Samsung Galaxy S III: 15 power user tips

Samsung Galaxy S III

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It's no secret that the Samsung Galaxy S III is the must-have phone this summer. After all, this high-end Android phone has won over reviewers and consumers alike, selling more than 10 million units in less than two months on the market. PCWorld gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Much of the hype surrounding the Galaxy S III is well deserved?the phone comes packed with cool features, including its voice controls, gesture controls, and multimedia-sharing tools.

However, your Galaxy S III has some lesser-known features that could be more useful than its headline-grabbing capabilities. And, despite what Samsung's marketing campaign may have you believe, not all of these features are specific to the Galaxy S III?some are available, often via downloadable apps, on many high-end Android devices. Read on to learn 15 ways you can get the most out of your slick new smartphone.

Calls made easier

The Samsung Galaxy S III supports smart gestures.

Dialing phone numbers or even tapping a contact's name to place a call? That's so 2011. The Galaxy S III's motion controls allow you to place a call simply by moving your phone to your ear when you're viewing a contact or a text message.

The phone's voice controls also allow you to answer and reject calls by voice. And if you really feel the need to touch the screen, you'll be happy to know that the Galaxy S III speeds up this process, too: When you're viewing a contact, you swipe left to send a text and swipe right to initiate a call.

If you're not a Galaxy S III user, but you're still hankering to try out motion controls, you're not out of luck: Super Missed Call is a free (ad-supported) Android app that lets you place and reject calls by moving your phone.

Steady that snapshot

Apple has made a big deal about the Siri voice-control features included in the iPhone 4S.

But one thing Siri can't do is control the iPhone's camera?unlike the Galaxy S III's voice controls. When you enable the voice controls for the S III's camera settings (settings > language and input > voice command for apps > camera), you'll be able to say "Shoot," and the camera will automatically capture a snapshot.

Anyone who's captured an off-kilter shot caused by tapping and accidentally moving a touchscreen will appreciate this voice control as a way to steady a shot, and it can be used to snap self-portraits, too.

Anxious to try voice controls on your Android device's camera? Download Voice Remote Control Camera from Google Play.

Know who's calling, silently

Customized ringtones make it easy to know who's calling without a glance at your phone, but they work only when you're able to keep your phone's ringer on.

If you're in a location where a ringing phone is unacceptable, you could be out of luck?unless you've set up custom vibration patterns for certain contacts. Go to sounds > device vibration > create, and scroll to the bottom.

Looking to get this capability on your own Android phone? Head to Google Play and download Contact Vibrate or ViBe.

Wake up in style

Let's face it: We all have to get out of bed sometime. And what better way to face your day than to be prepared for all it has to offer.

Using the "Briefing" setting on your Galaxy S III's alarm clock, you can have your phone wake you by reading the time, weather and weather forecast, news headlines, and any appointments you may have lined up. To turn this feature on, go to alarm type in the settings menu and change it to briefing.

Not a Galaxy S III owner? Download WakeVoice ($2.99) from Google Play to get some of these features on your Android phone.

Hear your calls, crystal clear

No cell phone is going to offer perfect sound quality, but you can improve the Galaxy S III's call quality by customizing it to your needs.

The phone offers a personalized call-equalization setting, which tests each of your ears with a range of tones and frequencies to see how well you hear them. It then creates a customized EQ curve for each ear, allowing you to hear calls as clearly as possible. You can access this feature via settings > call sound EQ settings > personalized EQ.

Get the whole picture

Don't miss out on those big, scenic shots: Capture the entire thing using the Galaxy S III's panoramic mode.

The Galaxy S III's panoramic mode.

When you're in the camera, just switch your shooting mode to panorama,and you can pan across some gorgeous scenery as the Galaxy S III goes to work, snapping the photos you need and stitching them together to make a panoramic image.

Want to get this functionality on your Android phone? Try out Photaf Panorama (free) or Pano ($3.06), both available in Google Play.

Next: Video, web browsing, location, volume tips and more.

At a Glance
  • Despite some gimmicky features, the Galaxy S III is a well-designed, high-performance smartphone.


    • Solid camera
    • Speedy performance
    • Eye-catching design
    • Beautiful, large display


    • Gestures can be frustrating to use
    • S Voice doesn't always work
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