As good as the Galaxy S8 is — and Tom's Guide ranks it as the top phone currently available — Samsung's flagship isn't without its flaws. And if a new purported render of the upcoming Galaxy Note 8 turns out to be accurate, it looks like Samsung hasn't learned from one of its mistakes with its last flagship.
The 3D CAD render, published at BGR, is based on schematics that the site says came out of the factory that will build the Galaxy Note 8. The render shows the back of the phone, which is adorned with two camera lenses — not exactly a surprise since that's one of the more popular rumors about the Note 8. But next to the Note 8's cameras in that render, you'll also find a fingerprint sensor.
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The Note 8 design depicted in that render matches the look of the Galaxy S8, which features a fingerprint sensor next to the rear camera lens. (In the Note 8's case, the sensor is pushed over a little more to make room for the extra lens.) And that's a shame since the placement of the fingerprint sensor on the S8's back is one of the biggest knocks against that otherwise well-received phone.
Galaxy S8 owners aren't fans of the location of the fingerprint reader, arguing that it's in an awkward-to-reach spot. Specifically, by placing the reader so close to the camera lens, Samsung increases the chances that your finger will land squarely on the camera, smudging up the lens in the process. BGR's render at least shows a little more distance between the lenses and the reader on the Note 8, but that still could prove awkward to operate with just one hand.
Samsung may have very little choice on where to put the fingerprint sensor now that it's using expanded screens on the front of its flagship phones. Having the display stretch from edge to edge gets rid of the bezels as well as real estate where a phone maker could put a fingerprint reader. Samsung would probably prefer to put the sensor underneath its phones' Infinity Displays, but the company has reportedly run into problems when testing that design. As a result, the back of the phone may be the only logical place for the sensor.
BGR's render doesn't come entirely out of left field. Last week, phone leaker Evan Blass posted a report on Note 8 specs, and among the details he credited to a dependable source was the fact that the fingerprint sensor would remain adjacent to the rear cameras on the new phone.
Renders don't always translate to a finished product, and the Note 8 could feature a different design when it finally emerges later this year (in August or September, depending on which rumor you put stock in). But if the phablet does arrive with its fingerprint sensor located where this schematic says it will be, get ready for some disappointed groans from Galaxy Note fans.