The only complaint you can make is that Google didn't release these features sooner.
Google has dropped a pretty notable update to its stock camera app, given it a proper name and at the same time opened it up to non-Nexus devices running KitKat in the Play Store. While the interface still isn't mind-blowing, it has changed pretty dramatically from what you'd be used to if you used a Nexus 5 just yesterday. Google has overhauled the picture-taking interface for regular shots, panoramas and Photo Spheres, while also adding a brand new feature called "Lens Blur."
We've taken some time to walk through the new interface, and you can color us impressed with the changes that have been made. While we know most of you will be able to get your hands on the app right away and give it a try for yourself, we're going to take a run through all of the latest features of the Google Camera app and give you a few tips for getting the best shots possible.
Samsung's do-not-disturb option is oddly named but easy to use
Sometimes Galaxy S5 features need quite a bit of explanation. This isn't one of those times. Blocking Mode is a poorly named but extremely useful function that serves as the phone's do-not-disturb mode. You'll find it in Settings>Personalization, or as one of Samsung's numerous quick settings in the notification pull-down.
There's no way to set it as the default, but if you just have to see the Most Recent posts first, you have an option.
It seems as though Facebook's interface is ever-changing, but the latest UI overhaul hitting devices is pretty dramatic. It's mostly for the best, bringing a cleaner look and surfacing more features rather than hiding them behind obscure menus. A few things have become harder to find, however — one of which is the "Most Recent" News Feed view.
The newly-redesigned Facebook app now only shows the "Top Stories" view for your News Feed, which surfaces content that it thinks is most relevant to you, rather than what's been posted or interacted with most recently. In the old app you could simply change the setting from the default to show Most Recent in the main view, but now you'll have to do a little digging.
To view the Most Recent feed, tap or swipe over to the far right tab (three horizontal lines, titled "More") of the Facebook app, and scroll down to the "Feeds" section, right under "Apps." Here, you'll see any different feeds you've created with friend or family groups, but you'll also see "Most Recent" as an option. Tap that entry and you'll be shown a completely interactive view of your News Feed based on time rather than some other algorithm. You can go back to the settings page by hitting the back button or tapping the "News Feed" button in the top left corner of the app.
Changing your display timeout will affect your battery life, though
One of the first things I did after getting a Samsung Galaxy S5 was extend the timeout period on the display. By default, the screen shuts off after 30 seconds of inactivity, which not only means you have to wake it up again by hitting the power button on the right side, but if you've got a lock code in place, you need to go through that rigamarole as well.
One of the top questions we'll get this year regards Samsung Galaxy S5 battery life. Simply put, you just can't get enough. We hear you. In fact, there are those who will do anything and everything to eke out every last ounce of battery life from their Galaxy S5. Every last mAh. Every last minute. One more tweet. One last selfie.
We get you. Battery life is of top importance with your Galaxy S5.
If you're using HTC Sense 6 on the the new HTC One M8, there are lots of ways for you to interact with your Lock screen. Not sure what all the unlock options are? Want to add widgets to your Lock screen or change the wallpaper to one of your own photos? Follow along and we'll show you how to do all of it!
The Finger Scanner – don't call it a fingerprint scanner! – on the Samsung Galaxy S5 is more than just a gimmicky piece of hardware used to unlock your phone. OK, so it does unlock your phone, but one of the other neat things it can do is let you authenticate PayPal with a swipe of your finger.
It isn't set up by default – even if you've already registered at least one fingerprint on the phone – but it's not a difficult process to get done. Read on to see how.
Everything you need to get started with the Android SDK, and everything you need to know about installing it.
Installing the Android SDK is far easier than it used to be, thanks to a new package from Google. One download gives you most everything you need to communicate with your phone via the USB port, using tools like adb and fastboot.
Or how a $3 piece of plastic can ruin your $600 phone
The HTC One M8 is the third high-profile smartphone to use a nanoSIM. Unless you already use an iPhone 5 or later, or a Moto X, you probably don't have a nanoSIM. But this is the way forward, and eventually every phone will be using the new standard. In the meantime, if you find yourself switching phones around a lot, you may need to adapt — with an adapter — any time you need to go bigger.
We went over switching from a microSIM to a nanoSIM and the various ways to go about it, but we only briefly touched on the dangers of a crappy SIM adapter. Let's talk a little more about that, and why you really need to be careful.
