Samsung Pay Is Here, and It Could Be the Best Reason to Get the Galaxy S8

On a trip to the mall late last year, as I got to the checkout kiosk to pay for the clothes I had just bought, I realised I didn’t have my wallet on me. Forced to make the walk back to where I had parked, I envied people living in countries that have had the option to pay with their phones for a few years, and wondered when I would be able to have that luxury too.

Well, that day has come. Samsung Pay launched officially in India on Wednesday, allowing you to simply make payments with your phone – as long as it’s one of six Galaxy devices, including the Galaxy S7, and Galaxy Note 5. If you have one, then all you need to do is get the app, and enter your card details on first run (assuming your account is with one of the supported banks, such as HDFC and ICICI). Voilà! Who knew the future would be so easy?

Of course, India isn’t the only region to get Samsung’s mobile pay service. Samsung Pay launched in Korea in late 2015, before moving to the US a month later. Since then, Samsung Pay has expanded to the likes of Australia, Brazil, China, and Russia. It’s a tiny market right now, overall, but there’s growing competition from all sides, mostly Apple Pay and Android Pay, at least in markets outside India.

Samsung Pay been here slightly longer for more enterprising people, thanks to an early access programme Samsung made available earlier this month. I’ve tried the beta several times during those weeks, and it’s worked flawlessly so far. To be honest, I have had reservations every time I stepped up to the head of the queue, but the only issue has been the curious/ puzzled faces of the people behind the counter.

It is also really easy to use, too. Like Apple Pay, it’s accessible from the lock-screen. Simply swipe from the bottom, and then swipe left or right to pick the desired one. It remembers what you used last time around, so if you frequently make payments with the same card, you’re good to go with one swipe. Then, align your phone’s back with the card reader, and authenticate using your fingerprint/ PIN combination.

Now if I find myself having forgotten my wallet again, all I’d have to do is get my phone out, and I’d have all my cards with me. Soon, the Gear S3 will have it as well, so you won’t need your phone either. Much more importantly, it’d allow me to leave my clunky wallet behind that I hate having to carry in my back-pocket. It’s a constant annoyance when I’m sitting, and I’d be glad to get rid of it.

Samsung Pay Is Here, and It Could Be the Best Reason to Get the Galaxy S8

This won’t be as universal for everyone, as it depends on your lifestyle. Samsung Pay doesn’t work with ATMs, so you’ll still need to carry your card around if you tend to withdraw cash frequently. Fortunately, I live a cash-less life for the most part, and visit the ATM roughly once every three months, so it’s not a bother for me. But that may not work for you. For what it’s worth, Samsung Pay already has Paytm support, and UPI is on its way, so you can use those routes if you prefer.

The biggest concern for most seems to be security, but mobile payments can actually be more secure. For one, card skimming isn’t possible since you don’t need to physically give your card to anyone, and two, like a chip-and-pin card, Samsung Pay only shares a random token with the reader, not the card number. Plus, it also needs your fingerprint/ PIN for authentication, so you don’t have to worry if your phone gets stolen – although the fact that your phone’s been stolen will still be worrisome.

The other problem with digital payments methods is that support can often be limited. Samsung Pay supports both NFC – which is the common standard for mobile payments – and MST (magnetic secure transmission), which works with most existing card readers, as it emulates the presence of a card by wirelessly transmitting, well, magnetic waves. NFC might be the true future of payments, but it’s a future that’s still not here, even in places such as the US. Samsung Pay’s MST feature is essentially a form of backward compatibility, so you can use this method of payments nearly everywhere, though the people working there might themselves be unaware.

For Samsung, this feature is a fantastic trick up its sleeve, as it gives the Korean company a leg up on its competition. By comparison, the other big two – Apple Pay, and Android Pay – will be limited to NFC-equipped readers even when they do make it to India. Samsung then has a clear advantage in that regard, and one that it can leverage to market its smartphones, and peripherals.

With the launch of the Galaxy S8 just around the corner, Samsung Pay looks like a real selling point. No thanks red iPhone, I know which one I want.

