The second beta firmware update with version number G950FXXU1ZQK4 is now being rolled out by Samsung. It has been rolled out in the United Kingdom already and will also go live in other supported markets soon.
Second Galaxy S8 Android 8.0 beta firmware
The changelog of the second Galaxy S8 Android 8.0 Oreo beta firmware reveals that it brings the October security patch and improves the stability of DeX mode. The changelog also mentions that the stability of the Launcher has been improved as well.
There are new clock styles for the lock screen and Always On Display. Users can now adjust the transparency of notifications to get their desired look. Smart View gets smarter by allowing the handset’s screen to go dark when it’s mirroring between the phone and TV.
A plethora of bug fixes are also included in this beta release. Interestingly, even though the changelog says that it has the October security patch, the Software Information section mentions the September patch. It just might be a clerical mistake.
Samsung is yet to confirm when the second phase of the beta program will begin. That’s when the Galaxy S8 Android 8.0 Oreo beta is expected to be released in markets like India.
The Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 share a lot in common not just in terms of their internals but also the software experience they offer. Both phones have received plenty of praises this year from reviewers and customers alike, and if you have purchased either one of them, you really cannot go wrong with them.
Now, to help you get the most out of Samsung’s 2017 flagship handsets, the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8, we have a collection of tips and tricks for them. These tips will help you know how to make better use of the existing features on the devices, discover some hidden ones, and more. So, let’s get started.
Force Touch the Home Button
Thanks to their Infinity Display, the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 are all about their beautiful Super AMOLED displays at the front. Due to the all-display front, the phones do not come with capacitive navigation buttons as well like previous Galaxy devices from Samsung. Instead, like Google, Samsung finally decided to implement on-screen navigation buttons on its flagship handsets this year as well.
That’s not all though: the area where the Home button is shown on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 supports Force Touch. So, you can hard press on that area when the phone is lying idle to wake the display up. Similarly, you can hard press on the home button area even when you are inside an app and the navigation bar is not being shown to go back to the home screen. Considering the fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 is located at such an odd location, I end up Force Touching the Home button to wake the device and then unlock it by looking at the iris scanner.
Do make sure to enable the Unlock with Home button option under Settings -> Display to ensure your Galaxy S8 or Note 8 skips right past the lock screen when you hard press the Home button.
Automatically Enable Iris Unlock
By default, if you use the iris scanner on your Galaxy S8 or Note 8 to unlock the device, you will first have to press the power button/hard press the Home button to wake the device up. Then, you will have to swipe up on the lock screen to initiate the iris scanning process. This can be a particularly tedious and time-consuming process especially when you will be doing it hundreds of time on a daily basis.
To speed up the whole process, Samsung has included a handy ‘Iris unlock when screen turns on’ option under Iris Scanner in Settings -> Lock Screen & Security. Enable the feature and as soon as you wake up your Galaxy S8 or Note 8, the iris scanner will start scanning for your iris.
Quickly Hide the Navigation Bar
For an even more immersive browsing or reading experience, you can quickly hide the navigation bar on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 by double tapping the small dot located on the left edge of the navigation bar. To restore the navigation bar, simply swipe up from the bottom of the screen and double tap the dot again.
Expand the Status Bar
You can quickly expand the notification bar on the Galaxy S8 or Note 8 by simply double tapping the status bar. This feature only works if you are using the stock launcher and might not be available on certain carrier variants of the device.
Quickly Launch the Camera App
The lack of a physical home button on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 means you can no longer double press the home button to quickly launch the camera app. Instead, that duty has now been assigned to the power button similar to the Google Pixel. The feature is disabled by default so make sure to enable it by searching for Quick Launch in the Settings menu and enabling it.
Switch Between Front and Back Camera
Another camera related tip for the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 is related to how you can quickly switch between the front and back camera. With the camera app open, simply swipe up/down on the viewfinder to switch to the front/rear camera. An even faster way to switch to the front camera is to double press the power button with the camera app open.
If you are someone who takes a lot of selfies, Samsung has included a handy gesture on the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 that makes it easier to click a selfie. Instead of struggling to hit the shutter button while holding the phone in your hand for a selfie, you can simply hold your palm in front of the camera to start the time. You can also take a selfie by keeping your finger on the heart rate monitor at the rear or by simply tapping anywhere on the screen.
Tweak the Flashlight Brightness Level
If you are someone who frequently uses the flashlight functionality on their Galaxy S8 or Note 8, you will be glad to know that the flashlight brightness level can also be customised on these handsets. Simply tap the Torch (or Flashlight) text below the flashlight toggle in Quick Settings to gain access to the brightness slider. There are five different brightness levels for you to choose from, though do remember that using the flashlight for an extended period of time can shorten its lifespan.
