Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Tips, tricks and secrets

 In Technology
Samsung has come back from last year’s Note 7 disaster with the Galaxy Note 8, a phone so jam-packed with features, you might still be learning things about it when the time comes for your next upgrade. The Note 8 includes all the cool stuff Samsung bakes into all its phones, and then adds all the S Pen stuff.

So why not accelerate your learning process? Here are 10 tips that will guide you to the very best features the Note 8 offers.

Note 8 display adjustments

The Galaxy Note 8 has one of the best displays available on a smartphone, and you can make a few adjustments to tweak it just right for your eyes. Head into settings and find Display > Screen mode.

There are four different modes from which to choose, including Adaptive, AMOLED cinema, AMOLED photo, and basic. There’s a demo picture at the top of the screen so you can see how each one will look. Adaptive mode gives you the most options. At the bottom of the list you’ll find a slider to make the colors cooler or warmer. Tap the advanced checkbox, and you get sliders for the red, green, and blue channels.

Note 8 display adjustments Samsung
The Galaxy Note 8 affords granular control over exactly how its AMOLED display will look.

You should also check out the “Screen zoom and font” menu. The default zoom level is a little large for a device as big as the Note 8, but you can lower it by dragging the slider left so more content fits on the screen. If you have trouble seeing everything at the default zoom, you can also make it larger by dragging the slider to the right.

Tweak your Note 8 navigation buttons

Like the Galaxy S8, the Note 8 has on-screen navigation buttons. You can change the way these buttons work in Settings > Display > Navigation bar. There’s a “Hide” button on the far left of the nav bar that makes the buttons accessible only with a swipe up. So, if you don’t intend to use this feature, turn the button off in this menu. And if you prefer the standard Android button order (back – home – overview) rather than Samsung’s (overview – home – back), you can change that here as well.

Note 8 navigation button layout Samsung
For everyone frustrated by Samsung’s navigation button layout, you can seek relief in this settings menu.

You’ll need to experiment with the pressure-sensitive home button, which works even when the phone is in full-screen mode or asleep. The default pressure level is 3 out of 5, but you can make it easier (or harder) to trigger. You can also set the hard-press home button to skip the lock screen entirely when your phone is not securely locked.

Customize Note 8 Air Command

The Note 8’s Air Command popup is where you access all your favorite apps and features for the phone’s S Pen. All you need to do is remove the S Pen from its holder to bring up the floating Air Command icon. But what if you don’t want it to always be there on the screen? That requires a trip into the settings.

air command note 8 Ryan Whitwam/IDG
You can customize the Note 8 Air Command feature by going to Settings > Advanced features > S Pen.

To make changes to how Air Command works, head into Settings > Advanced features > S Pen, and then scroll down to the Air Command section. If you want to keep Air Command from opening every time you take out the S Pen, change the Removal option to “Do nothing.” You can still open Air Command at any time by pressing the side button on your S Pen. It’s also a good idea to take a look at what shortcuts are included in Air Command. Tap the Shortcuts link in this menu, and drag whatever apps and S Pen features you want over to the right. To get rid of one, tap the minus icon.

Edit your Note 8’s Edge Panel

The Edge Panel is always available on the Note 8 as a translucent bar on the right side of the display. If you want to move it or change what’s available, you’ll have to dig into the settings a bit. Go to Settings > Display > Edge screen > Edge panels to see what’s currently enabled.

edge panel Note 8 Samsung
You can edit your Edge Panel apps (shown on the far left) via granular controls in Settings.

Samsung includes almost a dozen panels, and you can get more from the Samsung app store. Tap the checkbox above each panel to turn it on or off, and long-press on any panel to enter reordering mode. Many of the panels—for example, weather and the clipboard manager—have additional settings to configure. Look for the edit button at the bottom to access those settings.

To change the appearance or location of the edge panel handle, tap the menu button and select “Handle settings.” This screen lets you change the location, opacity, and size of the handle.

Make animated GIFs with Note 8 Smart Select

Even if you make tweaks to Air Command, you’ll definitely want to keep Smart Select in the mix. Among other tricks, this S Pen feature lets you grab a cropped screenshot in just a few seconds. After launching Smart Select, you’re shown a selection bar at the top of the screen with options for square, round, lasso, and GIF selections. The first three are just regular screenshots, so use the S Pen to highlight what you want. You can also draw on the resulting image before saving.

Note 8 smart select Samsung
Note 8 Smart Select: Come for regular image cropping (as shown here), but stay for the super simple animation creation.

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