This shop sharing my 7 Samsung GS8 tips has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SamsungUnlocked #CollectiveBias
I’m a Samsung girl. I have been since my first smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy SIII. When I saw the first announcement for the Samsung Galaxy GS8, I started drooling. I didn’t stop until this past week when I finally got my own GS8. From the second I opened the box when I received my unlocked phone from Walmart.com (only $636 with free shipping when I bought mine!), I started exploring all the features of the GS8 that made me drool in the first place.
I knew the newest generation of the Samsung Galaxy family had some cool new features, but when I asked about things I wouldn’t intuitively find as I activated my new phone, I heard about Bixby, but otherwise got a shrug. There’s nothing about the GS8 that deserves a shrug, and this phone has some truly great new features that you won’t find without doing some digging. You know I don’t keep awesomeness to myself, so I gathered my favorite 7 Samsung Galaxy GS8 tips to share.
Before I go there, did you notice I mentioned I purchased an unlocked phone? I chose the GS8, but you can also pick up an unlocked Samsung Galaxy GS8+ at Walmart.com. I didn’t go to my mobile carrier to purchase this phone for a few reasons. The big one? I didn’t want to lease my phone or enter into a new contract. The unlocked phone means if I want to switch carriers, I can bring my phone with me and just get a new SIM card rather than a whole new phone. I choose not just my phone but my carrier, data, and plan.¹ Beyond that, my unlocked phone doesn’t include as many preloaded apps as those purchased or leased from my carrier – total score in my book.
When I travel internationally, I just need to pick up a new SIM card, and I’m set.² I don’t have to worry about getting an add on international plan, which saves me money. And of course the unlocked phone includes the same Samsung limited warranty as any phone bought traditionally through a carrier.³ Because I need an excuse to travel internationally more often, right?
That’s why I headed online at Walmart.com to find the new GS8. I love that I got free shipping with this, and I had a choice of orchid grey or midnight black. I received my new phone via FedEx a few days later. To get an unlocked phone you order from Walmart.com set up as your new phone, simply bring it into your carrier. They can get you a new SIM card (if needed – many can use you existing SIM) and swap out your official phone.
The Samsung GS8 does a great job of transferring all your data from your old Samsung phone to your new one with the Samsung Smart Switch. If you can, use a USB cable to do the transfer versus using the Samsung cloud, as it’s much faster. The whole process goes quickly, and then you’re ready to play with your new phone – photos, contacts, and even texts intact! (There’s a bonus – I didn’t even include that in my GS8 tips.)
Ready to enjoy your new phone? Keep reading for my favorite GS8 tips to enjoy all it has to offer!
Top 7 Samsung Galaxy GS8 Tips
Set Up the Iris Scanner
Phone security is paramount. Always have a passcode for your phone, and phones have had this forever it seems. My Samsung Galaxy Note 5 went a step further and had a fingerprint sign in. I loved this for when I had one hand full or didn’t want others to see the password I entered. My problem? My fingers get dry, and I often have to rub my fingers briskly to get it to read my thumbprint. Forget winter in Chicago. I hated taking off my gloves to sign in. The GS8 now has an iris scanner. I double click then a window comes up to recognize my eyes. The sign in couldn’t be easier or more secure.
In fact, my daughter turned my phone off repeatedly just so she could watch me sign in with my eyes. Winter is no longer an issue, hallelujah! The only caveat is that this doesn’t work with glasses or contacts. They unfortunately reflect and don’t let the camera accurately capture or read your irises. Do I have to take off sunglasses to open my phone sometimes? Sure, but I’ll still take it. If I happen to be somewhere too bright or too dark to read my irises, I can still enter my passcode and unlock my phone. This is probably my favorite of my GS8 tips, and even sitting in the semi dark of my living room at night, I have no issues unlocking my phone. Just line up your eyes in the two circle outlines in the selfie screen!
Share the Love with Dual Audio
Do you have two kids who want to listen to the same podcast, music, or movie on your phone? I love to have my own music on a road trip and my kids listen to their own…quietly. This is one of my favorite GS8 tips because you don’t expect it. You can hook up two bluetooth devices to stream from your phone at the same time. This works great everywhere from on a plane or train where not everyone needs to hear my entertainment to those times when I need to work and have my kids stay quietly entertained.
To turn this on, head to your setttings and make sure you have Bluetooth turned on. Click the three dots in the upper right hand corner and select Dual Audio. Make sure you have it turned on, and you’re set to stream and make everyone happy – including those people around you who don’t need to hear it all.
Enjoy Free Uploads to Play Music
When I travel, I listen to music almost constantly. I love jamming out at home, too, which is why I have quite the music collection. Play Music is Samsung’s default music provider. You can stream or upload your own music. As long as you own the tracks, upload up to 100,000 songs to your personal music locker for free. How many do most services offer? Try half that.
Play Music also has a subscription you can try for free for 30 days. This ad free streaming lets you stream artists or albums, as well as playlists. You can even listen to commercial free radio stations. After your free trial, the cost is $9.99/month for an individual plan or $14.99/month for a family plan up to six people. Regardless, you can always listen to the 100,000 songs you uploaded for free. And that’s generally plenty for me!
Take Advantage of the Do Not Disturb Feature
Tell me I’m not the only one who can be in bed and hear my phone ding and feel the need to go check it. Or I’m somewhere that just isn’t phone appropriate, but it’s so tempting to just sneak a peek to see what you missed. Or I’m trying to focus on work and need to go head down for an hour or two to knock out a project. The Do Not Disturb feature is great for all these situations.
You can set exceptions (for example, my kids’ school or my parents) to ensure you know about any urgent issues. The Do Not Disturb setting works to turn on and off automatically at set times, and you can also set it manually for specific times you need to mute notifications.
