Right now the Samsung Galaxy S3 is THE must-have smartphone. These months are also among the most popular times of the year for people to go off on their holidays. I did that myself very recently, and brought my new Samsung Galaxy S3 along. I learned that if you are taking your Android smartphone with you, it can be handy to know a few things before you leave.
The most obvious topic to cover involving smartphones and travel would be movies and music. You can’t sit in the sun for the whole holiday. It hurts, I know. When you go back to your room you would usually want something to do. Anticipating this I loaded up my phone with plenty of movies and TV Show seasons to keep me entertained. Everyone gets bored on holiday at some point, and this is the perfect way to counteract it. You’ll never watch the entire lot, as it would be a waste of your holiday. However, it is certainly nice to know you have a selection should the desire arise.
Of course, the other great time for having films on hand is you are on flights to and from your holiday destination. If you’ve got a ten hour flight, then the airline probably has some in-flight entertainment, but it won’t be as good as watching on the great screen the S3 has, believe me. The screenshot below of Commissioner Gordon was taken directly from my S3 and VLC. Full 1280×720!
I chose the newly released VLC Media Player to be my weapon against boredom as it already has such a successful reputation, and my ammunition was various films, either in .avi or .mp4 format. A ten hour flight goes quickly if you’ve got the likes of Batman Begins, Sherlock Holmes 2, and X-Men: First Class at hand.
The large 2100 mAh battery on the S3 allows you to watch hours of films before it coughs out. I didn’t drain all of my battery watching films in one go, but had I done so, I expect the battery life would be up to 7 hours at least.
Foreign Mapping and GPS
If you’ve ever tried to use the GPS on your phone abroad or while traveling the first thing you will notice is that you require internet access to pull down the map data as you go along. This would bring apocalyptic roaming costs and so the only sensible thing to do is use an app that will download and store the maps on your phone before you go abroad.
Enter MapFactor Navigator. This application is a well-polished GPS navigation app which has an easy-to-use interface that allows you to grab the mapping of whole countries from the OpenStreetMaps foundation. Once downloaded the application can give you turn-by-turn navigation just like a Tom-Tom without requiring network access. Leave your phone in flight mode, it still works fine.
Here is the Play Store link for you all. It’s free. Remember that the app prompts you to download the free maps on first launch so don’t worry about hunting them down on the Play Store.
As well as media, games go a long way to keeping you entertained away. Here’s a brief list with some of my current favourites.
Great Big War Game – This is the recently released sequel to Great Little War Game. A great top-down combat strategy game with a wide array of vehicles and troops to use. Well worth the small fee.
Cut The Rope – Everyone’s favorite green monster pet needs his candy fix. You’ve got to deliver it to him through various puzzles involving rope, bubbles, swings, traps and much more. With hundreds of progressively more difficult levels, this game will keep you coming back for more and more.
Angry Birds Space – The world’s most popular feathered friends have taken to space to defeat the egg-stealing pigs. This game shows how gravity (or the lack of it) affects the birds as they fly through the levels.
Temple Run – If you’ve not heard of this game, where have you been for the last year? It’s one of the most popular games of all time in which you run down a randomly-generated temple bridge and see how far you can go before obstacles catch you out. Excellent timekiller when you keep trying to beat your own person best.
Let’s Create Pottery – This recently released game isn’t really a game at all. It’s more of a sensation and realisation of an idea. The objective is simple, using your fingers and a pottery table, create a piece of pottery that sells for a lot of money, or matches a custom order. With bird song in the background and a gentle touch when creating, this game will relax you and give you hours of enjoyment. There is a cut-down free version to try out first.
Minecraft Pocket Edition – The pocket version of one of the most popular computer games ever created. The game has the foundations in there and is good to kill time with. Recent upgrades brought in monsters and furnaces.
Keep your phone in flight mode or get an alternate SIM
Unless you are going out on an adventure/traveling holiday where you need a lifeline, leave your phone in flight mode when you get off the plane. When going abroad, even receiving texts from your friends back home could incur charges, and if you enable mobile data, the charges get out of hand fast. In the UK, T-Mobile charges £1 for every megabyte downloaded. That’s right, just 1 megabyte.
But if you want to keep connected, we recommend buying a prepaid or pay-as-you-go SIM if your phone is unlocked. This way, you can still keep in touch while not necessarily incurring hefty roaming fees.
Take another battery for the plane. If you’re on an extremely long flight then one full charge on your battery won’t be enough. You could always order a spare battery from third-party retailers, or buy a device that lets you use ordinary AA batteries to charge your gadgets.
Take spare headphones. Mine broke whilst I was away, but luckily I had worried about this while packing, so I threw a pair of old iPod headphones in with my kit as backup.
Get a case. Don’t take chances with something that you paid a lot of money for. Spend a few extra dollars and put your device in a case. Drop it whilst in your carefree holiday mood and that mood will be shattered and replaced with regret and sadness for quite some time. Get a case!
Obviously, you shouldn’t be wanting to use your phone all the time on your holiday. You should be soaking up the sun! However if over a two week period you find the monotony of everything a little much, you’ve got your Android phone to keep you company.