Sam­sung Gal­axy Note8 tips and tricks

RYAN WHITWAM’s tips will help you get more from your phone

Android Advisor - - Contents -

Sam­sung has come back from last year’s Note 7 disas­ter with the Gal­axy Note8, a phone so jam-packed with fea­tures, you might still be learn­ing things about it when the time comes for your next up­grade. The Note8 in­cludes all the cool stuff Sam­sung bakes into all its phones, and then adds all

the S Pen stuff. So why not ac­cel­er­ate your learn­ing process? Here are 10 tips that will guide you to the very best fea­tures the Note8 of­fers.

1. Dis­play ad­just­ments

The Gal­axy Note8 has one of the best dis­plays avail­able on a smart­phone, and you can make a few ad­just­ments to tweak it just right for your eyes. Head into set­tings and find Dis­play > Screen mode.

There are four dif­fer­ent modes from which to choose, in­clud­ing Adap­tive, AMOLED cin­ema, AMOLED photo, and ba­sic. There’s a demo pic­ture at the top of the screen so you can see how each one will look. Adap­tive mode gives you the most op­tions. At the bot­tom of the list you’ll find a slider to make the colours cooler or warmer. Tap the

ad­vanced check­box, and you get slid­ers for the red, green, and blue chan­nels.

You should also check out the ‘Screen zoom and font’ menu. The de­fault zoom level is a lit­tle large for a de­vice as big as the Note8, but you can lower it by drag­ging the slider left so more con­tent fits on the screen. If you have trou­ble see­ing ev­ery­thing at the de­fault zoom, you can also make it larger by drag­ging the slider to the right.

2. Tweak your Note8 nav­i­ga­tion but­tons

Like the Gal­axy S8, the Note8 has on-screen nav­i­ga­tion but­tons. You can change the way th­ese but­tons work in Set­tings > Dis­play > Nav­i­ga­tion bar.

There’s a ‘Hide’ but­ton on the far left of the nav­i­ga­tion bar that makes the but­tons ac­ces­si­ble only with a swipe up. So, if you don’t in­tend to use this fea­ture, turn the but­ton off in this menu. And if you pre­fer the stan­dard An­droid but­ton or­der (back – home – overview) rather than Sam­sung’s (overview – home – back), you can change that here as well.

You’ll need to ex­per­i­ment with the pres­sure­sen­si­tive home but­ton, which works even when the phone is in full-screen mode or asleep. The de­fault pres­sure level is 3 out of 5, but you can make it eas­ier (or harder) to trig­ger. You can also set the hard-press home but­ton to skip the lock screen en­tirely when your phone is not se­curely locked.

3. Cus­tom­ize Note8 Air Com­mand

The Note8’s Air Com­mand popup is where you ac­cess all your favourite apps and fea­tures for the phone’s S

Pen. All you need to do is re­move the S Pen from its holder to bring up the float­ing Air Com­mand icon. But what if you don’t want it to al­ways be there on the screen? That re­quires a trip into the set­tings.

To make changes to how Air Com­mand works, head into Set­tings > Ad­vanced fea­tures > S Pen, and then scroll down to the Air Com­mand sec­tion. If you want to keep Air Com­mand from open­ing ev­ery time you take out the S Pen, change the Re­moval op­tion to ‘Do noth­ing’. You can still open Air Com­mand at any time by press­ing the side but­ton on your S Pen. It’s also a good idea to take a look at what short­cuts are in­cluded in Air Com­mand. Tap the Short­cuts link in this menu, and drag what­ever apps and S Pen fea­tures you want over to the right. To get rid of one, tap the mi­nus icon.

4. Edit your Note8’s Edge Panel

The Edge Panel is al­ways avail­able on the Note8 as a translu­cent bar on the right side of the dis­play. If you want to move it or change what’s avail­able, you’ll have to dig into the set­tings a bit. Go to Set­tings > Dis­play > Edge screen > Edge pan­els to see what’s cur­rently en­abled.

Sam­sung app store. Tap the check­box above each panel to turn it on or off, and long-press on any panel to en­ter re­order­ing mode. Many of the pan­els – for ex­am­ple, weather and the clip­board man­ager – have ad­di­tional set­tings to con­fig­ure. Look for the edit but­ton at the bot­tom to ac­cess those set­tings.

To change the ap­pear­ance or lo­ca­tion of the edge panel han­dle, tap the menu but­ton and se­lect ‘Han­dle

set­tings’. This screen lets you change the lo­ca­tion, opac­ity, and size of the han­dle.

5. Make an­i­mated GIFs with Note8 Smart Se­lect

Even if you make tweaks to Air Com­mand, you’ll want to keep Smart Se­lect in the mix. Among other tricks, this S Pen fea­ture lets you grab a cropped screen­shot in just a few sec­onds. Af­ter launch­ing Smart Se­lect, you’re shown a se­lec­tion bar at the top of the screen with op­tions for square, round, lasso, and GIF se­lec­tions. The first three are just reg­u­lar screen­shots, so use the S Pen to high­light what you want. You can also draw on the re­sult­ing image be­fore sav­ing.

The GIF cap­ture is great for shar­ing quick video clips with friends, and it works sim­i­larly to the static

cap­ture meth­ods. Move the se­lec­tion box where you want to cap­ture the GIF, and check your qual­ity set­ting at the bot­tom. Hit record when you’re ready to go, and stop when you’ve recorded what you want. You can then draw di­rectly on top of the GIF, and save or share the re­sult­ing an­i­ma­tion. Bot­tom line: it’s one of the quick­est, most con­ve­nient tools around for mak­ing an­i­mated GIFs.