Use Secure Folder
Thanks to KNOX, Samsung’s version of Android is already among the most secure flavours of the OS out there. However, if you want an even additional layer of security while opening some important banking or enterprise apps, you can make use of Samsung’s Secure Folder feature. All apps put under Secure Folder run in a separate sandbox that is completely disconnected from the main OS.
Blue Light Filter
Similar to almost every other Android device out there, the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 also come with a Blue Light filter. As the name suggests, the Blue Light filter automatically filters the harmful blue rays emitted from a display by tweaking its color temperature to help reduce eye strain. If you are someone who reads a lot on their Galaxy S8 or Note 8, it is recommended that you turn on the Blue Light filter option especially while reading in the dark. You can also automatically set Blue Light filter to enable itself after sunset or at a scheduled time daily.
Quickly Zoom Into the Subject
The shutter button in the stock Camera app of the Galaxy S8 and Note 8 can also act as a virtual zoom slider. If you long press and drag the shutter button up, the camera will zoom into the subject. Similarly, dragging the shutter button down will zoom out from the frame.
While every other Android device offers the option to natively take a screenshot, Samsung has taken this feature to the next level with Smart Capture. When you take a screenshot on the Galaxy S8 or Note 8, you can quickly crop the picture, draw on it, add filters and effects to it, and more. Even better, simply pressing the crop button after taking a screenshot will automatically crop out the navigation and status bar which serves no real purpose in a screenshot either way.
Change System Fonts
Samsung remains among the very few OEMs in the market to continue offering the option to customise the system fonts on its devices. Changing system fonts can go a long way in refreshing the UI look and feel, though in typical Samsung fashion, there’s a lot more to know about changing system fonts on the S8 and Note 8 instead of just the steps.
Samsung is among the very few OEMs in the market that continues to offer the option to change system fonts in its skin. While changing system fonts might not seem like a big deal to many, it does go a long way in refreshing the UI every once in a while.
While changing system fonts on the Galaxy Note 8 is a pretty straightforward process, there are still a few things one must know especially if you are coming from a previous Galaxy device. First, follow the steps below to change system fonts on the Galaxy Note 8.
How to Change System Fonts on Samsung Galaxy Note 8:
Step 1: Head over to Settings -> Display -> Screen zoom and font. Here, you will find all the options related to system fonts including its size and display zoom.
Step 2: To change the system font, simply select any of the pre-installed fonts from the ‘Font Style’ option located at the very bottom and tap the ‘Apply’ button located at the top-right corner. You can download additional fonts from the Galaxy App Store.
To change system font size on the Galaxy Note 8, simply drag the slider under Font size to left or right depending on your preference.
Google introduced the ability to change the DPI of an Android device in Nougat. With the Galaxy Note 8, Samsung has renamed the option to ‘Screen Zoom’.
With Screen Zoom, you can actually adjust the amount of content being displayed on the screen. This is different from changing the font size as here the UI will also scale depending on whether you increase or decrease the DPI. So, the lower the DPI/screen zoom you select, the more content will be displayed on the screen and vice versa.
‘Font Not Compatible’ Error
If you have a collection of fonts that you had used on previous Samsung Galaxy devices, prepare to be disappointed. Similar to the Galaxy S8 and S7 before it, while you will be able to install third-party fonts through the Play Store or other third-party sources on the Galaxy Note 8, you will be greeted with a ‘Font Not Compatible’ error when you try to apply them. This is because Samsung has changed its font framework starting from Nougat that makes it impossible to apply fonts acquired from other sources. The company took this step to clamp down on the piracy of fonts that was and still is prevalent on the Google Play Store.
So, the only way to download additional fonts on the Galaxy Note 8 is through the Galaxy Apps store. The problem? Apart from one font, almost every other font is paid and that’s not likely to go down well with most people. Sadly, there’s not much that you can do about it as well. On the bright side, most of the fonts are priced at a reasonable $0.99 or $1.99.
Once you have downloaded a font from the Galaxy Apps Store, simply follow the steps mentioned above to switch to your newly downloaded system font.
Samsung took a huge gamble on the Galaxy S8 when it went all in on its virtual assistant and included a dedicated button to launch Bixby.
Unfortunately for consumers, Bixby wasn’t ready. That, unfortunately, left the Bixby button as merely a quick launch for Bixby Home, which housed some basic information from your calendar and news feed. There were some workarounds but Samsung kept responding to break the method used to remap the button.
