Helpful Hints... Tips & Tricks - Galaxy S2

The brilliant Samsung Galaxy S2 is more than just a pretty face. There's a whole lot of potential beneath that sweet 8.9mm wide case. After using the handset for several months I've picked up various tips and tricks that  allow me to squeeze every bit I can from this incredible handset. Enjoy this post where I share some of the little bits and bobs I wish I knew when I first got my phone!

Screen Shots

I first triggered this purely by accident and later discovered how to do this properly. Slightly different to its predecessor, in order to take screenshots on your Galaxy S2, press down the big central button and whilst holding it press the power button. Simple as that! You'll hear a camera click and the screen will give you a little digital wink and the image will save in your gallery. Handy when you want to upload a screenshot online... or save a high score/crazy move on one of those super-addictive games!

Brightness Bar

Another little hidden away secret is the touch control of the screen brightness. On any default screen just tap where the notification bar is (as if you're bringing the notification bar down.) Instead of bringing it down, just touch and hold for a second, you can then move your finger/thumb left or right to alter the brightness. Very handy when switching through different Apps that require different levels of brightness or for quickly turning the brightness up or down. Very handy little find.

Now there's a bright idea!
Internet Tab switch

Another new feature I discovered by accident again is the "pinch-to-zoom-out-to-window-screen" feature. That's quite a mouthful I guess! Essentially when you're using the (stock) internet browser, you can zoom out by using two fingers on the screen and then moving them in opposing directions (the opposite of pinch-to-zoom.) Keep on zooming out and it will take you to the screen where you can easily switch windows/close windows/open new windows. A pretty neat feature that makes browsing that bit more easy!

Save Battery!

This is probably the most important Tip I have to share. As a long term Android user for many years the lack of battery power has been my biggest issue with the new generation of smart phones. I am a "heavy user" but still need my phone to last me the working day. After playing with many different "battery" applications and trying many different strategies I have come to realise the following three interventions can help lengthen your battery life by 40-50%

  1. REDUCE screen usage AND use the LOWEST brightness setting possible.
    It's not rocket science but the screen uses a lot of battery juice. Whenever you don't need the screen on be sure to press the power button and put the screen into sleep mode. This is especially important if you are waiting for something to download or load up. In addition always use the lowest brightness setting you can manage. If you are indoors using the lowest or second lowest setting should be more than sufficient. The bright screen is lovely to marvel at and show off the fantastic Super Amoled+ display in all it's glory, but using the screen on full brightness will drain your battery very quickly, so always ensure you're on the lowest setting you can manage.

  2. TURN OFF Wi-fi/Bluetooth/GPS... AND... turn off SYNC
    Again, not rocket science. Turning off the bits of hardware like GPS, Wi-fi and Bluetooth is going to make a notable difference in battery life. In addition turning off the Sync will make a marked improvement in how long your charge will last you. Leaving "Sync" on allows Google/Samsung and many third party applications to constant use the internet to keep themselves updated. This is great to get push notifications for your emails, but it really does take a lot of the battery power, so if you need to conserve then be sure that SYNC is switched off.
  3. Deactivate Data
    I've found deactivating the 3G network/data usage on the phone is one of the best ways to save battery. Not only does this work by using a lower frequency network signal that requires less to run, but also it stops your phone from forever checking if it's connected to the "best" satellite signal. To reactivate simply hold the power button and wait for the option window to pop up. This is a quick and easy way to toggle 3G/Internet connection on your phone without going through all the standard computer settings. 
The Galaxy S2 has a built in Power Saving facility that you can access via the settings menu. Be sure to have this activated as it does much of the above for you when your battery is low. Nonetheless by employing the three strategies described I have extended the battery life on my S2 from around 7-8 hours of moderate/heavy use to almost 12-14 hours of the same intense level of usage. It does mean that you can't really, really enjoy all the features of the S2 without your battery draining somewhat, but it's a sacrifice you have to make if you're one of those heavy users like me!

Stay Connected

The android market can sometimes feel like a jungle. Where to start? How to stay in touch with the latest and greatest apps? Well here's my suggestion on how to stay adrift and enjoy your handset to the max.

1. Download a News Feed App... I recommend "Taptu" - A really intuitive and easy to use app. You can add various news streams like BBC and NY Times, as well as random streams like FailBlog and your social networking streams; Facebook, Twitter and so on. 