Best of CES 2017: The 6 Most Interesting Things We Saw at CES

HIGHLIGHTS

  • CES 2017 saw 3,800 exhibitors and nearly 200,000 visitors
  • Amazon, Qualcomm, and Nvidia had the biggest impacts
  • Multinational corporates and tiny startups shared space on the show floor

To say that CES is enormous would be an understatement. Officially, there are 3,800 exhibitors spread out over 2.6 million square feet of hotel and convention centre floorspace, but there are peripheral gatherings and an untold number of companies who park themselves nearby and compete for attention as well. In amongst the millions of products and ideas there are to be seen, finding something that could be called the ‘Best of CES 2017’ was difficult but not impossible. And indeed, we found a few products at CES 2017 that stood out for a variety of reasons – good, and not-so-good.

At CES 2017, there were fridges that take photos of their contents that you can check remotely, TVs so thin that they can stick to your walls with magnets, smartphones which let you see how clothes look on virtual models that appear right in front of you, and gaming laptops with three screens – all from some of the world’s biggest technology companies. There were also hundreds of startups and first-time exhibitors from different corners of the worlds at CES 2017, showing off ideas that could one day become just as mainstream.

Best of CES 2017: The 6 Most Interesting Things We Saw at CES

1. Amazon Alexa
Amazon itself wasn’t showing off products at CES 2017, but its work was evident thanks to partnerships with a variety of companies. LG kicked off the first press conference of the show with an Alexa-powered refrigerator and a pair of home robots which can order groceries, control smart appliances, and stream music from Amazon. Lenovo showed off its Smart Assistant, essentially a third-party Amazon Echo, Hyundai is demonstrating cars that use Alexa, and various startups are building products such as headphones using its framework. Natural-language voice assistants are the current big thing in tech, and Alexa is the only viable alternative to Google, giving companies every reason to tie it into their products and services.

2. Honda Riding Assist
A huge part of CES 2017 was dedicated to cars and bikes, which isn’t surprising considering the amount of tech that goes into automobiles these days. Even with the world’s top luxury brands in attendance, Honda stole the show with its Riding Assist concept, a bike that can stay upright without any support, compensate for manoeuvers that would topple ordinary bikes, and even drive itself when commanded to do so. This CES 2017 tech could one day make transportation safer and more accessible to a wide range of people.

ALSO SEECES 2017: Our Picks So Far From the World’s Biggest Tech Show

3. Nvidia GeForce Now
While Nvidia isn’t going to stop selling graphics processors anytime soon, the company has diversified into massive-scale number-crunching in a huge way. At a huge CES 2017 pre-show press conference, founder and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang announced that Nvidia has finally achieved a goal it has been working on for years: the ability to host games on its own powerful servers so that PC users without an expensive gaming machine can offload all the hard work and stream just the video output like they would a movie. Input lag and bandwidth requirements are the biggest hurdles, but pricing scales with the amount of power you need, so a lot of people who can’t afford a high-end PC could end up being very happy.

nvidia geforce now pc

4. Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Each year, Qualcomm announces a new flagship processor for smartphones and connected devices. The Snapdragon 835 was first announced over a month ago, but CES 2017 was the first time its capabilities were on display to the public. While no actual phones using the Snapdragon 835 were being displayed, reference units were running demos including extreme vibration reduction in video recording, positional audio detection and filtering, and live 3D video stitching with directional audio. This new chip will be built on a 10nm process, and is smaller and more efficient than the Snapdragon 820/821. Phones that use it will support advanced machine learning and VR/AR experiences, plus of course huge screens, high-resolution video capture, biometric security, and improved battery life.

5. HP Sprout Pro
The original HP Sprout and Sprout Pro started out as experiments in 2D and 3D interaction, and was aimed mainly at children. Now, HP is going after a different market altogether with the second-generation Sprout Pro, a slicker and more capable version of the same idea that was unveiled at CES 2017. The projected horizontal surface is now full-HD, and can be a full-fledged secondary display. You can draw directly into software using a stylus, which feels just like writing on paper. 3D scanning is simple and quick – all you have to do is hold objects beneath the scanner and turn them around till you see the resulting model on screen fill out. There’s a kiosk mode that will allow users to customise things they want to buy and see how they look before pulling the trigger.

