Samsung has officially unveiled its successor to last year’s Galaxy S8 flagship, and it appears the Galaxy S9 has a bit of a disappointing aspect. Apparently, its Intelligent Scan feature isn’t as good as Apple iPhone X’s Face ID even though the South Korean giant already combined facial recognition with its iris scan technology.

Two years ago, Samsung unveiled the now defunct Galaxy Note 7 that came with the company’s first commercial implementation of iris scanning technology. The company’s 2016 phablet may have received a lot of negative press, but the iris scanning technology was definitely a stunning feat at the time.

When Samsung introduced the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 last year, it did not miss the chance to bring back the iris scanner. But it was masked by the launch of Samsung’s improved face recognition, which was the company’s way of challenging Apple’s advanced facial recognition technology, called Face ID.

Unfortunately, Samsung’s facial recognition technology wasn’t really that secure, and this was made obvious by the fact that the South Korean brand did not authorize it for important functions like mobile payments. It was simply there for the sole purpose of unlocking the device, and it simply added another unlocking mechanism. Hence, the S8 and Note 8 had face unlock, iris unlock, fingerprint reader and the other traditional ways of unlocking phones.

This Sunday, Samsung finally took the wraps off of the Galaxy S9 and it introduced a new feature called Intelligent Scan. The feature combines iris and face unlock into a single unlocking option, so users need to register both their faces and irises for this function. However, the problem here is that the system is designed to choose one over the other depending on lighting conditions or the action that the user is doing.

If there isn’t sufficient lighting, the Galaxy S9’s Intelligent Scan will use face unlock because this is the default mode. But in an environment with good lighting, the system uses the iris scanner. For certain actions that need to be secure, Intelligent Scan also automatically switches to iris scan. This is the case when users make mobile payments using their new Android phone.

Simply put, Intelligent Scan is there so users won’t have to choose between face and iris scanning technologies manually. The system does that for users based on the environment and the action that’s being done. The upside is users can resort to using the fingerprint reader if they don’t feel like using the iris scanner to unlock the device.

Even with Samsung’s new approach to face and iris scanning, Android Police believes that Intelligent Scan isn’t a worthy rival to the iPhone X’s Face ID. According to the news outlet, an “actual Face ID clone” could have done a better job in challenging the sophisticated technology that the Cupertino giant built for last year’s flagship.

CNET voices the same sentiment after Samsung’s event. The outlet feels Intelligent Scan doesn’t measure up to Apple’s Face ID. The idea of providing a fallback when the iris scanner is incapable of doing its job due to certain environmental factors sounds great. But knowing that Samsung’s default face unlock mode isn’t a secure feature doesn’t make it seem right.

What do you think of Samsung’s Intelligent Scan? Tell us in the comments.

Samsung galaxy phone The Samsung Galaxy S9’s Intelligent Scan is reportedly not as good as iPhone X’s Face ID. Photo: Reuters/Beawiharta