Get a first-class Windows Hello experience with the Verifi P5100 fingerprint reader

Verifi P5100 fingerprint reader

Recently, I reviewed a very affordable and portable fingerprint scanner with the Eikon Mini for Windows 10. Going to the other end of the spectrum is the Verifi P5100 by Verifi. Whereas the Eikon was a mere $25, the Verifi P5100 is a staggering $149.

What's the difference and is it any good? Let's find out.

Quality is critical

The Eikon Mini was a small plastic nub and perfect for those who wanted a low profile fingerprint reader for biometric authentication using Windows Hello. It was also a good choice for laptops that had no native Windows Hello hardware as you could easily keep this with you at all times and plug it in when you need it.

There were three small issues with the Eikon, however. Its plastic build does not scream high quality or look good. The Eikon is also troublesome for desktop setups as either you have to have a very close USB port (maybe on a keyboard?) to mount it or use a cable extension and have it flop around until you need it. Finally, the technology used for the fingerprint reading is the older "swipe" type where you have to move your finger across the sensor, like you can find in some older Lenovo laptops.

The Verifi P5100 is a more modern "touch" scanner more akin to what you will find on many modern smartphones. Instead of swiping your finger you just press down on the sensor. From my experience, the touch scanners are faster and more accurate than fiddly swipe sensors that sometimes requires multiple attempts. The sensor on the P5100 is also quite large, and it could even be used for your thumb and still cover most of the fingerprint area without repositioning.

Another difference is the Verifi P5100 has an all metal housing with rubber grips on the bottom. This material and design gives the scanner more heft to it than the Eikon (although at 3.7 ounces, no one would call it heavy). The result is a scanner that is better suited for desktop PCs in an office, home, or professional environment. I'm not sure how you make a fingerprint reader great looking, but I have no complaints with the Verifi P5100's appearance.

How well does it work?

I tried the P5100 using the Windows 10 Anniversary Update (build 14393) on a few different PCs and laptops.

Setting up the Verifi P5100 is easy. There is a warning label on the end of the included (and attached) six-foot USB cord that says to install the included software, but you can ignore that. If you are on Windows 10, just plug it in, and you will see a quick driver auto-install by Windows. From there, you can just set up Windows Hello under Settings > Accounts > Sign-in options.

Interestingly, Windows seemed to treat the P5100 as a swipe sensor and not a touch one. During the setup, it kept saying that it did not recognize me, but clearly, it was also building up the data store. After about six presses it said everything was set, and I could add more fingers (fingerprints) if I wanted.

I had no other issues in using the Verifi P5100. When I would turn on the PC, all I had to do was press my finger on the sensor when I saw the log in screen. Windows 10 would just unlock instead of me having to type in my password or PIN. You can also use the P5100 with any Windows 10 app that supports Windows Hello, such as Enpass or when making Store purchases.

Is it worth the cost?

The P5100 is currently around $150, which is significantly more expensive than the Eikon. Verifi also sells a more modest swipe version of the P5100 called the P2000 for $65 (opens in new tab). Clearly, the difference here is the more expensive and larger touch sensor and the higher-quality metal build.

I can't say that the P5100 feels radically different from the lower cost Eikon in a practical sense, but it is a bit easier to use because it stays in place on my desk and doesn't flop around. The six-foot cable is more than enough to connect to a nearby PC, and the sensor itself is very reliable and forgiving when you place your finger on it. That also means there are very few if any misreads.

Is all of that worth the +$100 jump in cost?

I'm going to say 'no' as most people do not have that much disposable income to dump on a PC accessory to make signing in just a touch quicker. On the other hand, if you will use this many times a day for presumably a few a few years the P5100 will likely hold up better and be easier and more pleasant to use. I think this is an ideal product for business types, professionals, people who want a premium setup at home, or for those who the price tag is of no consequence. Students and individuals on a budget should probably pass, and definitely anybody that uses a laptop in a mobile manner should look elsewhere.

Whether the Verifi P5100 is worth the price is up to you but for the last week I've been very happy with it, and I think you'll like it too.

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Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.

