Read an Excerpt
Samsung Galaxy S5 For Dummies
By Bill Hughes
John Wiley & SonsCopyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd
All rights reserved.
Exploring What You Can Do with Your Phone
* Reviewing the basic capabilities of just about any cellphone
* Understanding what sets smartphones apart
* Mapping out what makes Samsung Galaxy S 5 phones so cool
Whether you want just the basics from a phone (make and take phone calls, customize your ringtone, take some pictures, maybe use a Bluetooth headset) or you want your phone to be always by your side (a tool for multiple uses throughout your day), you can make that happen. In this chapter, I outline all the things your phone can do — from the basics, to what makes Galaxy S 5 phones different from the rest.
Throughout the remainder of the book, I walk you through the steps you need to take to get your phone doing what makes you the happiest.
Discovering the Basics of Your Phone
All cellphones on the market today include basic functions, and even some entry-level phones are a little more sophisticated. Of course, Samsung includes all basic functions on the Galaxy S 5 model. In addition to making and taking calls (see Chapter 3) and sending and receiving texts (see Chapter 4), the Galaxy S 5 sports the following basic features:
[check] 16MP digital camera: This resolution is more than enough for posting good-quality images on the Internet and even having 4" x 6" prints made.
[check] Ringtones: You can replace the standard ringtone with custom ringtones that you download to your phone. You also can specify different rings for different numbers.
[check] Bluetooth: The Galaxy S 5 phone supports stereo and standard Bluetooth devices. (See Chapter 3 for more on Bluetooth.)
[check] High-resolution screen: The Galaxy S 5 phone offers one of the highest-resolution touchscreens on the market (19201080 pixels).
[check] Capacitive touchscreen: The Galaxy S 5 phone offers a very slick touch-screen that's sensitive enough to allow you to interact with the screen accurately, but not so sensitive that it's hard to manage. In addition, it has an optional setting that steps up the sensitivity in case you want to use your phone while wearing gloves!
Taking Your Phone to the Next Level: The Smartphone Features
In addition to the basic capabilities of any entry-level cellphone, the Galaxy S 5 phone, which is based on the popular Android platform for mobile devices, has capabilities associated with other smartphones, such as the Apple iPhone and the phones based on the Windows Phone 8 operating system:
[check] Internet access: Access websites through a web browser on your phone.
[check] Photos: The phone comes with a camera that has millions of combinations of settings, filters, and resolutions, but it also has the capability to manage photos.
[check] Wireless e-mail: Send and receive e-mail from your phone.
[check] Multimedia: Play music and videos on your phone.
[check] Contact Manager: The Galaxy S 5 phone lets you take shortcuts that save you from having to enter someone's ten-digit number each time you want to call or text a friend. In fact, the Contact Manager can track all the numbers that an individual might have, store an e-mail address and photo for the person, and synchronize with the program you use for managing contacts on both your personal and work PCs!
[check] Digital camcorder: The Galaxy S 5 phone comes with a built-in digital camcorder that records live video at a resolution that you can set, including UHD (ultra-high definition, which is just now becoming available on the newest televisions).
[check] Mapping and directions: The Galaxy S 5 phone uses the GPS (Global Positioning System) in your phone to tell you where you are, find local services that you need, and give you directions to where you want to go.
[check] Fitness information: The Galaxy S 5 phone automatically tracks important health information within the phone and with external sensors.
[check] Business applications: The Galaxy S 5 can keep you productive while you're away from the office.
I go into each of these capabilities in greater detail in the following sections.
Until a few years ago, the only way to access the Internet when you were away from a desk was with a laptop. Smartphones are a great alternative to laptops because they're small, convenient, and ready to launch their web browsers right away. Even more important, when you have a smartphone, you can access the Internet wherever you are — whether Wi-Fi is available or not.
The drawback to smartphones, however, is that their screen size is smaller than that of even the most basic laptop. On the Galaxy S 5 phone, you can use the standard version of a website if you want. You can pinch and stretch your way to get the information you want — see Chapter 2 for more information on pinching and stretching. For more information on accessing the Internet from your Galaxy S 5 phone, turn to Chapter 7.
