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13 Tips and Tricks to Master Your Samsung Galaxy Smartwatch

It might surprise you that Samsung has steadily made a name for itself in the smartwatch market. Its line of Galaxy smartwatches support both Android and iPhone, are dependable, and filled to the brim with neat hardware and software features.

However, if you own one of these Galaxy smartwatches, there’s a chance you might not be using the device to its full potential. Under the surface, these wearables pack loads of lesser-known abilities. Here are the best tips and tricks to get the most out of your Samsung Galaxy smartwatch.

1. Customize Watch Faces

Samsung’s Galaxy Store houses a vast variety of watch faces you can try. But you might wish a specific element was a different color, or maybe you’d like to replace the complication widget.

Luckily, you can customize watch faces (depending on the developer). For instance, you can partially modify most of the preloaded Samsung watch faces. These let you alter the dial’s design, font colors, and more. If you don’t like any of the preinstalled ones, we’ve looked at great Samsung Gear watch faces


8 Samsung Gear Watch Faces to Transform Your Watch




8 Samsung Gear Watch Faces to Transform Your Watch

These awesome Samsung Gear watch faces will provide you with a fresh and unique look for your smartwatch.
Read More

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The Customize button, if available, will appear at the top of the Watch Faces tab on the Galaxy Wearable app. Make sure you have this installed to take full advantage of the rest of these tips.

Download: Galaxy Wearable for Android | iOS (Free)

2. Reorder Widgets, Quick Settings, and Apps

Navigating on a smartwatch’s cramped touchscreen can feel like a chore. But you can still speed up your usual interactions a bit by reordering the widgets, quick settings, and apps.

On the companion app, you can arrange these elements to quickly reach the services you access most. To edit the app drawer’s order, open the Galaxy Wearable app and head to Apps > Menu > Reorder.

Here, you can either have the watch automatically push your most-used apps towards the top of the list, or manually alter the order by holding a particular app and dragging it.

To do the same for widgets, open the Widgets panel in the Galaxy Wearable app. You can also personalize the quick settings’ order from Advanced > Edit Quick Settings.

3. Take Screenshots

Did you know that you can take screenshots of your smartwatch? This can come in handy, especially for troubleshooting purposes where you might need to share an error message with the support team.

To capture a screenshot on your Samsung Galaxy smartwatch, swipe from the left to right edge while holding down the home button. If you’ve successfully executed this gesture, you’ll see an animation of the taken screenshot leaving the screen.

The screenshots won’t transfer to your phone directly. Instead, they’re stored on the watch’s local storage until you manually move them over.

To do that, go into the watch’s Gallery app. Tap the screenshot and hit the three-dot menu. Now, select Send to Phone and you will receive a notification on your phone once the transfer is complete.

4. Personalize the Home Button Double-Press Shortcut

Another method to instantly launch your favorite smartwatch app is utilizing the home button’s double-press shortcut. You can assign it to any app on your watch, as well as essential actions like jumping to the last app you used, creating a reminder, and viewing recent apps.

The setting is inside the Galaxy Wearable app at Advanced > Double press Home key.

5. Modify the Watch’s System-Wide Background

By default, Samsung’s smartwatches feature a dark system-wide background. But you don’t have to settle for that if you don’t prefer it. You can easily set a different one from the companion app. You’ll find the background settings under Display > Background Style.

However, at the time of writing, the watch doesn’t allow custom images. You can only choose from a handful of bundled gradients.

6. Add Offline Tracks and Images

Like your phone, your Samsung Galaxy smartwatch has some local storage. You can take advantage of this by adding music and images to your watch to watch offline. This enables you to, for instance, go for a run without your phone and listen to music through wireless headphones, right on your smartwatch.

To add content to your watch, first open the Galaxy Wearable app. Tap Add Content to Your Watch and hit Add Tracks or Copy Images. You can even switch on Auto-Sync to always keep your watch in sync with your phone’s data.

7. Avoid Accidental Swipes and Taps While Swimming

Samsung’s latest smartwatches can track your swims, as well as call or text your contacts. As you’d imagine, you probably don’t want to combine these two feature.

