Samsung’s iris scanner can be defeated with a photo and a contact lens

Any security system can be bypassed with enough effort. Fingerprint sensors aren’t perfectly safe if someone has access to your fingerprint or even a high-res photo of your finger. And now Samsung’s iris scanner has been defeated with a photo and a contact lens. The iris scanner is a big feature on the Samsung Galaxy S8, using infrared to scan your eye. It can be defeated by taking a photo of the eye at a distance in night mode on a point and shoot (night mode shoots in infrared) and putting a wet contact lens on the image. This will instantly unlock the S8. This is a lot of effort to go through to unlock a device and requires that the person have access to a high-res photo of the user’s eye, so this isn’t a big danger for regular people. Iris scanning is secure enough for regular use. But it’s always interesting to see what create ways people use to get by security. If your friends come at you with cameras pointed at your eye, now you know what’s going on.

ACSI Rates Smartphone Customer Satisfaction: iPhone SE at the Top, Followed by Galaxy S6 Edge+

The American Customer Satisfaction Index is an economic indicator that measures the satisfaction of consumers across the US economy. This is done through survey interviews of random customers based in the US, asking them to evaluate their recent experiences with various products.

The survey data is then used as input to ACSI’s cause-and-effect econometric model, which estimates customer satisfaction as the result of the survey-measured inputs of customer expectations, perceptions of quality and perceptions of value. For the ACSI Telecommunications and Information Report 2017, the results are based on interviews with 36,194 customers over 12 months who were chosen at random but ensured to be actual customers as ASCI practice dictates.

The results for customer satisfaction, and not to be confused with product popularity or sales, are surprising.

Customer satisfaction with cell phones in general is stable at an ACSI score of 79, which is unchanged Year-on-Year. The relatively lower ACSI for the industry compared to other durable goods and consumer electronics is said to be a result of high consumer expectations for mobile devices.

OEM-wise, Apple maintains the lead with an overall ACSI score of 81, unchanged since last year. Microsoft actually went up in ACSI score to tie in with Samsung at 80, which is surprising when you consider that Microsoft has not released any new smartphones in a while. This means that the Windows smartphones in existence continue to meet the expectations of the customer despite their age. Samsung’s second place tie also exists despite the confidence issues that it faced after the Note 7 debacle, though ASCI notes that Note 7 devices were not captured in this data, and neither where the S8 and S8+ as they were released at the end of data collection.

Narrowing down to individual smartphones, the very surprising winner as far as consumer satisfaction is concerned is the iPhone SE. The 4″ iPhone SE ranks in at the top with a score of 87, above smartphones which have displays far larger than the iPhone SE.

The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ ties in with the iPhone 7 Plus for second place at 86, while the S6 Edge takes the next place with a score of 85. Apple and Samsung continue to dominate this category, which is not surprising considering their popularity, with smartphones from other manufacturers trailing behind.

The table below shows the changes with the core smartphone experience and how satisfied consumers are with them when compared to the past year:

The report then moves onto wireless telephone services: overall, customer satisfaction with wireless telephone service climbed up by 2.8% to 73 as American carriers engaged in increasingly competitive price wars. ACSI states that the wireless industry is a good example of how competition impacts consumer choice as customers have wider in this industry at this point in time.

Interestingly but perhaps not surprisingly, smaller carriers are in the lead with an ACSI score of 79. TracFone Wireless comes in at second position with a score of 75, riding on its acquisition of Walmart Family Mobile from T-Mobile last year. US Cellular comes in third (if you count the smaller carriers as one single entity, which they are not), and it is only then do the big four of US carriers come in with regards customer satisfaction. AT&T even down to score which is slightly lower than the industry average!

When looking at the overall wireless experience, the telecom industry improved on its score for website satisfaction as well as call reliability. The regression is seen in the areas of store and service center staff, speed of store transactions and the difficulty in reading bills.

What are your thoughts on the trends seen in this report? How do you see consumer satisfaction correlating with brand popularity? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

5 reasons why the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is my daily driver

As you may already know, we, as reviewers, tend to get our hands on numerous smartphones throughout the year simply due to the nature of our job. So while we technically don’t have daily drivers in the traditional sense, my definition of a daily driver is the phone that I always return to once I’m done with a review of another device. In that sense, my daily driver for the foreseeable future is the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, and here are five reasons why.

See also:

Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus review: Almost to Infinity

April 18, 2017

Reason #1 – Display

Samsung's prowess in this department continues to shine through with what is easily the best display on a smartphone right now

It certainly wouldn’t be a post about the latest Samsung flagships without a mention of that gorgeous display, and it is one of the reasons why the Galaxy S8 Plus is my daily driver. Everyone has raved about this display, and Samsung’s prowess in this department continues to shine through with what is easily the best display on a smartphone right now.

