

In this clip, you will not only see a couple of dozen unlocks without a single reader error, but I also walk through the fingerprint setup process, which happens to be about the fastest in the business. Most phones with fingerprint scanners ask you to repeatedly tap and adjust on the scanner more times than I care to count, while learning your fingerprint. With Google’s readers, you only have to tap six times and it learns your finger perfectly.

Don’t believe me? Watch the video, get back to me, and then try to tell me that anyone is doing fingerprint scanners better than Google.

  • mlawlor777

    So when i get an email notification then try to use the fingerprint scanner it takes me to the lock screen and wants my pin and won’t unlock the device. Anyone else having this issue? Anyway to fix it? I have the 6P

  • Mike

    I wonder where the threshold is for a successful read. Maybe it’s set low which would increase the false acceptance rate (FAR) which could be a security issue.

  • Joey Sandoval

    I love the new fingerprint sensors and all, but everyone keeps saying your finger naturally falls on that spot. Yet every demo video I see they always have to turn the phone around to press it. Showing us the finger print sensor is OK, but also demonstrate how easy it is to use it without turning over the device. Then, I will be convinced of its ingenuity!

  • Boomdizzle

    Kellen, any way you could post that wallpaper? 😀

    • Droider

      ya, that wallpaper is so nice haha. I was about to post the same question

  • Adriem

    Do any of you guys know which battery widget he’s using ?

  • If you don’t want to pick up your phone off the table/desk, can you just turn it on and put in a pattern/pin still?

  • Orion

    Don’t really care for fingerprint scanners but I agree with Kellen here. The back is the best spot. I don’t want any buttons on the front of any of my phones…thank you.

    • Troy

      Having the fingerprint scanner on the back means you have to pick up the phone to unlock it if it is lying on a des, sorry not good placement if it has inconvenience.

      • Orion

        Big freakin deal. Omg I have to pick up the phone!!! Oh the humanity!! I’m glad it’s on the back. You can keep your sorry.

      • Krouget

        Or if it really ails you, you can just wake and enter a password.

        You don’t have to use the finger scanner, it’s an additional option which adds convenience.

  • Grant Gregory

    what battery icon is that in the middle of your screen?

  • Me

    I think the Mate S still might be the fastest.

  • C Shwizzel

    Kellen, wallpaper please!!!

    • Mordecaidrake

      I believe it’s Minima Pro, a live wallpaper on the Play Store.

      • C Shwizzel


  • soap

    Funny how you claim you don’t need to adjust your grip to touch the fingerprint sensor, then go ahead and hold it different when actually using the phone. When pressing the home button your normal ergonomic grip does not need to change, even slightly. I had a g2, I know exactly what it’s like, you need a very small quick grip adjustment every time you want to use the power button. Don’t act like it doesn’t exist.

    • WK

      yup. exactly this. when i pick up my phone, my index finger does not naturally go towards that area right underneath the camera. if anything it rests naturally either on the side, gripping the phone, or slightly to the side of the camera. now if by chance the sensor on this phone can read my finger at an off angle or off center, then that would be awesome.

  • Terry Chase

    If you have this set up, how do you access the phone while you have it in a car mount?

    • Evron

      Hopefully you would have a trusted device setup [Bluetooth] so it won’t ask for your fingerprint.

      • Terry Chase

        Duh, thanks. Maybe it’s time to get one for the car so the wife don’t always tell at me for holding my phone while I talk.

  • [email protected]

    It’s funny watching this video. Reviewer did not mention name like Samsung or Apple event once! Why is that?

  • Nathan Borup

    How many fingerprints can you set up? My GS6 limits it to 4

  • JK

    where is the nfc contact point in nexus? others have the sensor in front as the nfc for payment is at the rear cover. when paying, u hold your thumb over the top of the sensor while the nfc at the rear contacts with the contactless payment terminal. how do we hold the nexus when doing payment? is the nfc still as effective and sensitive by a touch of other part of the phone?

