Powering on my Galaxy S3 for the first time seemed like being presented with an endless supply of chocolates in a box. Coming from an older Samsung phone running Gingerbread, the new Android Jelly Bean operating system was heaven sent. And the new Galaxy S3 phone has a lot of features in itself that the learning curve for a new user like me is increased significantly.
This will be a good guide on how to maximize the options the Galaxy S3 has. It is one of the most feature-packed smartphones at this time. If you think we missed something, make sure to drop a comment below.
- Get up to 7 home screens. If you’re the type who wants faster access to frequently used apps, the Galaxy S3 is your best bet. It is very simple to add or delete home screens by using the pinch gesture as you zoom out to see all the home screens at once. Doing so would allow you add more screens or combine existing ones, or simply delete what you don’t need.
- Using gesture typing through Swype. Just like any other modern Android phones, the Samsung Galaxy S3 offers its own virtual keyboard for users who want to make typing an art,rather than a chore. Samsung’s gesture typing allows you to drag a path over the letters on the virtual keyboard instead of tapping each of them. After some practice, gesture typing can become a lot faster than the conventional typing. If given enough good corrections algorithm, gesture typing is also more accurate than standard typing as well. This feature can be found under the keyboard menu.
- Faster way to unlock using Face Unlock. This phone has several locking options but Face Unlock is perhaps the most convenient, though it may not be as secure as the other options. If you’re looking for a more secure unlocking option, do not use Face Unlock. It uses the front facing camera to capture your face without the need to press anything. Think of it as a more fun security option as it captures the geometry of your face. Anyone that looks similar to you may unlock your phone. Even your picture can be used to do it. Again, if you need a more hardcore security measure, choose other security option.
- Customizing the lock screen. Just like the previous Android operating systems before Jelly Bean, the Samsung Galaxy S3 features a custom lock screen that allows you to go directly to any app. The default icons in the lock screen include the phone caller list, Messaging hub, S Voice app, and the camera. You can also customize your own lock screen menu under settings.
- Faster access to search bar. The Galaxy S3 offers faster access to your search box when you are on a home screen through a special gestural shortcut. To do this, you need to hold down the Menu soft key for about a second or two so that you will be directed to Google search bar. There will be three icons that will be displayed at the bottom of the screen and one of them will be Google’s icon for search.
- Use folders to group apps. If you want to categorize your apps on the home screen, there’s no better way than to group them together in folders. To make a folder, hold a single finger down on a target app and drag it to another app shortcut.
- A handful of Motion controls. Samsung is often accused of “featuritis”–a word one author used to describe the South Korean company’s love to pile lots of features into each product. The motion controller bundle is a classic example of this approach. Your Galaxy S3 gives you options when certain moving gesture is accomplished. You can check out the full list of these features in the Motion category under Settings. Examples of these features is the convenience of zooming in and out of web pages by tilting the phone up and down, or by wiping the side of your hand on top of the screen to capture a screenshot.
- Use widgets. Android is relatively not very “user-friendly” compared to iOS, and it sometimes makes me wonder why people who are not that tech savvy buy a Galaxy S3. Since we are here not to judge, we must be thankful that Samsung has in mind how to make the user interface much “easier” for users by simplifying the home screens through the use of blocky preset widgets. You need to go to Home Screen Mode under Settings to switch between basic and easy modes.
- Changing fonts. You may get tired of the same old look of your Galaxy phone after some time. Changing the font used in the menu systems to a more informal and less serious look can help. There are several offerings for different fonts in Google Play. After getting your desired fonts, change to your preferred one by going to Display submenu under Settings.
- Using Smart stay to prevent phone from sleeping. This neat feature is very useful if you want your phone’s backlight to stay on while reading web articles or books. Your Galaxy S3 uses the front facing camera to check for your eyes when you are looking at the screen. If it detects your eyes, the backlights will remain on rather than switch to sleep mode. This feature can be activated within the Display submenu under Settings.
- Faster access to favorite music using Music Square. This is an interesting feature for those of you who seemed unable to find enough time to manage your playlists. Music Square analyzes all the music files and decides if they belong to certain categories like joyful, passionate, exciting, or relaxing. This way, you can pick whatever mood you like using the interface of Music Square and hit it right off. It can be a work of a genius, or simply a gimmick. You decide.
- Mix what’s the best sound you like using custom EQ setting in music player. Almost all Android phones have this feature, so it is but normal for Samsung to equip their Galaxy S3 with one. And just like any other custom equalizer settings, the one on this phone offers tons of presets for those who cannot be bothered with tweaking the output of their earpieces. This feature is an integral part of the music player so you will not miss it on the playback button bar.
- Recording radio through FM tuner. Although listening to FM radio is not that cool anymore today, it still is a practical choice over streaming music though internet radio on 3G, which greatly put a strain on power consumption. The Galaxy S3 needs the earphone as antenna to operate this feature, and the phone will give you an option to record radio to the memory unit. Great in making archive music files for saving them on a computer for future use if you like.
- Changing screen brightness option using the drop-down notification bar. The Galaxy S3 notification window offers several practical shortcuts like connectivity settings options for Mobile Data and Wi-Fi as well as brightness control. The stock battery of the Galaxy S3 offers a relatively shorter power endurance so changing the screen brightness through the drop-down notification bar is a great feature for easy access. The brightness control interface also has an “Auto” tickbox, allowing the phone’s ambient light sensor to adjust screen brightness automatically depending on how bright the screen needs to be. Of course, if you find the automatic sensor insufficient, you can always revert to manually changing the screen brightness yourself.
- Extending battery power by using dark backgrounds. The Galaxy S3 uses a more advanced lighting system in the background called AMOLED. This type of screen uses more power though compared to a conventional LED type. AMOLED does not use universal backlight when a large part of the screen is bright white, so switching to a dark background can help your phone’s battery to give you more juice.