2. Search for Android and Mobile phone related streams. I recommend - "Android Apps" (run by, Gizmodo, Engadget, "Android" (run by - There's plenty more so search away and stay connected

3. Once a week check your streams out for the latest and greatest Apps. have an App of the week feature and post the best apps that have come out each month

That's all for now folks... Stay tune for more helpful hint, tips and tricks!!

iPhone 4S Vs Galaxy S2 - Seriously?

I like apples. They are juicy, sweet and full of goodness. Sadly, apples go off. Left out in the heat or forgotten at the bottom of the fruit basket, apples will go mouldy, smelly and loose the crisp freshness they were renown for.

I'm going to be fair. The iPhone 4S is no doubt a pretty impressive handset. If you had it, you probably wouldn't complain. And if you did complain then you're not a very grateful person are you?! BUT... the iPhone 4S just about manages to compete with the Samsung Galaxy S2 - a phone released over 6 months ago! Apple is clearly playing catch up in this increasingly competitive Mobile Phone market.

Let's just look at a few features that these two phones boast:


Apple's Retina Display or Samsung's Super AMOLED+ ? Yes they are different... both pretty awesome, but remember industry experts favour the latter.
But even if its all oranges and lemons. . what's the difference? Well the Galaxy S2 packs a whopping 42% MORE screen than Apple's new iPhone 4S. Ergo, Samsung brings more awesomeness to the table; so Samsung wins in quantity AND quality.


Again, both handsets offer an awesome 8MP camera. Both pretty impressive and probably more megapixels than you'll ever need. Nonetheless, Samsung wins again..! The iPhone 4S has a sloppy VGA front-facing camera whilst the S2 boasts a 2MP front facing camera. Why Apple would release such a cheap camera in their latest flagship handset is beyond me!

Size and Weight

Samsung's Galaxy S2 once again trumps the iPhone 4S. Despite having 42% more screen and more impressive hardware inside, the Galaxy S2 remains the worlds slimmest smartphone, just 8.9mm wide. Even more impressive is that iPhone 4S is 14% heavier than the Galaxy S2 - So Apple's latest offering is more chunky and weighty than Samsung's six-month old S2. More pear shaped offerings from Apple!


This is where Apple have really duped their customers. It's really sad to see so many Apple users closed off to the big world out there. Apple only allows Apple approved software/games/apps/music/e-books etc onto their iPhones. Essentially milking every penny out of their customers. The reality is however, the Mobile Phone world has evolved light years since Apple's first offering all those years ago. There are so many companies with fantastic innovative technologies out there. Sadly however Apple have strict rules about what can be installed and used on their handsets. This greatly limits the potential that lies within the iPhone. The Google Android world couldn't be more different. The open nature of the software allows plenty of healthy third party competition. Not only do you have Google's Android Market you also have access to many other third party Application markets... This opens up a whole world of possibility. You can buy your music from Amazon, books from Google and Apps from Samsung - It's all possible with the Galaxy S2! (and impossible with Apple!)


 Looks like this newest Apple hasn't fallen too far from the tree!
Yes the iPhone 4S is an impressive handset. But compared to the competition, Apple have really slipped behind in the Smartphone world. I'm so excited about what new technology Samsung and others have up their sleeve. It's really mind blowing stuff.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Below is a slightly more detailed comparison for those interested!

Healthy Technology

One disclaimer you probably won't see on your mobile phone box reads something like:  "This product can be good for your health when part of a balanced diet and exercise program." Unfortunately modern technology, especially mobile phones, have a reputation to perpetuate a sedentary lifestyle; adding to our unhealthy culture of inactivity. Sadly, to a large degree, this reputation is rooted in truth.

But why should it be? Technology can be used to counter the very ills it is accused of creating. Enter "Android Market."

Google's Android Market recently underwent an entire facelift, it's now a pretty cool and intuitive online portal. In the categories section you will find an entire division dedicated to "Health & Fitness" - Apps designed purely to help promote a healthy lifestyle. So here I've featured one such cool App to show you what potential there is out there.

Instant Heart Rate

I think the picture above says it all. "What?!" I hear you gasp. "My phone can take my heart rate??"
Yes! And so much more! 

When I first saw this I was dead impressed, especially being someone in the Medical field. By placing the tip of your finger over your camera lens, this application can accurately work out your heart rate! It works quite like an Oxygen saturation monitor.