6. Us­ing Note8 hand­writ­ing in­put

The S Pen makes draw­ing and an­no­tat­ing a breeze, but what about in­putting text? Sam­sung has built hand­writ­ing in­put into the core of the Note8, so you can use the S Pen in al­most any text field. To open hand­writ­ing in­put mode, sim­ply hover the S Pen over a text field and tap the blue icon that ap­pears.

A writ­ing area will re­place your key­board, and then you can go to town.

Sam­sung’s hand­writ­ing recog­ni­tion sys­tem is ex­tremely ac­cu­rate, so feel free to go as fast as you like. When­ever you pause, the in­put field will tran­scribe what you’ve writ­ten into text. Just make sure you leave enough room be­tween words to make it ob­vi­ous there’s a space, and you shouldn’t have any is­sues. When you’re done adding text, tap the Done but­ton, and it will all be dropped into the field you se­lected pre­vi­ously.

7. Note8 screen-off memo

If you need to jot down a quick note, don’t even bother un­lock­ing your phone. Pop out the S Pen, and

the Note8 au­to­mat­i­cally en­ters screen-off memo mode. You get a black screen with a ba­sic pen tool and an eraser. Write your note, and tap the but­ton in the cor­ner to save it to the Sam­sung Notes app. You can set up this app to sync to the Sam­sung Cloud so you don’t lose your notes.

8. Pop-up view for more pow­er­ful mul­ti­task­ing

All An­droid phones run­ning the Nougat sys­tem or higher have split-screen mode, but Sam­sung goes one bet­ter on the Note8. You can open al­most any app as a re­siz­able float­ing win­dow in Pop-up View. There are two ways to launch this. The eas­i­est is to open the overview screen and long-press on the app you want to open in a win­dow. Drag it down to

the mid­dle of the screen and re­lease in the in­di­cated box to launch it as a Pop-up. Al­ter­na­tively, you can open an app in Pop-up from split-screen mode. Tap in the mid­dle be­tween the two apps and press the Pop-up View but­ton.

When an app is in Pop-up View, it can be moved and re­sized freely just like a win­dow on your com­puter. The but­tons at the top of the float­ing win­dow let you close, max­i­mize, and min­i­mize the app. Min­i­mized apps stay on the screen as a float­ing icon, which you can tap at any time to re­open.

9. Turn off Sam­sung’s Bixby but­ton

Sam­sung’s Bixby voice as­sis­tant means well, but the place­ment of the phys­i­cal but­ton can be an­noy­ing. It’s on the left edge of the phone, right un­der the

vol­ume rocker. An accidental press opens the Bixby Home panel, in­ter­rupt­ing what you’re do­ing. Luck­ily, how­ever, a few tweaks can make Bixby less an­noy­ing while pre­serv­ing func­tion­al­ity.

In Bixby Home, check your set­tings and ac­ti­vate the Bixby Voice fea­tures. This can be ac­cessed by a long­press of the Bixby but­ton. Back on the main Bixby screen, tap the set­tings icon at the top, and turn the tog­gle for launch­ing Bixby via the but­ton to off.

While it may seem like you’re dis­abling Bixby, you’re just mak­ing it harder to trig­ger ac­ci­den­tally. You can long-press the Bixby but­ton at any time to is­sue a voice com­mand, al­though it doesn’t work in all apps. A sin­gle tap of the but­ton doesn’t do any­thing, but you can still ac­cess Bixby Home with a short-press fol­lowed by a long-press.

10. Note8’s one-handed mode

The Gal­axy Note8 is a big phone, so it can be ar­du­ous to use one-handed. Still, there’s an op­tion for one­handed mode un­der Set­tings > Ad­vanced Fea­tures

> In ad­di­tion to turn­ing it on, you should check the op­tions for ac­ti­vat­ing it. You can use a ges­ture (swipe up from the bot­tom cor­ner of the screen) or a but­ton press (triple-press the home but­ton). One-handed mode shrinks the dis­play down into the cor­ner, mak­ing ev­ery­thing eas­ier to reach. The ar­row but­ton switches the screen to the other cor­ner, and tap­ping out­side the screen area re­turns to nor­mal mode.

Th­ese tips should get you well on your way to be­ing a Note8 ex­pert, but there’s a lot more to learn. Sam­sung re­ally does make ‘kitchen sink’ phones.

Yes, you can con­trol accidental Sam­sung Bixby ac­ti­va­tion

Pop-up View gives you flex­i­bil­ity over app place­ment on the large Note8 dis­play

The Note8’s screen off memo fea­ture lets you quickly jot down hand­writ­ten notes, with­out un­lock­ing your phone

Hey, you have a pen, so why not use hand­writ­ing recog­ni­tion to tran­scribe dig­i­tal ink?

Note8 Smart Se­lect: come for reg­u­lar image crop­ping (as shown here), but stay for the sim­ple an­i­ma­tion cre­ation

You can edit your Edge Panel apps (shown on the far left) via gran­u­lar con­trols in Set­tings

You can cus­tom­ize the Note8 Air Com­mand fea­ture by go­ing to Set­tings > Ad­vanced fea­tures > S Pen

For ev­ery­one frus­trated by Sam­sung’s nav­i­ga­tion but­ton lay­out, you can seek re­lief in this set­tings menu

The Gal­axy Note8 af­fords gran­u­lar con­trol over ex­actly how its AMOLED dis­play will look

The Note8’s screen off memo fea­ture lets you quickly jot down hand­writ­ten notes, with­out un­lock­ing your phone

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