Which Galaxy S8 features will come to the Galaxy S7?

The core Samsung interface, along with Bixby, shou…

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Rachio's second-gen smart sprinkler controller is still a must-have for homeowners

If you have a lawn, you'll need to water it. And the Rachio connected controller will do it smarter — and save you money at the same time.

There are many shameful things that can happen to a homeowner. Your car rolling out of the garage and into your neighbor's azalea is one. The sewer pipe getting crushed on Mother's Day (and on a Sunday no less, and quite possibly as you're headed out for a few days of meetings in a Miami mansion is another.

(Yes, these things might or might not have happened to me at some point. Use your best judgment.)

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One thing I've managed to avoid for a few years, though, is watering the grass while it's raining out. That's not just a Florida thing, either. Dumb timers are dumb. Smart sprinklers are better.

So a few years ago Rachio sent me one of their first-generation smart sprinkler controllers. And the original Iro has served me well. Now it's time to update, and Rachio sent over the current generation of its controller. The second gen starts at $199 for an 8-zone model, or you can get a 16-zoner for $50 more. There's also a $29 waterproof enclosure if you need to mount things outside.

Even in its initial form, Rachio wasn't just a timer that you can control from your phone. It goes a good bit further. It pulls in local weather information to tell if it's going to rain, and whether a watering cycle should be skipped. You can input soil type for more precise watering.

And ultimately it should save you from wasting water — and that means you'll be wasting less money.

Installation will vary depending on your setup, of course. Mine's pretty simple, though. The controller is on a wall in my garage, just within range of my wireless router. (That part's important, of course. If you don't have a Wifi connection in the garage, you'll need to adjust.) From there it's just a matter of popping off the old controller, screwing the new one into the wall, and reattaching the wires. Rachio's quick-start guide does a good job walking you through things if needed. But really this is basic homeowner stuff.

From there you'll setup through the app. (It's available on Android and on iOS, of course.) That part's been greatly improved since the first generation controller. The other major upgrade is the addition of manual controls, which was definitely needed.

After that you set zones and times and what not, and that's that. If you need to adjust, you can do so in the app, or from the Rachio website.

Or if you're feeling a little extra cheeky, yes, it'll work with Amazon Alexa, as well as with the Google Assistant. (The latter is buried under More Settings -> Services and not under the higher-level Home Control.)

You can be as hands-off as you like here. I generally just let the system take care of things, at least at the start of the season. If I think the lawn needs more water, I'll adjust. But the best part is that I don't have to worry about watering my lawn with my own money while it's getting a good drink for free.

And especially here in Florida, that pays for itself pretty fast.

See at Amazon…

Read more: Rachio's second-gen smart sprinkler controller is still a must-have for homeowners

How to watch Plex in your Gear VR

Plex gives you the ability to watch your movies and tv shows, listen to your music, or look at your photos, no matter where you are using the Plex app. While there isn't a Plex app available for Gear VR quite yet, that doesn't mean that you can't use Plex while you're in VR. It just requires a few extra steps to get there, instead of opening an app.

It's simple, easy, and we've got the details for you here.

What is Plex?

Plex is a service that allows you to set up a server where you can store your favorite movies, television shows, music, and photos. It lets you stream your media from the server to supported devices, no matter where you are. That means that you can watch John Oliver through your Gear VR in a hotel while your MacBook is safely at home, which is pretty great. It also means that you can share your media with friends, making it easy to get your bestie hooked on Steven Universe even though she's dozens of episodes behind.

You'll need to download and setup the Plex server from your PC or Laptop, and then move the files you want stored on your server into the Plex folder. After that though, you'll be able to stream right to your Gear VR. For anyone who likes to binge watch their favorite shows over and over again, this is an excellent option to do so.

How do I use Plex with Gear VR?

While you need access to Plex with an app in most cases, that isn't an option with Gear VR. That's because you don't have access to a Plex app for Oculus. Thankfully there is an easy way to get around the fact that there isn't an app available to open up. That's because you can access your Plex server from within the Samsung internet app. While there are options to try sideloading other apps and doing it that way, the easiest method is by using Samsung internet.

All you need to do is navigate to Plex.tv/web and then login. Once connected you should see all of the media that is saved to your server, and the interface should be pretty familiar. Just pick the show or movie that you want to watch, and hit play. You'll probably need to wait for a few minutes for the video to load up properly, but once it does, you're good to go. You can even expand the screen by the icon at the bottom right of the screen, and then your video will fill up the screen. Voila! You're now watching your favorite movies saved to Plex, all while hanging out in VR with your Gear VR.

