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How to Get the Most out of Your Samsung Galaxy S4

If you’ve joined the Droid side of the war between Apple and the other smartphones, chances are that you have your hands on a Samsung Galaxy S4. The S4 not only takes the cake as one of the most beloved phones of the year, but also purports to be a “life companion”, which certainly sounds like one step up from the handy pocket computer role that smartphones have traditionally served. “As a life companion, the Samsung Galaxy S4 brings us closer and captures fun moments when we're together,” says the company in their promo material for the phone. Yes, the Samsung advertises itself not as a phone but as a “friend” who makes your life richer, simpler and more fun.

What takes the device from phone to companion, you ask? The special features that you might never think of adding to a mobile telephone, but that serve to add that little extra something to the S4 that we aren’t seeing from many other phones on the market. The unprecedented optical reader, the Dual Shot camera mode that includes the photographer in pictures - like Photoshop, without the work, and the additional free storage of up to 50 GB on Dropbox. To get the utmost out of your new S4, do exactly what the Korea-based phone designers are asking you to do: treat it as a mate, not simply a do-everything phone.

Use the S Translator to translate books, emails, and documents in foreign languages even better than the pre-existing Google Translator, since you can now type or say your speech with voice recognition. Use it as a remote control by hooking the S4 up to your home entertainment system, or whole house for that matter, and using it to surf channels, find recommended shows based on your likes and dislikes, or adjust various settings on your television. Use the Air Gesture feature to pick up a call with a simple wave of your hand, as if a friend were there to answer it for you.

With such a host of bells and whistles, you may be wondering how to find them all, learn to use them, and weed out the ones that will be useful to you from the unnecessary extras. The Galaxy’s impressive website doesn’t emphasize its speedy Quad/Octo processor and expandable MicroSD storage, but instead divides the S4 features into Fun, Relationship, Life Task, and Life Care to make them as personable and down to earth as possible. “Each feature is designed to simplify and enrich our lives and the phone is even smart enough to monitor health and wellbeing,” states Samsung.You may think a phone that supposedly looks out for you in such a chummy manner is a laugh - but think again. The Adapt Sound, Adapt Display and S Health features actually trigger the phone’s audio, video, and lighting to respond and change to your hearing and eyesight according to what feels natural to you. No more too-bright screens at night or too-loud music as you exercise. The phone simply won’t allow you to be bad to your body. The retina readers built into the front of the device catch your eyes and make eye-controlled scrolling available when your fingers don’t feel like it. The S4 is happy to calculate your daily food intake, exercise achieved, and bodily statistics. And, like a friend, it will even let you know if you’re comfortable or could use a change in temperature, humidity, or stress level.

The Galaxy is aptly named - the TouchWiz user interface literally comes with a smorgasbord of endless features that are universal, comprehensive, and put the power into your hands. Optimize your phone’s performance by boosting its battery life, get the best accessories to protect and display your S4, and you may just find yourself with a friend for life. Perhaps Samsung says it best, and most strangely when we remember that we are, after all, discussing a piece of metal and plastic containing a few computer chips and some noisemakers, “To put it simply, the Galaxy S4 is there for you.”