Lab: the new ultrasonic fingerprint reader for the Vivo X80 Pro

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Fingerprint readers have become quite broadly democratized on our smartphones. But the Vivo X80 Pro is equipped with a particularly efficient ultrasound model. We’ve looked at how it works.

Vivo X80 Pro



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The X80 Pro is Vivo’s first highly advanced smartphone to be marketed in France. Launched at € 1299, it targets the premium segment and features a very comprehensive technical sheet. In particular, it has a 6.78-inch AMOLED panel, which houses a Qualcomm ultrasonic fingerprint reader. A competitive technology for the optical readers found on most current smartphones.

A technology that has come a long way

The democratization of OLED screens in almost all price ranges is accompanied by fingerprint readers below the screen. These panels actually emit their own light and are therefore thinner than their LCD equivalents, which require backlighting. It is thus possible to transfer information through pixels.

The Vivo X80 Pro has a very powerful fingerprint reader.  © The Digital

The Vivo X80 Pro has a very powerful fingerprint reader. © The Digital

The operation of an optical drive under the display is quite simple. When the finger lands, the screen emits a strong light below the latter to highlight the reflections formed by the grooves of the finger. It is this result which is then quickly digitized, analyzed and compared with the image recorded on the smartphone memory. If it fits, the unlock is activated.

Ultrasonic sensors work a little differently. Instead of creating a “negative” fingerprint image, it sends a wave of waves across the surface of the screen to create a three-dimensional image. This mapping makes it possible to achieve a relief result that is even more complicated to imitate, and therefore safer. It is one of these latest generation models, 3D Sonic Max made by the American founder Qualcomm, which Vivo has chosen to integrate on the X80 Pro.

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Impressive in use

In addition to its improved safety, this ultrasonic sensor has many other benefits. In fact, it is the largest smartphone fingerprint sensor marketed to date. Vivo also specifies that the reading range is 11.1 times larger than a standard optical sensor. This corresponds to approximately 600 mm² surface. In use, this means that you no longer have to really look at where you place your finger. The handling is therefore much faster and more natural.

The sensor is much larger than on standard smartphones.  © The Digital

The sensor is much larger than on standard smartphones. © The Digital

The other factor that could deter users was the speed of recognition. Although improved, optical sensors can take almost a second to operate. It seems trivial, but too far for an action that we perform dozens of times a day, or even more. 3D Sonic Max used by Vivo promises unlocking in just 0.2 seconds.

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© Vivo-Qualcomm

It is very difficult to verify the accuracy of these statements, but in use the speed of the system seems obvious. The display of the website is almost instantaneous and the return to a traditional reader is clearly felt. Moreover mapping three-dimensional allows you to use it with wet fingers, which can be useful if you frequently keep your hands under water or when swimming.

The reader even works with wet fingers.  © The Digital

The reader even works with wet fingers. © The Digital

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The icing on the cake, the configuration of the footprints is significantly faster than before. A single press on the plate saves it. It’s always nice when you want to do it on multiple fingers.

Welcome to Software Optimization

Vivo has taken advantage of this sensor in software by offering the ability to split the space to create shortcuts. As on many other smartphones, it is possible to lock a sensitive app (messages, bank, etc.) so that it is only accessible to the fingerprint holder.

The X80 Pro thus offers to add two apps of your choice to the unlock zone to unlock them on the go. This has the effect of reducing the original surface area, which then measures more or less the same size as on a standard smartphone. Very useful if you make a lot of payments with your mobile.

It is possible to split the unlock area to integrate apps that can be unlocked on the go.

It is possible to split the unlock area to integrate apps that can be unlocked on the go.

This sensor also allows you to configure authentication with two fingers. Additional safety is always good to take, especially if you are performing sensitive operations. It also works perfectly as we could test here on the Photo Album application. However, it will be reserved for more sensitive apps that are used less frequently …

Vivo X80 Pro

Dual authentication on Vivo X80 Pro. © The Digital

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