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Samsung Galaxy S9 needs this revolutionary in-screen fingerprint sensor

Two major developments happened this month: the Samsung Galaxy S9[1] launch date was officially announced[2] for February 25, and we got to test out the world’s first phone with an in-screen fingerprint sensor.

There needs to be a wedding date to marry these two technologies together, as Samsung desperately needs an in-screen fingerprint sensor. Its placement of the Samsung Galaxy S8[3] and Galaxy S8 Plus[4] sensor – on the back of the phone and off to the side of the rear camera – didn’t agree with anyone.

Luckily for Samsung, and all phone makers in a world where all-screen designs rule and home buttons have no place, the front fingerprint sensor can return to its original location digitally. iPhone X[5] users who are struggling with Apple’s Touch ID to Face ID transition, don’t worry. There’s hope for you, too.

Both Synaptics and Qualcomm are developing in-screen solutions. Here’s what we experienced from our demo of the in-screen fingerprint sensor and why we are hopeful you may see it in a Samsung smartphone this year.

TechRadar’s always animated, unimitatable John McCann testing out the world’s first in-screen fingerprint sensor in a phone

How it works

The fascinating technical details behind in-screen fingerprint sensors make the idea feel like even more of a revolution for smartphones.

Very familiar. The setup screen and the functionality act a lot like they would using a physical fingerprint sensor button

The tiny embedded scanner was able to read our fingerprint from behind the glass and the display, looking through invisible spaces in between the display pixels, according to Synaptics in our demo. For this reason, the technology works only on OLED screens (another knock on LED).

Everything felt natural. We placed our thumb in the familiar front location at the bottom of the display, the fingerprint icon instantly lit up around our finger to capture our print and within half a second the phone was unlocked.

This is the tiny fingerprint sensor from Synaptics. You’ll never see it behind the screen glass and the OLED display, but it peeks through the pixels to always see you (creepy, right?)

This groundbreaking in-screen fingerprint sensor demo didn’t happen first on the Galaxy S9, surprisingly. That hasn’t been unveiled yet. The world is hopeful, however, it’ll be there on February 25 – such a sensor has been rumored ever since the Galaxy S8, and again in the lead up to the Note 8 launch. Apple and the iPhone X went through the same series of rumors followed by dashed hopes.

Instead, the Chinese company Vivo was the first to show off the Synaptics in-screen fingerprint sensor on an unnamed phone[6] due to launch later this year. You probably won’t be able to get one since it isn’t due for worldwide release.

But the Synaptics demo had a lot of promise and gave us a new hope. Though it wasn’t the fastest fingerprint sensor we’ve ever used, it’s fast enough. To give you an idea, it was a bit slower than current fingerprint sensors, about the speed of the first Touch ID fingerprint scanner from Apple. Of course, Synaptics, known for its laptop touchpads, said it’s currently refining the technology.

Location, location, location…

Will Samsung Galaxy S9 or Note 9 get it?

Everything seems to line up: We just demoed the first phone with an in-screen fingerprint sensor, the Galaxy S9 launch event is next month with a rumored March 16 release date, and Samsung needs this technology in its phones.

Alas, current leaks of the Samsung Galaxy[7] S9 and Galaxy S9 Plus[8] don’t give us much hope for an in-screen fingerprint sensor on these phones. Another year of dashed hopes, but we are at least due to get better placement: a sensor on the back, underneath the rear camera and not awkwardly to the side of it.

The Vivo phone in-screen fingerprint sensor demo saved the usual ‘up to five fingerprints’

So where does that leave us? Well, the Samsung Galaxy Note 9[9] is then likely to be the beneficiary of the first in-screen fingerprint sensor in a Samsung phone, whether it’s from Synaptics or Samsung’s System-on-a-Chip partner for the US, Qualcomm.

The Note 9 makes a lot of sense, too. Samsung has always treated the Note as its more experimental smartphone, and this will be a key feature to differentiate it from the Galaxy S9 Plus besides the Note’s S Pen stylus and its increasingly meaningless 0.1 inch of extra screen space. Samsung will also likely launch it in August of this year, one month ahead of a potential iPhone X2[10] launch and any Face ID improvements Apple plans to make.

There’s one thing we’re sure of: the days of terribly placed fingerprint sensors are numbered and the revolution of in-screen fingerprint sensors are real. You can have your all-screen phone and have it read your fingerprint, too.


  1. ^ Samsung Galaxy S9 (www.techradar.com)
  2. ^ officially announced (www.techradar.com)
  3. ^ Samsung Galaxy S8 (www.techradar.com)
  4. ^ Galaxy S8 Plus (www.techradar.com)
  5. ^ iPhone X (www.techradar.com)
  6. ^ unnamed phone (www.techradar.com)
  7. ^ Samsung Galaxy (www.techradar.com)
  8. ^ Galaxy S9 Plus (www.techradar.com)
  9. ^ Samsung Galaxy Note 9 (www.techradar.com)
  10. ^ iPhone X2 (www.techradar.com)
  11. ^ New phones await MWC 2018 (www.techradar.com)

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2019 Jeep Cherokee Release Date, Price and Specs

The spotter directs me to put the driver’s side of the 2019 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk in a ditch, keeping the other up on the high line of this off-road course at a Jeep-sponsored press drive outside of Los Angeles, California. As I inch forward, the ditch gets deeper and the Jeep tilts to the left – at this point, I can actually reach out the window and pluck a dandelion from the ground. Another few feet forward and the Cherokee is back on level ground again, ready for the next tricky obstacle.