To avoid accidentally calling someone or performing any other unwanted action while swimming, you should turn on the Water Lock mode. It essentially puts your watch in lockdown and prevents any accidental touches when you’re in the water.

Enable the Water Lock mode by tapping the droplet icon in the quick settings.

8. Connect to Your Watch Remotely

The presence of LTE and/or Wi-Fi lets your Samsung smartwatch remotely connect to your phone. Hence, you don’t need to have your devices paired over Bluetooth at all times. Remote connections also allow you to locate your watch even if it’s out of your phone’s range.

To enable this functionality, go to Account and Backup > Remote Connection.

9. Configure SOS

Your Samsung smartwatch can transmit SOS requests in case of emergencies. This feature isn’t enabled by default, however. To configure it, navigate to Send SOS Requests in the Galaxy Wearable app. Switch on the first option and add the people who you want to contact when you press the home button three times in quick succession.

When you execute this combination, your watch will text the emergency contacts you’ve selected with your coordinates. In addition, you can enable a countdown to ensure it doesn’t send SOS requests by mistake.

10. Stop Getting Buzzed Twice for the Same Notification

Whenever you receive a notification, both your watch and phone will buzz. You can change this behavior and put an end to the duplicate pings.

The Galaxy Wearable app can mute your phone while you have the watch on. The setting is available under Notifications on the companion app.

11. Clean Up Your Watch’s Storage and Memory

Over prolonged use, a ton of cache files can pile up on your watch, clogging up its storage. You might also have low memory if a lot of apps are running. Thankfully, you can effortlessly clean these from the companion app.

All you need to do is tap the storage or memory ring on the app’s home screen, then hit the Clean Now button.

12. Try the Goodnight, Theater, and Watch-Only Modes

Samsung includes several handy modes on its smartwatch, for situations such as being at the movies or sleeping. Apart from the usual Do Not Disturb mode, there are three other silent profiles you should try—Goodnight, Theater, and Watch-Only.

In the Theater mode, your watch won’t light up, vibrate, or ring when there’s a new alert. The Goodnight mode is largely identical, with one exception. It silences everything except alarms.

Lastly, the Watch-Only mode is for when your smartwatch’s battery has hit a critically low level. It switches off all your watch’s sensors and only displays the time. Samsung claims the Watch-Only mode can push your smartwatch to last an additional two or three days.

You will find options for the Goodnight and Theater mode in the quick settings. For enabling the Watch-Only profile, tap the Battery icon in the quick settings, scroll down, and activate Watch-Only mode.

13. Sideload Apps on Your Smartwatch

Even cooler, Samsung allows you to sideload watch faces and apps on your Galaxy smartwatch. Before that, though, you need to turn on an option in the settings.

Open the Galaxy Wearable app and under Advanced, you will come across the Install Unknown Apps setting. Make sure to exercise caution when installing apps from other sources.

Transform Your Watch With Unique Faces

These tips and tricks will help you utilize your Samsung Galaxy smartwatch in ways you probably haven’t before.

There’s a lot more you can do on your smartwatch by exploring its app store. For starters, check out these Samsung Gear apps that will make you feel like a secret agent


15 Samsung Gear Apps That’ll Make You Feel Like a Secret Agent




15 Samsung Gear Apps That’ll Make You Feel Like a Secret Agent

Want to feel like a secret agent? These Samsung Gear apps will make your smartwatch awesome and deadly.
Read More

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Become a Master of Image Editing With This $19 Photoshop Training

When it comes to editing images, Photoshop still leads the way. This powerful app has been around for decades, but it keeps getting better with age. If you want to become a pro photographer or simply improve your skills, the Adobe Photoshop CC Training Bundle can help you master the software. Through five courses, you learn how to add your style to any photo. Right now, the bundle is just $19 at MakeUseOf Deals.

Photoshop Masterclass

For a beginner, Photoshop CC can seem pretty daunting. The software has hundreds of great features — the trick is knowing how to use them. This bundle provides the perfect introduction, with five in-depth courses and over 50 lessons.

Delivered by official Adobe instructors, the tutorials show you how to adjust exposure, use layers, select objects, and more. You also discover how to use Curves adjustments, create composite images, and design your own photographic filters. These skills are important for any aspiring photographer or designer.