  • Beardr8

    Huawei mate s has the fastest fingerprint sensor. Watched Danny Winget’s video on it, phone was crazy fast.

  • JD

    If you use a different finger will it fail or is the threshold is just really, really, flexible?

  • BeejRich

    Wait, is active display default???

  • TechGuy22

    my note 5 one is pretty fast i’m sure 6.0 will make it fast if samsung use native one

  • pyro74boy .

    Look for Apple to copy this on their next iPhone and then claim innovation lol

  • The Doctor

    Meh. My Note5’s fingerprint scanner is fast enough. I don’t care if something else is milliseconds faster.

  • Fingerprint scanners are gimmick – Android fanboys circa 2013
    This is a pretty cool idea – Technology enthusiasts circa 2013

    • Marc Perrusquia

      The Motorola Atrix had a fingerprint scanner before the iPhone.

      • FreeLivin

        True that & a prior to the Atrix even the Q9n from Motorola has a scanner

      • And it sucked, badly. there is a difference between doing something first and doing a piss poor job and doing it next and making it right. Ask MySpace what they think about Facebook. The point I am making is everyone is always quick to bash something purely because it’s not their OS of choice while people who genuinely love tech saw something that worked well and greeted it with open arms. Now their OS of choice is pushing that same tech to to the front of their marketing campaign .

        • Jaymus Lonestar

          You may have had a point of sorts with your cute little “circa 2013 fanboy” comment. However, the OS of choice for those fanboys you referred to has had many more features over the years that were originally scoffed at by that other OS as gimmicky yet are now being implemented by said OS.

          Or to put it in a simpler non political correct way:

          Android and iOS have both borrowed from each other over the years. However, iOS has borrowed more features from Android than Android has from iOS (especially after originally scoffing at those features).

          • Another point I am driving home is also to mock the Fanboys. While there are a number of tech enthusiasts on this site who are not blinded with tunnel vision in believing that Android is the end all be all, this was to point at to the hardcore zealots that they can be wrong (shocking) and that not all the time is one OS better than the other. You are correct, sharing and improving has been a part of this game since day one and if you are a consumer who will vote with your money and maybe go back and forth, the competition makes everything better for us.

        • Droid 1967

          You do realize the nexus 6 would of had a fingerprint scanner but for the fact the one they were going to use was bought by apple, so it had nothing to do with apple making it better or even have it better first. It had to do with spending money. Nexus 6 was using same scanner apple bought so rather then using something that at the time was not as good they decided to hold off on doing it all. So your post should be its better to buy the company your competition was using so you can use it and they cant.
          Another insight on the great apple. Did you know that siri was being designed by a company to put on droid phones as a Verizon exclusive but it was also was purchased by apple .. This was good as what google has done is much better than siri, and now it appears the fingerprint reader being used is also better than the company apple bought.
          Apple does not invent or innovate they steal, copy and and purchase.
          With this in mind i still dont see the benefit of the fingerprint reader. and while being a tech savant id say i have no interest in making purchases with my phone at this time but who knows.

          Apple puts out decent products as do most android phone makers, and the newest Microsoft phone is a hell of a piece of hardware.
          But do not be fooled apple has innovated nothing, they have done nothing that someone else didnt do, That is why they are losing their patent wars on appeals and elsewhere because the blinded are ending and people are actually looking at the facts that everything apple has put out was done by someone else first, Improved on some aspects yes, but rarely by themselves.

          WHo is credited with the first tablet type device….. guess what its not apple…Microsoft Is.

        • Krouget

          I know it’s the internet, so we’re given to hyperbole, but what sucked about it? Are you speaking from actual experience, or just saying it sucked because it didn’t reach the mass appeal of the iPhone? Actual ownership experiences from Atrix users seemed to have liked it. Was it a match for finger scanners in 2015, now that we have the luxury of hindsight? No. Did it function well enough for the early tech that it was, but suffered hiccups? Yes. That tends to happen when you’re among the first out of the gates.

