Ten (or So) Ways to Make Your Phone Totally Yours - The Part of Tens - Samsung Galaxy S7 For Dummies (2016)

Samsung Galaxy S7 For Dummies (2016)

Part VI. The Part of Tens


Get the most out of your phone.

Protect yourself if you lose your phone.

Avoid losing your phone in the first place.

Discover what features will be coming in future versions.

Chapter 16. Ten (or So) Ways to Make Your Phone Totally Yours


Getting the most out of your phone

Checking out the extra cool features that make this phone so good

Making a personal statement

A smartphone is a very personal device. From the moment you take it out of the box and strip off the packaging, you begin to make it yours. By the end of the first day, even though millions of your type of phone may have been sold, there’s no other phone just like yours.

This is the case because of the phone calls you make and because of all the options you can set on the phone and all the information you can share over the web. Your contacts, music files, downloaded videos, texts, and favorites make your phone a unique representation of who you are and what’s important to you.

Even with all this “you” on your phone, this chapter covers ten or so ways to further customize your phone beyond what this book covers. Some of these suggestions involve accessories. Others involve settings and configurations. All are worth considering.

Using a Bluetooth Speaker

In just a matter of a couple of years, Bluetooth speakers have gone from an interesting (and expensive) option to mainstream. Prices have come down quickly, and the variety of designs for the speakers has grown dramatically. In all cases, you get the benefit of being able to play your music on your phone without the inconvenience of having headphones. You also get a speakerphone, although the quality of the audio can vary dramatically from Bluetooth speaker to Bluetooth speaker.

This accessory is best purchased in a brick-and-mortar store where you can listen to a variety of choices. Although syncing with a number of speaker choices can be tedious, it’s the only way you’ll know if a particular Bluetooth speaker meets your needs.

Although sound quality is essential, the folks in the industrial-design department have been having a lot of fun coming up with ways for the Bluetooth speaker to look. Figure 16-1 shows a range of options for the most popular form factors.


FIGURE 16-1: Popular Bluetooth speaker form factors.

The most popular options are basically a rectangle, the can style, and the sound bar. Each company has its own twist, but these options represent what you can see in the high-volume stores.

Fortunately, you live in a world where designers can get creative. Figure 16-2 shows some of the more exceptional designs.


FIGURE 16-2: Unusual designs for Bluetooth speakers.

The House of Marley, for example, uses unconventional design and recycled material to stand out in the market. CRAZY BABY makes the Mars series, which includes a levitating speaker. SPI Home produces a Bluetooth speaker built into a variety of garden statues, including a pelican.

There is no shortage of imagination when it comes to Bluetooth. Be sure to consider all your options. Before you settle on the mainstream options at the local mall, do some research off the beaten path. You’ll be amazed at the range of options.

Cruising in the Car

You may have gotten the idea that I am concerned about your safety when you’re using your phone. True, but I’m also concerned with my safety when you’re using your phone. I would like you to have a Bluetooth speaker in your car when driving in my neighborhood, if you please.

Some cars have a built-in Bluetooth system within the car stereo that connects to a microphone somewhere on the dash as well as to your car speakers. It’s smart enough to sense an incoming call and mutes your music in response.

If you don’t have such a setup, there are lots of good options for car speakers. Figure 16-3 shows an example.


FIGURE 16-3: Bluetooth car speaker.

A closely related accessory is a car mount. A car mount will hold your phone in a place you can easily observe as you drive. The mount attaches to an air vent, the dashboard, or the windshield.

You could always put your phone on the seat next to you, but that’s for amateurs. Instead, offer your phone a place of honor with a car docking station. It makes accessing your phone while you drive safer and easier. Some see getting a car mount as a luxury, but my view is that if you need to upgrade your navigation software, you need a vehicle mount.

warning Be sure to put away the docking station when you park. Even an empty docking station is a lure for a thief.

Figure 16-4 shows the Samsung Vehicle Navigation Mount. It costs about $100, and you can get it at your carrier’s store, RadioShack, Best Buy, or online at Amazon.com. It includes a wireless charging pad.


FIGURE 16-4: The Samsung Vehicle Navigation Mount.