To make things a bit easier, many popular websites offer an easier-to-use app that you can download and install on your phone. This is discussed in detail in Chapter 8. Essentially the app reformats the information from the site so that it's easier to read and navigate in the mobile environment. Figure 1-1 compares a regular website with the app version of that website.
The image application on your phone helps you use the digital camera on your Galaxy S 5 phone to its full potential. (It would almost make sense to call the Samsung Galaxy S 5 a smartcamera with a built-in cellphone!)
Studies have found that cellphone users tend to snap a bunch of pictures within the first month of phone usage. After that, the photos sit on the phone (instead of being downloaded to a computer), and the picture-taking rate drops dramatically.
The Galaxy S 5 phone image management application is different. You can integrate your camera images into your home photo library, as well as photo-sharing sites such as Picasa and Flickr, with minimal effort.
For more on how to use the Photo applications, you can turn to Chapter 9.
On your Galaxy smartphone, you can access your business and personal e-mail accounts, reading and sending e-mail messages on the go. Depending on your e-mail system, you might be able to sync so that when you delete an e-mail on your phone, the e-mail is deleted on your computer at the same time so you don't have to read the same messages on your phone and your computer.
Chapter 6 covers setting up your business and personal e-mail accounts.
Some smartphones allow you to play music and videos on your phone in place of a dedicated MP3 or video player. On the Galaxy S 5 phone, you can use the applications that come with the phone, or you can download applications that offer these capabilities from the Play Store.
Chapter 12 covers how to use the multimedia services with your Galaxy S 5 phone.
Whether your company gives you a Galaxy S 5 phone for work or you buy your Galaxy S 5 phone yourself, you can use the Galaxy S 5 phone to work with Microsoft Office applications.
Chapter 14 explores how to set up your phone to work with Microsoft Office applications. After you set it up, you'll have unprecedented access to your calendar.
Customizing Your Phone with Games and Applications
Application developers — large and small — are working on the Android platform to offer a variety of applications and games for the Galaxy S 5 phone. Compared to most of the other smartphone platforms, Google imposes fewer restrictions on application developers regarding what's allowable. This freedom to develop resonates with many developers — resulting in a bonanza of application development on this platform.
As of this writing, more than one million applications are available from Google's Play Store. For more information about downloading games and applications, turn to Chapter 8.
Chapter 10 of this book is for gamers. Although your phone comes with a few general-interest games, you can find a whole wide world of games for every skill and taste. In Chapter 10, I give you all the information you need to set up different gaming experiences. Whether you prefer standalone games or multiplayer games, you can set up your Galaxy S 5 phone to get what you need.
Your phone comes with some very nice applications, but these might not take you as far as you want to go. You might also have some special interests, such as philately or stargazing, that neither Samsung nor your carrier felt would be of sufficient general interest to include on the phone. (Can you imagine?)
Your phone also comes with preloaded widgets, which are smaller applications that serve particular purposes, such as retrieving particular stock quotes or telling you how your phone's battery is feeling today. Widgets reside on the extended Home screen and are instantly available.
Buying applications allows you to get additional capabilities quickly, easily, and inexpensively. Ultimately, these make your phone, which is already a reflection of who you are, even more personal as you add more capabilities.
What's cool about the Android platform
The Samsung Galaxy S 5 phone is the top-of-the-line Android phone. That means you can run any application developed for an Android phone to its full capability. This is significant because one of the founding principles behind the Android platform is to create an environment where application developers can be as creative as possible without an oppressive organization dictating what can and cannot be sold (as long as it's within the law, of course). This creative elbow room has inspired many of the best application developers to go with Android first.
In addition, Android is designed to run multiple applications at once. Other smartphone platforms have added this capability, but Android is designed to let you to jump quickly among the multiple apps that you're running — which makes your smartphone experience that much smoother.
You and Your Shadow: How Your Cellular Carrier Bills You
In the United States, most cellular companies sell phones at a significant discount when you sign up for a service agreement. And most cellular companies offer discounts on phones when you want to upgrade to something newer (as long as you also sign up for another couple of years of service). So, it's not surprising that most people buy their phones directly from cellular companies.
