Become an Android Power User with the Samsung GALAXY S4
16th Sep 2013 | 11:51
Our 10-step guide to ditching the desktop using your S4
Step 1: Documents
The cornerstone of any PC has to be the Microsoft Office suite – incredibly boring, but still the benchmark for getting spreadsheets and presentations done.
Although there's no official Microsoft Office suite for Android, that doesn't have to stop you. Google Docs is an excellent (and free) alternative. Just download the free Google Drive app, whack your Google Account details in, and you'll be able to start creating a variety of different document types.
If, for some unfathomable reason, you need to see documents on a PC, you can to go to drive.google.com, and all your documents will be there for your spread-sheeting or word editing pleasure.
Best of all? No need to save as it's all automatically done in the cloud!
Step 2: Email
Obviously, this is one area your GALAXY S4 is all over. The S4's email app can do everything your boring PC email client can, but without trillions of menus.
To use it as your primary mailing machine, though, there are a few changes you're going to want to make. In the settings menu, change the default sync time to 'push' (for an Exchange email account) or 'every 5 minutes' for any other account. That means you'll get your email constantly, which, although a mild drain on your soul, will at least keep you in the loop.
The other change you will want to make is to update your email signature – after all, you don't want people thinking you're slacking all the time, do you? A proper signature at the end of messages will make you look like an email pro (it's your decision whether or not that's a good thing) – normal stuff to include is your name, work address, phone number, job title… It just depends how easy you want to make it for stalkers, basically!
Step 3: Photo editing
The gold standard for photo editing on a PC is Adobe Photoshop – and you don't have to give that up now you've ditched the clunky laptop.
The GALAXY S4's gorgeous 5-inch screen is a perfect match for editing photos, and the £2.99 Photoshop Touch for phone app from Adobe is the dinky little tool for the job.
If you're not one for downloading too many extra apps, though, the GALAXY S4's inbuilt photo editing capabilities (which you'll find in the Camera app) can handle most tasks with aplomb, from effects to simple cropping and straightening magic.
Step 4: Music Hub
Unless you're yet to celebrate the millennium, chances are the bulk of your music collection is digital. With the GALAXY S4, you get to take that everywhere with you; but you also need a way of playing it over big speakers.
While you could just use a boring old cable to plug it into the hi-fi, that's quite last decade. Instead, get a Bluetooth adaptor such as the £59.99 BAYAN Audio Streamport Universal plug it into the stereo, connect up your S4, and you'll be able to play sweet music without taking your phone out of your pocket.
For hardcore music fans, rest easy – the GALAXY S4 supports the hi-fidelity AptX codec, so your tunes will come out just fine, with none of the distortion or clipping found in Bluetooth streaming of yore.
Step 5: Keyboard and mouse
Here's where things get freaky. You know that sometimes typing out giant emails on the keyboard on your GALAXY S4 can get a little taxing, no matter how good the auto-correct? Well, tax yourself no more (that's more a job for the government, anyway).
Bluetooth keyboards and mice will work just dandy with a GALAXY S4, dontcha know? Just put them into pairing mode, go to the Bluetooth menu in Settings, and they will pop up.
Connect them, and you'll have a cursor to move around on screen, and a keyboard to type words with. Or just hit randomly. Whatever takes your fancy, really.
Step 6: Monitor
BUT WAIT: there's more. Specifically, you can hook your phone up to an external monitor. All you need is this handy adaptor, and you will be able to plug a HDTV or computer monitor into it.
Big Angry Birds! Sorry, we meant spreadsheets. Definitely spreadsheets. Nothing to see here. Move along…
Step 7: Display Mirroring
Chances are you've got another big screen lying around your house: your TV. It should be your go-to method for showing off photos or watching videos when you're lying on the sofa, and with the S4, it can be.
If you've got a Samsung Smart TV (or Smart Blu-ray player), you can wirelessly mirror the S4's screen on the big telly. Just head to Settings > Connections > Screen Mirroring, add your display, and Bob's your blown-up-to-60-inches uncle.
Step 8: Facebook
PCs aren't all work and no play – in all probability, most of our time on the internet is probably spent "Booking The Face", organising events and over-obsessively checking our ex's photos!
The Facebook app is already pretty darn good, but to get to Facebook Level 5,000, you should get the Chat Heads feature. Just download the free Facebook Messenger app, head into Settings, and enable Chat Heads.
These little bubbles sit on top of other windows, letting you fire off quick messages without having to leave whatever app you were already in. This way you never have to be more than a tap from your closest friends. The GALAXY S4: ensuring you'll never be lonely, ever again!
Step 9: Security
So, we've pretty much made the GALAXY S4 the centre of your digital life. But as everyone from Peter Parker onwards has known: with great power, come nefarious hackers.
That's why Samsung KNOX will soon be on your S4 – a one-stop security shop that can easily make your GALAXY S4 secure enough to store the most sensitive of hush-hush corporate secrets, without completely ruining its fun appeal.
Step 10: Back-up
You know how you're meant to back everything on the PC up, but never do? Well, the GALAXY S4 allows you exactly the same amount of forgetfulness, without the risk of losing your files!
There are dozens of cloud storage 'solutions' out there; SugarSync, Mega and Google Drive, to name but a few. The best by a country mile though, is Dropbox: the storage is pretty cheap, but most importantly, the photo backup is automatic. Even better, you'll find that your GALAXY S4 came with a whopping 50GB of free Dropbox space.
If you ever manage to drop your S4 down the loo (a sad day for all involved) all the gorgeous Drama Shots you slaved over would be lost forever. With Dropbox, they'll all be saved in the cloud for posterity.