As many of you know, Samsung just released two new smartphones – the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. Every time a new smartphone is released, we analyze and criticize the design. We discuss the looks of the device and the upgrades on the new phone. We look at the specifications and quickly compare its features against other devices. Once the new device is fully released and user’s manual in hand, can really delve deeper into its available features…many that you may not know about, especially if you dislike reading instruction manuals. Most users want to jump right in and start playing with their new device, and that is fine, however, you may be missing the ‘buried treasures’ of your new smartphone.
If you ever need to ‘translate’ or determine what an icon is that shows up in your notification display at the top of your Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge, just match it up with the chart below:
Charging your Device
One of the first things you have to do is charge your new device, and the new Galaxy S6 series has their Quick Charge feature. It will charge your device up to 40-percent in only 10 minutes – but there is one catch – your Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge must first be either first be turned completely off or simply have the display turned off in order for it to work. If you wake-up the device, it will slow down the charge.
Samsung has finally included built-in wireless charging into their new Galaxy S6 devices. They also included both of the main standards – Qi and PMA – so your device will charge on just about any wireless charger (sold separately). There is one important piece of information you must be aware of: “If you use the wireless charger in areas with weak network signals, you may lose network reception.” So if you experience this condition, you may miss calls or notifications while charging your device.
Samsung has really tamed down their TouchWiz options. Many were considered more a gimmick rather than actually helpful, but one great feature allows the user to adjust the screen mode. The default is set to ‘Adaptive display,’ but you can also set it to ‘Basic’ mode and if you like more vivid and saturated colors, then turn on ‘Dynamic’ mode. Samsung allows many adjustments so you can tweak your display from true color accuracy to full-blown ‘in-your-face’ bright colors.
One the favorite settings that you may want to turn on has to be Samsung’s ‘Smart stay’ option. This prevents the backlight from turning off while you are looking at the display. It will detect through the front-facing camera, if you are looking at the display – yeah, creepy I know, but a great feature, especially if you are reading an ebook.
Once-in-a-while a device will seemingly ‘lockup’ or refuse to respond to even the power button. In those rare and extreme cases, you will need to do a ‘hardware reset,’ to bring the device back to ‘life.’ While some devices have a little red, pinhole style button hidden on the back, with the new Galaxy S6 Series you simply hold in the normal power button for more than seven seconds to get your device to reboot.
Just by waving you hand over the front of the Galaxy S6 will wake-up your device so that you can check your notifications or even see what time it is – all without touching the device or unlocking it. To set it up, you must triple press the home button and press on the ‘Accessibility’ option to turn-on this feature.
Using Android allows one to customize their device and using the new Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge allows you to customize your icon grid pattern on your homescreens – there is a 4 x 4 option, a 4 x 5 option and if you really like a lot of icons on your homescreens you can go with 4 x 6. To access this feature/option, just give an empty spot on your homescreen a long press and you will enter the editing mode and select ‘Screen grid.’
We are all about removing unwanted apps from our devices, or at least remove them from sight. Since the Galaxy S5, Samsung has included Flipboard on the left most homescreen. If you don’t use it or simply do not want it there, give a long press on an empty spot on the homescreen and remove the ‘check’ above the Flipboard’s pane.
Now that we use our smartphones for most of our spontaneous picture taking, we need the camera to open spontaneously in order to capture that quick gesture by your baby or crazy face of your friend. Samsung has accomplished this goal with their new ‘Quick Launch’ feature – simply double press the home button and in less than a second, you will be in the camera app ready to snap a picture. Do this double-press anytime, no matter what you are doing and you will be ready to capture that special moment.
More fun with the camera – perhaps our second favorite inclusion on the Galaxy S6 Series is the ability to focus on a moving subject before you start taking pictures and the camera will ‘follow it’ wherever it goes. This is great from sporting events to bird watching – the S6’s camera will keep its AF on that object, allowing you to take multiple shots with the subject in focus. Just go into the camera apps settings and toggle on ‘Tracking AF.’
Custom Pro Mode
While Samsung has simplified the camera app, for those that like total control of their settings, Samsung has included a new ‘Pro’ shooting mode in the Galaxy S6 Series. The user can tweak the white balance, exposure, ISO, focus, metering and you can even create custom presets like those that you would find on a DSLR camera. Just press the ‘Custom’ button on the Camera app to recall your presets.
The ability to take a self-portrait with our smartphones has been around a long time. However, it has never been easier to do until the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge came along. Simply frame your image and place your finger over the heart rate sensor (below the LED flash) to take the picture…you can also tap the screen to take a picture, but why use two hands when one will do.
Right now, this is exclusive to the Galaxy S6 Series, but we hope that it will become a standard in all of their new devices. Which one of us has not purchased or used a free program like Samsung’s Smart Manager – such as Clean Sweep or Power Clean – to do a status check on our Battery, Storage, RAM or Security. With Smart Manager, you can press one button…CLEAN ALL…or do each item on an individual basis.
