New York Times review of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8: “Poor Biometrics and a Subpar Assistant”

Brian X. Chen, writing for the New York Times:

There is as much to love about the new Samsung Galaxy Note 8 as there is to hate.

Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way. For unlocking the phone, the eye scanner barely works and the fingerprint sensor is in a lousy place. Samsung’s Bixby, which is included, is the most incompetent virtual assistant on the market. And — need I remind you — this phone line has a reputation for gadgets that spontaneously combust.


Some of the biometrics, including the ability to unlock your phone by scanning your face or irises, are so poorly executed that they feel like marketing gimmicks as opposed to actual security features.


The iris scanner shines infrared light in your eyes to identify you and unlock the phone. That sounds futuristic, but when you set up the feature, it is laden with disclaimers from Samsung. The caveats include: Iris scanning might not work well if you are wearing glasses or contact lenses; it might not work in direct sunlight; it might not work if there is dirt on the sensor.


When you set up the face scanner, Samsung displays another disclaimer, including a warning that your phone could be unlocked by “someone or something” that looks like you.

Brian does loves the screen and camera, and the fact that it doesn’t explode like the note 7 (at least there are no reports so far), but that warning…