More economical vehicle mounts are available that do not include a wireless charging pad. Figure 16-5 shows an example from SlipGrip that costs closer to $30.


FIGURE 16-5: A SlipGrip vehicle mount.

This version is special because it is specifically designed to work with larger protective cases. It can be a hassle to have to remove the protective case from your phone to insert it in a vehicle mount. In addition to a car mount, SlipGrip also offers a mount for your bicycle.

tip When shopping for a car mount or a bike mount, be sure to consider the extra girth associated with a case. If you don’t use a case (which is a mistake), you just need to be sure that the mount is compatible with a Galaxy S7. If you have a case on your phone (which is anything but a mistake), be sure the mount will work with the Galaxy S7 and the case.

Considering Wireless Charging Mats

Those industrial designers have certainly gone crazy with Bluetooth speakers. They have also been having a field day on wireless charging options. For example, the Samsung Vehicle Navigation Mount seen in Figure 16-4 has a built-in charger.

Most wireless charging mats are designed with the idea that you can place your phone on the mat, and technology will do the rest. You can get a standard Samsung wireless charging pad, shown in Figure 16-6, for about $50. Samsung also offers the Fast Charging pad, which will charge your phone from stone-cold dead to 100 percent in just a few hours. This capability costs a little more, closer to $70.


FIGURE 16-6: Samsung wireless charging pads.

If these are too conventional for you, more options are out there as well. Figure 16-7 shows some of the more interesting options. You can go colorful, high-tech, or back to nature. Your choice.


FIGURE 16-7: More exotic wireless charging pads.

Look for more options going forward!

Your Phone Is Watching You

One of the biggest drains on your battery is the backlight on your screen. Older, dumber smartphones have a preset time when they automatically shut off. On those phones, you need to push a button to bring the screen back to life.

You, on the other hand, had the foresight and wisdom to buy a Samsung Galaxy S7 that has Smart Stay. If the front-facing camera recognizes your pretty/handsome face, it keeps the light on as long as you are looking at the screen.

To turn this option on, go to Settings and open up the Display and Wallpaper settings. Turn Smart Stay on, and you are ready to rock and roll.

Making a Statement with Wraps

The Samsung Galaxy S7 is attractive, but if you want to spruce it up even more, you can get a wrapping — for example, from Skinit at www.skinit.com. These designs can express more of what is important to you. As a side benefit, they can protect your phone from minor scratches.

Figure 16-8 shows some design options for a skin. It comes with cut-outs for speakers, plugs, microphones, and cameras specifically for the Galaxy S7. Putting the skin on is similar to putting on a decal, although it has a little give in the material to make positioning easier. The skin material and adhesive are super high-tech and have enough give to allow klutzes like me (who struggle with placing regular decals) to fit the nooks and crannies of the phone like an expert.


FIGURE 16-8: Some sample wrap designs.

If you’re not crazy about Skinit’s designs, you can make your own with images of your own choosing. Just be sure that you have the rights to use the images!

You Look Mahvelous: Custom Screen Images

In addition to the shortcuts on your extended Home screen, you can also customize the images that are behind the screen. You can change the background to one of three options:

· Choose a neutral background image (similar to the backgrounds on many PCs) from the Wallpaper Gallery. Figure 16-9 shows a selection of background images that are standard on your phone.

· Any picture from your Gallery can be virtually stretched across the seven screens of your home page. (Read more about the Gallery in Chapter 9.)

· Opt for a theme that changes the background and fonts.


FIGURE 16-9: Standard wallpaper sample images.

The pictures from your Gallery and the Wallpaper Gallery are images that you can set by pressing and holding the Home screen. In a moment, you see icons appear. Select Wallpapers and pick the image you want.

The themes take it to a different level. In addition to the background, the phone will change the fonts and many of the basic icons. You see the default theme in Figure 16-10.


FIGURE 16-10: Theme options.

A few samples also come on your phone. You may be a pink kind of person or a space nut. If these options aren’t to your taste, tap the Store link at the top of the page to see a range of options. If you do not see one you like today, be sure to check back as developers are adding new themes all the time.