          Furthermore, improving on something when there exist a two+ year gap is expected. It’s kind of hard not to improve on something with a gap like that, especially when you have a receptive audience comprised of Apple fans who use a single, focused product. Many times, good ideas fall because it takes a presence in the market to really win consumers over. Failure to penetrate the market doesn’t mean the actual concept or implementation wasn’t good. History is filled with stories like this and credit should be given to both innovators who get the tech off the ground, as well as those who are able to create consumer demand. That’s how it works…when you’re being fair and objective, anyway.

    • MasterEthan

      Never thought they where a gimmick. I’ve said it’s a nice feature, but not a requirement (not a buying factor). Plus they kind of sucked on mobile until recently so it wasn’t worth it. Now with built in APIs and much much better scanners I think it’s a good thing to have now. I agree that back and side power button are the way to go as I disagree with physical buttons besides power, volume, and camera.

    • Bobb

      I still think they are a gimmick. Yeah they are cool, but not necessary

    • kirko77

      To me it’s still a gimmick since I have a trusted device (Android Wear)

  • EggoEspada

    Are you guys going to compare it to the new readera in the new iPhone 6s/6s Plus? The fingerprint readers on those phones are really accurate and quick. Interested in seeing if Google or Apple did it best.

    • ichicolco

      Of course they won’t, as they’d see their title of “best” is rather misleading. Is the scanner good, yes. It catches up to the 6s/+s. I prefer the sensor on the front, since I keep my phone in a case that covers the back.

      • dtm4

        Does your case cover the camera too? Obviously the case would have an opening for the scanner.

  • Rhuspharm

    The Nexus fingerprint sensor is made by Swedish company “Fingerprint Cards”. Their sensors are much faster than for example Samsungs’, which I believe are made by “Synaptics”. Fun extra fact: “Fingerprint Cards” stock has gone up 832% so far this year on the Swedish Stock Exchange. Congrats to me who bought early 🙂

    • Dave

      You couldn’t have posted something to let the rest of us know??? 🙂

      • Me

        Invest in 3D touch. It’s the next wave!!

    • Tyler Durden

      TouchID 2 and Samsungs are fast enough for me. I don’t think it’s a contest for who’s the best.

      • Rhuspharm

        Sure, the difference is minimal.

        • Tyler Durden

          Very minimal. Turn off animations in both and there’s no difference.

      • epps720

        It’s always a contest to see who’s the best, why do you think they post detailed specs when phones are announced.

      • youGameDeal

        apple apologist

      • LJ Kearny

        Say that after you try a good reader. The one in my Note 4 sucked. The 6p’s is awesome.

    • Well… Funck you very much. Lol!

      And that is not to offend, I’m just extremely jealous. Peace.

  • enigmaco

    I’m curious the s6 sensor is good but could be better, looks like the sensor learns over time as well unlike my s6. According to the description on googles website “Nexus Imprint gets smarter with every touch” so sounds pretty cool.

    • Agreed, my Note 5 has tons of errors causing my to touch the home button twice

      • Tyler Durden

        I just entered in my thumb 2-3 times as different fingers and it worked perfect.

    • Eric

      The sensor on my S6 got worse over time. Was pretty much perfect the first couple of months, but afterwards I started to get a lot of fingerprint misreads. Sold it for a Note 5 and so far it’s better, but not perfect.

      • enigmaco

        Mine went crazy one day, had to go to samsungs website to unlock my phone twice didn’t take my prints nor my backup password.

        • anon

          You sound like my end users.
          The computer forgot my password!

          • enigmaco

            the password was correct the machine was not accepting it.

  • Destroythanet

    After owning both an Ascend Mate 7 and a 5S, I’ve concluded that the front home button is the better location for the fingerprint sensor.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      Unless you don’t want a home button

      • Destroythanet

        Yeah, a phone with no physical home button, but a front fingerprint sensor on an on-screen home button would be a pretty cool development.

        • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

          Qualcomm already has that in the works.

