Side-Mounted Vs. Under Display Optical Fingerprint Sensors

Discover the difference between side-mounted and under-display optical fingerprint sensors for enhanced smartphone security and usability.

29. Mar 2024
Side-Mounted Vs. Under Display Optical Fingerprint Sensors

In the ever-evolving landscape of smartphone technology, fingerprint sensors have become a staple feature, offering convenient and secure access to our devices. However, not all fingerprint sensors are created equal. Two prominent variants, side-mounted and under-display optical sensors, offer distinct approaches to biometric authentication. Let's delve into the differences between these two technologies to understand their unique benefits and functionalities.

Side-Mounted Fingerprint Sensors

Side-mounted fingerprint sensors, as the name suggests, are located on the side edges of a smartphone, typically integrated into the power button or volume rocker. This placement allows users to conveniently unlock their devices with a simple touch or press of the finger. Popularized by manufacturers like Sony and some mid-range smartphone models, side-mounted sensors offer several advantages.

One notable benefit of side-mounted sensors is their intuitive placement, which facilitates effortless access to the device without the need to adjust grip or posture. Additionally, side-mounted sensors often feature fast and accurate recognition capabilities, providing quick and reliable authentication in various conditions, including wet or dirty fingers.

Moreover, side-mounted sensors eliminate the need for a dedicated home button or bezel space on the front of the device, allowing for more extensive screen real estate and sleeker design aesthetics. This streamlined design approach has contributed to the popularity of side-mounted sensors in modern smartphone models.

Under Display Optical Fingerprint Sensors

In contrast, under-display optical fingerprint sensors represent a more recent advancement in biometric technology, where the sensor is embedded beneath the smartphone's display. This innovative approach offers a seamless and futuristic unlocking experience by integrating the fingerprint authentication directly into the screen.

Under-display optical sensors utilize optical imaging technology to capture and authenticate fingerprint patterns through the display glass. When a user places their finger on the designated area of the screen, the sensor illuminates the fingerprint, capturing its unique characteristics for verification. This process occurs rapidly and imperceptibly to the user, providing a seamless unlocking experience.

One of the key advantages of under-display optical sensors is their ability to preserve the smartphone's sleek and bezel-less design while maintaining biometric security. By eliminating the need for physical buttons or sensors on the device's surface, under-display sensors contribute to a cleaner and more immersive user interface.

Furthermore, under-display optical sensors offer a high level of accuracy and reliability, with advancements in technology continuously improving their performance, even in challenging conditions such as low light or direct sunlight.

What factors should you consider when deciding between a phone with a side-mounted fingerprint sensor or one with an under-display optical sensor?

Choosing between side-mounted and under-display optical fingerprint sensors depends on preference and priorities. Side-mounted sensors offer convenience and quick access, while under-display sensors provide a sleek, futuristic design. Consider factors like usability, speed, accuracy, design aesthetics, and budget to make the right choice for your needs. Both options enhance smartphone security and usability, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between a phone with a side-mounted or under-display optical fingerprint sensor, there are several factors to consider:

1. Preference for Placement: Do you prefer the convenience of a side-mounted sensor or the futuristic design of an under-display sensor?

2. Usability: Consider how you use your phone on a daily basis and which type of sensor would offer the most seamless unlocking experience for your needs.

3. Speed and Accuracy: Evaluate the speed and accuracy of the fingerprint sensor technology used in each device to ensure reliable authentication.

4. Design Aesthetics: Consider the overall design aesthetics of the phone and how the placement of the fingerprint sensor contributes to its appearance.

5. Budget: Finally, factor in the cost of the device and whether the additional features offered by one type of fingerprint sensor justify the price difference.


In summary, the choice between side-mounted and under-display optical fingerprint sensors ultimately boils down to user preference and specific requirements. Side-mounted sensors offer convenience and accessibility with their intuitive placement and fast recognition capabilities. On the other hand, under-display optical sensors provide a cutting-edge unlocking experience with their seamless integration and futuristic design.

Whether you prioritize ease of use, design aesthetics, or technological innovation, both types of fingerprint sensors represent significant advancements in biometric authentication, enhancing the security and usability of modern smartphones. As the smartphone industry continues to evolve, we can expect further advancements in fingerprint sensor technology, offering users even more options for secure and convenient device access.

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