Empowering Power Savings

Imagine that you’re flying on a short hop from Smallville to Littleton. You are about to take off when air traffic control tells the pilot that the plane needs to wait on the tarmac. Unfortunately, you are low on battery. The pilot says that it is okay to use your mobile phone.

Because you do not know how long this will take, you pull out your phone, go to Settings, and tap Battery. From here, you put it in Power Savings Mode. This slows down a lot of cool features. For example, it dims the screen, slows the processors and mobile data speeds, and kills the vibration mode. This extends the battery life with minor sacrifices to what you can do with your phone. The apps all run, but perhaps not as fast.

Then the pilot says that your plane has a flat tire, the maintenance crew went home, and you could be sitting there for hours.

This time you open Settings, tap Battery, and put your phone in Ultra Power Savings Mode. Your beautiful, powerful smartphone has instantly turned itself into a dumb feature phone. You won’t be able to watch a full-length feature film. However, you now have enough battery to make and take phone calls and text messages for hours. This is not an exact science and your mileage may vary, but switching to this mode can multiply the time your smartphone can operate as a phone by eight to ten times.

Setting Do Not Disturb Options

Mobile phones are great. They allow you to be available all the time.

Mobile phones stink. They require you to be available all the time. I never get any downtime.

If you’re a member of the second school of thought, your Galaxy S7 has a solution for you. You can go to Settings, select Sounds and Vibrations, and tap Do Not Disturb. This turns off the ringer and all notifications until you turn notifications back on. You are in total control.

But what if you are sometimes forgetful and neglect to turn the phone back on? No need to worry. You have a number of options that you can easily program into your phone.

First, you can set a schedule when to set it for Do Not Disturb. You could set it so that it will not bother you during sleeping hours. Figure 16-11 shows the set schedule so that this phone will not be disturbed from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. seven days a week. The phone will not make a peep at night.


FIGURE 16-11: Schedule for Do Not Disturb.

Hold on. What if I use my phone as my alarm clock? No problem. Tap the link to Allow exceptions. That takes you to the page shown in Figure 16-12.


FIGURE 16-12: Do Not Disturb exceptions.

You have the choice to allow alarms. Toggle that option on, and you will get your wakeup alarm. Of course, if you toggle on all the exceptions as shown in Figure 16-11, you defeat the whole purpose of the Do Not Disturb capability. If you limit your Favorites to a few people, such as close family members, you can let in their calls and keep out any solicitors that have guessed your number. That sounds like a great plan.

Wearing Wearables

Wearables are a class of mobile accessories that have been getting a lot of attention lately. For the most part, wearables are connected via Bluetooth and typically worn as a watch, although you can wear some sensors in athletic shoes. Samsung offers its wearables under the brand name Gear (see Figure 16-13).


FIGURE 16-13: Samsung Gear wearables.

In addition to telling the time, these wearables give you notifications, weather, and texts and track some relevant information, such as the amount of exercise you’ve done.

Daydreaming While You Work

Readers of a certain age will remember the CRT screens that would have a problem with burn-in. If a screen displayed the same image too long, the phosphor would never fully turn off, showing you a ghost image. This was a particular problem with the first ATMs. The solution was screensavers that would usually show some image moving around the screen.

Screen burn-in is less of an issue with modern LCD screens, but people still like screensavers. Besides, burn-in is not an issue with your phone because the screen will shut off. Shutting off the screen saves battery life and gives you an opportunity to require a security code to be entered.

Saving power is good when you’re running on the battery, but it’s less of an issue if you are recharging the battery and plan to be connected for a lengthy time. Under these circumstances, you can have an old school screensaver by putting your phone into Daydream mode.

You enable Daydream mode by going to Settings, selecting the Display and Wallpaper option, and turning Daydream to the On setting. This will bring up the options seen in Figure 16-14.


FIGURE 16-14: Daydream options.

These options allow you to set up a screensaver with bright colors or to randomly display photos. Rather than having a digital photo display that would cost over $100, your phone can do it all when it’s being charged. Sweet!

If these options don’t thrill you, go to the Play Store and search Daydreams. You can download apps that display interesting things like the time, motivational quotations, battery-charging status, weather forecasts, news, or jokes.