vinci smart headphones ces ndtv vinci

6. Inspero Vinci Smart Headphones with AI
Finally, we have the Vinci Smart Headphones with AI, a product that snagged our attention at CES 2017 for all the right and wrong reasons and brought us immense joy. We are truly inspired by the sheer absurdity and audacity of it – we have no idea who would ever want to wear or use one of these things, but we love the fact that somebody not only thought of it, but went ahead and made it. Basically, you have the equivalent of an iPod touch physically jammed onto one side of a comically oversized headset. It can store music, work as a Bluetooth headset, or stream Web content over Wi-Fi or 3G with its own SIM card. Swipe gestures let you control playback with the device on your ear, and AI lets you generate playlists as well as interact with devices using – you guessed it – Alexa. Inspero set out to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter and ended up with nearly twenty times as much, so we’ll probably see these out in the wild, even if only as the ultimate self-referential hipster gag.

Overall, CES 2017 was fairly underwhelming, with no emerging product category like drones or wearables to get excited about, and no banner feature like 4K and 3D in years past. There was no sign of progress towards making IoT devices practical and desirable, which means that no company has found its footing even a year after CES 2016’s high-volume proclamations of it being the next billion-dollar industry. What this year’s edition did show us is that technology is making its way into even more aspects of our daily lives, and there are still a few companies bold enough to try new things.

 

Tokyo 42 Review: Bringing Together the Best of Grand Theft Auto, Monument Valley, and Hotline Miami?

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Tokyo 42 has you in the role of an assassin
  • The gameplay is similar to earlier GTAs and Hotline Miami
  • It’s the debut title from developer SMAC

Tokyo 42 is a game that wears its inspirations on its sleeve. The art direction is reminiscent of Monument Valley, while its open-world and interactions are derived from earlier Grand Theft Auto games, and its combat has a lot in common with Hotline Miami. However the end result is greater than the sum of its parts.

In Tokyo 42, you’re wanted for a murder you didn’t commit. To clear your name, you become an assassin and murder a huge number of people. Video game logic at its finest.

Tokyo 42 Review: Bringing Together the Best of Grand Theft Auto, Monument Valley, and Hotline Miami?

Nonetheless, the irony does little to take away from the gameplay. Tokyo 42’s core loop has you traipsing across a densely layered isometric cityscape replete with neon hues, and civilians going about their routine. You’ll pick out targets assigned to you, kill them, and then proceed to a specified location on the map to complete a mission.

Tokyo42 t DayMultiplayer tokyo_42

Regardless of your play style, you’re treated to responsive controls and a reactive world that strikes back as hard as you hit it. With weapons ranging from silent kill katanas, to noisy rocket launchers, how you deal with a mission is entirely up to you.

Fire fights evolve into intricate ballets of bullet hell madness akin to R-Type, or Ikaruga, and death is usually instant, with a single hit being enough to have you starting a mission again. Thanks to a wealth of checkpoints disguised as coffee vending machines, you’re never too far from where you left off.

While trying to complete an objective with outright violence rewards agile reflexes, playing Tokyo 42 stealthily demands patience. You’ll learn enemy patterns, how to avoid them, and tip-toe behind your target to land a killing blow. Get spotted by a foe? Just change your skin with the tap of a button, and move to another location.

Tokyo42 Stealth1 tokyo_42

It sounds simple enough, particularly when you consider that other titles such as Hitman and Dishonored have a similar premise. In fact, it should be downright boring – but it’s not.

The art style may be akin to Monument Valley, but the sheer burst of colours give this interpretation of Tokyo a look of its own. Taking down targets is similar to Hotline Miami, and it never feels frustrating thanks to the game giving you ample opportunities to complete a mission in stealth or guns blazing, while its music has a calming impact on the proceedings. So much so that despite dying multiple times, we never felt anything close to rage. Quite the opposite really, wherein starting where we left off was refreshing, rather than the mental toll other isometric action titles with a high difficulty tend to be.

