The Samsung Galaxy S3 is one of the most popular smartphones in the world, with good reason. It’s no Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 4, but Samsung’s former flagship mobile combines a big screen, powerful processor, along with nearly-universal availability, and it’s 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 S3, although they aren’t all obvious. This collection of tricks is the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you can do with your Galaxy S3, but it will hopefully show you something new about your favourite smartphone.
First off, we’ll look at some audio tricks, then some screen tips, before moving on to some miscellaneous hints for your handset.
Customise your audio
Probably the coolest Galaxy S3 exclusive feature, in my mind, customises 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 Personalised EQ pumps up the frequencies that sound best to you.
To use Personalised EQ, click on your phone dialler. Then hit Menu, Call Settings, In-call Sound EQ settings, Personalised EQ. Plug in headphones to run the audio check, and the phone will alter the audio to a personalised 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, but Samsung has another hidden setting to fix this. From your phone dialler, choose Menu, Call Settings, and turn on Increase Volume in Pocket. When the phone is in a dark location such as a pocket or backpack, it’ll ring more loudly. Clever, eh?
Turn off that annoying “bloop” noise
Don’t you hate how the Galaxy S3 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.
Shut the phone up quickly
Don’t you hate it when your phone is making noise and you’re doing something else? Two settings on the Galaxy S3 let you shut your phone up quickly. Go to Settings, Motion, and 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.
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.
Keep the Menu and Back buttons on
I use a lot of phones, so I have trouble memorising 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).
Unlock to your favourite apps
When you turn on your Galaxy S3’s screen, you see those Dialler, 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, 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.
Tap to share
You can have a lot of fun with the near-field networking technology and a couple of Galaxy S3s. Under Settings, Wireless and Network, pick More Settings. Then turn on NFC and S Beam. With this option turned on and two Galaxy S3 phones, you can beam pictures, music, and contact cards between handsets by holding their backs about an inch apart from each other. Try it.
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 when you’re surfing the net it compresses your data by up to 80 per cent. It can really make a difference if you’re on a 500MB (or even less) data plan. It costs a bit in terms of battery life and data speed, but I’ve found the trade-off more than worth it.
If you spend a lot of time with the screen on, you can change a few settings to make the display 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 processor. If slowing down the CPU 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.