No, most folks won’t need to side-hill their daily driver on their regular commute. But for those who do – and those who like knowing they could if they wanted to – there is the Jeep Cherokee.

I got it all under control, Mom.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

The Cherokee is a midsize crossover that slots in between the newly redesigned Compass and larger Grand Cherokee. It’s available with a choice of front- or four-wheel drive in base Latitude, Latitude Plus, Limited and top-end Overland trims.

A butch Trailhawk trim is available, as well, but only with 4×4 capability. If you hated the front end of the old Cherokee, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The daytime running lights and forward lights are now combined into one housing, reminiscent of what you see on the new Compass.

The result is way less polarizing, for sure. That said, if you loved the front end of the old Cherokee… well, you can also breathe a sigh of relief. Those new headlights still wrap around the fenders just a bit, so it doesn’t lose all of its funky Cherokee-ness.

Both fans and foes of the previous design should find this redesign to be a nice compromise. The 2019 Cherokee comes with a choice of three powertrains. The base 2.4-liter Tigershark inline-four and the optional 3.2-liter Pentastar V6 carry over largely unchanged from the previous Cherokee, but new for 2019, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is available – the same one you’ll find under the hood of the JL Wrangler, although without the eTorque mild-hybrid system.

The V6 puts out 271 horsepower and 239 pound-feet of torque, which is plenty for pushing the Cherokee up and over the hills near Malibu, and more than enough grunt for quick merges and passes in notoriously hellacious Los Angeles traffic. On more engaging, twisty back roads, the Cherokee offers confident, nicely weighted steering and controlled body motions. The revamped nine-speed automatic transmission has a tendency to upshift too soon, all in the name of fuel efficiency, but thankfully a Sport mode is included as part of the Jeep’s Selec-Terrain system, which holds each gear a bit longer to keep you in the heart of the powerband.

33 A brand-new look for the 2019 Jeep Cherokee

The 2.0-liter turbo four does equally well in these scenarios, offering just one less pony than the V6, but with a healthier 295 pound-feet of torque.

And while it doesn’t noticeably affect the Cherokee’s handling, I find it to be pretty buzzy and coarse in its sound. It’s a bit like driving a bumblebee, droning through the torque curve with an annoyingly loud hum. There’s plenty of competition in this CUV segment, but none can match the Cherokee in off-road chops, especially in Trailhawk trim.

While all Cherokees get driving modes for Snow and Sand/Mud, only the Trailhawk gets an extra parameter for Rock, not to mention a locking rear differential, a 1-inch lift and skid plates. On an off-road route north of Malibu, I’m able to take advantage of the Cherokee’s class-leading approach, departure and breakover angles. The newest Jeep easily tackles steep climbs up rocky paths, and sharp crests that would leave any of its competitors high-centered.

The Cherokee Trailhawk even has a low-range gear in its four-wheel-drive system, allowing it to scale a steep hill full of loose dirt and rocks like it ain’t no thang. The Trailhawk-specific Select-Speed Control is a kind of cruise control for low-speed rock crawling. A push of the button and the Cherokee can completely take over throttle and braking duties, effortlessly driving itself through a boulder-strewn section of the trail.

Personally, I prefer to be more in control in these types of situations, but while this might not be super necessary for trail bosses, it’s nice to know the technology is there for those who want it, or those who are still honing their off-road skills.

The Cherokee is equally comfortable on the pavement, with a controlled and comfortable ride and strong engine options.


Driving the same off-road loop in both 3.2- and 2.0-liter Cherokees, you’d think the turbo engine’s added torque would stand out during low-speed acceleration. But in reality, what jumps out the most is throttle sensitivity; It’s much more difficult to keep a steady speed with the smaller engine. Throttle control is imperative when driving off road, lest you find yourself buried in soft sand (or worse).

And while I’m able to get the hang of it toward the end of my short test loop, if you pride yourself on steady throttle control, be prepared to do some re-learning. Driver assistance aids carry over from the old Cherokee. Blind-spot monitoring is standard on higher-level trims, or available as part of an option package on lower trims.

Lane departure warning, park assist, adaptive cruise control with full stop-and-go capability and forward collision warning and braking are all part of an optional technology package on higher trims. The Cherokee also gets a new hands-free power liftgate, which is standard on Overland models and available on the Limited trim. Jeep’s Uconnect infotainment system gets a bit of an upgrade in terms of resolution and graphics, maintaining its spot as one of the best interfaces on the market.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on both the base 7-inch or optional 8.4-inch touchscreen, the latter of which now has pinch-to-zoom capability. The interior hasn’t changed much, and that’s a good thing. The design is rugged, while offering comfortable seats and headroom for all but the tallest of drivers.

However, even though the Cherokee gets a bit more cargo space behind the rear seats for this year, up to 25.8 cubic feet from 24.6, it still falls behind competitors like the SB© toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V.

The Cherokee’s cabin remains a decent place for a weekday commute or a weekend adventure.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

A base Cherokee Latitude with front-wheel drive comes in at £23,995, not including £1,195 for destination, while the range-topping Overand starts at £36,275. Four-wheel drive can be had on all trims for an additional £1,500, and the off-road-ready Trailhawk starts at £33,320. The Cherokee is far from everyone’s cup of tea.

In this price point there are crossovers that handle better, look sleeker and offer more tech.

It’s only with the Cherokee, however, that you can take the shortcut home through the woods and live to tell the tale.

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