You’ve undoubtedly heard of Ice Cream Sandwich’s ‘Face Unlock’ feature. It was a big selling point for the Galaxy Nexus, and more and more devices with front-facing cameras advertise it as a feature.
Though it’s a nice novelty of a tool, it hasn’t got a tremendous reputation. A lot of people have trouble getting Face Unlock to recognise them for the first time, and even when it does work, it only protects the lock screen of your device. Wouldn’t it be nice to use a face-locking mechanism on a per-app basis? Well thanks to Visidon Applock, you can!
Easy to Get Going
Once installed, the first step is to add a password or pattern unlock from within the application. This means that if you are in a dark room or the application doesn’t recognise your face, you are able to bypass the restriction by entering a password. Once this is done, you are thrown into the application’s settings page.
From here you can begin Face Training. What sets Visidon Facelock apart from Ice Cream Sandwich’s built-in facial recognition is that the acknowledgement and capture of your face is made far clearer via a strength indicator and a rectangle which adjusts to the size of your face. I myself find Face Unlock’s “Put your face here” approach far too inaccurate and cumbersome.
Once you have taken a few shots you can switch to ‘Apps’ at the top of the screen, and tick off the applications you want to restrict. Being able to restrict individual applications and areas such as ‘Settings’ is terrific, especially as it only requires a tickbox to be checked.
This feature is another that allows Visidon Applock to sit above Face Unlock. If you’re using Face Unlock, then people can get into your phone by showing a picture of you to the camera, whether a printed photograph or a Facebook photo, this often works. Visidon Applock stops this by using ‘Liveness Detection’, which checks for blinking, subtle twitches across your face, and general movement.
Ice Cream Sandwich Not Necessary
This is the real winning feature for Visidon Applock. You can run it on devices as far back as Android 2.3. So if you have a device with 2.3, 2.3.3, 3.0, etc., and a front-facing camera, you can enjoy facial recognition technology.
Variable Re-Lock Time
Once you’ve proven your identity, it would be silly for your device to request it again each time you attempt to load or reload a restricted application. Thankfully if you lengthen the authentication timeout in the application’s settings, you can unlock all the applications on your device for up to 30 minutes at a time. I wouldn’t mind seeing this upper limit lengthened myself, as 30 minutes can pass by very quickly sometimes.
Does It Work Well? What For?
It works superbly. Now that I’ve added 30 images of myself to the application (which did not take long), nobody who uses my tablet has been able to get into my device’s settings or other restricted applications. I managed to spoof it once by waggling a photo of me in front of it, but it has a great track record.
As for applications to use it on… anything goes! I personally restrict my system settings, PayPal, Skype, Plume, Latitude, and Messenger at the moment, but if you can see an icon in the app-drawer, Visdon Applock can secure it for you. If you set the timeout to a high value, then each time you unlock your device, all of these applications are opened up and you would never even know Applock was there. The only way you know it’s running is by a small padlock icon in your notification area, which you can disable anyway.
Slightly Confusing Interface
Though the application works wonderfully, the interface (especially the configuration pages) seems a bit clumsy and as though not much attention was paid to them. For example, one of the first things you have to do when you install Visidon Applock is put some images of your face into the database, but the link to do this is halfway down the list of Settings. Due to this, it could be rather confusing to new users and this is reflected in reviews on the Google Play page.
Experimental Lockscreen Feature
Bizarrely, something that the developers of Visidon Applock consider ‘experiemental’ is the ability to be a lockscreen for the entire device. This has a mixed success rate across devices; on some it works well, and on others not at all. I’m hoping it won’t be long before it supports my Transformer, but at the moment my experience with it is buggy to say the least.
If you want to have a go at using facial recognition technology on your Android device, look no further than this application. It works well and supports a tremendous amount of devices across Android 2.3-4.0.4, far more than Ice Cream Sandwich does.
For an Appstorm rating Visidon Applock Plus gets 9/10. It’s a well made security application, and its only let-down (the loss of one point) is a slightly confusing Settings and Configuration page. Otherwise, top-notch.
The link below in the summary is to the paid version of Visidon Applock, but you can try it out for free using this version, with one or two features removed and the inclusion of ads.