Samsung Galaxy S III: 15 power user tips

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Keep that video playing

If you've ever tried to keep a toddler entertained by playing a video on your phone, you know how handy it can be. Until said toddler presses a few buttons, minimizing or stopping the video?then all bets are off.

If you want to keep that child's attention where it should be?on the video, of course?lock the phone's touchscreen by simply pressing the power button once when a video is playing.

Looking to add this feature to your phone? Head over to Google Play and download Screen Lock / disable touch or the $0.99 Toddler Video Player Lock.

Send your own personal video

The All Share Play log-in screen on the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Samsung's AllShare Play feature has gained a lot of attention, and deservedly so: It sends the content that you see on your phone over to your big-screen TV (provided that your TV is compatible with Samsung's sharing technology).

This is a great way to watch a movie or see photos on a big screen, but it also offers a unique way to send a video message. Simply record a video of yourself on your phone, and then play it back on your TV with friends and family watching.

If you'd like to try this with another Android phone, you'll have to purchase a cable to connect your phone to your TV or have a DLNA-compatible phone and TV or set-top box.

Unlock the lock screen's potential

Feel like your lock screen doesn't serve much purpose? Unlock its potential by adding shortcuts to your favorite apps and widgets.

Head to settings > security > lock screen options, and you can choose which items you want to see on your lock screen. Keep in mind that you will have to disable the screen lock in order to add most of them.

And speaking of lock-screen options, don't forget to enable the camera shortcut while you're in that settings menu. Once you do, you'll be able to launch the camera simply by placing your finger on the lock screen and turning the phone sideways, into a landscape orientation.

If your Android phone doesn't offer these features, download WidgetLocker Lockscreen from Google Play; this $2.99 app offers many of the same tools.

Browse the web, privately

Don't want to leave tracks as you surf the Web on your Galaxy S III? Turn on Incognito browsing.

To do so, open the phone's on-board browser, and go to the Tabs window in the upper right. Once you're there, click the cloak-and-dagger man. Presto, you're browsing privately. When you close the browser, your history isn't saved.

If you want to get this feature on your Android device, it's in Google's Chrome for Android browser and in apps like InBrowser.

See two videos at once

I remember seeing picture-in-picture video at a friend's house back in the 1980s and being absolutely awed by the technology.

Samsung Galaxy SIII's Pop-up Play feature.

If only my 10-year-old self could get a look at the Samsung Galaxy S III's Pop-up Play feature, which allows you to view picture-in-picture video when using the phone's video player. You can even use it to create a small video window that can sit on top of other apps, so you can, for example, watch a movie while checking email.

Stick It! is a $1.79 app available in Google Play that will bring some of these features to other Android phones.

Share your location, directly

Whether you're on your way to meet someone, or waiting for someone to meet you, let them know where you are?exactly.

Open up the S III's texting interface, then press menu and select add text. When the next menu pops up, select location > Google Maps. From there, you can opt to send your exact whereabouts to a friend via SMS.

Want to try this on your Android device? Download WhatsApp Messenger from Google Play.

Save that screen

Take a screenshot. And another. And another. Taking screenshots with the S III is a snap?all you have to do is swipe the screen with your palm. So go ahead, take some more. And some more. And, well, you get the idea.

Other Android phones don't make it quite as easy. If you're using a phone running Android version 4.0 or later, you have to press and hold the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time.

Give that volume a boost

If you're struggling to hear a caller, but you've already maxed out the phone's volume, you're out of luck, right? Not so fast: Samsung's phone offers a way to add a little bit more volume.

When you're on a call, an extra-volume button appears on your screen, next to the contact phone. You can use the button to turn up the volume when your call isn't coming through as loudly and clearly as you might like.

If you don't yet have a Galaxy S III, you will likely have to root your device to get this kind of volume boost. If you're daring, you can find instructions for doing so online.

Make the phone a flashlight

Stop digging around your bag in the dark, hunting for your keys.

If you have your S III in hand, you've already got a flashlight. The Assistive Light widget?which you can add to your home screen by going to Apps, selecting the Widgets tab, and choosing Assistive Light?turns the camera's flash into a flashlight when you need it most. Some other Android phones have this widget as well.

Want to add the flashlight feature to your Android phone? Check out Tiny Flashlight + LED, available as a free download in Google Play.

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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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