Touching down with Samsung’s TouchWiz

There are literally hundreds of Android phones out there, so how do you choose from the baffling array of cool-looking smartphones on offer?

Well, thanks to Samsung, making a decision just got a whole lot easier. The smartphone giant has developed its own singularly awesome, user-friendly overlay called TouchWiz, to give you the best possible experience on its Android devices, including the GALAXY Note II.

Not sure what an overlay is? Well, think of it as an Android 'skin' that makes the Note II more intuitive than any of its rivals, and which puts some incredibly powerful features right at your fingertips.

 

A motion-based Quick Glance

For instance, TouchWiz imbues the Note II with several rather cool motion-based features, such as Quick Glance. This lets you see key information such as new messages, missed calls and battery life without the need to unlock the phone or touch it at all. It's all gently displayed in a soft glow whenever you need it. It might sound like a minor feature, but it's actually a major boon.

Similarly, say you're texting someone, then decide you want to give them a call instead. You won't need to hunt round myriad menus before you start talking. Simply raise the phone to your ear and the Note II immediately knows to start dialling. It's another apparently minor feature that soon becomes a massively useful aspect of your smartphone life.

Do things differently

Samsung knows users want different experiences when doing different things with their Note II, so, as part of TouchWiz, it has also created Page Buddy to help out. This is separate homescreen that pops up to offer you the apps you need, when you need them.

For instance, plug in your headphones, and Page Buddy will give you access to videos, music and other ear-based apps. Pull out the S Pen, and you'll be offered a quick option to get cracking with S Note, so you can begin annotating or sketching out ideas instantly.

Of course, it's no surprise to learn that the S Pen itself adds greater depth to TouchWiz, too. For example, holding down the S Pen button as you drag it up the display leads to a screen where simple Pen Gestures can launch internet searching, show you what the weather’s doing or begin a ChatON conversation with a friend.

 

Homescreen helper

Even if you just want to tidy up your homescreen, TouchWiz can help. Hold any icon, and an option will appear to create a new folder, to which you can give any name you like. You can then add any other apps to this folder, simply by dragging and dropping.

The Note II also offers a range of homescreen 'Widgets' which act as handy, customizable shortcuts to give your phone even more at-a-glance versatility. Just tap 'Widgets' at the top of the screen and drag the one you want into position. It really couldn't be easier!

You can even increase the number of homescreens you've got to play with to an astonishing seven, so you won't run out of space for the things that matter. To keep track of them all, simply pinch inwards on any one of them, and an exploded view of all your homescreens will appear. You can set any one as the default, and if there are any you no longer want, all you need to do is drag them to the waste basket!

Bring your lock screen to life

What if you want something a little different in the wallpaper department? A long press on any empty part of a homescreen (or a tap of the menu button) will allow you to change it to anything from a fun, animated 'Live Wallpaper' to a favourite picture of a loved one. You can then choose to add it to the lock screen, too.

Speaking of the lock screen, you can even set icons here for the quickest of quick launches. Just swipe across the app icon, and away you go! Once again, it's easy to change the line-up whenever you want, simply by going to Settings > Lock Screen.

The power of TouchWiz really helps you get the most from your GALAXY Note II. It's so intuitive and easy to use there's always something new to learn, yet discovering it all never feels like an effort.

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