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50 Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Tips and Tricks - Gadgets, Gimmicks and Connectivity

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Gadgets and Gimmicks

Motion control

Here's one we're not big fans of, but some of you may like it. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 lets you control things like the photo gallery and the navigation of you home screens using the accelerometer - by tilting your phone, basically. You can turn it off, though, and it's set to "off" as standard. Phew.

Face unlock

A bit Minority Report, this one. The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 can scan your face to unlock your phone. It takes a picture of your mug, remembers the basic geometry of it and then scans your face whenever you try and unlock the phone. It works pretty well, but as a security measure is about as flimsy as the padlock on a filofax.

Galaxy Note 2 26

Smart Stay

The last user-facing camera gimmick is one that sounds kinda neat in principle. It scans for your eyes to check if you're reading, and if it spots them, Smart Stay stops the backlight from turning off. It's designed to make reading on the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 a good deal less frustrating. It's a feature you'll find in the Settings menu.

Jelly Bean easter egg

The Jelly Bean easter egg has made it in the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. Go to Settings menu > About device and tap on the Android version number entry. You'll be transported to a screen with a picture of a giant jelly bean on it. Hold your finger down on said jelly bean and the screen will fill up with dozens of the blighters, which you can flick around. Pure joy.

Arrange your music by moods

The music player of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 features a fun little extra called Music square. This scans through your music library, arranging the tracks by mood - passionate, calm, exciting, joyful or a little in-between. Tap a block in the 5x5 square grid and you'll be greeted with a tune to match your mood.

Read the full Samsung Galaxy Note 2 review >

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Storage

Expandable storage - where to get it cheap

If you're out to spend as little as possible (and the Note 2 doesn't come cheap as it is), your best bet is to buy the cheapest 16GB model, and supplement any other storage needs with a microSD card. Top retailers for bargain basement-price memory cards include 7DayShop and Ebuyer. A 32GB microSD card these days will set you back less than £15 if you shop hard enough.

Flush the cache for extra memory

If you find yourself running low on memory, you can easily delete the cache and temporary files of any apps you have installed. To do this, go to the Applications Manager section within settings and tap on an app to see how much memory it's leeching. There will be buttons to wipe the cache and data for the app here.

Comes with 50GB of dropbox storage

Cloud storage is the future - you may not like it, but you may as well embrace it. Samsung Galaxy Note 2 owners get to benefit from 50GB of free cloud storage from one of the best providers out there - Dropbox. There are Dropbox apps for mobiles, tablets and computers, and it honestly works like a dream. If this won't convert you, nothing will. You only normally get 2GB of free from Dropbox, making it a pretty sweet deal.

Don't sync, drag 'n' drop

If you chose to go Android rather than opting for an iPhone, there's a good chance that the open-ness of the platform had something to do with it. Samsung is keen on trying to make its users adopt the Kies desktop software, but it's actually completely unnecessary. Plug the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 into a computer with a microUSB cable and it'll show up as a media player drive, which you can drag and drop all kinds of files onto. Transfer speeds are impressively fast too.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Contacts

Nab contacts from Facebook and Twitter

When we first got our Samsung Galaxy Note 2 in, it didn't have any of the usual social apps installed. Even if you're not a massive mobile Facebook-er, it's worth giving the app a download because it lets you harvest contacts from the network, making populating your contacts book a good deal easier.

Blocking Mode

Do you have a bug-a-boo stalking you? Is there a creep who keeps calling? The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 lets you keep them away with the blocking mode. It restricts notifications and calls from all but your approved contacts - and that can be at all times, or just during the hours you choose.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Camera and Video

Use HDR mode in mixed lighting - or all the time

The 8-megapixel sensor of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 is pretty good on its own, but the neat camera app ups its skills significantly. One of our favourite bonus bits is the HDR mode. This effectively combines multiple exposure in a single shot to bring out extra detail in shadows. Both the HDR and normal shots are saved, meaning there's very little downside - other than that taking shots is a little bit slower.

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Check out slow and fast motion modes

Nestled within the menus of the video camera app are fast and slow motion modes, capturing either more or fewer frames per second than normal. It's not quite the 120fps mode you get in some dedicated cameras, but will come in handy if you're trying to video a sports event, for example.

Don't forget video effects

The Samsung Galaxy Note 2 doesn't have the fun face-distorting video effects you get with a vanilla Jelly Bean phone, but it does have a range of funky filters. There are colour pop modes, extracting all but certain shades from your videos, and the cartoon filter is perfect for some arty rotoscope-style vids.

Give the exposure longer time than the sound effect suggests

Each time you take a photo, a shutter sound plays in the Samsung Galaxy Note 2. However, we found that occasionally the phone needs a little bit longer to attain a solid focus. Hold still for an extra half-second for good measure.

Get vid previews with Air View

Using Air View, if you hold the pen over the transport bar of a movie clip in the media player, you'll be given a preview of what's going on in the film at that point. It makes finding the right part of a film or TV ep a doddle.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Connectivity

Don't go over you allowance, with Data Usage

A staple Android feature is the Data Usage counter. This can be found within the Settings menu, and it monitors your data usage, showing it as a colourful graph. You can use it to cut off your mobile data connection once you reach a certain limit, to ensure you won't get charged by your carrier.

Wi-Fi sync with Kies

We've already endorsed drag 'n' drop file transfers over Kies sync'ing, but if you're a Kies fan, don't forget that you can also sync wirelessly. To set this feature up, scroll to the bottom of the More Settings sub-menu, where you'll find the Kies via Wi-Fi option.

