Galaxy Note 6 could pack Samsung’s first iris scanner

Galaxy Note 6 won't just be a larger S7. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Android

Galaxy Note 6 won’t just be a larger S7. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Android

It’s not difficult to predict what Samsung’s Galaxy Note refresh will bring each year; it typically ends up being a larger, slightly more powerful version of the latest Galaxy S that launched months earlier. But every so often, Samsung surprises us with something completely new.

According to one report, that will be an iris scanner for this year’s Galaxy Note 6.

While most smartphone manufacturers have embraced fingerprint scanners since Apple popularized them with Touch ID, others have explored alternative security solutions. One of those is an iris scanner, which lets you unlock a device simply by looking at it.

Microsoft’s Lumia 950 is one of the first smartphones on the market with this capability, and it works well. In the video below, NokiaPowerUser demonstrates it in a dark room with and without sunglasses, and it works every time. has found evidence of Samsung importing a batch of “iris cams” (200 in total) into India for testing. The South Korean’s company has a research and development department in India, so it regularly has prototype devices and parts shipped there for testing.

This doesn’t guarantee that an iris scanner will be making its way into the Galaxy Note 6 — Samsung could be testing it for another handset — but it’s exciting to see that the company is experimenting with this technology at all, and it does seem like a plausible upgrade.

A separate report from SamMobile claims the Galaxy Note 6 will also be water-resistant, with IP68 certification. This seems inevitable given that the Galaxy S7 series comes with the same protection, but Samsung did launch a water-resistant Galaxy S5 two years ago without following up with a water-resistant Galaxy Note 4 months later.

Other Galaxy Note 6 specifications are said to include a 5.8-inch display, and up to 6GB of RAM. This device is likely to make its official debut around August as the Galaxy Note 5 celebrates its first birthday, and it could come with Android N pre-installed.