The Samsung Galaxy S5 has been one of the most hotly-anticipated smartphones in this early part of 2014. Even if the consumer response to the Galaxy S5 ended up to be lukewarm compared with that of Samsung’s earlier flagship devices like the Galaxy S4, we still consider the S5 to be a worthy evolutionary update, particularly with its added features and extra durability.
If you have just acquired your Galaxy S5, you’re probably still playing around with the various settings. It comes with the latest version of TouchWiz, after all. It’s interesting to note that Samsung added about 130 settings on this device — this might be overkill to some, but a welcome inclusion to others. Curious about getting the most out of your S5? Here are a few tips and tricks.
Security and emergency settings
Fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy S5 comes with a fingerprint scanner, and given that each person in the world has unique prints, you can use this feature as an added measure for securing your phone. It’s also a convenient way to easily unlock your device, since you won’t need to swipe patterns, key in a passcode or enter a PIN.
Go to Settings > Personalization > Finger Scanner. From here you can use the feature to unlock your Galaxy s5 — simply swipe down the home button to unlock the device from the lock screen. This setting also lets you use other apps that support fingerprint authentication like PayPal and LastPass. If you can setup LastPass with all other compatible apps and websites, you can do away with password entry altogether.
Safety Assistance. This feature will send an SOS text message to a designated contact if you tap the power button quickly three times. To activate Safety Assistance, go to Settings > System > Safety Assistance. If you ever find the need to use this feature, the device will automatically turn on location tracking and will send your location and emergency SMS to the set contact. It also sends photos taken using the front and rear cameras to your designated contact.
Search within settings
With 130 settings, you’d think it’s overkill! Fret not, as Samsung has incorporated a search functionality within the Settings app itself (something probably borrowed from the OSX settings app) Simply go into Settings, tap the Search icon, then search for a keyword or string. For instance, if you want to change your ring tone, type in r-i-n-g.
New and improved camera
As we earlier featured on Android Authority, the Galaxy S5’s ISOCELL camera is one of the best we’ve seen on a smartphone. While automatic mode will be fine for most scenarios, you will want to play around with the settings to get the most out of the camera. Here are few tips.
Seletive Focus. If you’re into shots with shallow depth-of-field — similar to photos taken with a DSLR with a wide-aperture lens — you will want to try out this feature. Under settings in the camera app, select the icon that features two people. To use this feature, you will need to take a shot of the subject less than 1.5 meters away. Once the photo is taken, it will take about 5 seconds to process. Once you can preview the image, you can already edit it and adjust focus levels from Near to Far and even to Pan Focus.
Picture Effects (filters). You can actually add filters before taking a photo. Head into settings, go into Effects and choose your filter. Remember that a lot of the shooting settings are inaccessible when you have a filter enabled. Or, you can simply take a normal photo, and then apply filters afterwards by editing it. You can also download different filters from the Samsung app store.
4K Recording. If you want to see what the Galaxy S5’s ISOCELL camera can really do, go to Settings > Video Size and select UHD. This is essentially 4K recording. Remember that the S5’s screen is not a 4K screen so you may not notice the difference when you preview the image on-screen. But if you have a 4K TV or monitor, then you can see your photos in all their 4K glory. This draws much more power than usual, so be mindful of your usage.
Quick Camera. With this feature, you can launch the camera quickly from the lock screen by dragging the camera icon from the bottom corner into any direction.
Battery saving mode
If you expect to be away from a power outlet for extended periods, you can activate Battery Saving Mode to get the most juice out of your S5’s battery. You can access this from the Quick Settings menu. Either swipe down the status bar to open the notification drawer and tap on the Quick Settings icon, or swipe down the status bar with two fingers to directly access the menu. Select Ultra Power Saving. This will indicate the estimated maximum standby time and what the phone will do. Your device goes into greyscale mode, turn off mobile data when the screen is off, and turns off WiFi and Bluetooth. You can simply disable battery saving when you no longer need it.
If you want to eke out even more battery juice out of your S5, head into settings and turn off additional features like S Beam and Hover Controls.
Adjust screen colors
The Galaxy S5 includes various screen modes. These different color profiles dictate the warmth or coolness of the Super AMOLED display’s colors. I personally like Cinema. Try it out.
Use gloves or stylus with your S5
It’s not quite convenient having to take off gloves when you’re out in the freezing cold just to use your touchscreen phone. Good news: the Galaxy S5 works with gloves and styluses. Head into Display settings and tick the box for increased sensitivity. Expect more phantom presses and butt/thigh dials, though. Make sure you lock your screen properly before dropping it into your purse or pocket.
Turn off the water drop “bloop” sounds
If you’re like me, Samsung’s touch sounds drive me crazy. To turn off these water dropping “bloop” sounds, head into Settings > Sound and then uncheck the “Touch Sounds” and “Sound When Tapped” setting in the keyboard settings.
Quick access to apps with Toolbox
When you activate Toolbox, you will get a floating white circle on your screen. You can tap on it to quickly access up to five favorite apps. You can also drag the circle around. To edit which apps are included here, head into Settings > Toolbox and then tap Edit. Or, you can press and hold on the Toolbox circle, which will bring up an option to edit the apps displayed.
There you have it. Are there any quick tips we missed? If you have suggestions, or if you have favorite tweaks and settings on your S5, do share it with us on the comments thread.
Next: The best Samsung Galaxy S5 Cases & Covers