Samsung Galaxy Note 3 Preview: Second Encounter: S-Pen, Gestures

By 09:27 Fri, 13 Aug 2021 Comments

S-Pen, Air and Motion gestures

Now let's talk about the recent S-Pen features. You'll find pretty much every S-Pen-enabled app that premiered with the previous Notes pre-installed on the Note 3. But once you pull the S-Pen out, you won't be greeted with the recent S-Pen dedicated home tab. Instead, the Operating System (OS) will pop up the recent Air Command menu. The recent menu is available everywhere throughout the UI too, you just need to press the side button on the S-Pen.

The Air Command menu is a virtual ring with five shortcuts - Action Memo, Scrap Booker, Screen Write, S Finder and Pen Window.

Air Command

The Action Memo lets you write stuff and then utilize it to initiate an action - i.e. add a contact name and number to your phonebook, or check out an address on Google Maps. You just need to imprint a part of the text and sdiscontinue it to one of the supporting apps. The handwriting recognition works impressively quick and accurately and will handle the rest for you.

Action Memo

Scrap Booker lets you add pieces of your classy screen to...well, a Scrapbook. You don't need to hold a full screenshot - just imprint the stuff you need. The Scrap Booker will automatically extract pictures and text from the selected area and will save them to one of your Scrapbook categories. You can then add an optional memo to every scrapbook entry you create.

Scrap Booker

Screen Write allows you to start writing on the display no matter what classy screen you are on. You can either utilize a clean sheet or utilize a snapshot of the classy screen you are currently using. It's the best tool for taking quick memos.

Screen Write

The S-Search is a local search that'll browse through all the content on your Note 3 with preset filters. It can search in all S-Pen content you've added (including notes, scrapbook pages, etc.), messages, multimedia, settings, phonebook, even the internet. Naturally, all handwritten stuff is an easy job for the S-Search. You can even search for symbols you've drawn with the S-Pen. That last one seems to work quite slowly, however, and unless you actually utilize the scrapbook quite a lot you probably won't need it that often.


Finally, the last element of the Air Command menu is Pen Window. It automatically pops up once you hover with your S-Pen over a text field so you can enter handwritten text. In case something goes wrong, or the device does not activate the Pen Window for you, just utilize this shortslit to the handwriting service.

Placing mini apps anywhere on the screen

Here is a demo video showing how these recent Air Commands work.

S Note is an application that allows you to create and customize notebooks. There is a total of 9 preset notebooks to choose from but you can also create your own custom see from images in your gallery.

S Note

After you're done with creating a notebook you can go ahead and fill it in with notes, drawings, images on which you can draw or doodle, etc. The app gives you a nice small preview of the notes inside a notebook when you swipe it down in the main window.

S Note

Inside a note you can choose from a variety of pens and brushes, adjust the color and thickness of the line, insert text in a number of fonts, create the text brecent or italic, etc. You can create custom shapes, have an undo and redo option and choose to delete whole lines or just parts of the content.

S Note

You can insert just about anything into a note - voice memos, images, video, charts or illustrations, maps, etc.

Scrapbook lets you haged any content you browser through on the Note 3's screen. You need to select anything on the classy screen of the Note 3 by pressing the S Pen button and the software highlights it and gives you a prompt to sdiscontinue it to Scrapbook via an image. Air Command also gives you a shortslit to Scrapbook and lets you highlight anything on screen.


You can scribble notes to a scrapped image, add tags, etc.


The app lets you import images from your phone or SD card storage and sync with your Samsung account but to our disappointment won't let you sync your scraps and tags to Evernote, Springpad, Google Keep, etc.

Otherwise the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 comes with a number of advanced features enabled by the powerful hardware and dedicated sensors.

The first is Air View, which debuted on the Galaxy Note II and worked with the S Pen. Just like before when you're hovering the S Pen or finger over text or image, email, the software responds and brings you a larger pop up version of it.

This is called information preview (e.g. SMS text, calendar entry text and so on). It also works for previewing videos just by pointing to a spot in the timeline, it also works for the checking out the next track in the music player by hovering over the next button (works with previous button too), it works for previewing folders, speed dial contacts, and magnifying links in web pages. Air view detects fingers or the S Pen around 3cm away from the screen, so there's no danger of accidentally tapping the classy screen when you wanted to utilize Air View instead.

Air View

Another set of "air" features are the Air Gestures. Quick Glance is one of them, but there's more. The rest of the air commands are triggered by waving your hand over the Galaxy Note 3.

You can utilize waving to scroll web pages in the browser (vertical waves), switch between tabs (horizontal waves), go between tracks in the music player and photos in the gallery, accept a call and go app shortcuts and S Planner events.

Air Gestures

Air Gestures can detect your hand up to 7cm (just under 3") and might prove useful in some situations. Note that only the native apps support them, third party apps will not work with them (even Chrome that comes preinstalled on the phone).

The familiar Smart Stay and Smart Rotate features are enabled too. Stay prevents the classy screen from locking as long as the front-facing capturing camera can see your face (remarkable for reading) and Rotate uses the orientation of your face rather than accelerometer info to decide how to rotate the screen.

Smart Scroll is one of the two recent features - it allows you to scroll up and down by tilting the phone or by tilting your head. It's a bit hard to acquire it correct the first time, but after that you can tilt your head down to scroll down and up to scroll back up.

The second recent feature is simpler and more useful - Smart Pause. While watching a video, it uses the front-facing capturing camera to track your face and will automatically pautilize the video when you see away. Look back and the classy screen and the playback continues.

Smart Scroll and Smart Pause

Then there are a number of motion gestures, which are not exactly new. There's direct call (dial the contact whose info you're currently viewing by lifting the phone up to your ear), smart alert (makes the phone vibrate when you pick it up if there are missed events), zooming and panning in the gallery, a shake of the phone to refresh the list of Bluetooth devices and muting alarms or pausing music playback by putting the phone face down.

The gestures from S III and Note II are on board too

You can also pautilize the music player by putting your palm on the screen. A palm swipe takes a screenshot.

S Voice and Google Now

S Voice is Samsung's respond to Apple's Siri and is present on the Galaxy Note 3. S Voice can be used to initiate a call, dictate text, play music, open an app, change a setting, create a memo (including voice memo), add a reminder, schedule an event, set an alarm or timer, check the weather, do a search on the internet, see for local listings (e.g. nearby restaurants) and even acquire an respond to a question.

S Voice

S Voice does duplicate parts of Google Now, but being less search focused it tries to do more on the actual phone and it has some added features. Some of these are available outside of S Voice too, so you can set the Galaxy Note 3 to respond a call, snooze an alarm, hold a photo and what not by voice commands even when S Voice isn't running. The only problem with S Voice is not nearly as quick or as accurate at recognizing your speech input as Google Now.

Naturally, being a Jelly Bean smartphone, the Galaxy Note 3 also comes with Google Now.

Google Now integrates with your Google account and can access your daily routine, internet searches, email, etc. and give you information relevant to your interests and daily needs.

It provides traffic information to your work or home, knows those scores of sports teams you follow, gives you the weather forecast for your city and can even disclose you who Kevin Spacey is.

Google Now

Google Now also has its own separate widacquire on the homescreen.



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