Listen up Apple–ites, coz now’s your time to gloat and shout “In yo face!” to Android users, aka peasants!
Notch or not, the facial recognition tech used in some of the top Android handsets fail to hold a candle to Apple’s sophisticated Face ID feature. Wondering how we know that? Well, Forbes’ very own Thomas Brewster decided to test the facial recognition feature across the top Android phones and Apple’s iPhone X with a 3D-printed head from a Birmingham-based company Backface.
How did the phones fare, you ask? All Android phones responded to the creepy looking 3D printed replica of his head! *A round of applause for these phones, please!* (We’re being sarcastic. Don’t applaud.)
The tested models included an LG G7 ThinQ, a Samsung Note 8, a Samsung S9, OnePlus 6, and, of course, an iPhone X. Out of the 5 phones tested, iPhone X was the only contender that rose to the challenge and iOS was able to tell a 3D-printed face apart from the real one. (Now you can applaud!)
The good thing is that, with the exception of OnePlus6, the other Android phones didn’t immediately respond to the 3D printed head. They all needed some extra coaxing – a little angle change, some extra lighting, a couple of tries, and voila! All the Android devices eventually opened. OnePlus 6, however, cosied up with the fake head in no time at all.
So what does this test unveil about device security? Nothing that we don’t already know. One thing’s for sure: Apple’s Face ID is superior to Android phones, all thanks to the specialized TrueDepth hardware that uses invisible infrared light for accurate 3D depth mapping.
But, to be fair to the Android phones, they did warn us that face unlocking isn’t the securest of the locking mechanisms. In fact, it’s more like a swipe to unlock action than biometric security.
As for the fake head, Brewster used a custom-made, £300 facsimile of a noggin made from a specialized rig with 50 cameras, painted to look real. We don’t imagine any thief going to that extent or expense to steal … what? 10,000 of your selfies? But, just in case you’ve got a hyper-realistic sculpture of your own head lying around the house (Why? Why?), maybe don’t keep it next to your phone?
For Apple users, you guys can breathe a sigh of relief for the time being. No printed head is good enough to unlock the mighty iPhone! That’s some espionage level technology you’ve got in your hand. Well, maybe not. But it does sound bloody cool when you say that!