Mid-March has marked the full release of Samsung’s latest entry into the Galaxy series with the S9, which has been met with quiet praise in part to a focus on refining what Samsung has been developing for the past few years rather than radically altering its design philosophies.
That isn’t to say the S9 is without its features and unique quirks that can take some getting used to, however. For example, finding the headphone jack may be easier than on the iPhone, but you might have to get used to the positioning of the Bixby button, among other small hiccoughs that come with adopting the newest model of any gadget. Nevertheless, if you’d like to get the most out of your phone as quickly as possible, you’ve come to the right place.
Day one setup
First and foremost, you’re going to want to take a look at your phone’s default configuration and get it set up to your liking. There are a lot of individual steps to take when it comes to customization, but the biggest time-savers and hassle-removers revolve around removing bloatware and getting your system’s core functions activated. In the case of the S9, this means turning on Intelligent Scan, a step beyond their older facial recognition system, to quickly unlock your phone without needing a fingerprint scanner or PIN.
From there, you’ll probably want to review apps pre-installed on your phone and weigh their usefulness versus the footprint they leave on your system. For a good starting point, Tom’s Guide for the Galaxy S8 goes over the last generation’s pre-installed software and is still largely applicable to the S9.
Extend your battery life
By default, phones are almost guaranteed to have optional software and settings that negatively impact your battery life. Those features won’t do you any good if they kill your phone when you need it most. Some of those features are more useful than others, while some are going to be as helpful as square tires on your car.
The S9 boasts an always-on display for those who like to check notifications and the time without hitting a button, but it chews up battery life as you might expect for an always-on display. Pair that with reducing your phone’s resolution, and you can squeeze more life out of your charge without noticing too many differences.
If you’ve used your phone for a while already and want to know what apps are using up your battery, the S9’s app power monitor can be accessed through Device Maintenance and then the Battery option.
Play with the S9’s newest features
Not everything is the same as the Galaxy S8, as shown by a few interesting new features that squeaked into this generation’s release. While AR Emojis may not grab your attention as part of the built-in function of the phone’s camera, Bixby Vision is a more universally useful feature that allows you to take information from the world around you via your phone’s camera. In a way, it functions not unlike Google Glass, allowing you to search for shopping links, location information, and a variety of text and photo options. Of course, if you keep hitting the Bixby button by mistake, you can always disable it fairly easily.
While less flashy, Samsung Pass integration paired with Google’s autofill helps avoid retyping tedious form data every time you visit a new webpage across the built-in browser and additional apps, depending on their level of support. You’ll find Samsung Pass under your security options along with Secure Folder, a storage solution for private documents you don’t want leaking out of your phone to unauthorized users. Intelligent Scan helps here if you’d like to make sure no one can get into your autofill data or private files by watching you enter a PIN code, so keep that in mind if you’re especially security conscious.
With plenty of interesting new additions to their flagship phone’s specifications, the Samsung Galaxy S9 is a fairly solid followup to the S8 that tries to reinforce quality over radical redesigns. Quality of life seems to be paramount for phone design in the Galaxy line at the moment and most of its security feature updates and even the simple re-positioning of its fingerprint scanner show attention to fine detail that other phone manufacturers should heed. If you’d rather use it to make new emojis using your face, that’s fine too.
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