Despite being a more affordable counterpart to last year’s flagship, it’s starting to look like the upcoming Pixel 6A might offer a key improvement over the Pixel 6 series: a faster fingerprint sensor. That’s according to Fazli Halim, a Malaysian YouTuber who appears to have gotten his hands on Google’s upcoming device a month ahead of its official launch on July 28th. We spotted the video via 9to5Google.
It’s potentially good news after the Pixel 6 series’ fingerprint sensors ended up being a surprising weak point for the devices, and were noticeably slower to authenticate than other phones. “The fingerprint scanner is the only biometric authentication available, and it’s just not very good,” Dan Seifert wrote in our review. A Google support account later suggested that the device’s “enhanced security algorithms” were to blame for the sluggishness. The company has subsequently tried to address the issues with software updates, but complaints persist.
The Pixel 6A’s fingerprint sensor appears more promising. You can see the comparison at around the 4:55 mark in the video above, when Halim shows himself trying to unlock the Pixel 6A on the left, and the Pixel 6 Pro on the right. After a brief finger tap, the Pixel 6A unlocks, while the Pixel 6 Pro often struggles and instead prompts the user to “Hold a little longer.” It’s not night and day; the 6A sometimes fails to unlock after a brief tap, and other times the 6 Pro unlocks just fine, but the 6A seems to be more reliable overall.
As 9to5Google notes, the Pixel 6A device shown in the video is unlikely to be running finished software, so the comparison might not tally exactly with user experiences when it officially releases. But it’s consistent with comments made by Google’s hardware chief Rick Osterloh to Android Central last month, who confirmed that the Pixel 6A ships with a different in-device fingerprint sensor than the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
A representative from Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.