Let me explain... Essentially when your heart beats it pumps oxygenated blood around the body, in the space between two heart beats, de-oxygenated blood (i.e. blood that has had all the good bits used up) returns to the heart. Interestingly the colour of oxygenated and de-oxygenated blood is slightly different, with the former being bright red and the latter a more purpley-blue colour. This subtle colour change can be picked up by the camera (and is made easier when the LED flash-light is on or when you shine an external light onto the back of your finger.)

So whether you understood all that or not, your phone can now take your heart rate! This is great for fitness fanatics or anyone who like to do some exercise and work towards target heart rates. The free version of the App allows you to store a log of your heart rates and share your heart rate through social media. The paid version of the App has even more great features... Go to the Android Market and search for "Instant Heart Rate" - Enjoy!

Easy one-step fix for those suffering Blackberry/RIM issues

Millions around the world have been affected. So if you've been a bit like this recently... read on

The problems are extensive, the solution is simple: GET A GOOGLE ANDROID PHONE!!!

Read the rest of my blog to learn about some fantastic Samsung Mobile Phones that can do a whole load of things your blackberry hasn't even started dreaming about.


Video Content - Your Window to the World

One of the most incredible features of the Samsung Galaxy series is the incredible, cutting edge hardware that has been brought to the market. The Screen on my Samsung Galaxy S2 is simply outstanding and unmatched on the Mobile Phone market... if you haven't seen it yet... come and find me and I'll show you if you don't believe me!

With the incredible clarity, size and brightness the Galaxy S2 is really out of this world.. and so this is a fun post sharing some of the video content I watch on this amazing phone!


There's a great YoutTube application that comes in Google's Android Market. Watching videos in HD quality is simply mindblowing. Here are two of my favourite video's at the moment; a great country western singer from the US and a funny clip from an American Church!

Video Player

Straight of the box the Samsung Galaxy S2, like many of the Samsung series, can play pretty much any video format you throw at it. I remember the days I'd sit for hours on my PC converting .mpg .divx and .avi files into playable formats. Phones have come a long way. On the off chance I have some free time, especially on a long commute or a plane ride I enjoy watching an entire movie in HD quality on my phone. I'm flying out to Spain this week, and hoping to watch "127 hours" on the flight down to Malaga, enjoy the trailer here:

SO much more...

The Galaxy S2 has an incredible intuitive interface that allows you to watch video content in multiple different formats. Browsing the net for example, videos of all different formats are embedded into the internet browser and can play just as if you were using your internet browser on the computer.

There are so many Apps that deliver high quality video content direct to your phone. One of my favourite has to be the TED Talks App. You can watch so many inspiring and uplifting videos on many different topics. The App is simple but has lots of great features. Search "TED AIR" on Google Android Market and get access to over 1000 TED talks directly on your phone. Here's one my favourites... Click and enjoy:

Oh and I had to share this... R.I.P. Steve Jobs - Simply amazing speech..!

Backgrounds/Screen-savers/Lock Screen - Galaxy S2

I often like to change the background, screen saver/lock screen on my Galaxy S2; change is inevitable in life so you might as well get used to it in your digital life!

Shockingly, many people don't give much thought to the screensaver/wallpaper they have set on their mobile phones. This is the image you will see day in day out. Psychological research (I'm pretty sure) has shown that the images you see daily have an impact on your mood and personality. So it's worth spending a few moments to pick out a really great image that can lighten and brighten up your day.

Personally, I like images of quotes or images of nature... sunsets, greenery, oceans, clouds, the moon and stars.. and so on. Often I use my own images but instead of uploading a few of my own backgrounds, I thought I'd offer you all a quick and easy solution that the Android Market has given us.

So up in the top 100 Google Android Apps... Number 83 is "Backgrounds HD Wallpapers" - It was one of the first Apps I downloaded on my first Google Android phone years ago and recent updates have made it possibly the best and easiest to use Backgrounds Application. You can find it in Android Market, here's a link: - (Screen shot on the left) Over 18 million users can't be wrong!

The App is very easy to use... allows you to search through some amazing background images (Over 10,000 with new ones added daily.) You can look at popular backgrounds, browse through some awesome categories or search by any keyword. The application has an inbuilt function that allows you to change your phone's wallpaper in one-click, you can also save the image to your phone's gallery or just add it your favourites in the Apps itself. I won't bore you with more details, it's a very intuitive and easy to use App - So waste no time and check it out now!

Here's a some images that I've used.. feel free to download them and use them for yourself!