  • Way to go for Windows Biometrics. Fingerprint and Iris scan has become a lot hassle free, this is way better than passwords.
  • Faster & more hassle-free than PIN codes IYHO?
  • More secure. 4-digit PINs are super weak for security. 6+ is better, but now it slows down your login. That is where having biometrics is better for security. You can have a long password, long PIN, but short login times.
  • "You can have a long password, long PIN, but short login times." Why would you still use a long pwd/pin, if you now have a short "bio login"?
  • I think he meant "you can't have long long passwords, long PIN with short login times".
  • Eh? 430am, bed time for me, methinks... O_o
  • To keep people out who aren't you. Even if you have the bio authentication you have to have a "backup" password. If you have the bio authentication you can make the password really long and complex. It won't slow you down because you'll just use the bio authentication but anyone who's not you will have way more trouble breaking in.
  • @Daniel, Zachary, & SwimSwim, Ah of course, sorry, I was a bit sleep deprived at the time! TBH I don't care if I only use a 4-pin as a back-up... Vast majority of the time our SP3's in our house, not in public spaces (not big travellers). And we have a very low occurrence of robberies in my area. BR.
  • So that way other people can't get in. Since almost every measure of biometric security I've seen implemented on modern OS's (TouchID for iOS, various Android implementations, Windows Hello, etc.) uses a password and/or PIN as a fall back: It's in your best interest to have a long and secure password and/or PIN where applicable. It doesn't matter how secure your fingerprint scanner is when your PIN is still 1234 or your password is "Hunter2." After all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.
  • Fingerprints are easy to hack as well.
  • Yeah, I can afford it but for that price I'll keep punching in a pin code.
  • If you just want a cheap unit that works Kbytes makes a 12.00 that is on Prime that I personally use. It works just fine.
  • Hmm, skeptical as-to-how well it works & how reliable it is, but impulse buy territory, thanks!
  • That's the one I bought too. It's worked great for me over the past several weeks. Logs me in on a quick swipe every time.
  • Daniel, May you plug this into one of your high end Windows 10 Mobile phones running the AU or better yet, the latest Redstone 2 builds to see if Windows 10 Mobile recognizes the device. I'm wondering if you will get an error message telling you to plug it into a PC instead. Thank you in advance if you are able to try it. If you are not able to try it, that's ok too.
  • I'm guessing there is no port for the device to connect to unless using a Continuum hub. I'm not sure it'd be able to install drivers though.
  • Been using the same eikon reader for about six years. Works great. Not sure why swiping is an issue, but works great for me.
  • Phone rings... "I cannot seem to log in with the finger reader rubbish!  I cannot remember my password...  or username!" That WILL happen. Then again will this work on a domain?
  • If you've ever used a phone before you'd know this won't happen. You don't have to login to answer a phone call.
  • Still using my U are U sensor. I can login to Windows, but it won't work with Windows Hello.
  • 150$? Have about big NO?
  • That Verifi scanner seems nice, but terribly overpriced. Considering the Surface Pro 4 keyboard that includes one of these is about the same price and the one without the scanner is about $30 cheaper, I wouldn't feel right about spending any more than about $40 for a fantastic fingerprint scanner. Not to mention that a truly epic 3D camera supporting Windows Hello facial recognition costs less than this fingerprint scanner, I'd say the camera would be much better bang for buck, considering everything you can do with a 3D camera.
  • Good points
  • What camera is that?  I only know of the $200 realsense developer one...
  • Razer's about to release one called the StarGazer. Will also function as an (allegedely) very good webcam with gesture control, etc.  
  • my 10$ no name swype scanner from vista days is still providing a great experience with almost 0 error rate, I think sweeping your finger IN THIS CASE(a desk) is better, you get used to the movement and it just happens naturally, aligning the finger while touching it, its almost impossible to fail, whereas on a sensor like this one you have to accurately place the finger there
  • Why so expensive?!  The Surface Pro keyboard has it, and the cost is only a few more $$ than the keyboard without the fingerprint reader.... -_-  I am dissapoint.
  • Yes you're right.  These are like Kickstarter prices. The choice is tapping 4 digits on a keyboard or emptying your wallet for a finger.  Seems we are becoming more Mac-like with the cost for stuff in this ecosystem. Holowlens, HP Elite, Surface 4, Subscription to Groove music, Windows Hello cameras and fingerprint scanners. SAVE UP! 
  • I'm going to start putting money aside for a Verifi. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Why won't MS just release a keyboard with a fingerprint scanner? There are plenty of people with desktops or even laptops who would buy it. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Do everyone know where this all information about finger print are send and how they classify this? Never trust.
  • It doesn't go anywhere. It's stored as a digital hash (not even an image of your fingerprint) within the hardware, which then provides a different hash to the computer that represents a user identification. Like the new PIN, a big part of the security is that it's tied to the machine and never leaves the existing hardware.
  • This.
  • I'm looking to purchase either the P5100 or the P2000, whichever has the faster response time.  Has anyone tried both using Windows Hello?  Thanks.