The Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager is in essence a USB fingerprint scanner designed to sit on your desktop. Once installed you must swipe a finger over the scanner to access your computer.

Installing and setting up the Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager is reasonably straightforward. The Protector Suite asks you to select fingers of your choice and each one has to be 'swiped' three times to get an accurate reading. The swiping process has to be done fairly slowly and there is a knack to getting it right. It's easier for some fingers (index and middle) than others (ring and little) and if you swipe too fast, or off to one side, then it returns an error.

Once you've set up the suite it adjusts the Login and Authentication window (shown during software installation and when making changes to certain System Preferences). Instead of the usual password dialogue, it displays a new fingerprint sensor graphic. Swiping a finger over the Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager now acts as confirmation of your identity.

You can set the Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager's login window and authentication dialogue settings separately, and each can be set to 'swipe or password', 'swipe only' or 'swipe and password' (in case you're worried about somebody stealing your fingers).

Ultimately we're undecided as to how secure the Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager really is. What happens if you set it to swipe only and the Eikon breaks? We tested this by pulling out the USB lead during booting. The answer is that without the fingerprint device attached the device reverts to asking for your username and password. Which somewhat nullifies the point of the 'swipe only' and 'swipe and password' options.

On the other hand – if you have it set to swipe only – the Authentication dialogue insists on the swipe regardless of the status of the device. So it is possible for you log in without the Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager, but you can't change any settings. More crucially you can't change the Eikon settings or uninstall the device – which might be something to bear in mind if it does break.

A greater level of adjustment here wouldn't go amiss. We're sure some users would prefer the device to revert to passwords upon breaking; others would rather the whole system locked down until a replacement Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager was purchased.

Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager: Specs

  • Windows/Mac/Linux
  • CMOS active capacitive pixel-sensing technology
  • 508dpi
  • 8bit grayscale image depth
  • 10 million swipes life
  • USB 1.1
  • active sensing area: 12.4x0.2mm
  • device size: 84x33.8x14.3mm
  • Windows/Mac/Linux
  • CMOS active capacitive pixel-sensing technology
  • 508dpi
  • 8bit grayscale image depth
  • 10 million swipes life
  • USB 1.1
  • active sensing area: 12.4x0.2mm
  • device size: 84x33.8x14.3mm

OUR VERDICT

Ultimately, we're not convinced that lifting your hand off the keyboard and swiping a finger is any easier (or more secure) than tapping in your password. Although we do admit that it certainly feels more fun with the Upek Eikon Digital Privacy Manager.

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