Samsung has recently updated its Samsung Flow application to allow user with Samsung galaxy devices that have fingerprint scanners to unlock their windows 10 laptops with them. The Samsung flow application also allows users to quickly transfer files from their laptop to their devices and receive notifications.
Devices that support Samsung Flow are:
- Windows Tablet/PC: Windows 10 OS Creators update or newer (15063.413) (Galaxy TabPro S, Galaxy Book, PC)
- Android Tablet: Android Nougat OS or newer (Galaxy Tab S3, etc.)
- Android Phone: Android Mashmallow OS or newer (Galaxy S8, S8+, S7, S7 Edge, S6, S6 Edge, S6 Edge+, Note 5, A5, A7, etc.)
I had not used Samsung Flow until today and so I decided to install the application both on my laptop and my device. At first, I got an error that my laptop didn’t have the minimum requirements. From reading the how the application works, I discovered that it needed Bluetooth so I turned it on and then it worked.
It’s a bit of a shame that the application couldn’t just turn on the Bluetooth for me. Pairing the devices wasn’t that hard as I just needed to launch the application on both of them and just click a few buttons to accept the pairing. After setup, I locked my laptop and when it got to the lockscreen, I got prompted to press the space bar or swipe up then just place my finger on my phone to unlock it.
The new feature works just as expected. However, my laptop already has a builtin fingerprint scanner so if I was going to unlock it that way, it would just take a swipe on the scanner and i’m done. With Samsung flow, it takes two steps, pressing the space-bar (my preferred option) and then putting my finger on the phone’s fingerprint scanner.
The application also claims to be able to allow you to just unlock your laptop by using the phone’s fingerprint scanner without having to do anything on the laptop. The feature is called Simple unlock. You have to go to the settings within the application on the phone to turn it on. Now when you lock your laptop, the Samsung Flow connection between it and your device gets disconnected so you have to open the Samsung Flow app on your phone as a way to remind it to try and connect so that you can unlock it with your phone. Still two steps I have to take.
Honestly, to some it won’t matter that it’s 2 steps so it’s just me nitpicking. However, when developing software especially one that aims to bring convenience, you shouldn’t make the user think. One potential use this for me is when someone wants to use my laptop, instead of me having to go to the laptop, I can just unlock it from the phone after they press the space-bar of-course.
Even-though, it can do other things, I focused on this feature as it is a unique one to my knowledge. Other applications like SHAREit for sharing files and Push Bullet for making cross-device experience similar do a better job at each thing respectively. I’m not sure if the feature works on laptops without a fingerprint scanner.