  • Columba

    Fingerprint readers are good for convenience, not so good for security either for phone access or biometric data stored on phone (and who know, maybe elsewhere?)

  • Jeremy Beard

    Motorola had the first rear-mounted fingerprint scanner for Android back in Q1 2011 on the Atrix. Then Apple bought out the company controlling the patents for the scanners and reintroduced the concept of fingerprint security on smartphones as their idea and being first to market. The only first for Apple is they are the first company to steal so many ideas from so many other companies and get away with claiming them as their own innovations. That’s real innovation at its finest if you ask me.

    • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

      That sensor on Atrix was garBAGE

    • Tyler Durden

      Yet Apple implements things that work unlike Android.

      • MasterEthan

        Because iOS 9 works sooooo well right?

        • Tyler Durden

          Yes it does.

          • TechGuy22

            no it doesn’t

            coming from an IT support guy.

            we have more issues from IOS than android

          • Albert Kilger

            Can’t agree more. I have the iPad air 2 running ios9, and its crashes left and right. Yet my nexus 6 running Marshmallow hasn’t crashed yet since I upgraded. It goes well over 200 hours runtime before I even think that maybe a reboot would be ok even though its still running flawlessly.

      • okpud

        Android is an Operating System, not a product… If you had said something like Apple vs. Motorola (pre-Google), you’d have a better argument. If you look at Sony, Samsung, and Google, they all seem to have waited until they were able to provide a good user experience.

        • Tyler Durden

          None of those have waited for anything. There’s nothing in those phones that works great or anything. And yes, “iOS” features things that work because Apple cares unlike the rest of these lazy ass OEMs. It’s pathetic to be honest how nobody can make Android any better in the years it’s been here.

          • Jaymus Lonestar

            “There’s nothing in those phones that work great or anything”.

            So… Motorola, Sony, Samsung, and Google have never made a phone with any features or apps that “works great or anything”? LMFAO!

            You know, people have warned me previously not to get drawn in by the nonsense you have been known to spew at times. But dammit… there’s just something mesmerizing about those horrible wrecks on the side of the road.


      • Jaymus Lonestar

        And there it is… What took you so long?

        • Albert Kilger

          The fact that he has these opinions tells me he has no idea what he’s talking about.

    • Troy

      Is it stealing if you pay for it?

  • Van_Hammersly

    I read this in a really hostile voice. Because I’m high.

  • Lars

    Huawei has been using this fingerprint scanner position for over a year, and it has worked great. So it’s Huawei’s idea and not Google’s. 🙂

    • Hans Dirk Kwazneski

      Position does not equal performance… so it’s Google’s sensor…not Huawei’s 😉

      • Lars

        It’s not Google’s sensor. It’s a fingerprint sensor from Swedish company Fingerprint Cards AB — same company that provided the sensor for Huawei’s phones from 2014.

  • thom

    Sony Z5…

  • Michael Harrison

    Just because it takes less taps to learn the print doesn’t mean it is better. Testing needs to be done to determined how much safer each one is. The iPhone fingerprint scanner, while longer to setup, is known for being extremely accurate and safe. While the google appears accurate also, one must question if it does it at the expense of safety. I would like to see some professional testing in that area. How easily can each one be faked compared to the other one.

    • Rodrigo Silva Dos Santos

      No one can fake a fingerprint. It’s not like voices, which can have overlapping tones. Fingerprint are uniques, even the worst scanner on the planet won’t be faked, at least not with someone else’s finger. (Can’t guarantee if you pull off the owner’s finger or made a rubber model out of it…)

      • ichicolco

        LOL. I hope you’re not a “security expert’, Rodrigo. If you are, I feel sorry for your customers.

    • BeerOnTap

      Yeah, we’ll have to keep an eye on it.

  • pas!

    But what if you had the phone laying down in your desk?

    • Michael Harrison

      Or in the clip in your car.

      • droidify

        Bluetooth trusted devices.