The bundle helps you acquire plenty of hands-on experience, and all the courses are beginner-friendly. With lifetime access included, you can also study at your own pace.

Five Courses for $19

They’re worth $145, but you can get these five courses now for just $19 with this bundle — that’s 86% off.



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Master Six Sigma Project Management With This Huge 15-Course Training Bundle

Most big companies use a framework such as Six Sigma to keep things running smoothly. Anyone who wants to work at a senior level (and secure a top salary) needs to understand the system. The Complete Six Sigma Training Suite Bundle helps you master both Six Sigma and Lean management, with 15 video courses and over 1,300 tutorials. Right now, you can pick up the lot for just $39.99 at MakeUseOf Deals.

Six Sigma Methodology

Originally developed at Motorola and then championed by GE, the Six Sigma framework is now used by thousands of major companies around the world. Whether you’re an aspiring project manager or simply trying to improve your résumé, it’s a good idea to learn this methodology.

The Training Suite Bundle brings together a huge selection of high-quality Six Sigma courses. Through concise video lessons, you learn the vocabulary of Six Sigma and how to apply the framework in any working environment. Along the way, you learn valuable management skills and get full prep for official certification exams.

In addition to Six Sigma, this training covers Lean — a related framework used mostly in manufacturing and tech. You also get an introduction to Minitab, the statistical software of choice for many project managers.

15 Courses for $39.99

Order now for just $39.99 to get lifetime access to this huge learning library, worth $2,843.



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Master Windows 10’s Alt+Tab Switcher with These Tricks

Alt+Tab switcher on a Windows 10's desktop.

Alt+Tab lets you switch between open windows, but there’s more to it than that. The Alt+Tab switcher has other useful-but-hidden keyboard shortcuts. These tips apply to both Windows 10 and 7.

Standard Alt+Tab usage is pretty basic. Just press Alt+Tab, hold the Alt key down, and then keep pressing the Tab key to scroll through your open windows. Release the Alt key when you see an outline around the window you want.

Alt+Tab in Reverse

Switching between windows with Alt+Tab on Windows 10.

Alt+Tab normally moves forward, from left to right. If you miss the window you want, you don’t have to keep pressing Tab and go all the way through the list again. That works, but it’s slow—especially if you have lots of windows open.

Instead, press Alt+Shift+Tab to move through the windows in reverse. If you’re Alt+Tabbing and go past the window you want, press and hold the Shift key and tap Tab once to go back to the left.

Select Windows with the Arrow Keys

You can select windows in Alt+Tab with the arrow keys. Press Alt+Tab to open the switcher and keep holding down the Alt key. Rather than pressing Tab, use the arrow keys on your keyboard to highlight the window you want, and then release the Alt key, press the Enter key, or press the space bar.

Use Your Mouse to Switch and Close Windows

Click the red X to close a window in Windows 10's Alt+Tab switcher.

You can also use your mouse with the Alt+Tab switcher. Press Alt+Tab, keep holding the Alt key and click the window you want to switch to.

While using your mouse, you’ll notice a bonus: an “x” appears at the top-right corner of a window thumbnail when you hover over it. Click the “x” to close an application window. This is a quick way of closing a lot of windows.

Alt+Tab Without Holding Alt Down

The Alt+Tab switcher normally closes when you release the Alt key. But, if you’d like to Alt+Tab without holding the Alt key down the whole time, you can. Press Alt+Ctrl+Tab, and then release all three keys. The Alt+Tab switcher will stay open on your screen.

You can use the Tab key, the arrow keys, or your mouse to select the window you want. Press Enter or the space bar to switch to your highlighted window.

Close the Alt+Tab Switcher Without Switching

You can close the Alt+Tab switcher at any time by releasing the Alt key, but this will switch to the window you currently have selected. To close the Alt+Tab switcher without changing windows, press the Escape (Esc) key on your keyboard.

Activate the Old Alt+Tab Switcher

Classic gray Alt+Tab switcher on Windows 10.

Remember the old Windows XP-style Alt+Tab switcher? It didn’t have any window thumbnail previews, just icons and window titles over a gray background. You might still see this Alt+Tab switcher on Windows 10 for compatibility reasons while playing certain games.

