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.

There are 58 comments

dtraini30 says:

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...


Richard... you're making this too easy lol I'm going to spare you this time

pachi72 says:

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

patfactorx says:

XDA please hack this onto my Droid 4. K thx

wdfalco says:

What about a 5.5 Galaxy Nexus

mflava#AC says:

Samsung does it again...that's cool!

icebike says:

"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?

Alex Dobie says:

This and Smart Stay bring up an icon in the top bar when they're active.

What in the world are you doing that you are afraid of your phone "seeing" you doing?


AzD says:

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

icebike says:

You assume its only the "phone" seeing...

sndplace says:

LMAO ! Thinking the same thing. I guess someone watches person of interest lol.

emayekayee says:

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.

rap1 says:


ab304945 says:

That is also on the leaked version of the gs3 sprint jellybean to

Wicell says:

beat me to it... nice!

This is my biggest gripe about auto rotate. Samsung you really know how to please the people.

manu_up says:

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..

Jotokun says:

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

Suntan says:

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.


P1X3L says:

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.

Thadrow says:

Samsung is scarier than Skynet .

adipabeta says:

I do see.

satur9ine says:

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!

ab304945 says:

that's what I'm on now.funny saw this yesterday in settings . and now they're is an articl on it

keykutney says:

That is so freaking cool, Jfc.

robotaholic says:

This right here is why I love touchwiz so much. Yes, stock Android is good...but I love these added features!

this phone has too many features to pass it up. as a tech junkie that tries to make smart decisions.... this is the only phone to have.

focr6 says:

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

uribees says:

This feature has always been part of the Galaxy S3.

Alex Dobie says:

That's Smart Stay. This is a bit different.

poochewer says:

This is different to the s3 method.Read the article.

uribees says:

Yeah I did read the article and the S3 does have smart rotation. Just search it. Here's one example of a review that mentions it:

return_0 says:

Great feature, but definitely won't be enough to tip me over from the stock side to the TouchWiz side.

nuvibe says:

Am I the only one here that reads with the light off??

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.

dplane says:

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.

Wicell says:

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.

sndplace says:

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.

barondebxl says:

im gonna try that on my note 2 right now!

kbuno50 says:



dtblair24 says:

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.

kamiller42 says:

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

mike340t says:

I wonder if Samsung is patenting all these software innovations ..

aaronwe says:

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

Bravo, Sammy.

jharazin says:

Cool feature, but I do have to wonder how many people read laying down in well-lit rooms.

poochewer says:

I agree. They need an extra infrared sensor or something.

Brevard1986 says:

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.

goliatham says:

To the lament of upsidedown face kid

XChrisX says:

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

carlosrey23 says:

I soooooo want this phone!!!!!!

graffixnyc says:

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 :)

Bolt473 says:

Dear cyanogen, Please put this in CM10 and push it upstream to AOSP.

Kanji_Man says:

They better patent it before Apple puts it in the next iOS update and sues them for using it.

blindbox says:

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.

D16RR says:

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...