Both Apple and Samsung’s latest offerings come with new time savers and life hacks. Here’s how to get more out of your new phone.
TAKE NOTES WITHOUT TURNING THE SCREEN ON
The Note7 has an always-on Super Amoled display, just like the S7 and S7 Edge. While this is useful for showing notifications and the time when the screen isn’t on, you can also use it to take quick notes. Just pull the S Pen out when the display is off to activate Screen-off Memo.
This lets you jot down quick notes in white text on the black display. If you want the note to remain visible like a sticky note on the always-on display, just pin it to the Always On Display screen. You can also store the memos in the Samsung Notes app directly from the Always On Display screen.
A GIF FOR EVERY SITUATION
The Smart Select feature in Air Command allows you to draw on screen to make selections of words and images, and even copy said selections and share them between apps. New to Smart Select on the Note7 is an animated GIF creator that lets you easily create animated GIFs of up to 15 seconds long from videos or Youtube clips. Just fire it up, draw a rectangle around the content you want to capture, and hit record.
FOREIGN LANGUAGES ARE EASY
Translate plugs into Google Translate and can translate words on screen, or even from images, in real time. Test it by taking a picture of a menu in a French or Italian restaurant, then hovering your S Pen over a word you don’t understand.
GET A MAGNIFIED VIEW OF THINGS
The Magnify feature is off by default. Turn it on by going into the Air Command settings menu. Once enabled, Magnify can be used to enhance a square on-screen area by 150 to 300 percent, selectable in 50 percent increments depending on the S-Pen’s position. You can hit links in magnify mode, too, which is useful when you’re browsing a non-mobile website and a pop-up with a tiny close button appears.
GET A MAGNIFIED VIEW OF PRESS HARDER (OR LIGHTER)
The Note7’s S Pen tip is just 0.7mm – 60 percent thinner than the Note 5’s. That makes it more precise. But what if you want a thicker line? No problem. Just press harder. The Note7’s S Pen recognises up to 4,096 levels of pressure, twice that of last year’s Note 5.
GLANCE BETWEEN APPS
Like Magnify, Glance is off by default and needs to be turned on in the Air Command settings menu. Once on, you can use Glance to minimise your current app, sending it to the bottomright corner. You can then hover the S Pen over the app thumbnail to swop it. Perfect for switching between directions and a map, or for when you want to check sports scores or keep tabs on an online auction.
THE SMART SELECT FEATURE IN AIR COMMAND ALLOWS YOU TO DRAW ON SCREEN TO MAKE SELECTIONS OF WORDS AND IMAGES.
NEW WAYS TO SLEEP
The default Clock app gets a brand new Bedtime tab. It reminds you whenever it’s time to turn in, based on your preferred waking-up time, and your preferred number of sleeping hours. The data from your sleeping habits will then be logged into the Health app.
ALL-NEW HOME BUTTON SHENANIGANS
Loyal iPhone users would agree that the solid, haptic Home button is a different animal from the former clickable versions. Now the phone will ask you to “Choose Your Click” during set-up – basically it asks for your preferred vibration strength and pattern. We like the third option, as it gives a strong and short feedback every time we “click” it during navigation.
BETTER MUSIC APP FOR SONG LOVERS
The “For You” tab will now take centre stage in the Music app, and it suggests music Apple thinks you’d enjoy. Songs now come with lyrics implemented under the track scrubbing bar, so there’s no need to manually stuff lyrics in the description box like its 2008.
You’re no longer restricted to creative text or emojis in iMessage. Handwritten messages are fun and easy to send. Songs and videos can be played directly from iMessage itself. The app also makes it easier to attach images from the Photos app, and it is integrated with the Camera app for on-the-fly captures. Don’t forget the fun message effects that put Powerpoint’s fadeaways to shame.
LOCATE YOUR CAR AUTOMATICALLY
Siri automatically drops a pin whenever you stop driving with your new iOS 10 smartphone. This little feature is a helpful tool for drivers who park in messy spots or badly designed estates, but it probably won’t be as helpful when locating your ride within a mall’s carpark.
READY FOR SMART HOMES
With the integrated Homekit support on iOS 10, your iPhone 7 becomes the customiser and controller for your smart homes, provided each smart furniture or appliance comes with Homekit support as well. If the bulb or fridge asks for home data, the app will appear in the Homekit label within your Privacy settings.
With deep-learning technology and its built-in facial-, object- and scene-recognition software, your iOS10-enabled iPhone 7 can create memorable albums for your events. You can even search for photos based on the content of the image itself. The Memories feature is the result of combining those photos into a clever little montage for your pleasure, and it can be adjusted to your liking.