You can open the old Alt+Tab switcher with a hidden keyboard shortcut, too. Press and hold the left or right Alt key, tap and release the other Alt key on your keyboard, and then press Tab. The old switcher appears, but this one time only—next time you Alt+Tab, you’ll see the standard, new Alt+Tab switcher.

The classic switcher doesn’t let you use your mouse or the arrow keys. However, it does support Ctrl+Shift+Tab to go through windows in reverse, and you can press Esc to close it.

If you really love this old Alt+Tab switcher—and we’re not sure why you would—you can switch back to it by changing the “AltTabSettings” value in the Windows registry. It will then always appear when you press Alt+Tab.

Switch Between Tabs Instead of Windows

Switching between tabs with Ctrl+Tab in Google Chrome.

This isn’t an Alt+Tab keyboard trick, but it’s so similar and important we have to include it. In almost any application that offers built-in tabs, you can use Ctrl+Tab to switch between tabs, just as you’d use Alt+Tab to switch between windows. Hold down the Ctrl key, and then tap Tab repeatedly to switch to the tab to the right.

You can even switch tabs in reverse (right to left) by pressing Ctrl+Shift+Tab. There are many other keyboard shortcuts for working with tabs, too.

Use Task View with Windows+Tab

Task View interface on Windows 10.

Okay, this one technically isn’t an Alt+Tab shortcut, either, but hear us out. Windows+Tab is a similar keyboard shortcut to Alt+Tab. It opens the Task View interface, which offers a thumbnail view of your open windows and even multiple desktops you can arrange them on. It also includes the Windows Timeline, but you can disable it if you prefer.

After pressing Windows+Tab, you can release both keys and use either your mouse or the arrow keys to select a window. To move a window onto another virtual desktop, drag it to the desktop icon at the top of the screen with your mouse.

This is the same interface that opens when you click the Task View button to the right of the Cortana icon on your taskbar. However, the keyboard shortcut might be more convenient.

At the very least, this is more useful than the old “Flip 3D” feature on Windows 7 and Vista. That felt more like a tech demo for 3D on Windows rather than a useful window switcher.

Install a Replacement Alt+Tab Switcher

Alt+Tab Terminator on Windows 10.

You can also replace the built-in Windows Alt+Tab switcher with a third-party Alt+Tab replacement. For example, NTWind’s free Alt+Tab Terminator offers a more powerful, customizable Alt+Tab switcher. It has larger window previews and a built-in “Terminate” function to close misbehaving applications. If you’re looking for something a bit different, give it a try.

Alt+Tab Terminator is the successor to VistaSwitcher, which we’ve recommended in the past.





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Sony Master Series XBR-55A9G Review & Rating

LG has stood as one of the biggest names in OLED TVs, with its OLEDC9P most recently earning our Editors’ Choice. It isn’t the only name in the game, though; Sony also produces OLED models, and they’re just as impressive. Sony’s Master Series A9G OLED TV offers similarly excellent picture quality, with the added benefits of hands-free Google Assistant control and a terrific stereo sound system. It’s also more expensive at $3,799.99 for the 65-inch XBR-65A9G we tested. If money is no object and you want an incredible picture with loads of useful features, though, the Sony A9G deserves your attention, and earns our Editors’ Choice.

Editors’ Note: This review is based on testing performed on the Sony Master Series XBR-65A9G, the 65-inch model in the series. Apart from the screen size difference, the 55-inch $2,799.99 XBR-55A9G is identical in features, and we expect similar performance.

Stylish and Simple

Sony has dropped the striking-but-awkward easel design that made the A9E and the A9F so distinctive. The A9G embraces the minimalist, black simplicity of the company’s Xperia phones and Walkman MP3 players. The TV is a simple, black, bezel-less OLED panel with only a 0.3-inch black strip framing the active display. An additional quarter-inch strip of dark gray runs along the bottom edge, featuring an indicator light in the center and the Sony logo on the left. The screen is ringed with a slim band of black metal along the quarter-inch-thick sides.

