The first smartphone with a very desirable in-display fingerprint sensor has launched. It’s not from Apple, Samsung, LG, or another familiar brand, but from Vivo, a Chinese manufacturer that has worked hard to perfect the technology where others have failed. It’s called the Vivo X20 Plus UD, and we know it has done a great job, because we went hands-on with a working prototype of the phone at CES 2018, and ended up giving it a coveted award.
Revealed at an event on January 24 in Beijing, the X20 Plus UD (the UD presumably standing for Under Display) is a variation on a phone that already exists — the Vivo X20 Plus. First announced in October last year, the specifications of this modified version are very similar, and in-line with the device we saw at CES 2018. This means it has a 6.43-inch Super AMOLED screen, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 3905mAh battery, and a dual-lens 12-megapixel and 5-megapixel camera on the back. We liked the stylish phone demoed in Las Vegas, especially the almost bezel-less screen.
It’s the fingerprint sensor, however, that will attract all the attention. Vivo worked with sensor company Synaptics to integrate the Clear ID in-display fingerprint sensor, and it performed very well in our tests. We spent some time with the phone, and found the sensor to be accurate, fast, and simple to setup and use. Vivo says the sensor on the X20 Plus UD can be used for mobile payments, and is essentially “invisible” tech. The icon stays hidden until it’s needed, and with no physical hardware required, you won’t know it’s there until that time.
While Vivo is first out with such technology, expect others to follow in 2018. Apple and Samsung were both rumored to be working on a similar fingerprint sensor for release in a phone during 2017, but were unable to produce a model suitable for release at the time.
The Vivo X20 Plus UD is available to pre-order in China from January 24, but so far won’t be officially sold outside China. Vivo has recently released the V7 Plus internationally, and a desirable model like the X20 Plus UD would be a great follow up release.
Update: Revised article to reflect the Vivo X20 Plus UD has been officially announced.