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The Galaxy S10 5G finally has 3D face unlock like iPhones

Galaxy S10 5G
Galaxy S10 5G (Image credit: Android Central)

What you need to know

  • With One UI 2,0, Samsung is enabling 3D facial recognition on the Galaxy S10 5G.
  • It uses the ToF sensor on the front to map your face in three dimensions.
  • The end result is a far more secure facial unlocking experience that cannot easily be fooled with a picture of your face.

Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G is the most expensive, and the most feature-packed, of the bunch. Alongside its 5G chops, the phone is also the only one in the series to have a ToF sensor, both on the front and the back. While ToF sensors can yield wonders for portrait mode with the main camera module, they can also enable real-time 3D facial scanning.

Unfortunately, when the Korean giant first launched the 5G variant of its flagship line, it did so without much fanfare about the ToF sensor and the possibilities it could unlock. Well, the company has finally gotten around to enabling some of those futuristic possibilities and, as discovered by @TEQHNIKACROSS, the Galaxy S10 5G now uses the ToF sensor for facial recognition.

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Finally able to use the ToF sensor's smarts, the phone can now use an IR beam to map your face in 3D using the time it takes for the light to be reflected back (for example, the light from your nose will have a shorter 'time of flight' since it's closer to the camera). This data can then be used to identify every bump and wrinkle on your face in real time, allowing for a far more secure experience than face unlock using just a standard front-facing camera. As such, the camera also cannot be fooled by a 2D picture of you. Of course, there are still ways of getting around these more advanced facial recognition methods, but it's definitely a step up from what you had before.

Unfortunately, since this is a software upgrade, it requires you to have the One UI 2.0 on your phone to work. Samsung is currently beta testing the release in Korea. Hopefully, it'll roll out the same in other regions soon.

8 Comments
  • So it looks like that claim from two years ago that Apple has about a two-year lead on most of the Android competition with it's secure 3D face id tech was accurate.
  • Not really. Apple's lead lasted 201 days. It is good that Samsung did something to improve the S10 5G though. There was no good reason for them to not do this from day 1.
  • The Huawei mate 20 pro came out over a year ago with secure 3D face unlocked. Let's try doing a little research before we start sucking Apple off
  • I know Huawei came out with their clone version of face id soon after. That's why I said "most". Not every Android manufacturer has the resources except for the really big companies
  • Lg G8 has a 3d face unlock as well I believe. Came out around March or so.
  • Thought HTC was the only one getting sucked off from them lol
  • Good to hear. Nice alternative for the day I wake up and find out I no longer have thumbs.
  • So only the 5G versions?