10 Samsung Galaxy S III Tips and Tricks

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The Samsung Galaxy S III is one of the most popular smartphones in the world, with good reason. We’ve given a slew of Editors’ Choice awards, 4.5-star reviews, and the “Best Phone of 2012″ award to Samsung’s masterpiece, which combines a big screen, powerful processor, and nearly-universal availability to be the benchmark by which other Android smartphones are measured.

Samsung made some changes to the Android OS which enabled some unusual features on the Galaxy S III. They aren’t all obvious, and they aren’t all shown in Samsung’s witty commercials. These tips and tricks are the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can do with your Galaxy S III, but they’ll hopefully show you something new about your favorite smartphone.

Audio Tricks

Customize your audio.
Probably the coolest Galaxy S III exclusive feature, in my mind, customizes phone call audio to your personal sense of hearing. Everyone’s ears are different; for instance, as we get older, we have more trouble hearing high frequencies. Samsung’s Personalized EQ pumps up the frequencies that sound best to you.

Personalized Calls

To use Personalized EQ, click on your phone dialer. Then hit Menu, Call Settings, In-call Sound EQ settings, Personalized EQ. Plug in headphones to run the audio check, and the phone will alter the audio to a personalized setting. In my experience, this actually made a difference in the quality of calls.

Hear your phone ring in your purse.
Anyone who carries a phone in a bag knows that the bag can really muffle your ringtone. Samsung has another hidden setting to fix this. From your phone dialer, choose Menu, Call Settings, and turn on Increase Volume in Pocket. When the phone is in a dark location such as a pocket or bag, it’ll ring more loudly.

Increase Volume

Turn off that annoying “bloop” noise.
Don’t you hate how the Galaxy S III makes that “bloop” noise when you press buttons? Who thought that was a good idea? Eradicate it! Go to Settings, Sound, and turn off both Keytones and Touch Sounds. If you’d rather the phone vibrate slightly rather than “bloop” when you press buttons, turn “Haptic feedback” on. None of this will affect your ringtones, music, or game sounds—it’ll just get rid of that incessant blooping.

Bloop Noise

Shut up the phone quickly
Don’t you hate it when your phone is making noise and you’re doing something else? Two settings on the Galaxy S III let you shut up your phone quickly. Go to Settings, Motion. Turn on Motion Activation. Scroll down, then pick Turn Over to Mute/Pause and Palm Touch to Mute/Pause. Now, if your phone rings or is playing music, you can silence it by either covering the entire screen with your hand, or flipping it face-down on the table.

Touch to Mute

(Next page: Screen Tricks)

Screen Tricks

Activate Smart Stay to prevent the screen going black.
Smart Stay uses the phone’s camera to make sure the screen never goes black while you’re looking at it. Really, everyone should have it on all the time. To activate Smart Stay, go to Settings, Display and pick Smart Stay. 

Smart Stay

Keep the Menu and Back buttons on.
I use a lot of phones, so I have trouble memorizing the locations of invisible buttons. If you keep forgetting which side of the Home button is Menu and which is Back, there’s a setting for this. Go to Settings, Display, pick Touch Key Light Duration, and pick Always On. The menu and back buttons will stay illuminated whenever the screen is on (and they’ll turn off when the screen is off.)

Touch Keys

Unlock to your favorite apps.
When you turn on your Galaxy S III’s screen, you see those Dialer, Mail, S Memo, and Camera buttons at the bottom. First of all, you know that if you tap one of those and drag up, it’ll directly open that app, right? Did you also know that you can change those four apps? Go to Settings, Security, Lock Screen Options. Make sure Shortcuts is set to On, and then click on the word Shortcuts. You can now change those four default shortcuts to anything you want—Gmail, for instance. Elsewhere in Lock Screen Options you’ll find other useful widgets, like the ability to put AccuWeather data on your lock screen.


(Next page: Other Tricks)

Other Tricks

Tap to share.
There’s not a tremendous amount you can do with NFC in the U.S., as our mobile payments infrastructure is more infra than structure. But you can have a lot of fun with the near-field networking technology and a couple of Galaxy S IIIs. Under Settings, Wireless and Network, pick More Settings. Then turn on NFC and S Beam. With this option turned on and two Galaxy S III phones, you can beam pictures, music, and contact cards between phones by holding their backs about an inch apart from each other. Try it.

S Beam

Save data.
This is a third-party app, but it’s one I think most people should install if they’re on limited data plans. Onavo Extend, available in Google Play, runs in the background and compresses your data up to 80 percent as it goes over the Internet. It can really make a difference if you’re surfing on a 1GB data plan. You pay a bit in battery life and data speed, but I’ve found the tradeoff more than worth it.

Onavo Extend

Save battery.
If you spend a lot of time with the screen on, you can change a few settings to make the screen and CPU use less power. Go to Settings, then Display, and turn on Auto Adjust Screen Tone. Back out, turn on Power Saving, and turn all the checkboxes on. This will reduce the power used by your screen and CPU. If slowing down the processor causes stutters or gumminess (especially in games), go back into Settings, Power Saving, and turn both CPU Power Saving and Screen Power Saving back off.


By Sascha Segan, PCMag

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