Step by step instructions

  1. Put on your Gear VR and jump into VR.
  2. Open the Samsung Internet Browser.
  3. Navigate to plex.tv/web
  4. Login to your account
  5. Choose the movie you want to watch and enjoy!

Will you be watching?

Using Plex you can enjoy your favorite cinema no matter where you are, and that certainly includes VR. At least if you're using a Gear VR anyway. All you need to do is use the Samsung Internet Browser, and you'll be good to go! While we are holding out hope that there is a Plex app coming to the Oculus Store in the future, for now this is your best option. Have you used Plex with your Gear VR? Are you considering it now? Share your experience in the comments!…

Read more: How to watch Plex in your Gear VR

Samsung Pay offers an incredibly convenient way to pay for your purchases.

Samsung Pay is now live in India, and the digital payments service works at millions of retail stores across the country. With the current uptick in mobile wallets and digital payments, Samsung timed the launch of Samsung Pay in India to perfection and has partnered with leading banks and card issuers to facilitate support for millions of payment cards. Here's what you need to know about using Samsung Pay in India.

How does Samsung Pay work?

The best part about Samsung Pay is that it offers both NFC and Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST), making it compatible with newer payment terminals and older card readers that rely on a magnetic signal from traditional payment cards.

Essentially, Samsung Pay mimics the magnetic signal of a payment card and transmits that information wirelessly via a tiny metal coil located at the back of supported devices (the company acquired the tech from LoopPay). Doing so allows Samsung Pay to work with millions of older payment terminals that can't accept NFC payments.

You'll need to be connected to the internet to set up your payment cards, but you don't need an active connection to use Samsung Pay at retail stores.

Which Samsung devices are supported?

Samsung Pay currently works on the following devices in India:

  • Galaxy S7 edge
  • Galaxy S7
  • Galaxy Note 5
  • Galaxy S6 edge+
  • Galaxy A7 (2017)
  • Galaxy A5 (2017)
  • Galaxy A5 (2016)
  • Galaxy A7 (2016)

More devices will be added as they're launched, and with the Galaxy S8 set to make its debut shortly, Samsung will undoubtedly talk up its payments solution at the launch event. Samsung has also mentioned that the service will go live on the Gear S3 smartwatch shortly.

Which payment cards support Samsung Pay?

If you have a credit or debit card from Axis Bank, HDFC, ICICI, or Standard Chartered, you can use Samsung Pay. Credit cards from American Express, Citibank, and SBI are also compatible with the service. Samsung Pay will pick up more partners in due course.

If you're having trouble setting up your card or running into issues while using the service, you can call Samsung's customer service line at 1800-123-7729.

What about Paytm and UPI?

Samsung Pay's integration with Paytm means that you can link your mobile wallet to the service and send money or scan a QR code from within the Samsung Pay interface. You'll also be able to top up your Paytm wallet balance, and you don't necessarily need to have the Paytm app installed on your phone to link your wallet to Samsung Pay.

There's no timeline for when the feature will go live, but Samsung is also adding the ability to transfer money using UPI.

Where can I use Samsung Pay in India?

You can use Samsung Pay at most stores that accept card payments. Its compatibility with MST gives Samsung Pay a noticeable advantage over competing payments services Android Pay and Apple Pay.

Samsung is also the first out the gate with its payments solution, and while Android Pay is slated to make its debut at some point later this year, the service relies on NFC exclusively to transmit payment information. A majority of POS systems in India have to be upgraded to be compatible with Android Pay, but you can use Samsung Pay at nearly all retail stores, thanks to MST.

Samsung has partnered with several retail brands to promote Samsung Pay in the country, and even if your store isn't mentioned on the list, you should be able to use the mobile payments service as long as the retail store has a card reader. Samsung Pay also works for online purchases in other markets, but for now, the service is limited to in-store payments in India.

Is Samsung Pay secure?

Samsung Pay relies on either your fingerprint or PIN to authenticate, and the app itself is secured using Samsung's Knox platform. When it comes to transmitting payment information, Samsung uses tokenization, which substitutes your physical card's number with a unique identifier. Your card information isn't revealed, ensuring an added layer of security.

The Samsung Pay app stores your payment data locally, and therefore your card data won't transfer over when you switch devices. You'll have to set up your cards all over again.

Is there a transaction limit for Samsung Pay?

As long as you're making purchases that come under a lakh, you should be fine. To incentivize the launch of Samsung Pay, the manufacturer has rolled out several cashback offers that are valid until the end of June. If you've got an eligible device and payment card, you should take a look.

