The First Things You Need To Do With Your S8 or S8+

By @TheMarkDalton

Alright, alright…I know I have been giving quite a generous amount of coverage to the S8+ over the last week given that I usually talk about social media for your business but this last one I needed to put together. Several people have told me they are switching from iPhone to S8 after hearing me sing its praises. 

Others have told me that they are strongly thinking about it at the moment and so with that in mind I thought it would be a good idea to put together the first things I did with my S8+ before I really started enjoying it.

Switch the button layout

This is the first time I have owned a Samsung phone and right out of the box I thought that the back button was on the wrong side of the display when I powered it on for the first time. It didn’t feel natural, it didn’t feel right. Apparently I’m not alone and many users have felt this way for years, if the default placement feels fine to you then its all good.

However if you want to change the buttons to what many people think is more natural and have the back button on the left side of the display then go to Settings > Display > Navigation Bar > Button Layout and choose the option “Back – Home – Recents.”

Get the pixels you are paying for

The S8 has a stunning display and ships with three different resolutions, you can pick what you want of course but for whatever strange reason the default is set to FullHD+ and not WQHD+ which is the max resolution. Now I know why the lower resolutions exist to give people the option of getting a bit more battery and what have you.

However, I really believe that these things should ship with the default set as WQHD+ and then users can scale down if they want. The WQHD+ setting does not have a detrimental impact on the battery, I happily make it through a day on that resolution with moderate to heavy usage on the S8+. You are paying for a stunning display so you may as well get your full moneys worth.

Hit up Settings > Display > Screen Resolution and drag the slider to the far right. Some people say the difference can be subtle and hard to spot but once you see all those glorious pixels its hard to go back.

Don’t remap the Bixby button

There have been mixed results when people have tried this. Samsung is clearly intent on pushing Bixby hard, Bixby is their take on a virtual assistant. Many reviewers have said that it is half baked especially when compared to Google Assistant. Samsung must believe in Bixby though as they have a dedicated button on the S8 line for it.

This has upset some hardcore Samsung users who want to use that button for something else (such as Google Assistant) instead. There are apps that allow you to remap the Bixby button but many users have reported their phone performance to drop dramatically when they do it. Frame rate and lag issues have been cited when the button is remapped so hide the screen if you want but maybe best not to play around with what the button was designed for and intended to do.

Tone down or disable animations

I can’t emphasise how important this is because it really does make a difference. Should you have to do this? No, it should be like it out of the box. Basically a simple trick to make your phone feel snappier.

Start by enabling developer options, go to Settings > About Phone > Software Information and then tap on Build Number , keep tapping until the phone tells you that Developer options have been enabled.

Back  to the settings menu you will see a Developer Options menu at the bottom of settings which was not there before, go into it and find options called Window Animation Scale and Transition Animation Scale which you need to can either turn off completely or scale down to 0.5x (which is what I decided to do) and that will help make the phone feel that bit snappier and crisp. Want to see what these things do? Set it up to 10x and scroll around the phone a but…

Try the earbuds!

Not really one for me as such because I am happy with the AirPods which work fine on Android and my QC 35’s. However the earbuds that ship with this phone are pretty slick. If you typically like to pick up earbuds on a tighter budget and not spend so much then these will more than likely be the best pair you have at home.

The AKG earbuds bundled with the phone are worth $99 separately and they are pretty good. Without a doubt the best earbuds to come bundled with a phone that I have experienced.

Get rid of the shit

Most of us know by now that Samsung comes with some bloat and while the amount of bloat has decreased dramatically over the years, it is still there. There are Samsung apps on your S8 that you just won’t ever use but the good news is you can find them all pretty easily (they were in a Samsung folder when I booted up the phone) and you can uninstall most of them.

Open the folder, long press on one of the icons and see if it gives you the option to uninstall.

Turn on edge notifications

There are mixed feelings around the edge panels and I can see why, some of them are useless and make no sense. Why would I want apps on the edge display if I have them on the home screen? However I have found a happy balance and use the edge display for sports, smart tools and device maintenance which works really well.

One of the nice things about the edge display is that you can have the edges of the screen light up when a notification comes in. However the settings tend to be disabled out of the box so jump into the edge display settings and enable them. Toggle the edge lighting feature and then tap on Manage notifications to decide what apps you want edge lighting for.

Set up the always on display

This one shit me up a bit at first, coming from iPhone we are used to seeing the screen completely black when we are not using it however the S8 has an always on display which you would think would be a bitch for battery life. However it is not the case and I absolutely love it. It can display the time, date, battery life, icons for new notifications and a home button but if you head into the themes section of the phone you can mix up the appearance and download new themes for the display.

Get some protection!

This is a slick phone, but there is so much glass. The back is glass, the front is of course glass and I don’t care what people say about Gorilla Glass 5, if you want to keep it in top shape then you need to get a screen protector and case. With the value phones retain now, trade ins when you are getting a new device are well worth it but only if you keep the phone in a good condition.

I traded in my 6s Plus when getting the S8+ and got good value for it because it was in good condition. I could have pushed for a bit more except for the scratch marks at the bottom next to the speaker grill which happened before I had bought a case for it. Keeping the phone in good shape could really help your bills if you want to trade in next year for the S9 or whatever it may be called.

Research around, find a case you are happy with and then grab a screen protector. Samsung has an official screen protector which works really well and is easy to apply, they also have an official line of cases for the phone if you want to check them out. If you are brave enough to keep the phone naked just be wary of how scratches and marks will affect trade in values if you are going that route next year.

Taking a screenshot

This last one is more a tip than anything else because I was struggling the first day figuring out how to take a screenshot. The S8 has no physical home button so taking a screenshot is a little different and there are three ways to do it.

You can press the power button and volume down at the same time. I found this to be a bit hit and miss to be honest, sometimes it worked and other times it just didn’t happen at all.

The second is my favourite and has worked every single time so far. You can enable a gesture on the phone which allows you to swipe the side of your hand over the screen and it takes a screenshot when you do it. Some people have said this method has been a bit hit and miss for them but like I say, without fail for me every time. Head to settings, advanced features and toggle on the Palm swipe to capture option.

Finally you can use the smart select edge app and choose either rectangle or oval to grab the full screen or just a section of it.