This feature was first available on the Galaxy S5 and thankfully, Samsung brought it forward to the new Galaxy S6 Series. It allows you to block your personal data in the Gallery, Video, Music, Voice Recorder, My Files and Internet. On the Settings screen, tap Privacy and safety – Private mode, and then tap the switch to activate it and setup a ‘private mode access code’ your first time. After that, you can view and access those hidden items only when ‘Private Mode’ is activated.
Send SOS Message
We hope that you never have to use this feature, but it is nice to know that it is available should you ever get in trouble. By going to the Settings screen and tapping Privacy and safety – Send SOS messages and then toggle it on, you can designate up to five Primary Contacts to receive your distress signal. Simply press the Power Key three times if you need help and those Primary Contacts will automatically know that you need help.
Under ‘Sounds and Notifications’ there is an option called ‘Sound Quality and Effects.’ One of the important features is ‘Adapt Sound,’ that allows you to plug-in a headset and run through a procedure to balance them to your S6 device, headset and your ears. It is a simple, one-time process and it will enhance your sound enjoyment.
If you were ever stranded somewhere with you smartphone as your only means of connection, you could turn on ‘Emergency Mode’ on your Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge to lengthen its battery life. The screen will change to gray tones, some apps and functions would be restricted – you can still make an emergency phone call, send out your current location to others, sound an emergency alarm, turn on the ‘flashlight’ and more.
With the new ‘Card-Style’ recent app window, it is easier than ever to launch Multi-Window, or two apps running at the same time. Just press on the highlighted button next to the ‘X’ to close it and whichever two you select will run at the same time.
Mulit-Window Pop-Up View
Samsung’s Galaxy S6 Series also allows you to do your multitasking one of two ways – the Split-Screen method or with Pop-Up View. The Pop-Up View allows you to resize each app window, making them small enough that you can have up to five of them on your display at one time and simply toggle back and forth between them. To activate this feature just drag the app diagonally from the top right or top left edge of the screen.
Flashlight Quick Toggle
One of the great benefits of always having your smartphone with you, is the ability to use it as a flashlight – something which I have done many times. Many of us download an app we so we can turn on our ‘LED Flashlight,’ but a separate app is no longer needed when you own the Samsung Galaxy S6 or S6 Edge. Samsung has provided a ‘flashlight’ symbol under the quick toggles – just pull down the Quick Toggle and press to illuminate the room.
Pin an Application
Another nice feature is the ability to ‘Pin’ an application to the homescreen. When you do this, you cannot go back to your homescreen or open up any other applications. This comes in very handy if you are gaming…you will not accidentally close your game in the middle of play. It could also come in handy for ebook reading as well. To unpin the application you must place a finger on each of the back and recent keys simultaneously.
The Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge can use a combination of Wi-Fi and your mobile network simultaneously to download files larger than 30 MB. On the Settings screen, tap More connection settings – Download booster. This feature works well if you have a good internet speed, but if either the Wi-Fi or the network connections are unstable, the speed will be affected. Large files can heat up the device and if it exceeds a set temperature, the Download Booster will turn off.
Go to About Device – click on the Build Number 7 times and the Developer Options (becomes enabled) – click on it and you will see many new options to work with.
As many of you know, Samsung has opted to include less bloatware apps, but that doesn’t mean that you will not have access to some of those apps from Samsung’s Galaxy AppStore where you can download them to your device. These apps are optimized for your Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, so check them out.
Enter Text (Keyboard)
There are many options and tricks available with the Samsung keyboard. You can change the keyboard layout, you can change the size of the keyboard and look up definitions in the dictionary. You can set up shortcuts, such as entering ‘gp’ would type in the words ‘gadgets portal.’ You can increase/decrease the size of the text by using the volume control or even pinch and zoom.
Galaxy S6 Edge Notification
Exclusive to the Galaxy S6 Edge is the notification area on the ‘edge’ of the device – you can direct it to either the right or left side depending on your preference. The top notification is the normal weather-clock-date-battery information and the bottom display shows the night clock and date.
Galaxy S6 Edge People
You can select up to five of your favorite contacts that will side out when you swipe your finger in from the edge – you can assign a color to them for notifications (see below). You can also call, email or text each one of those five directly from the main display.
Galaxy S6 Edge Lighting
After you setup ‘People edge,” and assign up to five contacts a specific color, if your device is lying face down and one of those five contacts either calls or sends you an email or text, the edge of the device will glow with their color. You can easily dismiss the notification by placing your finger on the heart rate sensor for 2 seconds.
Galaxy S6 Edge Quick Reply
The color notifications are cool enough, but if you decide to reject a caller by placing your finger on the heart rate sensor for two seconds, you can also have your S6 Edge send back a message that you preselected to your contact that you are busy and could not take their call now.