Android Central

We've all been there before. You're reading something on your smartphone while laying down on a bed or sofa. You turn sideways, and the screen rotates. Suddenly, whatever you were reading is at 90 degrees to where it needs to be, and you're left trying to read at an awkward angle. Fortunately, we found a feature on the Galaxy Note 2 that seems to have been developed for this exact eventuality.

"Smart rotation" makes its debut on the Note 2, and like the Galaxy S3's Smart Stay, it uses a bit of front-facing camera trickery. When the phone rotates, the device uses the front-facer to work out what orientation your face is in and then match the orientation of the screen accordingly, based on the built-in sensor. That means even if you're reading at an angle, the Note 2 can recognize this and keep things the right way up. In our experience it functions pretty well, though the fact that it uses the front-facing camera means you need a little ambient light in order for it to work.

Smart Rotation is switched off by default on the Note 2, but can be enabled under Settings > Display. Perhaps not the most practical or necessary software feature ever conceived, but damned if it isn't cool.

If you're reading this article at a 90 degree angle, be sure to shout out in the comments.


Reader comments

Galaxy Note 2's Smart Rotation solves the ultimate first-world problem


That. Is. Awesome.

Ya know its stuff like that when I wish that OEMs could add their software tweaks into stock android so android as a whole is full of sweet features!

I owned the Galaxy Nexus on Verizon and gosh what a big waste of time that was from December 15th 2011 to June 28th 2012. That was the worst Galaxy Nexus ever made and the blame goes to Verizon with it's cdma lte network. Poor reception, dreadful signal strength, and piss poor battery life. The Galaxy S3 on tmobile is clearly the BEST android device ever and it's features alone make STOCK ANDROID simply useless unless you enjoy the boring stock feel. The Galaxy Note 2 will be a first day purchase for me on tmobile and I will be enjoing the best of both worlds with the Galaxy S3 and Galaxy Note 2...

Don't forget the shitty camera APP that comes with Stock Android..It simply blows..The GS3/One X camera app is miles ahead..

"When the phone rotates, the device uses the front-facer to work out what orientation your face is in"

Ok, this officially creeps me out a bit...

When are cams in general, but front cams specifically going to get mandatory little Camera Is Active" led indicators like every Laptop has?

I can think of at least a half dozen things, none of which are illegal. Bathroom time is [wordhero] time!

I'd be happy if mobile apps and websites (i'm looking at you wouldn't revert back to the top of the article every time you inadvertently rotate to landscape.

Bang on.. every night i face this prob and have to turn off auto rotation to read.. n then turn it back on.. slight hassle but its awesome to see that they have explored every nook n cranny of smartphone usage. A lot of creative folk are sitting at head of development in Samsung right now. And my Note arrives today.. CANT WAIT..

That is pure awesome. Hope this makes it into some AOSP roms for those of us without a Samsung device.

I'm literally laying on the floor reading this with my head cocked at an odd angle (so my phone doesn't auto-rotate) right now!

If this is what copying Apple looks like, I hope Samsung keeps copying new ideas into existance like this.


I really want the feature below it! How many times have you been reading an article to have the screen turn off? Way more times than I've had it rotate accidentally!

This is so awesome. My only worry is how much it will affect the battery, but if it's negligible or minimal this feature officially ascends to God status.

This feature looks like it will be making it into the official JB builds on the Galaxy S3. It is on the leaked JB build for the Sprint GS3 that I am trying out now!

Love how this is also on the S3 JB update. Have been playing with the venum jelly bomb Rom, n lovev it! Love the new keyboard too! I'll take an Enhanced Samsung experience over pure Google, why go basic? Mind as well get an iPhone with a basic size too. The S3/TW nature UX it's just the best! Along with nova launcher. :) I'm back in love with my S3

Since this seems like simply a software functionality not a hardware one I wonder if there will be an OTA update to add this feature to it's other devices. Or I guess you could just add the feature into a custom ROM.

That's cool n all but 99% of the time when I would need it I m laying in bed next to the wifey with screen brightness at its lowest, and no other ambient light..rendering the use of the front facing camera useless. Wake me up when they introduce phones with IR capability on the FC.

Your skin tone can effect the amount of ambient light that is generated by refraction/reflection of the light being emitted by your phone. Therefor, the lighter your skin tone, the greater the chance of this feature working in the dark.

Also you can place to small mirrors on your face. !on each cheek. This will also reflect enough light to make it work when your in the dark.

I currently run cyanogenmod 10 on my GS3 but I got to give it to Samsung, they really pack tons of features into TouchWiz. When I have to switch back for stability, or waiting for ROM development, it isn't all that bad of an experience.

My Nexus 7 has a lock orientation toggle at the top of the notification center. I tap that while read and I am set.

This exact problem is the reason I keep screen rotation off on my current phone. Consider me impressed.

Bravo, Sammy.

Man, can Samsung just make an updated S3 (keep the size the same) but chuck in a pen and the Galaxy Note 2 software?

I really really love Smart Stay. Smart Rotation would definitely be a awesome feature.

Judging by the comments, it looks like this feature is coming to the S3, but This makes me really want a Note II now!

The sprint Jellybean leak has the same feature. I saw it and remember thinking what it was. lol I'm running the JB leak on my ATT GS3. It's pretty stable for a leak too :)

Shameless plug. Anyone of you have tried Display Orientator? It gives an overlay button where you can press when you want to lock your rotation, or when you don't want to. It's especially great when you want to use reverse landscape mode, or reverse portrait mode (reverse=upside-down).

Just look for Display Orientator in google play.

If it's twice as good as smart stay it will be exactly worthless. Or maybe I'm too ugly for the software to recognize as human. sniff...