The colors are amazing, it is extremely bright, vibrant, and full of contrast, and I love the way the glass spills over on the sides. Samsung has definitely come a long way from the experiment that was the Galaxy Note Edge, and on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus, it is something that you have to see in person to truly appreciate.

I personally prefer the larger screen of the Galaxy S8 Plus because I think it’s more immersive when it comes to gaming or video consumption. Some people may feel differently though, particularly because the larger display makes for a size that could be too big for some.

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That said, the difference isn’t significant when compared to devices like the Google Pixel XL, the iPhone 7 Plus, and the LG V20. These are all definitely big phones, but in terms of handling, the Galaxy S8 Plus is actually narrower than the lot (due to its 18.5:9 display). The really impressive part is that despite similar sizes, the Galaxy S8 Plus features a much larger display. The S8 Plus is definitely worth it because of the larger screen, even if the handling experience isn’t as comfortable as it is with its smaller sibling.

Reason #2 – Design

The design of the phone is what allows that display to really stand out and complements the phone extremely well, which leads me to my second reason. The curves look and feel very sleek, and it’s a perfectly symmetrical design all the way around.

The curves look and feel very sleek, and it's a perfectly symmetrical design all the way around

What I really love about this phone though is the way it looks from the front. The super thin bezels are fantastic, but what is also great is that there are no logos, branding, or buttons that ruin the front. It’s a super clean design that looks fantastic, and it certainly wouldn’t be a bad thing if more OEMs went down this route.

Reason #3 – Software

I never thought that the software experience would be a reason why I love a Samsung smartphone, but that is surprisingly the case with the new interface the company has introduced with the Galaxy S8 series. For years, Samsung’s software package has felt like a cluttered mess, but since the Galaxy S6, they have been making tons of improvements and it is finally at the point where the software matches the great hardware.

See also:

Is TouchWiz on the Galaxy S8 the best Android skin?

2 weeks ago

The new Samsung experience complements and meshes well with Android, whereas older versions felt like they had unnecessary layers that made everything clunky, overwhelming, and cumbersome to use. I love the new clean and minimalistic approach that Samsung is going for here.

The new icons sport a refreshing new design, and everything is mostly black and white with just a splash of color in areas like the notification shade and Settings menu – a stark contrast from older iterations of Touchwiz that were heavily coated in greens and blues.

There's a lot of attention to detail here, and it's the little things that make the biggest difference

There’s a lot of attention to detail here, and it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. For instance, you can swipe up from anywhere on the home screen to launch the app drawer, and you can also change the order of the navigation keys, which is great because Samsung’s implementation always felt completely backwards when they were using hardware keys.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that the software isn’t still chock full of features. While some of them are useful, none of them ever feel invasive as you have the option to disable the features you don’t plan on using.

A lot of customization options are also built into the software, including a Themes engine that lets you tweak everything from the icons, wallpapers, and general color scheme of the interface. The Always On Display is also more robust than ever, and even this can be customized with high quality themes or an image from your gallery.

Reason #4 – Hardware features

The next reason why the Galaxy S8 Plus is my daily driver is the hardware. Samsung always does a great job of including a lot of extra hardware features on their phones, and while I may not use every single one of them all the time, I do appreciate their inclusion and rather have them and not use them often than not have them at all.

Features that everyone will find useful right away or at least at some point during their time of owning one are the IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, wireless charging, and expandable storage. We don’t usually mention Bluetooth as a special hardware feature, but it definitely warrants a mention this time around, mainly because the Galaxy S8 devices are some of the first to ship with Bluetooth 5, which comes with improvements like twice the speed, four times the range, as well as the ability to connect two Bluetooth devices at once.

Reason #5 – Camera

It's not the fanciest camera out there, but you can always rely on it to deliver a good picture in almost every situation

Last but not least, the final reason is the camera. Samsung isn’t doing anything fancy with the Galaxy S8’s camera, but you can always rely on it to deliver a good picture in almost every situation. The dual pixel autofocus is easily still one of my favorite features about this camera, simply because of how fast and accurately it can focus on a subject. Plus, a faster autofocus means you’ll snap photos much quicker and take a lot more of them.

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Results are in: The best Android smartphone camera is…

2 weeks ago

Speaking of autofocus, the front-facing camera also comes with this feature. While I don’t think this shooter is amazing in terms of quality, it is a nice feature to have. I also like the Snapchat-esque filters that are built in which make the front camera a lot of fun to use.

So, those are some of the reasons why the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus is going to be my daily driver for the foreseeable future. I love the look of this phone, and I don’t mind the bigger size in favor of the extra screen real estate. It also checks all the right boxes in terms of specifications, performance, and overall features. Despite a hefty price tag, it certainly lives up to the hype and is worth every penny. It’s not perfect, but the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus fulfills the majority of my needs.