- LG introduced a brand new way to unlock smartphones with its latest G8smartphone.
- The LG G8 uses its front cameras to detect the veins and other characteristics on your palms.
- It's a little awkward to use, but it could make it easier to unlock the phone while it's resting on a table.
LG announced its new G8 ThinQ smartphone on Sunday, and it comes with a unique trick to unlock the phone: vein recognition.
Indeed, the LG G8 uses the veins in the palms of your hands to unlock the phone, which the company calls "Hand ID." It's a novel method, but it's the same idea as advanced facial recognition.
To detect and recognize your veins, the LG G8 has what LG calls a "Z" camera that detects a users' veins with infrared light. There's also a 3D sensing "time of flight" (ToF) camera on the front of the LG G8 that detects the shape, thickness, and other individual characteristics of a user's palms.
To unlock the LG G8 using Hand ID, a user needs to hover their palm above the LG G8's selfie camera, and raise it up slowly:
During my hands-on time with the LG G8, vein recognition felt a little slower compared to facial recognition and good old-fashioned fingerprint sensing. It also required far more arm movements and effort than I'm used to when unlocking a phone.
It didn't seem that useful at first, but I could see its uses for unlocking the phone while it's resting on a table.
Indeed, LG has kept the fingerprint sensor on the back of the G8 phone, which makes unlocking the phone while its resting on a table more of a hassle. The LG G8 also has facial recognition, which technically works for unlocking the phone without lifting it up to reach the fingerprint sensor, but facial recognition has its own limitations, like awkwardly hovering your face above the phone to unlock the phone while it's resting on a table.
With that said, the hand movements you need to make for vein recognition also felt somewhat awkward, but it could be less awkward than hovering your face above the phone to unlock it. I'll be testing LG's Hand ID as I have more time with the LG G8.
To make the G8 easier to unlock, LG could have used in-display fingerprint sensors, like the OnePlus 6T and new Samsung Galaxy S10, but it didn't. LG told me during the hands-on for the G8 that the company didn't feel in-display fingerprint sensing technology was quite ready for the mainstream, at least for the company's tastes.
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