The TV sits completely upright on a flat, brushed gunmetal stand. The stand is shaped like a rounded rectangle, providing the only notable curves on the A9G’s design. It’s flat enough that the bottom edge of the screen sits only 0.2 inches above whatever surface you set it on.

While the screen itself is just over a quarter of an inch thick, a rectangular black plastic enclosure on the back adds another 1.8 inches to the A9G. This enclosure holds all of the TV’s electronics, along with its physical connections along the left side and bottom. An HDMI port, two USB 2.0 ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a 3.5mm composite video input, a 3.5mm infrared receiver port, and, uniquely, a set of speaker wire connectors face left on the back of the TV. Three more HDMI ports, a USB 3.0 port, an Ethernet port, an optical audio output, an RS-232C port, and an antenna/cable connector face downward.

Sony Master Series XBR-65A9G

The A9G has a conventional design compared with the company’s previous OLED models, but one helpful feature carries over: Sony’s Acoustic Surface Audio+. Instead of conventional speaker drivers hidden somewhere on the TV’s casing, the A9G uses a pair of 10-watt actuators to resonate the OLED panel itself to produce stereo sound. The actuators work in tandem with a pair of 20-watt “subwoofer” drivers to produce bass, for a 60-watt sound system that produces a larger sound field with better imaging than conventional TVs.

The remote included with the A9G is leaps and bounds ahead of Sony’s previous TV remotes, which have consistently been plain, black, rectangular wands covered in similar-feeling rectangular rubber buttons that made identifying inputs without looking very difficult. The new remote is a slim nine-inch wand with a brushed aluminum face. The bottoms are flat and mostly circular, but varied enough in shape and position that they can be easily found under the thumb. A circular navigation pad sits in the center, flanked by menu buttons. A number pad, four color buttons, and two dedicated service buttons for Google Play and Netflix sit above. Two long volume and channel rockers and a series of small playback controls sit below. A pinhole microphone rests near the top of the remote, allowing access to Google Assistant by holding down the Google Assistant Button and talking into it, though it isn’t necessary for using Google Assistant with the A9G.

Sony XBR-65A9G

Android TV and Google Assistant

Like many of Sony’s other TVs, along with several Hisense TVs, the A9G uses Android TV for its interface and smart features platform. It’s a powerful system filled with useful features and plenty of streaming services. Most major names in video are present, including Amazon Prime Video, Google Play Movies & TV, Hulu, Netflix, Sling TV, and YouTube. For music, Google Play Music, Pandora, SiriusXM, Spotify, Tidal, and a slew of internet radio apps are available. There are also plenty of other apps, services, and games, for a wide selection of things to do with the TV without plugging anything into it.

Sony XBR-65A9GAndroid TV also features Google Cast, so you can generally treat the A9G as if it has a Google Chromecast plugged into it and stream video from your phone or a Chrome tab on your computer. It isn’t quite as flexible as a Chromecast, but its limitations are very specific and not likely to be a problem for most use cases; the only omission we found was an inability to stream Oculus Quest video from a headset to the TV, when it can stream to a Chromecast.

More than apps and services, Android TV also features Google Assistant, and Sony’s integration here is one of the best we’ve seen in a TV. If you wish, you can press the Google Assistant button on the remote and speak into the microphone on it. You can also use Google Assistant completely hands-free with the A9G, because like the Z9F it has a far-field microphone array and can listen for the wake-up phrase (“Hey, Google”) to let you bring up the assistant with only your voice. This lets you control the TV and use all of Google Assistant’s various features, including smart home control, completely hands-free. It’s the Google Assistant equivalent to having an Amazon Fire TV Cube connected to your TV for hands-free Alexa.

Performance

The Sony A9G is an ultra high-definition (UHD, or 4K) TV that supports high dynamic range (HDR) video. It can display HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG) content in HDR.

We test TVs using a Klein K-10A colorimeter, a Murideo SIX-G signal generator, and Portrait Displays’ CalMAN software with methodology based on Imaging Science Foundation’s calibration techniques. As an OLED TV, the A9G displays predictably perfect blacks, meaning black pixels emit no light regardless of what other pixels are doing and giving the TV “infinite” contrast.”