Your take

That's a quick look at what's on offer with Samsung Pay. Are you using the service in India? If so, what do you like the most about it? Share your thoughts in the comments below.…

Read more: Samsung Pay in India: Everything you need to know

Best Wireless Charging Pads for the Galaxy S8

Your new Samsung Galaxy S8 supports wireless charging, so take full advantage of the convenience!

The Samsung Galaxy S8 is a beautifully designed phone packed with convenient features. That includes wireless charging, which allows you to forgo dealing with cables and elegantly have your phone charging on your desk at work or nightstand at home and simply grab it when it's time to get up and go.

There are a variety of wireless charging stands and pad options compatible with the Galaxy S8, from chargers designed by Samsung to third-party products. Here are your best available options for the Samsung Galaxy S8.

Samsung Fast Charge Convertible Wireless Charging Pad

Samsung has come out with a completely redesigned wireless charging pad/stand, which launched alongside the Galaxy S8. Besides the premium leather-like appearance and ingenious design which allows you to easily convert this pad into an angled charging stand, you can be sure that this charging pad was created with your Galaxy S8 in mind.

The charger comes with a spare Samsung Fast Charge wall charger — because let's be honest, you can never have too many OEM wall chargers — and allows you to fast charge your Galaxy S8 wirelessly at your home or office. At nearly $100, this is the most expensive option on this list, but if premium quality and functionality are your top priorities, this sure looks like a real winner.

Pre-order at Samsung

Samsung Wireless Charging Pad w/ 2A wall adapter

If functionality and cost are your two biggest buying factors, you'll want to consider Samsung's older wireless charging pad, which has been deeply discounted on Amazon.

These UFO-like charging pads can charge Qi-compatible devices and are Fast Charge-compatible with your Galaxy S8. It also comes with a Samsung 2A wall charger — always great — and also has a standard one-year warranty. This is a great option if you're looking to set up wireless charging at your home and at work because they're so damn cheap right now. You can also get the older style as a charging stand if you prefer that look instead.

See at Amazon

Spigen Qi Wireless Charging Stand

Spigen is one of the best accessory makers, and its Qi Charging Stand is a fine example to back that claim. This charging stand is angled so you are still able to see your display easily while your phone is charging. If you need a way to quickly top off your phone on your desk or a new place to keep it safe on your nightstand, this may be the choice for you. Pick yours up for under $30 at Amazon.

See at Amazon

TYLT Qi Wireless Charging Stand

TYLT has been in the wireless charging game for years, proving itself to be one on of the most trusted third-party manufacturers. This is another angled wireless charging stand that lets you keep your phone accessible while it charges at your desk. What separates TYLT from Spigen's stand is the color options — you can get this charging stand in black, red, blue and yellow.

See at Amazon

Aukey Wireless Charging Pad

Aukey's wireless charging pad for Qi-enabled devices is sleek and minimalist, which might jibe well with your personal tastes. It's roughly the size of a coaster and available in both black and white, so it won't take up too much space on your desk or nightstand. The trade-off here is that the smooth charging surface may not be the best for the slick glass back of the Galaxy S8, but it should also charge through most cases.

See at Amazon

Do you charge wirelessly?

Have you owned any of the wireless chargers we've featured here? What has been your experience? Let us know in the comments below!…

Read more: Best Wireless Charging Pads for the Galaxy S8

Today's update brings Android 7.1.1 and April security patches.

Wileyfox has begun its transition away from the now-defunct CyanogenOS with the first Android Nougat updates for its devices. An update rolling out today for the Wileyfox Swift 2X moves users to a new Android 7.1.1-based OS with the latest April 2017 security patches from Google.

The update doesn't drastically change the appearance of the software, which has always has a "vanilla" Android look and feel, topped off with Wileyfox's orange-hued branding. And while most of the established feature set has come over uninterrupted, JMComms reports that some options, like themes, the audio FX manager and the ability to tweak individual apps' power settings, have been removed. (Given the expansive feature set of Cyanogen, it's not surprising to see some functionality fall by the wayside.)

Other additions include the new "FoxHole" launcher, with an HTC Binkfeed-style news feed under the name "Wileyfox Zen," which offers users a wide range of UK-centric news content.

Wileyfox has already committed to bringing Nougat to its entire product range. Next up will be the Storm in May, followed by the Spark series in June.…

Read more: Wileyfox begins move away from Cyanogen with Swift 2X Nougat update