The Galaxy Note 7 is here, and it’s one of the most feature-packed smartphones of all time. Here are fifteen tips and tricks for getting the most out of your phone, including hidden settings, new features and useful accessories.
1. Go underwater
The new Note is waterproof for the first time ever, so take advantage! It has an IP68 rating, which should allow it to survive immersion up to two metres for 30 minutes. The Wall Street Journal even did their entire review of the Note 7 underwater, showing you can take notes, shoot photos and much more without breaking the surface.
2. Insert a Micro SD card
The Note 7 has 64GB of on-board storage now, compared to 32GB on last year’s Note 5. Still, with the advent of 4K video, VR apps and ever-larger games, you’re still bound to run out at some point. You can stave off the inevitable a little longer with a Micro SD card, letting you double your storage space for the fraction of the cost of the phone.
Read our ultimate guide to Micro SD cards for the Note 7 >
3. Make some dank GIFs
Some people have said the Note 7 is essentially a ‘$800 GIF making machine’, and those people are right. You can use the stylus to select an area of the screen to turn into an animated GIF, perfect for sharing your favourite parts of videos or crafting dank memes. Select Smart Select from Air Command, then Animation, highlight the area you’re interested in, set the quality level and record for up to fifteen seconds. (Remember, that’s pronounced GIFs, not GIFs.)
4. Improve your battery life
Samsung’s battery saving mode has always been pretty good, but this year they’re gone even further to extend the feature. There are now three tiers of power saving — off, mid and max — from which you can pick and choose which features you want to enable. You can limit brightness and performance, prevent background data usage, and even run the display at a lower resolution. It’s pretty impressive stuff, and will make a big difference to the longevity of your battery.
Check out more Note 7 battery saving tips >
5. Shoot photos in RAW
Did you know you can shoot RAW images on your Note 7? Just enable the Pro mode, then visit Settings > Picture size and select the RAW capture option at the bottom. RAW image files contain more data than compressed JPGs, allowing you to do more post-processing to bring out the true beauty of your shots.
See more Note 7 photography tips >
6. Experience the world of VR
Samsung have made a brand new Gear VR headset for the Note 7, allowing you to watch live news and sports, experience exotic locales, play games and much more. Unlike the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, you can use the Gear VR headset anywhere; you don’t need to set up a room or tie yourself to a computer. Instead, just slide in your Note 7 and you’re away. The headset is currently available for pre-order, and should be one of the best introductions to virtual reality on the market.
Shop Galaxy Gear VR for Note 7 >
7. Remove bloatware
Like most phones these days, the Note 7 comes with a bunch of apps that you probably don’t want or need, that take up valuable space on your phone’s flash memory and visual space in your app drawer. Remove or disable them by pressing and holding on their icon, then dragging the icon to the rubbish bin in the upper left.
Find out more about removing Note 7 bloatware >
8. Take notes on the go
Did you know that you don’t need to unlock your Note to take notes or draw sketches? Just take out the S Pen and start drawing on the screen, and you’ll see your strokes appear in black and white — perfect for quickly jotting down a phone number from that pretty boy or girl you like. You’ll find them later in the Notes app.
9. Turn off app icon frames
For some reason (uniformity), Samsung like to wrap their app icons in white borders. Happily, you can turn off this feature if you like. Just visit Settings > Display > Icon frames and select Icons only.
10. Install a new keyboard
Samsung’s built-in keyboard is not as good as Google’s keyboard — that’s an opinion, but I’m pretending it’s a fact. Thankfully Android allows you to choose any keyboard you like, without the lag that seems to accompany third-party keyboards on other platforms (iPhone, cough cough). Install Google Keyboard from the Play Store, then follow its instructions to set it as your default. If you don’t like the Google keyboard, there are plenty of other worthy options too.
11. Customise the always-on display
The always-on display returns with the Note 7, letting you see the time, date and other information while your phone is locked. The feature has a minor battery penalty, but if you’re not running dry by the end of the day it’s definitely worth testing. Best of all, the new S View Standing Case now works with the always-on feature, letting you protect your screen from scratches and cracks without sacrificing useful information.
Shop S View Standing Case >
12. Protect your eyes from blue light
Following in the footsteps of Apple and Flux, Samsung have introduced a blue light filter on the Note 7. This mode reduces the amount of sleep-affecting blue light that’s produced by the screen, and can be automatically enabled after dusk. You’ll find the feature in Settings > Display > Blue light filter.
13. Unlock with your eyeballs
There’s an iris scanner built into the top of the Note, which you can use to log into your phone without doing anything more strenuous than opening your eyes. Open Settings > Irises, then follow the instructions to register your iris on the phone. When you’re done, click Turn on to enable the feature, and try it out at the lock screen!
14. Try styles for miles
If you’re not a fan of Samsung’s particular brand of Android, you can always return to something else you prefer. Open Settings > Themes, and you’ll find a wide array of free and paid themes that change your device’s look. You can return to something close to stock Android, themes that resemble phones by HTC or Sony, or something completely other. Have fun.
15. Rest easy with wireless charging
Wireless charging is the future, and it’s gotten a lot better of the last couple of years. It’s now nearly as fast as wired charging, and Qi charging pads are getting pretty cheap too. The best thing about wireless charging is how easy it is; you don’t have to keep worrying about plugging and unplugging all the time — just set down your phone on your desk and pick it up when you need it. Samsung have even released a BackPack battery case for the Note 7 that can also be recharged wirelessly.
Shop Qi wireless charging pads for Note 7 >
Thanks for checking out our favourite tips and tricks for the Note 7! Let us know what you thought in the comments below, and feel free to share your own best practices for others to enjoy.
Image credits: Samsung, Android Central, The Verge