It seems that Samsung may now finally be listening as a new update finally allows the Bixby button to be officially disabled. Unfortunately, it doesn’t go any further than that so you’re left with an even more useless button. Hopefully, Samsung takes this one step further and allow the button to be completely remapped to launch an app of the users choice like Google Assistant.
SamMobile reports the update isn’t appearing for everyone just yet so keep checking in Settings to see when it finally trickles down to your device.
The dedicated Bixby button on the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ didn’t really serve any meaningful purpose until last month when Bixby Voice was rolled out globally. Before the global release of Bixby Voice, the dedicated button could only be used for Bixby Home.
Most users didn’t feel the need for Bixby Home to have a dedicated key. Third-party apps were developed that allowed them to remap the button to launch any app of their choice. Samsung was quick to clamp down on those apps for reasons that our editor in chief explained in great detail.
I bemoaned recently that the Bixby button was driving me nuts and many of our readers agreed with me. I don’t like how it gets in the way and that you can’t avoid accidental presses of the button. However, it’s time for us to rejoice.
Samsung is finally allowing us to disable the Bixby button, to an extent. The latest Bixby updates add a new toggle which lets you decide whether or not Bixby Home should be launched when the dedicated button is pressed. This can also be configured from the Bixby settings menu.
You’ll see this toggle at the very top of Bixby Home once you install the update. You can tap on the gear icon to hide the toggle should you so desire. It’s just a matter of tapping on a toggle now and that makes me happy.
To be clear, Bixby Home isn’t going anywhere. You can still access it by swiping left from the home screen. The Bixby button will also work for summoning Bixby Voice. Just press and hold like you already do.
Are you happy that Samsung is finally giving us this option? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.
Update: The implementation appears to be random right now. Some of our devices have got this toggle after the update. Some haven’t. Perhaps it will take more time for this to be available on all Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 units.
This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, but Samsung is working on an Android Oreo build for the Galaxy S8. Common sense, right? Manufacturers are pretty much always working on newer software for their flagship devices.
The big story here is that a Galaxy S8 running Android 8.0 has popped up on Geekbench, which means there’s definitely at least one, if not a few, of these devices at Samsung HQ stable enough to run benchmarks with new software. That’s good news for all of us waiting for an update.
Yep, definitely a Galaxy S8, definitely running Android 8.0. Performance doesn’t really seem drastically improved, but then again, it’s rare to see a massive difference just because of a newer version of software anymore.
While this doesn’t mean Samsung is pushing out an Oreo update right away, it does mean we can expect an update for their current round of flagship devices very soon. Fingers crossed the Galaxy S7 sees some love, too.
The European Imaging and Sound Association (EISA) has now announced its mobile device awards for 2017-2018. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Samsung took home top honors, with the company’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ devices collectively winning the “Best Smartphone” award. According to EISA’s judges, who described the Samsung’s flagship devices as “formidable, do-it-all devices” that’s down to a great camera and camera features, the comfortable bezel-free Infinity display, and several other innovations. It’s worth noting that the award was provided to the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Samsung Galaxy S8+ that are powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 8895 S0C, as opposed to the Snapdragon variant of the devices
As to the other awards, Huawei snagged no fewer than three awards, starting with the Smartphone Camera award being granted to the company’s P10 and its Leica-branded dual sensor setup – which features a 20-megapixel monochrome sensor and a 12-megapixel color sensor, which enable enhanced portrait shots. EISA also cites the front camera as playing a role in the decision since the P10’s 8-megapixel selfie camera features Leica technology which automatically widens the angle to fit more people. Beyond the Huawei P10, the company also won in the best Wearable Device category with its Huawei Watch 2, thanks to its appealing aesthetics, battery life, and water-resistance. Meanwhile, the award for Best Consumer Smartphone also went to Huawei for its Honor 8 Pro. EISA judges referred to the device as a “seriously capable smartphone,” thanks to its 6GB of RAM coupled with 64GB of storage, backed by a Kirin 960 SoC and powered by a 4,000 mAh battery. They were equally impressed by Huawei’s generously proportioned 5.7-inch QHD screen.
Finally, and rounding out awards given to the best of the best among mobile devices, the comparatively unknown NOA Element H10Le won the award for Best Buy Smartphone because of its exceptional “price-to-performance ratio” thanks to its ten-core MediaTek Helio X27 SoC, coupled with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. The EISA also points to the device’s 7.1mm thick “sleek metal unibody finish,” 5.5-inch AMOLED display, and cameras as justification for the award. Awards were also handed to manufacturers for other categories, including Best Mobile Audio Player, Wireless In-Ear Headphones, Mobile Speaker, Mobile Headphones, and Portable DAC/Headphone Amplifier.
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