Samsung’s new Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus have a fancy ultrasonic fingerprint sensor that quickly unlocks the phone — and a not terribly pleasant surprise. Beccause the sensor is underneath the phones’ displays, not every screen protector works with the Galaxy S10.
In what seems like an attempt to get ahead of angry #ProtectorGate hitting social media as the S10 arrives in stores, Samsung says it’s including a compatible screen protector for free with every S10 and S10 Plus.
That announcement appeared on Samsung’s website this week that explains the company will pre-install a screen protector on all S10 and S10 Pluses to “increase overall customer experiences with the improved screen durability and full functionality of the Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor.”
The Galaxy S10E, which doesn’t have an in-screen fingerprint reader, will not get a free protector.
Though Samsung doesn’t say what its proprietary screen protector is made of, plastic is a good guess. The company’s notice does go on to say that Samsung cannot “guarantee the experiences with screen protectors made of traditional glass and polyurethane materials.” It also mentions that replacements for its ultrasonic fingerprint reader-compatible screen protector will be available for $29.99.
A leaked video leading up to the Galaxy S10’s unveiling earlier this month showed an S10 Plus with a screen protector with a giant hole cut into it where the fingerprint sensor is located. In January, accessory maker Armadillotek tweeted that its screen protectors wouldn’t work with Samsung’s ultrasonic fingerprint reader and that its Vanguard case for the S10 wouldn’t feature a screen protector.
Not every screen protector is out of luck. Smartphone accessories company Whitestone has released a tempered glass screen protector that it calls an “exclusive solution for ultrasonic fingerprint.” It works thanks to “liquid adhesive” that prevents micro spaces between the protector and the screen, the company says. A test on YouTube indictates the protector does seem to be compatible with the S10 Plus’s fingerprint reader.
The Galaxy S10 and S10 Plus arrive in stores March 8. If the lack of compatibility with some screen protectors had you worried, you can apparently now rest easy.
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Daniel Bean is a freelance writer with years of experience whose articles have appeared in Tom's Guide. He has previously worked for LinkedIn, Yahoo News, and the Observer, as well as TripleByte, Circa, Inverse, CBS, and ABC. Currently, he is full-time content lead for Mixpanel's blog, The Signal, writing about innovators and analytics.