S Beam

A feature introduced with the Samsung Galaxy S3, S Beam uses a mixture of NFC and Wi-Fi Direct to let you transfer files between compatible Samsung phones. You just need to tap the phones together to get them playing. S Beam needs to be switched on, though, from within the Wireless and Networks menu.

NFC lets you buy coffee

The NFC connectivity of the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 also let you buy small items such as cups of coffee, sandwiches and the like. Several big high street chains have taken the NFC plunge, including Starbucks and EAT, using apps to let you dump credit onto your phone.

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Share screens with AllShare Cast

AllShare used to be just about sending a video file from, say, your phone to your Blu-ray player. But now it does a lot more. AllShare Cast lets you send your Galaxy Note 2's screen contents to another display, a bit like AirPlay Mirroring.

Forget Bluetooth, Wi-Fi Direct is better

Wi-Fi Direct is tied into the S Beam transfer feature, but you can also use it easily on its own. This is a version of Wi-Fi that doesn't need an internet connection, as it can hook-up directly with another compatible device. It some ways it's a successor to Bluetooth, letting you transfer files, and at a much greater speed than old Bluetooth could handle.

Watch your 4G

If you want to get a 4G-capable Note 2, be aware that the LTE edition is separate from the standard one. EE says it'll stock the LTE Galaxy Note 2 from October 15.


October 5, 2012, 2:02 pm

really cool review, gained a few extra tricks!
weirdly the jelly bean easter egg doesn't work on my note2!? also, not sure if you've come across this, but on the promotional samsung video, it says you can hold down volume up and home button at same time and it will video record whatever you do on screen - I can not get this to work. Fully appreciate you're not samsung support, I have raised a technical case with them, but they said the phone might have to be returned :O(
Does screen recorder work on yours? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...


October 6, 2012, 5:17 am

Haven't you missed the big one? With todays firmware upgrade dual screen operation. Long press back button brings up a quick launcher, long press an app and shading splits the screen in two allowing drag and drop. Presto two apps running side by side.

tim james

December 14, 2012, 10:21 pm



December 27, 2012, 3:03 am

Maybe it's me, but not a single, gd thing works with the s pen.

Bill Keeler

January 1, 2013, 1:09 am

Yeah it's there on AT&T's Note 2- so far I've only gotten the video player to do it. Try the Note 2 User Guide in the Note Store (it's interactive, and shows you how to do it). However, it talks about holding down the back key, which has no effect in my experience.

Bill Keeler

January 1, 2013, 1:11 am

Of course, I meant the Play Store (not the Note Store).


January 6, 2013, 1:09 pm

You said Dropbox gives you 50gb of storage but I got the usual 2gb. How do you go about getting that other 48gb that I so badly need ? Great review though. Thank you.

Alex Churchill

January 8, 2013, 11:35 am

Huh. Works fine for me, and it's awesome.


January 16, 2013, 3:11 pm

Try google Docs


January 26, 2013, 5:26 am

att note 2 now has multitasking function. go into settings and about phone. make sure you are running android 4.1.2. If not, search for the update then it will work.


January 26, 2013, 5:27 am

if you tap the tip of the pen lightly against a hard surface it will start working

Melinda Haley

January 31, 2013, 8:06 pm

You only get it if you sign up for a new account. You could factory reset your phone and sign up under a new account, that would get it for you. If you signed up and didn't get it, then I would be contacting Dropbox directly about it.

Melinda Haley

January 31, 2013, 8:07 pm

Some screen protecters apparently interfere with the S Pen.. Are you using a cheap one? Might want to invest in a higher quality one.

Jason Byrnes

February 4, 2013, 5:29 pm

No it works with old accounts too. I signed in under my old account and it gave me the 50gb.

Jason Byrnes

February 4, 2013, 5:30 pm

I find the same thing. sometimes it takes more than 1 try to do a capture/copy paste with the s note copying. I think in general sometimes jelly bean gets buggy with copy/paste. you have to relaunch the app.

For example when you hold in the pen and draw a circle around an item to screen capture, it sometimes takes more than 2 tries before it brings it up and copies to clipboard.

Emma Short

February 22, 2013, 12:56 am

for the jelly bean tap repeatedly & insistently on the version number as the . in morse

Bj Barnett

February 24, 2013, 3:50 pm

I dont want to use Keis, but I cant seem to find a way to use the drag and drop method. any help would be awesome!!!

Alexander Jermelle

February 27, 2013, 4:33 am

connect to your computer via usb and use the windows file explorer to drop files onto your device. Although it is easier with a file manager from your android device if the files are shared on a network you are on.


March 7, 2013, 10:34 pm

The Easter Egg doesn't work on Verizon because they have disabled clicking onto the Android version number entry. Disappointing. Also, the Block Feature will not work because they have deleted this feature completely - I guess so we will have to pay for the managing feature.

Rainna L. Somerville

March 10, 2013, 5:39 am

I have verizon and the jelly bean thing worked. Just keep tapping and the cutie will show up :)

Jeanne Aske

March 20, 2013, 2:47 pm

AT&T hasn't signed on to
this deal. No extra storage for AT&T users.

Sheяia ❤

March 23, 2013, 9:34 am

My papa will be coming this July and he buy me Samsung Galaxy Note II. I think its amazing :)

Murtaza Rangwala

April 9, 2013, 3:07 pm

better than the connecting the cable
install airdroid and follow the instructions


April 13, 2013, 5:19 pm

go to dropbox site and follow the simple steps there. thank me later :)

Jim Bjr

May 8, 2013, 5:53 pm

There is an adjustment you can make on the pen itself. Mine didn't work out of the box either. I had to go into the pen and with a tiny flat head screw driver I had to adjust the little dial. Then it worked fine.

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