Xperia XZ USA fingerprint scanner omission likely to be a software limitation only

by XB on 23rd September 2016

in Xperia X series

xperia-xz-fingerprint-scannerSony Mobile has so far introduced seven Xperia models that support a fingerprint scanner. This includes last year’s Xperia Z5 series (Z5, Z5 Compact, Z5 Premium) and this year’s Xperia X series (X, X Performance, X Compact and XZ).

What all of these handsets have in common is that none of the equivalent models launched into the United States support the finger print scanner (apart from the Xperia Z5 Premium, which never officially launched in the US). Sony has never detailed the reason behind this move, apart from saying it was a “business decision”, which could mean it might have had to pay some kind of licensing fee in the US if the feature was enabled.

Anyway, it appears that what a lot of people don’t seem to realise, is that for all models released to date, the lack of a fingerprint scanner has been a software limitation only. The hardware that ships with all USA models incorporates the necessary fingerprint functionality, but it has been disabled through software.

For anyone in the USA who owns one of the above devices, flashing a different region’s software (for example UK or Nordic) would fully enable the fingerprint power button. Obviously, not everyone is comfortable in flashing their handset, but it is a fairly straightforward process – you can check out our previous guide here. You can also make backups of USA software using the same guide, just in case you need to utilise that US warranty. The great thing is that no root or bootloader unlocking is required.

Given what we have seen for the models launched so far, we believe that there is a strong likelihood that the same software limitation will apply for the upcoming Xperia X Compact and Xperia XZ. This should bring hope for those that are thinking of purchasing these models, but have been put off by the fingerprint scanner omission.

If you are a US Sony Xperia owner who bought a model with a fingerprint scanner and re-enabled it, do let us know your experiences below. It may help ease the minds of those looking to purchase Sony’s latest models.

  • Wolf0491

    Does it have anything to do with this?

  • RockStar2005

    This is a good article to have, but the thing is, the int’l versions seem to USUALLY get released earlier than the U.S. versions do (or at worst the same time), and also, the int’l versions are typically cheaper too. I have the int’l X Performance, and it works great! I got it like 5 weeks before the U.S. XP got released, and I didn’t have to flash anything for the fingerprint sensor to work either.

    Plus the way things are going considering statements the Sony CEO made recently, Sony Mobile appears to be looking to “scale back” on its smartphone sales in certain countries, including the U.S., unfortunately. (It’s called NOT having ANY balls. They could be KINGS here considering the Sony name, but instead they choose to be cowards.) So there may come a time soon that the only way to get a new Xperia phone is to buy the int’l version (which just means any version aside from the U.S. really, i.e. the China/Hong Kong or also the Taiwan version, etc). Then you just change the language to English and it’s all good from there! Only real difference I’ve noticed is the signal meter displays the signal type you’re getting (i.e. 3G, 4G, 4G LTE, etc) a little differently than the U.S. phones do. Like H+ = 4G, and LTE = 4G LTE, etc. That’s really about it.

  • ramuk

    I think they need to pay a certain amount of money to some party to use fingerprint scanner in U.S.A. Sony mobile need to sell a certain amount of phones to cover the cost but since they don’t/can’t sell that amount of phones in U.S.A. they didn’t license the certain patent. But still a phone that cost $700 should have a fingerprint scanner.

  • lovebmw

    Patent related obviously

  • KarFar

    iPhonearena review they didn’t like it lol.

  • Andreescu Daniel

    Iphonearena what do you expect from them, iphone here iohone there and if you read on other sites the iphone it’s not that special, stupid review and incomplete, if you like it buy it and don’t trust reviewers, go and see for yourself and might be surprised, it’s too much hate in the world lately and can’t figure why, i’m tired of these peoples with sony hate samsung like and viceversa, do something useful with your free time and apreaciate everybody

  • Prateek Bhanushali

    Bro, Check how PA criticized XZ display for not having accurate colors and ignored it’s Gamma reading, and how it praised iphone’s display despite having poor value to standard Gamma level i.e 2.2. XZ had excellent readings in that regards.
    P.S- If you don’t know what gamma reading are, it is similar to dynamic range in the photography. A balance between highlights and shadows which has standard value of 2.2.

