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Samsung just announced the Galaxy Note7, and, as expected, it comes packed with dozens of new features, but by far the most interesting and revolutionary feature is its iris scanning technology. That’s right, you need only to look at your phone to unlock it now.

Biometric technology has become the standard for most flagship smartphones in the past couple of years. It’s a fast, easy and safe way to protect your device against unwelcome eyes. Before this technology arrived, we usually protected our devices with a PIN or a pattern code, but many people (including me) left it unprotected because it is a slow process that ends up consuming your patience after the 5th time you unlock your phone in 2 minutes. The most famous biometric technology, fingerprint scanning, has come to solve that problem, but as everything in modern mobile technology, it has become mainstream and somewhat boring. It’s just another feature people expect your latest smartphone to sport. Iris scanning technology however, is a new and exciting feature that smartphone manufacturers are looking to brag about in their new phones, and as is the case with many revolutionary technologies, Samsung has beat (almost) everyone else to implement it on its latest flagship.

So how does the iris scanner work?

First of all, just as you have to go through a small process to set up your fingerprint, you also have to let the device scan your eyes a few times in order to register the information correctly and function with more accuracy. It’s worth noting that although the first time you scan your eyes with the device, you can’t have glasses on, after the set-up you can even have sunglasses on and still be able to access your device with the iris scanner. The Note7 uses an IR camera module and a proximity sensor to recognize when you are holding the phone up to your face and it works properly from 25 to 35 centimeters away, or about a foot.

You might also be wondering if the iris scanner will work when there is no light, and it actually does work in the darkness because it is infrared technology, so no need to worry about unlocking it with your eyes in the middle of the night.

As seen on the video above, the unlocking process isn’t as fast as the fingerprint scanning because you have to turn on the screen, swipe it and then the iris scanner comes into action. With the fingerprint scanner, you can simply press the home button and the device will go right into the home screen without the need to swipe on the screen before.

The Note7’s iris scanner is the first version of the technology so we can expect it to have a couple of issues now and then. Samsung says it is not the primary security feature of the Note 7 though, instead it is more of a complement to the already existing and widely popular fingerprint scanner. It’s just an extra layer of security that’s being added to the device (And a pretty cool one to show off to your friends, too!)

Apart from the iris scanner, the Galaxy Note7 has all the latest and greatest specs you come to expect of a flagship device. Here’s a more complete picture with detailed features if you want to check all of them out.

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So what do you think of the Galaxy Note 7? Do you think the iris scanner will actually be a useful feature or is it more of a gimmick? Let us know in the comments!

 

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Santiago Hinojosa
Santiago has been a tech enthusiast since he was 7 years old, specially of mobile technology. He lives in Mexico and studies graphic design and animation. He has a huge passion for photography and cinematography and when he´s not in school you´ll see him reading books, learning about cinematography, taking pictures and researching interesting technology topics.