    • Democrat+Republican=Oligarchy

      enter your pin you lazy sap

      • pas!

        yes im

    • Cole Cawtuh

      Flash a custom kernel with dt2w then enter pin as he said.

      • pas!

        no im lazy as he said

    • Kevin

      Be careful, because this might inflict some serious strain on your muscles and tendons, but I think if you stretch and warm up properly, you can pick the phone up.

      • friguy3

        Having my phone on my desk as I work, Id have to pick it up, unlock, put it down, and as asinine as it sounds, it would get kind of annoying. I had a G2 and love the back placement, but it also had dt2w. And entering a pin? Thought the idea was so I could open my phone quickly to check a text. (full disclosure, I have my pebble connected to bypass my fingerprint so its a moot point for me)

        • Kevin

          it pretty much just sounds asinine. let’s let this be a reminder of the pampered lives we are living.

          • friguy3

            Slippery slope. its a convenience. Can we live without cell phones, absolutely. Its not that, but “they” are adding things to make our experience better. Lets take away BT key fobs and push to start in cars, its only a convince, you cant turn a key??

          • Lee Sandy

            nah just pay them money and don’t expect improvement

          • Kevin

            it’s not a slippery slope. i’m not saying these things shouldnt exist but it’s always a good idea to step back and get a frame of reference of what we are whining and complaining about.

          • Lee Sandy

            that’s what this post and comment section in particular are about, to enhance and add to the discussion. The point Kellex is making is he thinks the fingerprint reader is better so the point here is we’re discussing is it or is it not……

          • Kevin

            and so i added my comments to the discussion.

          • Lee Sandy

            ok so is not having to pick up your phone a differentiation or not? Some ppl have a micro-managed workplace where if you are picking up your phone it’s much more likely to be noticed than looking in the corner of your eye (call center sales environments for instance.) It’s not a matter of laziness it’s a matter of convenience and added value. That’s just one example I’ve had to ‘put up with’ in the workplace

          • friguy3

            I think its a great conversation, nobody is fighting (maybe a first for on here)

          • friguy3

            Im not whining or complaining (that’s whats great about android, choices), its my opinion that finger print on the back may have instances where it would hinder my users experience. In a meeting, my phone vibrates, its on the table, I want to casually push my home button, open it up and swipe the notification away. I don’t want to pick up my phone and draw attention to it.

          • Kevin

            i dont disagree there are instances where it may be handy to have it on the front but i think its such a minor detriment, it’s hardly worth calling a burden of any sort. sounds like sneakiness is the main issue you have, where you arent supposed to be looking at your phone in the first place.

          • Lee Sandy

            got me! 🙂 then again, any workplace that would babysit it’s employees like that has more issues than just it’s own workers I would think…and I voluntarily left that job anyway

          • friguy3

            Well, I am the boss, and can look at my phone when I want 😉 , but it may be “rude” but in todays age of people wanting instant responses its a predicament I’m in. Fingerprint scanners aren’t even needed. Its a convenience. And placement is a personal opinion. I LOVED the G2s button placement, but now I oddly love the Note 5 having a physical button (sacrilegious to say I know)

          • Lee Sandy

            Hire me

          • friguy3

            Wish I could, sorry, Im a doctor.

          • Lee Sandy

            *wish you could hire ppl not necessarily me right?! might catch me on my phone on the job

          • jnt

            The title of the article sets the underlying premise, so you can’t fault someone for being nitpicky, because all of this is in that nitpicky category. There aren’t many scenarios where the fingerprint scanner on the back would be a hassle, but they do exist… a potentially more problematic one would be in a car mount while driving. Though I guess you could have Smart Lock setup assuming you’re connected via bluetooth. If you’ve had a device like the G2/3/4, or even moreso the newer iPhones or Samsung’s, then you know the convenience of having the unlocking method all be on the front with minimal touches. If you’re used to that, moving the scanner to the back will most definitely be a nuisance.

          • Kevin

            this article is about the performance of the scanner itself, not the location, which was talked about in another post last week.

