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Secrets of the Galaxy Note 2

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is bursting at the seams with features that have left many industry players and consumers gobsmacked. But, how do you know you are using the phablet to its full potential? LIRON SEGEV, aka the Techie Guy, gives us a few tips and tricks.

After its launch in South Africa last month, Samsung’s successor to its original Galaxy Note, the Note 2, has stirred up the market with some features that have left many other smartphone and tablet makers asking themselves: ‚”Why didn’t we think of that?‚”

But, with the new Android Ice Cream Sandwich operating system, a new TouchWiz skin and an upgrade to the S-Pen to name a few improvements over the original Galaxy Note, for many it is difficult to get the most out of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2.

Here are a few tips and tricks to get you started.

Battery Life Tricks

Power Saving: One of the most notable improvements on the Galaxy Note 2 is its clever use of the battery. The Power Saving app now manages everything from the active applications, to CPU speed, to the background, to the web browser. It is all easily accessible via the hidden pull-down screen.

3G off/ on: The same screen can be used to turn off 3G, this will slow your Internet connectivity speeds down, but will also save some battery.

S-Pen detection off: By default, the Galaxy Note 2 detects when the S-Pen is taken out and slotted back in. Switch this off to save a few precious minutes of battery.

Storage Tricks

MicroSD and Dropbox: A really simple trick save games, apps, music, video and work is to buy a relatively cheap 32GB SD MicroSD card. Once installed, it transforms the Note 2 into a storage beast.

If that is not enough, the Galaxy Note 2 lets you sign up to a 50GB DropBox account in under a minute. Once signed up, files can be accessed from practically any device anywhere in the word and at anytime. DropBox’s Share function also lets you share files and folders with friends and colleagues, making collaboration very easy.

An external drive: The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 can be connected to your computer via the included USB cable. Once connected, it appears as an additional drive under My Computer or on your desktop on Mac. This means it can also be treated as one, with you being able to drag and drop files like you would on a flash disk.

Clear cache: Just like a computer, the Note 2 can run out of memory as more applications and documents are opened. But, like a PC where you can manually kill running applications, the Galaxy Note 2 allows the same thing through the Applications Manager. On the Applications Manager, tap on an app that sucking your memory and tap the clear cache button. If that does not do the trick hit the X at the top right of the app to stop it running all together.

S-Pen Tricks

S-Pen Keeper: Pens get left behind all the time. But, Samsung thought of this and so included the S-Pen Keeper. If you walk away with the Note 2 in your hand sans pen, it alerts you.

Idea sketch: Just jot down what you feel like sketching and the Note 2 will detect your handwriting and bring up hundreds of sample images for you to trace or colour-in.

Screenshot anything: You can capture almost anything that displays on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2’s screen by holding down the button on the S-Pen and pressing the tip on the screen. It then imports the image into Sketch app and you can draw, make comments, edit and save your new image.

Many users don’t know that you can capture parts of a screen instead of cropping it afterwards. Once again press the button on the S-Pen, but this time draw a shape on the screen and whatever is inside the shape will be saved as the screen shot.

When in a hurry: If you hold down the Home button and the Power button at the same time, wait for the white flash and a screenshot is made.

Left handed v.s right handed: If you are a Leftie, you can change the S-Pen setting to recognise left handed users.

Visual Tricks

Too much colour: If the Super AMOLED screen is too overbearing tone it down in the Display Settings that lets you choose how vivid the colours are. I changed mine to “natural.””

Video multi-tasking: Being able to pop-out the video while it still playing and overlay that on top of your ‚””work‚”” so you don’t miss anything is very innovative of Samsung. One problem I did notice is that the Note 2 does not support all file formats, but this was quickly remedied by going over to the Google Play store and downloading a media player like MX Player.

Auto brightness: The default setting on Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is to use automatic brightness that adjusts to ambient lighting. I found is that the Note 2 wasn’t bright enough at times and so adjusted the screen brightness manually. This does however have a negative effect on the battery.

Output video: Unlike the original Note, the Galaxy Note 2 has the ability to use the MicroUSB port to output HD video and audio. All you need is a MHL-to-HDMI converter. (Not included). Once connected, the Note 2 connects directly to a TV for presentations, spread sheets, video and photos.

By the way: In the Settings menu, tap into Accessories and put a tick into the Surround box to get surround sound out of the device.

Miscellaneous Tricks

Call block: The blocking feature under Settings will restrict calls that you specify, you can specify the name, number and time that you don’t want to be disturbed.

Move data: There are many options to move data from one device to another. You can use Bluetooth, WiFi Direct which is tied into S-Beam. Enable this on both devices and either tap the devices together to initiate transfer or just ‚””beam‚”” the data across. Lightning fast.

Pro camera: if you enable HDR mode in the Camera Options, your photos will be optimised and look incredible. Only downside is that it’s a bit slower to process the photo.

* If you have any more tips you want to share, add your comment below.

* Article courtesy of

* Follow Liron on Twitter on @Liron_Segev

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