If your new Galaxy S 5 phone device is an upgrade from an older phone, you might have a service plan that was suitable with your last phone but isn't so great anymore. If this is your first cellphone (ever, or with this particular carrier), you might start with an entry-level plan, thinking you wouldn't need "that many minutes," only to find that you and your phone are inseparable, and you need a better plan. The good news is that most cellular carriers allow you to change your service plan.
Most cellular service plans have three components of usage:
I walk you through each of these components and how they affect using your Galaxy S 5 in the following sections.
Voice usage is the most common, costly, and complex element of most service plans. Cellular providers typically offer plans with a certain number of anytime minutes and a certain number of night/weekend minutes. Some providers offer plans with reduced rates (or even free calls) to frequently called numbers, to other cellphones with the same cellular provider, or to other cellphones in general. If you talk a lot, you might be able to opt for an unlimited voice plan (for domestic calls only).
At its core, a Galaxy S 5 phone device is, obviously, a phone. In the early days of smartphones, manufacturers were stung by the criticism that smartphones weren't as easy to use as traditional cellphones. Indeed, you do have to bring up the phone screen to make a call (more on making and receiving calls in Chapter 3). As an improvement, Samsung has made sure that the screen used to make calls is only one click away from the Home screen.
If keeping track of minutes is important to you and your calling plan, be mindful of all those e-mails and social network updates that prompt you to call someone right away. You might be tempted to make more calls than you did with your old (dumb) cellular phone.
A texting "bundle" is an add-on to your voice plan. Some service plans include unlimited texting; others offer a certain number of text messages for a flat rate. For example, maybe you pay an additional $5 per month to get 1000 free text messages — meaning that you can send and receive a combined total of 1000 messages per month. If you go over that limit, you pay a certain amount per message (usually more for text messages you send than those you receive).
As with voice, the Galaxy S 5 phone makes texting very convenient, which in turn makes it more likely that you'll use this service and end up using more texts than you expect. However, nothing obligates you to buy a texting plan.
My advice is to get at least some texting capability, but be ready to decide if you want to pay for more or stay with a minimal plan and budget your texts.
Although getting texting may be optional, access to the Internet is essential to get the full experience of your Galaxy S 5 phone. The Internet, which is sometimes called "the cloud" (after the way it's symbolized in network diagrams) is where you access the capabilities that make the Galaxy S 5 phone so special. Some cellular carriers may let you use the phone on their network without a data plan, but I cannot imagine why you'd want to do that. Although your phone will supplement the coverage you get from your cellular carrier with Wi-Fi, you really need to have a data plan from your cellular carrier to get most of the value out of your investment in your phone. There's just no getting around it.
Most cellular companies price Internet access with usage increments measured in hundreds of megabytes (MB), but more often in gigabytes (GB).
Some cellular carriers make it easy by only offering unlimited data as an option. This is good news: As you customize your phone to keep up with your friends and access your favorite sites, the cost of access won't increase. There are no big surprises in store for people who choose this plan, even if it comes at an initially higher price.
Other carriers just offer very large "buckets" of data. In any case, it can be a challenge to figure out how much data you are going to need without going over the limit and paying a usage penalty. Some carriers try to help you by giving you some tools to estimate your usage by estimating the number of e-mails, web pages, or multimedia files you plan to download.
These plans are a bit iffy. One option is to go with the lowest increment of data, unless you plan to be downloading a large number of videos. You can use some of the tools I cover later to see how much data you're actually using.
Another school of thought is to go for an increment or two of data larger than what you think you'll need. After you've built up some history, you can call your carrier to scale back your usage if appropriate. An upgrade to the next bucket runs about $10 monthly.
Don't blame me if you don't check your usage! It's easy to check and increase your usage, even mid-billing cycle. While the phone itself has some tools to measure your data usage, most carriers provide tools on the customer-service app they pre-load on your phone to track usage. I suggest you check this amount regularly. It is not an estimate. It is the official answer.
Another consideration: Family plans
A popular option is to combine your usage of voice, text, and data with that of your family members. The family unit on the plan gets to share a fixed allotment of voice minutes, texts, and data. This works well, as long as a responsible person checks your usage during the billing period!
Excerpted from Samsung Galaxy S5 For Dummies by Bill Hughes. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Excerpted by permission of John Wiley & Sons.
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