Maximizing Your Samsung Galaxy S3: Using Gestures and Motions

Samsung Galaxy S3

Last week in “Maximizing Your Samsung Galaxy S3: Improving Battery Life” we went through all the most common tips and tricks out there when it comes to expanding your battery life.

While that particular article in the series was probably most useful for existing owners of the S3, today’s piece will be important to both brand new S3 users and those that are considering the S3 and want to know a bit more about what set’s it apart from the competition.

We are going to jump in and take a look at one of the biggest features that the Samsung Galaxy S3 has when compared to some of its competition: the ability to use motions and gestures to perform certain tasks.

Again, a seasoned Galaxy S3 owner might already know every single one of these but those that just purchased the S3 or are considering a purchase might find this run-through quite helpful.
Without further ado, let’s get started.

A Look at the Motion Menu

When it comes to controlling and configuring gesture controls for your Galaxy S3, it can all be done in the “Motion Menu”, which you’ll find by pulling down the Notifications drawer and tapping “Settings”. Within settings, move down until you find “Motion”. Click on that to open up the Motion Menu.

There are quite a few options in the menu, and in order to keep things organized, we will explain what each gesture is and how it works by starting at the top of the Motion Menu and working our way downward.

First off, make sure that you enable Motion through the check in the picture directly above– or else none of these will work. From there, you can individually turn on/off these components if you wish.

Direct Call

With direct call enabled, you simply need to browse through your contacts and when you are ready to talk to one of them you raise you phone and bring it towards your face like you would if you were are already talking to them– and from there it will start dialing automatically.

Smart Alert

When you place your Galaxy S3 down, it knows it and turns off the screen. The cool thing about “Smart Alert” is that when you go to pick it up again the phone will let out a vibration to make you aware of any alerts or missed calls that need your attention.

Tap to top

What’s tap to top you wonder? Basically its a way to bring yourself back to the top of your email messages, email contact list and phone contact list quickly. This function works in your email or contact app.

Let’s say you needed to look at a contact in the middle of the list, but now you need to get back to the top. Simply tap the top of the phone and it will jump back up to the top of the list. Keep in mind you are tapping the top of the phone itself, not the display.

Unfortunately this seems to only work with the native Email and Contacts apps, not with 3rd party apps like Gmail and Yahoo Mail.

Tilt to zoom

Next we have tilt to zoom, which basically works as an alternative to pinch and zoom. When on a webpage or looking at a picture, tap and hold the phone at two different spots and tilt the phone towards you to zoom in or away from you in order to zoom out.

Pan to move icon

When it comes to moving icons on your Home screen, with a typical Android device you touch and hold the icon and drag it to another screen. With Pan to move, you hold and touch the icon like normal and simply move your phone left or right. When you do so, you will see the home screens will move in the same direction as you move your phone.

Simply release the icon when you find the right home screen for the app and it will be moved to the new position.

Pan to browse images

When this is enabled, you can move around an image in which you are zoomed in to with ease. Basically all you have to do when enabled is touch and hold anywhere on the screen and move your phone up, down, left or right. Release to stop.

Shake to update
Certain apps like Email, News and Weather are designed to update their information when you simply shake your phone.

Turn over to mute/pause

While this feature might not be a good idea all the time, it can be useful in specific situations where you need silence from your phone. When this is enabled, your phone is muted. This means calls won’t make a peep and if you are listening to anything within Samsung’s Media apps they will pause when turned over.

For folks like myself that often keep their phone on their desk turned over while working and actually WANT to receive calls? This could be something you’d want to turn off.

Palm Swipe to Capture

This “hand gesture” feature works by having you swipe your hand across your phone’s screen, in which it will then take a screenshot. As simple as that.

Palm touch to mute/pause

With this feature you basically get an alternative to turning your phone over. It works by having you cover your Galaxy S3 handset with the palm of your hand and it will then mute the message, video/song or ring tone. Keep in mind though that this works only with Samsung’s stock apps.

Summing it up…

Well that pretty much sums up the gestures and motion controls for the Samsung Galaxy S3. As you can see, there is a lot of extra functionality here that makes the S3 rather unique. Are all of these going to be useful for you? Probably not.

Some folks like the idea of gesture/motion controls to make things easier, others prefer more traditional methods. Either way, its nice that the Samsung Galaxy S3 gives us that choice.

Any other hints or tips related to gesture and motions for the S3 that you think I missed or didn’t cover enough on? Let us know in the comments below.


Posted in: Uncategorized

One Comment

  1. Louiemingione says:

    I don’t think you are correct regarding the mute/pause action. If you set your phone face down it will still ring. If it is in the process of receiving a call and you turn it over, it mutes it just for that call.

Leave a Comment