Gesture-based feature lets you preview notifications and other info without waking up the phone

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is one of the most feature-laden phones we've ever used, and it's easy to overlook some stuff, especially if you don't go digging in menus. One neat but understated capability of Samsung's new high-ender is its ability to detect gestures at a distance using front-facing sensors, even while the device is sleeping. The GS4 takes advantage of this by introducing "Quick Glance," which lets you preview the time, date, notifications and other details without waking up the phone.

Part of the Air Gesture suite of features, Quick Glance can be activated by long-pressing "Air Gesture" in the quick settings pull-down and enabling it in the list that appears. That's also where you control other gesture features like Air jump, Air browse and Air call-accept. (Yeah, this thing's not short on gesture controls.)

Check out our quick video demo above, and subscribe to the Android Central YouTube channel for more awesome GS4 video content. 


Reader comments

Quick Glance on the Samsung Galaxy S4


Lots of tricks... But as a Note 1 owner, I can't wait to witness the Note 3 with Key-Lime Pie this fall.. That might be the one that makes me spend the $650.00 for the Unlocked Version.. :-)

Ok I don't think its quite right to say it "randomly activates" because you're passing something over the top of the phone. That's exactly what it is supposed to do is it not? Annoying, yes. But not random.

Yeah, this feature is super annoying and honestly just plain sucks. Shut it off asap. Tried to live with it on my note 2 (because I thought it was cool) but couldn't handle it.

Further, how is this "not waking up the phone"?

Maybe you didn't unlock it, but you did in fact wake it.

I've got that enabled and I'm losing about 2% an hour in active use. Turned off smart stay, stuff like that, but this one hasn't hurt me at all.

Yup, the proximity sensor is constantly in use when the phone is sleeping when this feature is enabled. I like to use it on my Note II, but I disable it when I'm out and about.

I'm not seeing any battery loss as a result of this. It only works when the phone is flat on a desk, face up and stationary so it's not like it's going to be going off in your pocket.

A good notification light app like Light Manager serves almost the same purpose for me since I can customize the light to each notification. Other than seeing the time which I still have to turn on my screen to see.

Remember that thing worn on one's wrist that tells time and perhaps even shows you have some class and style? No? Ok. : p

Maybe someone should write an app that taps out the time in Morse code using the notification light.

One note - this only works if the phone is lying flat. Works on or off charge, but it would be nice if it worked docked :-)

You guys find a way to put the HTC One in every Galaxy S4 video. HTC can't market it, but you guys have successfully the past few weeks.

To me it's kind of sad that Android Central has to go out of its way just so HTC can sell a few more phones. I get that you like the phone but it's getting annoying that it has to appear in almost every video (mostly on videos regarding the Galaxy S4).

It's because most of them were (and some still are) using it as their daily driver. Nothing to do with helping HTC. Besides, who gives a shit?? If it actually annoys you, then you must be one of the most irritable people on the planet.

It being their daily driver has nothing to do with this video. It's titled "Quick glance on the Samsung Galaxy S4". He could have used anything to pass over the sensor. It's not a crime to be annoyed by this. Obviously you were annoyed about his comment. Are you one those most irritable people on the planet?

I was just making a comment, that's what the comments section is for. What the hell does it matter to you? It's not BrianBaker's hub either, last time I checked. It's the comments section.

The concept of interacting with the phone without contact seems really useful for when you've got messy hands or are wearing gloves (I'm a chemist and I cook. Many hours a day when I don't want to touch something without decontamination...)

That said, the delay between gesture and display light up kind of makes this a non-starter for me. I can just see myself swiping over, not sure it if "took", trying again just as it pops up...

I suspect they need that delay time to distinguish an intended gesture from random stuff going by the sensor. But in practice, I think it's not going to work quickly enough to make me willing to use it.

I'll be getting a VZW S4 on the 30th...but like a lot of the new stuff, I doubt I'll enable this feature.

So, like somebody else above noted, how much does this kill your battery? I'm impressed with some of the things that Samsung is able to do with existing hardware - like Smart Stay - but every time I use one I think to myself "Wait - that feature has to be keeping the camera/prox sensor on at all times, which HAS TO BE killing my battery" - no?

This feature is on the Note 2 as well, and I haven't noticed any significant change in battery life since turning it on.

yea seems to be a bit of delay.. ive seen it in person on my friends note 2, seemed a little faster on his. hope its more instant, if not maybe a second or so delay at max

Don't think it's gimmicky at all. Can't tell you how many times I've gone into my phone to check for notifications. Great feature that next year all will have it and then it will be a great feature. Samsung is the only manufacturer that is innovating. They have many many great features that are being called gimmicky, total bull shit. If they aren't for you just shut the damn things off. Samsung is doing a great job pushing the envelope of the SmartPhone.