large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Galaxy Note 3 tips and tricks

triangle  S Pen

25. Don’t lose your S Pen with S Pen Keeper
biggest usability issue we’ve had with Note phones is that a stylus is
terribly easy to lose. However, the Galaxy Note 3 does at least have a
go at keeping you attached to your stylus. S Pen Keeper is a clever
little function that makes the phone bleat and vibrate if you walk away
without the stylus.

It’s not magic – the phone knows whether the
stylus is in its cubby hole or not, and the accelerometer of the Note 3
knows when you’re walking. It’s dead handy, though.

HTC One Max 324. You can use the S Pen with the soft keys
great little update Samsung made with the third-generation Note phone
is that you can now operate the phone’s touch-sensitive home buttons
with the S Pen stylus. This is because the digitiser layer now extends
down below the screen. It’s not a secret feature, but Samsung hasn’t
shouted too much about it.

23. Customise how the S Pen reacts for even more stylus speed

the Galaxy Note 3 knows when the S Pen is taken out of its little
sheath, it can be made to load apps as soon as the stylus is taken out.
You can’t launch absolutely anything (a shame if you ask us given how
many other features the phone has), but you can pick between Air Command
– the stylus menu overlay – and Action Memo. The latter is a virtual
post-it that lets you perform actions too. You’ll find these options
under the ‘Pen detachment options’ menu within Settings>
Controls>S Pen.

However, we found that we liked the S Pen most when it didn’t launch anything when taken out.
black lines

triangle  Keyboard

22. Gesture keyboard gives you faster typing
Note 3’s big screen is great for two-handed typing and the stylus is a
neat handwriting tool. However, we find that the fastest Note 3 typing
comes from using the gesture keyboard. Some people also know this as the
Swype keyboard, although Galaxy phones use their own kind of gesture
keyboard these days.

Using it, you draw a line over the letters
in a word rather than tapping away at virtual keys. The menu option for
it is buried fairly deep in the Settings menu, though. Go to Settings,
then tap  the Controls menu. Tap Language and Input, then tap the cog
icon next to the Samsung Keyboard entry. Under the Keyboard Swipe
heading, turn on ‘continuous input’. If the option is greyed-out, make
sure predictive text is turned on.

HTC One Max 221. Turn off auto pen input if you don’t like handwriting much
of the few bugs we’ve encountered while using the Galaxy Note 3 is that
the handwriting recognition keyboard tends to stick around when you
actually want to use the standard Qwerty keyboard. It’s annoying.

you find yourself in this situation, or just don’t like using the
stylus to write messages or emails, go to the Samsung Keyboard menu
mentioned in the previous tip and deselect Pen Detection.

20. Downloading custom keyboards
to the wonderful way Android works, you’re not limited to Samsung or
Google keyboard with the Galaxy Note 3. You can use all manner of
third-party keyboards. There are loads of them available from the Google
Play app store. One of our personal favourites is Swiftkey. Once you’ve
found a keyboard you like the look of, install it and then go
Settings> Controls tab> Language and Input then hit the Default
option. You should see a radio button for the keyboard your just
black lines

triangle  Battery Life

19. Use Flight Mode in dire straits
quickest way to minimise battery use in your Note 3 is to turn it onto
Airplane mode. This turns off all the phone’s wireless functions
(Bluetooth, mobile network, Wi-Fi ) and so on. You may be shocked at how
long the phone will last in this mode.

18. Turn off Haptic Feedback
mode is a surprisingly potent battery drainer in phones. The most
notable of the lot is the Haptic feedback, which produces a little
rumble too accompany screen taps. It feels food on the fingers, but is
no good for battery stamina. Turn it off in the
Settings>Sound>Haptic feedback menu.

black lines

triangle  Wallpaper

17. How to create your own wallpaper

your own wallpaper is the easiest way to give your phone its own
personality. And if you want to make the perfect wallpaper, it needs to
be matched to the Note 3’s screen. That means it should be 1,920 pixels
high and 1,080 pixels wide. Alternatively, you can crop and edit your
own photos in the Gallery by pressing the ‘pencil’ icon at the top of
the screen when viewing a picture.

16. Transferring and setting wallpapers
made a piccy on your computer? The easiest way to transfer it is to
plug the Note 3 into your computer using the supplied USB 3.0 cable and
drag it over into the phone’s file system.

Alternatively, email
it to your Gmail address, find the email within the Gmail app, open the
attachment then press the ‘menu’ soft key. There’s be a ‘save’ option
that’ll save it to the phone’s gallery.

black lines

triangle  Audio and Video

Note 3 MHL
15. Get an MHL adapter to turn your Note into a home cinema handset
MHL adapter is an essential accessory for those who want to turn a Note
3 into a media jukebox. It’s a little cable that jams into the microUSB
port on the phone, ending in an HDMI socket that can be jammed into
your telly.

14. How to output surround sound over HDMI
are some extra settings that need to be switched to get the most out of
an MHL adapter – namely that you have to manually opt to output Surround
audio. As standard the Note 3 is set to output stereo surround over
HDMI. You’ll find this settings in Settings> Device tab> Sound>
Audio Output.