When displaying our standard 18-percent white field test pattern, the A9G shows a peak brightness of 504.27cd/m2, making it dimmer than LG’s C9P (667.89cd/m2) and E9P (633.56cd/m2) OLED TVs, but still satisfyingly bright. No OLED can reach the brightness of many LED TVs; Sony’s Master Series Z9F LED TV blasts out 1,677.49cd/m2 with an 18-percent field, and even the much less expensive Hisense H8F shows a 796.84cd/m2 peak brightness. Of course, the trade-off is that LED TVs don’t display perfect blacks levels, letting light come through black pixels on the panel.

Sony XBR-65A9G

The above chart shows color measurements taken on the A9G in Cinema picture mode and set to the DCI-P3 color space, with measured color levels as dots and DCI-P3 color levels as boxes. Out of the box, the A9G shows come impressive color performance, though not the most immediately accurate. Reds, greens, and blues all reach the DCI-P3 levels, coming close to but not quite hitting their marks. Whites are a bit cool, and secondary colors skew quite a bitcyans and magentas run cool, while yellows lean a bit red. This performance seems to be fairly typical for modern OLED TVs; LG’s C9P shows similarly cool whites and skewed secondaries.

Fortunately, the A9G has extensive calibration settings for tweaking color performance. We don’t recommend tinkering with those settings yourself, but for a high-end TV that costs nearly $4,000, we do recommend spending the extra few hundred dollars to have it professionally calibrated.

Viewing Experience

Despite the color issues, the A9G produces an excellent picture, which can be seen with BBC’s Planet Earth II. In the “Islands” episode, the greens of leaves and the blues of water look vivid and natural. Fine details like tree bark and fur are crisp both under direct sunlight and in dark shade, thanks to the TV’s excellent contrast. It’s a clean, detailed picture that faithfully shows off the content.

Sony XBR-65A9GThe OLED-powered contrast of the A9G looks impressive when viewing The Great Gatsby. The TV’s ability to display perfect blacks and bright whites in the same frame enables plenty of shadow detail to come through, preserving the texture and cut of black suits and hair. Skin tones look natural against the harsh blacks and whites of the party scenes, while letting the bright oranges of dresses and the teal of pools appear nicely saturated.

Forza Horizon 4 on the Xbox One X also looks excellent on the A9G. The Lego Speed Champions DLC combines nearly photorealistic cars and environments with Lego vehicles and obstacles, and the TV accurately reproduces both visually disparate categories of objects accurately. The muted browns and greens of dirt and trees look natural, while the much more colorful Lego foliage and roads are true to their bright, cheery toy palette.

Input Lag

Input lag is the amount of time between when a TV receives a signal and the display updates. Using an HDFury 4K Diva 18Gbps HDMI matrix to test for it, the A9G shows an input lag of 101.5ms in Cinema mode, which is unacceptably high. Switching to Game mode, however, cuts that lag down to a much better 18.9ms, which puts it below the 20ms threshold for us to consider the A9G one of the best TVs for gaming.

The Diva is a new piece of testing equipment we’re currently evaluating, so we also tested the A9G using the Leo Bodnar lag tester, which showed an input lag of 26.5ms in Game mode. We are noting both devices’ measurements as we develop our testing methodology.

A Premium Picture for a Price

The Sony Master Series A9G TV is another excellent example of the superlative contrast and sleek design OLED technology can produce. It’s strikingly slim and minimalist, without the awkward easel design of the previous A-series, and its Acoustic Surface Audio technology produces better sound than most built-in TV speakers. Adding Android Audio with hands-free Google Assistant voice commands to the mix further sweetens the deal, which needs to be quite sweet to justify the high price. While the A9G is slightly more expensive than the LG OLEDC9P line, its more powerful Android TV platform and superior sound edge it past LG as our Editors’ Choice for high-end TVs.

Ultimately, you can’t get perfect black levels and infinite contrast unless you invest in an OLED TV, and the A9G sits at the top of the list. But if you don’t want to spend nearly $4,000, you can avoid OLEDs altogether and get a solid LED model. The TCL 6-series and Hisense H8F lines offer surprisingly strong contrast and color performance for a fraction of the price, and the Hisense also features Android TV like the A9G (but without hands-free Google Assistant).



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