Plan the perfect Valentine's with the Note II
Traditional mobile phone-related advice for Valentine's Day would probably be to switch the phone to silent and take a few hours' break from checking Facebook so you can enjoy the company of your loved one!
But the Samsung GALAXY Note II can help you do better. With the Note II's help, you can plan and execute the perfect Valentine's Day trip to surprise your sweetheart. Here's how.
Firstly, use one of the often-neglected features of your Samsung GALAXY Note II - the phone part. Remember that Valentine's Day falls on a Thursday this year so, if you want to go on the actual day rather than the weekend, be sure to call your partner's employer and make sure they can get the time off if you need to whisk them away.
Finding that special romantic hideaway
All that done, you need to find somewhere to go. Android is pretty well served in this respect and there are plenty of decent holiday booking apps to download to your Note II that can help you find a bargain break to match your criteria.
This being Valentine's Day and because we are nothing if not suckers for a cliché, Paris seemed like the only logical choice, but don't let us dictate everything about what should be a special break for you and your sweetheart. Fire up those apps and start searching for the ideal destination.
All of the booking apps we tried come with mini reviews of hotels and facilities but it is worth double-checking with something like Yelp (of which, more later) to get a broad opinion on anywhere you are considering. Don't just go for the first place you find, check it out first - remember you want this year's Valentine's to be remembered for the right reasons!
Plan your amorous activities beforehand
Once you know where you will be staying you can begin to plan some activities. Start by taking a look around. No, not after you arrive; before you go.
Google Maps has a very handy feature called Street View that works tremendously well on the Note II's expansive HD Super AMOLED screen. As long as Google's local drivers have visited it (which is true of most major world cities now) then Street View will let you virtually wander the streets so you can get the lay of the land without leaving your desk or your sofa.
One of the highlights of your trip should be a meal in the best restaurant you can find (or can afford!). Once again, the Google Play store has several excellent apps that make finding and booking a restaurant a snap. Zagat has excellent coverage of over 30,000 restaurants worldwide; Yelp too is a great all-rounder while TopTable and La Fourchette are better suited to the UK and France respectively.
Whichever app you choose, all the above will let you make a table reservation directly from your Note II. USE THIS FEATURE. Do not leave finding somewhere to eat to chance, especially around Valentine's Day, or you will end up disappointed and scoffing a bag of chips in a bus shelter. Quite possibly alone.
Get thee to the airport on time!
On the day, use a decent and reliable cab finder app like Hailo to get to the station or airport on time. The app will find a cab and let you book a time. You can even open an account and pay directly from your Note II to cut down on hassle on the big day.
As the Note II runs Android 4.1 - Jelly Bean - it comes with Google Now. If you use your phone to check your train or flight details, Google Now will pop up live search info about your trip with estimates about how long it will take to arrive, what the weather is like at your destination and other useful nuggets. To launch Google Now just tap and hold the Menu button or swipe up with the Google 'G' icon on the lock screen.
Translation apps: the language of love
We picked Paris for our city break and that means French. Now, Parisians do have a bit of a reputation for scorning GCSE-level mangling of their native tongue, so unless you or your partner are fluent it would be worth your while checking out some of the best translation apps on your Note II.
The same goes for any trip abroad, of course. Google Translate is absolutely free and can translate between over fifty languages. The same translation know-how can also work with Google's clever Goggles app, which will let you take a photo of a small section of text, scan it and pop up a translation, among other tricks.
For an even cooler way to translate, fire up Word Lens. This app gives you an amazing magic 'lens' in the form of the Note II's expansive screen. As you look through it, any text you find will be translated on the fly and even in the same font.
You should already have an idea of where you want to go when you arrive but if you get lost or need some inspiration, try Wikitude, the augmented-reality (AR) browser. When you fire it up you can look 'through' your phone (using the camera) and see icons superimposed on the scene in front of you, pointing out landmarks and places to visit.
There are filters that will show you everything from art galleries to cafes and the latest version has a nifty feature where you can point it at some Euros and it will convert to Sterling based on the current exchange rate.
Preserving those precious moments in time
If you pull off a truly memorable trip, you will want to preserve those memories. The GALAXY Note II makes an excellent still and video camera for you to capture these precious moments in time. The built in Camera app is designed with the Note II's eight-megapixel camera in mind and comes with plenty of filters and features like High Dynamic Range and panorama capture to help you take spectacular snaps of a day's sightseeing.
Take a photo of your loved one (or of both of you, using the timer feature or a friendly local) and you can use Paper Artist to turn it into a great looking sketch or even an 'oil painting' that looks good enough to frame. The processing is automatic but you can use the S Pen to adjust areas of the picture and add colours and texture to the image.
You don't have to wait until you get home to create a short video showing the highlights of your trip. The Note II's HD Super AMOLED screen is generous enough to make editing both practical and fun using apps like AndroMedia, a fully-featured editing suite that can slice and splice video clips and add transitions, titles and other special effects.
Alternatively, if you would rather spend the trip back actually talking to, kissing and/or cuddling your significant other, Magisto is a super-easy video editor for the time-poor. Just give it a selection of video clips from your trip and Magisto will analyze them and use its AI skills to come up with a decent edit for you to watch at your leisure.
NOTE: Most of the apps here require an internet connection. Not a problem at home, but you need to make sure you aren't getting charged an arm and a leg the moment you cross the border into another country. Check with your mobile network to see if you are covered or if you can buy an overseas internet booster. Failing that, turn off data roaming and make sure you hook up to the hotel wifi when you arrive. This free wifi finder app will get you hooked up in over 144 countries worldwide. Overseas internet can be pricey, but such is the cost of true love...
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