With the Galaxy S5, Samsung has at long last done away with the capacitive menu key and replaced it with the fast app switcher. The stock Touchwiz apps in their new form all sport a proper, on screen menu button now, and all is right with the world. But, what about when you come across a really old, but still totally necessary app that still uses a legacy menu button? Well, Samsung took it away...but not completely.
Read on to see where you'll find it on the Galaxy S5.
This Galaxy S5 trick is an old one, but a good one. And it's one you'll certainly want to use. For those of you who are coming to the Samsung Galaxy S5 from another Samsung Galaxy phone, you'll be right at home here. Taking a screenshot on the Galaxy S5 is exactly the same.
But for those of you who are coming over from an iPhone or another Android phone, it's a slightly different procedure. And Samsung's got one really cool trick up its sleeve. (Note that these methods also work on the more rugged Galaxy S5 Active.)
No excuses here. You need to password-protect your phone. If you didn't do it at first startup, Go to Settings>Lock screen>Screen security. Swipe is the same as not having a password. So don't use it. A pattern lock is the next best thing. Fingerprints and PINs are considered to be medium to high security, and a full-on password is best.
If you're going to be wearing a Gear watch or the Gear Fit, you can use it to bypass the lock screen security, so long as it's connected to your phone. Should the watch or band disconnect, lock screen security will be re-enacted. This is a great way to keep your phone more secure but still have it be easy to use.
2. Sign up for (or sign into) the Samsung App store
We get it, signing in to a second app store can be a pain. But you're going to want to sign in to Samsung's. Whereas other manufacturers have been offloading system apps to Google Play, Samsung's got its own repository. So if you want to get the latest updates for, say, a Gear smartwatch, the Gear Fit fitness band or any number of other Samsung apps, you're going to need to bite the bullet and use Samsung's store.
The good news is it's pretty easy to use, and there's a world of stuff there. Some of it is redundant to what's in Google Play, though, so choose wisely.
Oh, and Samsung, would it kill you to include some single-sign-in options?
3. Turn off those blasted Galaxy S5 sound effects
We go through this one every time Samsung releases a new phone, and we're going to have to do it here again with the Galaxy S5. This damned thing beeps anytime you touch it. Any time you unlock it. And, perhaps the biggest sin of all, any time you type on Samsung's keyboard.
There are a couple ways to tell your phone to shut the hell up. The easiest is to pull down the notification shade and tap the "Sound" button to change to either vibrate or silent mode. That's working with a hammer, however.
For a surgical strike, it's time to head back into the settings menu. Go to Settings>Sound and then have a look at the options. We recommend unchecking "Touch sounds" and "Sound when tapped" in the keyboard settings at the very least.
Trust us, anyone within earshot will thank you.
4. Pop in an SD card
Those of you who opted for a 16-gigabyte version of the Galaxy S5 will definitely want to do this. Samsung's system takes up a good chunk of space on the Galaxy S5. (The AT&T model we have here has a little less than 10 gigabytes free. Sprint's had just a tad more.) As you start installing applications, space can become tight. So, a little external storage may be in order.
Do keep in mind, however, that SD cards don't work the same in Android 4.4 as they did in previous versions. We explain that here.
5. Make sure you get all the plastic off the phone
No. this isn't another joke about Samsung phones being plastic. But it is a cautionary tale about how much removable plastic Samsung uses to keep the phone in pristine condition until you're ready to use it. That include a damned-near invisible piece over the camera lens. And it's not the first time.
That's not a bad thing, of course. Just be sure you get it all off the phone before you venture out in public — you don't want to be that guy — and get the piece off the camera lens before you start taking pictures with your phone.
Actually, scratch that. Here are a couple more things you need to do with your new Galaxy S5: First off, download our app. Once you've done that, hit up our Galaxy S5 help page, and be sure to swing by our Galaxy S5 forums for even more Galaxy S5 help, tips and tricks from folks just like you!
One of the big blunders of Samsung's Gear Fit was that the screen was horribly annoying to read in the horizontal orientation while on your wrist. It just didn't look right and you have to shapeshift your arm to be able to read it straight on.
With a quick update however, they've added a new option that lets you change the orientation to vertical instead — making things much easier to read. Of course if you like the horizontal layout better, that option is still there as well.