  • Little Man

    PhoneArena blatantly hates Sony Xperia phones. I figured this out soon after I started reading them. Go somewhere else, at least they will tell the truth unlike PhoneArena.

  • theskig

    So I’m the only one who wants to disable it permanently but I have a Z5 Premium so no US firmware to flash :(

    Please Sony gimme root. The good old one, not the crippled one.

  • theskig

    Yeah but it’s an Applefag opinion.

  • crazychef83

    I believe the question that we really need to ask ourselves is:

    Do we really need the fingerprint scanner?
    Because as soon as the scanner breaks or doesn’t register the fingerprint everyone is going to start complaining about it. The other question is :

    How often are you going to use the fingerprint scanner.
    I purchased the X5 premium and honestly I do not use it at all because I have a 5 year old that also uses my phone.

    Do I need the scanner if I was contemplating on purchasing the XZ? No I do not need it! the reason why I purchase a Sony phone is because of the things it comes with, the Design, the camera, etc…. To some people sony phones are the last on their list because they depend to much on the negative reviews that are published.

  • (C):stem

    The fingerprint scanner in Sony phones is not at the ideal location. In my experience, the best position for the fingerprint scanner is in the back, like in the Nexus 6p or the Huawei P9. The second best place is at home button.
    Besides that, the scanner is not that accurate in my Xperia X and sometimes is kinda frustrating to get the “couldn’t process the fingerprint, please try again” message just for having my finger a little bit wet or dirty. That never happened before with my Nexus 6P or my OP2.

    Back to the main topic: using flashtool (Androxyde version, not the Sony official program) and flashing a different firmware is easier than eating cake. Basically, the program does everything for you and there’s no need to root or unlock the bootloader. The only “problem” for windows users is disabling the digital signature driver to install flash drivers, but then again, that’s easy to do, too.

    And no, I don’t understand why Sony disable this feature on the Xperias for the US, this does not help to get people’s attention. It seems like they don’t have any genuine interest on the north american market, it’s hard to see people here using a Xperia. Or if it’s because the scanner position then they can try to build it at the back of the phone in future models.

  • Geese Howard

    Like what you said and you actually ‘gave’ them a chance and read before concluding. Not so little after all Minion :)

    And they call themselves Phone Arena… arena my ass if apple is all their are about.

  • Alvin

    Which reviewers that are honest and truthful?

  • Little Man

    Anyone other than iPhoneArena? Idk just not them.

  • hansip

    Well the issue is, if i can get one scanner on other phones then why do i have to buy Sony which more or less is the same phone? Not that anyone really need fingerprint scanner, but it’s the question of value for the money.

  • Stephaniejsalazar4

    Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !ok430f:
    On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
    ➽➽;➽➽ http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash730WebDataGetPay$97Hour ★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★✫★★::::::!ok430f:….,……

  • Alvin

    Lol! What about the verge?

  • Little Man

    The Verge and CNET are kinda the same thing in my little opinion. They try to cover everything there is on earth and turn out not that comprehensive on anything. A tap on the water is what you get from them. I prefer Android Authority and GSMArena, also too as they analyze devices very scientifically even though they mostly do laptops, but if there’s an attention grabbing phone they review them as well.

  • Alvin

    Me too, I prefer Android Authority, Android Pit, GSMArena, BTekt, and some “small” but honest reviewers..

  • marcyff2

    Well the majority of people i know with Iphones and Samsungs and HTCs all use fingerprint scanners. To the point some of them actually forget their passcodes. For ease of use and less hassle it is a good thing to have. Say what you will about fingerprint scanners but even chinese manufacturers are including it now (check OPO or Huaweii) which means they have become a norm. Sonner or later it will be rare to see a phone without one

  • West

    Flashed my brand new USA model into UK firmware, the fingerprint works confirmed. The fingerprint sensor works pretty good so far but too sensitive.

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