13. Perfect sound quality for your ears with Adapt Sound
of the coolest audio features of the Galaxy Note 3 (and other top-end
Galaxy phones in fact) is Adapt Audio. What this does is to give you a
miniature hearing test, in order to optimise the phone’s sound output to
make it suit your ears better. It’s great, even if it does make you
worry about your level of hearing. Check it out for yourself at
Settings>Device tab>Sound>Adapt sound. It’s right down the
bottom of the menu.

12. Using Screen mirroring, what is it?
Mirroring is a very clever feature that lets you send what’s on your
Note 3’s screen to another device wirelessly (using Wi-Fi Direct
technology). It’ll work very well with up-to-date Samsung TVs. You’ll
find it right down at the bottom of the Connections tab within Settings.

11. Control music playback with your voice
One feature we
imagine few people know about is that you can control music playback of
the Note 3 using your voice. Simply say ‘play’, ‘pause’ ‘next’ and
‘previous to do so.

You’ll need to make sure the feature is
turned on in the Note 3 first, though. To do so, go to the Voice control
menu found in the Controls tab of Settings. There is a separate check
box for music control. However, you will have to use the inbuilt player
for this to work.

10. Transferring files more quickly – how to use USB 3.0

Note 3 is the first USB 3.0 phone we’ve used. It’s why the socket on
the bottom is so weird-looking. USB transfers files faster and will
charge the phone over USB faster too. However, in order to get the
benefits of USB, you’ll have to use the oversized bundled cable rather
than a standard microUSB one, and you’ll have to be plugged into a USB
3.0 port too.

9. Palm Mute

Using one of the Motion Control
features of the Note 3 you can mute anything playing on the Note 3
simply placing your palm over the phone’s sensors. However, the screen
needs to be on for this to work. You’ll find this option in the Palm
Motion menu in the Controls tab of Settings.
black lines

triangle  Apps

HTC One Max 4
8. Essential S Pen apps
most interesting Note 3 apps are those that make use of the S Pen
stylus – and its pressure sensitivity. One of the best, SketchBook,
comes pre-installed, but other must-try apps include Papyrus and
Infinite Painter. Drawing/virtual painting is one of the best uses for
the Note 3’s stylus.

7. Essential Games
Aside from a few
quirky games made for the S Pen stylus, the best Note 3 games remains
those we’d recommend for any Android phone. For action, try out Dead
Trigger or Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. For driving, take a look at Real
Racing 3 or one of Gameloft’s Asphalt series games. For something a
little more casual, give Angry Birds a go (duh), Candy Crush Saga or
World of Goo.

6. Essential general apps
The Note 3 comes with
most of the apps you need to get going with an Android phone. It’s
seriously feature-packed. However, there are a few gems we recommend
checking out too. Whatsapp is great for chatting to, and sharing pics
with, friends (if you haven’t tried it, where have you been?), iPlayer
is a must, Endomondo is great for fitness freaks, Strava is perfect for
cyclists and the eBay app is a lot better than using the website if
you’re a virtual action fan.

5. Look out for indie bundle deals online for great deals
probably won’t know about this unless you’re a bit of a gaming geek,
but the indie gaming scene has started selling ‘humble bundles’ of games
made by independent games studios in order to raise money for charity.
They now regularly offer bundles for Android devices too. Check out the
Humble Bundle website for more.
black lines

triangle  Troubleshooting

4. How to fix glitchy performance
relative freedom Android gives apps means your system can often get
bogged down, causing glitch performance despite the Note 3’s great
specs. One obvious way to solve these it to properly power off the phone
by holding down the power button until the power off pop-up comes up –
then either turn off or restart the phone.

If this doesn’t help,
try closing down all recent apps by holding the central select button
to bring up the multi-tasking menu, then tap the ‘cross’ icon in the
bottom-right of the screen.

3. How to close down apps fully
this still doesn’t solve your issue and your problems relate to a
specific app, you can delve deeper. Go to Settings>General
tab>Application Manager. Then flick right-to-left on-screen to the
list of the apps currently running, or all apps. Find the pesky app’s
entry and tap it. You’ll see options to ‘force stop’, ‘clear data’ and
‘clear cache’. Pressing all of these will fully  reset the app, and
should solve most app-related problems.

2. How to perform a factory reset
none of the above measures have exorcised the gremlins from your phone,
you should probably try a full data reset. This wipes everything of
yours off the phone, making it just like it was fresh out of the box –
so make sure you save any photos before doing this. To perform a reset,
go to Settings>General tab>Backup and Reset, and select Factory
Data Reset.

1. How to update software
The Galaxy Note 3
will get fairly regular software updates. The phone should give you a
nudge when a new update is available, but you can manually check for an
update too. To do this, go to Settings>General tab>About Device
(it’s right down the bottom). At the top of this sub-menu is a ‘software
update’ option. Within it is a check box to make the phone
automatically check for updates, along with the manual check button.

Let us know any bits and bobs we’ve missed in the comments

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.