Throw in pun-laden dialogue and references to the likes of Die Hard, and Blade Runner, and Tokyo 42 is an entertaining romp. The single-player campaign clocks in at five hours, and there’s multiplayer to look forward to as well. This ends up being an elaborate game of cat and mouse, having players build up their arsenal before being spotted by others – throw in the Trackacat – a recon robot trained to sniff out assassins – and you have just the right amount of depth to it across five different maps ranging from crowded marketplaces to open-air surroundings.

Tokyo42 Action1 tokyo_42

It’s hard to believe that Tokyo 42 is the debut title from developer SMAC as its an extremely polished and enjoyable. At $20 on Steam and Xbox Live (approximately Rs. 1,290), it’s well worth a purchase.

Pros:

  • Responsive controls
  • Tokyo’s open-world is gorgeous
  • Gameplay stays fresh

Cons:

  • Throwaway story

Rating (out of 10): 9

We played a review copy of Tokyo 42 on PC. The game is available on the PC and Xbox One for $20 (around Rs. 1,290). It will be available on the PS4 in July.

The best printers you can buy for your home

Working from home is becoming increasingly popular in this connected world we live in, but if you start working from home, you may not have access to all the tools that an office-space has to offer. Not only that, but if you have kids in school, or simply need to print every now and then, having a good printer at your disposal can be extremely helpful. Of course, there are a ton of printers out there to choose from, and not all of them are created equal.

Before you decide on a specific model of printer to go for, you should make a few decisions on the type of printer you need. Here are a few key points to consider before you make the decision to pull the trigger on a new printer.

Insider Picks_ 3 4x3 printer

  • Laser or inkjet: There are two main types of printers – laser and inkjet, and they’re actually pretty different. Laser printers are generally more expensive, but the trade-off is that you don’t have to worry about buying ink, and pages are printed a lot quicker. Laser printers need toner, which lasts longer than the ink used by inkjet printers. This type of printer is also best for printing documents and sometimes only prints in black and white, though many laser printers can do color, too. Inkjet printers are cheaper to buy, but ink is expensive. However, if you print photos, this is the printer you want. Inkjet printers are also easier to maintain, so most people will likely prefer them.
  • Do you want a scanner? Many printers these days also come with a scanner, meaning you can combine your printing and scanning needs into one device. Speaking from personal experience, it’s common to use the scanner after signing a document that may have been emailed to you, so it may be a good thing to have in your home office.
  • Double-sided printing: Many printers out there offer the ability to print double-sided documents, so you won’t have to worry about flipping the page over and printing again if you want dual-sided printing. This also helps cut down on the number of pages you print, which is obviously good for the environment.

Some companies also offer some extra features. For example, HP offers an ink subscription service, in which you can pay $2.99 per month and have HP automatically send new ink when it detects that your ink supply is running low.

But what’s the best printer out there? Here are the five best printers you can buy. You should also check out our guides to the best computer mice and the best Bluetooth keyboards.

Although the Brother MFC-J985DW is our top pick, for various reasons laid out in the slides below, you should also consider the HP Envy 5560, the HP LaserJet Pro M252dw, the Canon ImagePrograf PRO-1000, and the Canon Pixma iP8720.

What’s the Best New-Car Deal for June 2017?

Cars.com photo by Kelsey Mays
CARS.COM — Whatever the occasion — graduation, Father’s Day or your old car finally bit the dust — June is a good time to kick the tires on a new ride. This month has signaled the start of a summer ramp-up in new-car discounts for each of the past three years, according to Autodata Corp., and if certain cars we highlighted in past months are any indication, automakers appear ready to follow suit for 2017. Automotive News reports Jeep has thrown up to $4,000 on the hood of the 2017 Cherokee SUV. Ford is offering up to $4,150 off the 2017 Fusion, while Hyundai’s cash rebates on the 2017 Sonata go as high as $6,000. Get shopping.

Related: Off-Lease Car Glut Might Mean Used-Car Buyer’s Market

Which deals are worth a gander? Read on.

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Cars.com photo by Evan Sears

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

How much can I save? Lots. Until July 5, cash rebates on the 2017 Santa Fe Sport go as high as $3,750. Hyundai posted an additional $1,500 off select versions of the SUV in every region we searched, but those could be needle-in-a-haystack examples depending on your dealer’s inventory. But the lesser discounts are still steep, and they come as sales for the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport plunged 33.2 percent in May. Granted, that’s versus a gangbusters year-ago period, but the Sport still averaged 81 days to sell last month — notably more than the 70-day average for all 2017 models.

