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Samsung Galaxy Nexus: 3×3 top tips

You have a new Samsung Galaxy Nexus, but you’re not sure what rules of thumb you should be following to get the most out of it. Your pictures are fuzzy, your homescreens are full and your battery is waining. Don’t panic – we’ve put together some tips to address these three issues and give you some control over your new pet Android.


1. Perfect your pictures

Ice Cream Sandwich offers some incredible picture taking tweaks and transforms Android into a capable camera-phone. It can however be tricky to get the pictures to come out the way you want them to, so we’ve put together some top tips to perfect your pictures:

Get an in-focus shot

With the Samsung Galaxy Nexus being such an incredibly fast picture taker, it sometimes gets ahead of itself, taking the picture before it’s had time to focus and producing blurry, wasted opportunities instead of great shots every time. The remedy for this is to use the on-board touch to focus. Simply tap a portion of the screen before you take a picture and the phone will lock on and focus on exactly what you tell it to. Not only does this produce pin-sharp shots, but it also means you decide what is in focus, not the camera.

Get a well metered shot

What is metering? Put very simply, it’s how the camera decides the overall brightness of the picture. Bad metering can result in images having white skies instead of blue, dark faces instead of light and a general poor brightness on your focal point resulting in low visible detail. Fortunately, as with focus, you can manipulate metering with just a tap. Touching your focal point on-screen will decide the brightness of the whole picture based on what it is you’re targeting. This means faces will look flattered, landscapes will look detailed and sunsets will look stunning.

Get good quite balance

White balance is crucial to a good picture. It’s the difference between a photo looking too yellow or too blue. It makes skin look like skin, sky look like sky and brings a good composition to life. Cameras have auto-white balance, but even the mighty AI of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus can get it wrong, and for those times, there are options. We’ve listed them out below and run through what each means.

  • Incandescent – also known as tungsten lighting, it looks a bit yellow and can be found in most homes
  • Daylight – best enables the camera to cope outside in good lighting
  • Fluorescent – bright, white to blue lighting found in shops tends to be fluorescent, switch to this setting to warm up the shots a little
  • Cloudy – when outside on an overcast day this setting should brighten things up


2. Clean your screen

Android phones can be likened to computer desktops. Screens, floating icons, clutter, clutter and more clutter. Thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich however, there are some very simple, intuitive ways to clean your screen:

Pile your apps

Android has always given you the option to load up your homescreens with folders, but they’ve always been handled in a convoluted way. Long press, create folder, etc etc etc. Now, thanks to Ice Cream Sandwich, you can just pile one app on top of another to turn these into a pile of apps – aka. a folder. This is not only an intuitive way to manage folders, but is also priceless when organizing your homescreen, allowing you to categorize and shortcut key apps on your homescreen so you need never open your apps drawer again.

Make your widgets fill the screen

Floating shortcuts can be tidied up with folders, but small widgets can be messy too. One on the left, another somewhere in the middle and another a bit below if it fits, it’s a neat freak’s worst nightmare. Ice Cream Sandwich does a very good job of remedying this however with re-sizable widgets that can take up an entire screen. By filling a screen with an interactive widget such as email, you can make the interaction more comfortable, give one homescreen one purpose and minimize clutter in the process.

Disable apps

Homescreens tidied, your apps drawer is too full. You only use a handful of apps and some of the pre-installed Google apps such as Google Earth and Latitude are just eating up your app drawer’s precious negative space. It’s time, to activate – THE DISABLE FUNCTION. This lets you disable bloatware or unused apps from the phone without actually un-installing them. It’s great if you want to temporarily deactivate an application, but even better for tidying up your apps drawer.


3. Better your battery

With great power comes great battery consumption, so it’s little wonder the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, with its two cores and HD display needs a fair bit of juice. As you may have seen in our review – it’s battery life isn’t incredible as standard, but there are some things you can do to better your battery:


The biggest culprit behind battery blues is the HD screen. On full brightness it will chew through your battery in under a day, however, switch to auto / low brightness and you will increase your battery life significantly. We’d also suggest putting the power saver widget on your homescreen to make it easy to do on the fly. Finally, don’t use a live wallpaper. Instead, use a dark, preferably black static wallpaper and you should squeeze some extra bit of timeout of your new Nexus.

Disable settings

With an always on connection, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the perfect phone to get you your emails, tweets and pokes and get them to you fast. This sync mastery however comes at a price – battery. When you don’t need it therefore, switch off synchronization on the power saver widget or through the settings and it will make all the difference. The widget also lets you switch off Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth so between keeping an eye on all these should curb your need to refuel.

Carry a spare

Lastly, one of the key advantages most Android phones have over their iOS competitors is the ability to remove the battery. If you travel a lot or know you won’t get to charge as regularly as your new smartphone dictates, buying a 2nd or 3rd battery and charging dock is a great option. This means you will never have to charge your phone, just charge the flat battery externally and put the charged one in your phone. If that all seems like too much expenditure, carrying a micro USB cable with you is another way to give your new Samsung Galaxy Nexus a helping hand when it needs to last the long haul.