          • TheWenger

            Comparing ergonomics usually does sound asinine though. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have validity.

      • Miguel A.


      • pas!

        No im lazy…

        • Lee Sandy

          we shall cast judgment on thy laziness sir!

          • pas!

            hahaha!!just before sometime,i was living with a mate 7..it was huge..and annoying to unlock it every time..but i agree,this is the best fingerprint way ever..but in front side :p

          • Lee Sandy

            You & I are ‘lazy saps’ (cause sap is apparently a word now?) sucking govt teet I guess. o’ well! #feelthebern2016 !!

      • Joey Sandoval

        Please consult a physician before trying this exercise!

    • EP_2012

      That’s the first thing I was thinking… I have my phone on my desk more than I have it in my pocket, and having to pick it up to unlock would be a huge pain in the rear.

      • Ian

        You forgot #firstworldproblems

        • EP_2012

          Smartphones are #firstworldproblems , but it’s important to stay productive. So if I’m having to pick up my phone 100+ times a day just to unlock it, how many hours a week would be lost to that one task?

          It’s a design flaw IMO.

          • Ian

            OR….its just not the phone for you. No manufacturer will ever be able to please everyone. Google went with what they believed to be the best, and I for one agree with them. Doesn’t mean everyone else will. YMMV

          • EP_2012

            I agree that not every phone will please everyone – some people don’t even want fingerprint scanners at all, but if there are more users who place their phones on a flat surface (vs. their pocket), then this could be a problem that affects more than just a few users.

            Looks like it’s time for droid-life to come up with an informal survey to settle this!

          • chris_johns

            your an idiot…if its layin down the password will pop up on your phone…u then use that to unlock…dont see it being any less productive or a design phone

          • EP_2012

            So… basically don’t use the fingerprint feature? I use a strong password, so entering it 100X per day is highly inconvenient.

          • Asa Thomas

            Use PIN, password, etc. or … Smart Lock > Trusted Places.

          • EP_2012

            I don’t find that “trusted places” is secure, but I do use it to turn wifi on/off.

            Pin/passwords take too much time vs. an instant fingerprint reading.

          • Asa Thomas

            I’m just giving options. If you want to use the fingerprint scanner, but are put off by the back panel location, get a Samsung, iPhone, or one of the Sony Z5 variants.

            Smart Lock > Trusted Places works wonderfully for my habits and use case (I never leave my phone lying around).

          • EP_2012

            Yeah, I have a Note 4, and find it highly convenient to have the sensor on the front. I hate using passwords now! LOL

          • Asa Thomas

            Same here! Since getting the 5.1 update on my X 2013, I’ve fallen in love with Trusted Places. I’m almost surprised now whenever I’m out and I have to put in my PIN.

          • EP_2012

            I’m going to experiment with trusted places on my primary device (that’s never out of sight), and see how that goes. Have a great day.

          • Dan

            If you are sitting at your desk I assume there is a computer on it, so wtf are picking up your phone 100+ times for?

          • EP_2012

            I run a blog, work full time and use my phone for personal enjoyment – it’s far easier to use my phone for most tasks, so that’s what I use.

            EDIT: I don’t SIT at a desk… I use a standing desk :p

          • Col_Angus


          • EP_2012

            More like a “Canadian Tire folding table + stacked, painted 2x4s”! LOL

    • ClikFire _

      I always see people use this argument which I think is like less than 5% of the time.

    • chris_johns

      use your password or pin…god i wanna punch people in the kidneys for arguments like this…its like “lets look for an excuse to complain!”

      • friguy3

        No, its not, its an opinion. If you don’t want choices, get an iPhone, otherwise, why do we chastise people for saying they prefer something over something else?

    • shekickedmydog

      But what if you had the phone in your hand and wanted to unlock it using said hand?

  • David Imel

    1 AM Articles. Can’t sleep, Kellen?

    • kselby

      The review embargo ended at 1am so they had to post all the Nexus reviews immediately