To set up you Do Not Disturb, go into settings and select Sounds and Vibrations. Tap Do Not Disturb, and either manually turn it on now (remember to turn it off when you wish to use your phone again) or schedule times. You can choose any day or all days of the week with a single start and stop time. I wish I could choose multiple times and multiple days – a later Do Not Disturb on weekends than weekdays, for example, or an extra Do Not Disturb on Wednesdays during a two hour meeting I attend each week. I’m sure that will come though.
Note that if you turn off your Do Not Disturb manually, you need to also turn off your scheduled times. The manual on/off doesn’t impact your schedule. My favorite exception setting is the calls received from the same number more than once in a 15 minute period. If it’s urgent, I can choose to receive the notification. I can also choose to receive only texts and no calls or texts from my parents and husband but not their calls, etc.
Did You Know the GS8 Is Water Resistant?
Let’s travel back in time a couple years. I received a new phone to review, and I loved it. I took it on vacation with me just for its amazing camera. While snorkeling, the waterproof case turned out to be… not so waterproof. While only a few drops of water got in, the phone died. Forever. Even sitting in rice almost immediately after the incident for an entire week did nothing for it. (Yes, going through customs with a phone in rice necessitated additional security, why?) I still cry inside when I think about that.
The GS8, however, is water resistant. That doesn’t mean I plan to go swimming with my new phone, but it gives me a huge sense of comfort. Both the Samsung Galaxy GS8 and the Samsung Galaxy GS8+ survive in tests up to 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes (rated IP68). While I don’t plan to test the limit, if my phone falls into a puddle or my waterproof case happens to not be quite so waterproof, I won’t panic. I don’t want to replace my phone anytime soon!
Save Your Battery
While I always travel with at least one charger portable battery, running out of battery is still my nightmare. When I use my phone the most heavily, that’s also when I tend to need to use it the longest. Then there are the nights I forget to plug in my phone before heading to bed and…oops.
Fortunately, I have some GS8 tips on how to increase your battery life, too. The battery in the GS8 already lasts longer than my Note 5. The GS8 has up to 34 hours of talk time or 15 hours of use on wifi, while my Note 5 has a talk time of just over 28 hours and note quite 11 hours for Internet use on wifi. Don’t tell me I – and you – won’t run out of battery no matter how big or how long it lasts. Fortunately, we can impact the battery usage.
First, lower your screen resolution. Unless you’re watching videos, you don’t need it at the standard resolution. Get your phone out of the box and immediately switch it to FHD+ or even HD. For most purposes, the lower resolution works just fine. Go into Settings > Display and choose Screen Resolution. Just slide to the resolution that works best for you.
Make sure you turn off the extras. Location? Bluetooth? Those run down your battery quickly. I turn mine on only when I need them then shut them off again immediately. The same holds true for NFC and Nearby Device Scanning to a lesser degree, but every bit helps. Keep NFC off unless you need it, and turn off that scanning. You can find all in your top menu that swipes down. NFC, Location, and Phone visibility are on the second screen, so swipe right.
One thing I noticed immediately about my phone is that it never really turned off. Even when “off” the screen still showed me the date, time, and notifications. Shut that always on feature off! That’s another easy score under that top swipe down menu.
Have You Met Bixby?
Bixby is the only of my GS8 tips that anyone mentioned to me when I asked. Bixby is Samsung’s personal assistant, and he’s only getting more useful over time. He learns with you over time to make your phone work even more for you. This is more than Google Voice where you can search things out, though you can tell Bixby what to do, and he will, from calling a friend to sending a text to adding a filter to a photo. Hold down the special side button and tell him what to do!
I love Bixby Vision, which you can find in your camera. Take a photo of a landmark or a product, and click the Bixby Vision button.Touch place, image, or shopping, and you get additional information on the image in your camera. Bixby can tell you what the landmark is, along with a plethora of facts. Or click shopping, and Bixby shows you similar items online and how much they cost. Talk about easy comparison shopping!
Bixby really wins when traveling, however. Point your camera at text in a foreign language, select Bixby Vision then Text. Choose extract if you want to copy it for later or translate to have it automatically appear in English. If it doesn’t work, you can manually choose the source language to help Bixby along. So. Incredibly. Cool. Yeah, that’s why Bixby falls in my GS8 tips.
Really, I could devote a whole post to Bixby. It does so much, but making my life easier by following my commands and helping me learn more about my surroundings are my two favorite GS8 tips that you might not think of right away.
Do you have a new Samsung? What are your best GS8 tips to make your phone work for you?
¹ Wireless voice, data and messaging services on Samsung Unlocked Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge devices are compatible with most major U.S. GSM and CDMA networks. For these devices, wireless services are available on GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile and CDMA networks such as Verizon, Sprint, and US Cellular®. Visit www.samsung.com for more information on your device. Support for certain features and services such as VoWiFi and hotspot, vary by wireless service provider. Wireless voice, data and messaging services on Samsung Unlocked Galaxy S6 and Galaxy J3 devices are compatible with most major U.S. GSM networks. For these devices, wireless services are available on GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile. Visit www.samsung.com for more information on your device. Support for certain features and services such as VoWiFi and hotspot, vary by wireless service provider.
SIM card must be compatible with area’s available networks. International calling, data services and coverage vary by network provider. Contact provider for details.
.² This Samsung Unlocked phone will work on any GSM or CDMA compatible network. For these devices, wireless services are available on GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile and CDMA networks such as Verizon, Sprint, US Cellular®. Support for certain rate plans, features, and services such as VoWiFi and hotspot vary by wireless service provider. SIM card must be compatible with area’s available networks. International calling, data services and coverage vary by network provider. Contact provider for details.
³ For more information on Samsung standard U.S. limited warranty, go to samsung.com/customersupport/xxx