What about discount financing? Qualified borrowers can get rates as low as 0.9 percent.

Any deals on the non-sport Santa Fe? Some, but not as much. Cash discounts on the Santa Fe Sport’s three-row sibling range from $2,000 to $2,500, according to Automotive News.

But the Santa Fe Sport fared poorly in Cars.com’s last mid-size SUV comparison, no? It placed fourth out of five as judges noted poor visibility, thin seats and a peaky turbo engine. That said, this list is about money, not merits. And Hyundai is slashing a lot.

Get 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport DetailsFind a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Near You
2017 Nissan Frontier
2017 Nissan Frontier
Manufacturer image

Nissan Frontier

How much can I save? If you can do with the four-cylinder instead of the V-6, a lot. Automotive News says Nissan is offering $500 to $3,750 on the Frontier until July 5, though most deals we found were isolated to the four-cylinder Frontier SV — a configuration that accounts for about 15 percent of 2017 Frontier inventory on Cars.com. Sales ebbed a modest 2.3 percent last month versus a monster year-ago month, but the mid-size pickup truck still averaged a worse-than-average 77 days on dealer lots for the extended cab (84 days for the crew cab).

What about discount financing? Automotive News didn’t list any financing offers, so you’ll have to negotiate on regular rates.

But I hear even Frontier owners don’t like their purchases. That seems the case, per Consumer Reports. But it’s hard to expect much else, given the Frontier enters its 13th model year without a full redesign. That’s an eternity. You know how Kevin Spacey impersonated Johnny Carson during Sunday’s Tony Awards? Well, when Nissan unveiled this generation of the Frontier in early 2004, Johnny Carson was still around. It’s one ancient truck, but this list is about incentives. The Frontier has big ones.

Get 2017 Nissan Frontier DetailsFind a 2017 Nissan Frontier Near You
2017 Ford Escape
2017 Ford Escape
Cars.com photo by Joe Bruzek

Ford Escape

How much can I save? A ton. The Escape averaged a brisk 57 days on dealer lots in May, but sales still fell 9.8 percent. Ford has piled on the incentives, with cash discounts on the Escape as high as $5,000 this month. Most regions we checked had discounts from $3,000 to $4,000, but that’s still nothing to sneeze at — especially since Ford offers them across many trim levels. The deals expire June 21 in some markets, so hurry.

What about discount financing? Cut-rate financing on the Escape is as low as 2.9 percent.

Is the Escape bad, too? On the contrary, Ford’s popular compact SUV topped its rivals in a Cars.com comparison last year as judges raved about its intuitive dashboard touchscreen, comfortable ride and easy child-safety seat accommodations. We’d report discounts like this regardless, but in the Escape’s case, it’s a win-win.

Get 2017 Ford Escape DetailsFind a 2017 Ford Escape Near You

The Returnees

We focus on cars new to the list or ones we haven’t highlighted in the past few months. But many cars from recent months still have high discounts in June:

  • Ford Focus
  • Ford Fusion
  • Ford Mustang
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Jeep Patriot
  • Jeep Renegade
  • Toyota Corolla, Corolla iM

How We Look For Deals

To look for June deals, we considered sales in May among the top 100 best-selling cars, specifically eyeing models whose sales underperformed the market. We also looked at days-to-turn data from May, which measures how long it takes on average for dealers to sell a given car. Both factors illustrate May’s slow sellers, cars on which dealers could be more willing to cut a deal.

Finally, we looked at factory cash discounts and low-interest-rate financing offers that are especially high for the price of the car. (After all, $2,000 is a lot more on a Ford Focus than a Ford Explorer.)

Sales and incentives data come from Automotive News and automakers’ websites, while days-to-turn data come from J.D. Power and Associates. Remember, our numbers are national in scope and reflect advertised customer discounts, not unadvertised factory-to-dealer cash. Discount financing typically requires qualifying credit, too, and incentives may vary by region and trim level. In sum: Your discounts may vary, so check with your local dealer for specifics.