Hey! My name is Marques Brownlee and I'm a pretty heavy Galaxy Note 3 user. Some of you may already know me from the MKBHD YouTube Channel. To others, I'm a new face to AndroidPolice. Either way, Artem and I rounded up a list of 10 of the most useful tips and tricks for Samsung's massive new smartphone flagship. So in no particular order, other than for the convenience of the video, here they are.

#1: Pen Window

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 3.31.51 PM

Grab the S-Pen from the back of the phone and select the rightmost "Pen Window" option. Then draw a box of (almost) any size on the screen and pick one of the supported apps to fill the box you just drew.

You can also resize the pen window from the bottom right corner, or even minimize it to bring it back later. This only works with a couple of stock apps, like the calendar and clock, but I found it most useful for Google apps, like Hangouts and YouTube. Using a floating Hangouts window let me keep a conversation going in a smaller window while web browsing on the rest of the Note 3's 1080p display.

#2: Improved S-Pen Screenshots

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 3.33.04 PM

Hold down the button on the side of the S-Pen and outline what you want to take a screenshot of. Boom! But, chances are, you didn't draw a perfectly neat outline of what you wanted to share. Luckily this improved version of S-Pen has your back, with some new options to edit and refine your selection to a perfect rectangle or circle.

#3: Access To Notifications In Fullscreen Mode

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 3.34.48 PM

Surprisingly, this isn't a feature present in AOSP. TouchWiz on the Note 3 lets you pull down from the top bezel in any fullscreen app to view and interact with the notification bar. So whether you're browsing the My Magazine app, playing a game, or using any fullscreen app on the phone, you can always swipe down to check the time, see your notifications, and even adjust some settings without ever exiting your current app.

The ability to access notifications in fullscreen mode is not exclusive to the Note 3 - you can find it on most modern TouchWiz devices.

#4: S-Finder

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 3.36.22 PM

Wherever you are on the Galaxy Note 3 (except inside third-party launchers), holding down the Menu button will open up Samsung's S-Finder. S-Finder is a bit more robust than the Google Search app, allowing you to filter searches by time, tags or filetype. But if none of this gets you to what you're looking for, it always provides a handy shortcut at the bottom to search the web with Google.

#5: Voice Control

Voice Control

With these settings enabled, you can use voice commands to control the device. Specifically, you can "reject" or "answer" calls (automatically enables speakerphone), "stop" or "snooze" ringing alarms, "capture" photos in the camera app or control your music playback or volume.

#6: One-handed operation

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 3.37.03 PM

Samsung knows the Galaxy Note 3 is a massive device, so they've thrown in a few toggles to make it a bit easier to use for people with smaller hands. One-handed operation settings, also present on the Note 2, will let you move a few first-party apps closer to the edge of either side of the display. This also works for the Samsung keyboard, which makes one-handed typing at least slightly more feasible.

There's also an option to adjust the scale of every app with a swipe gesture from the edge of the display, but this is not optimized at all. It just shrinks the entire Note 3's display (and hardware buttons) into a smaller window, which looks a bit comical. I don't recommend it.

#7: Blocking Mode

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 3.37.30 PM

"Blocking mode" is a smart "Do Not Disturb" mode for the Galaxy Note 3. It silences all notifications, incoming calls, alarms and LED indicator activity while enabled. This can also be set to enable itself every day during a certain time frame, so if you know you don't want anything to disturb your sleep from midnight to 6AM (or that weekly meeting from 2-3PM), it can handle itself for you.

You can also allow only certain contacts to break through Blocking mode, so if an important contact calls you during these hours, the phone will let the call through.

Blocking mode is not exclusive to the Note 3 - it's also present on the Galaxy S3, S4, and the Note 2.

#8: Improved Multi-Window

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 3.38.42 PM

This is a classic Galaxy Note feature that most of us have probably heard of. Holding down the back button brings up a small tab from the left-hand side that slides over to reveal the ever-expanding list of supported apps. Drag two apps onto the top and bottom halves of the display, and you're in business! This is a step above Pen Window because you retain all the functionality of both applications, plus more apps are supported. You can control exactly how much of the display each app occupies.

Multi-Window seems to be a feature Samsung is constantly putting a lot of thought and effort into, as it's improved with each iteration over the life of the Galaxy Note lineup. On the Galaxy Note 3, you can bring new apps into each half of the display, then hit the multitasking button to flip through apps that were previously in that half of the display. It's multitasking within multitasking. Gotta love it.

Other improvements include the ability to drag-and-drop media from one window into another and create paired window presets for faster access to your favorite app pairs.

#9: Contact Swiping

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 3.39.55 PM

A TouchWiz classic that many users new to TouchWiz are completely unaware of. Open the contacts app and find a contact you want to get in touch with. To open the compose window for a new text message, just swipe across their name to the left. To give them a call, swipe across their name to the right. Simple, yet effective.

#10: Call Notification Window

Screen Shot 2013-10-14 at 3.01.29 PM

Enable this! It's one of my favorite newly discovered feature on the Galaxy Note 3 and I doubt I'll ever turn it off. Instead of a fullscreen window interrupting everything every time you get a call, you'll get a smaller, movable popup window at the bottom of the display with all the same buttons to accept, reject or message the caller. You'll never be interrupted by another fullscreen incoming call again.

If you don't have a Note 3 but want in on that sweet floating call notification action, give Small Call a try.

If all this is too much to remember, Samsung has added a search box to the Settings app that lets you quickly narrow down the features you're looking for without digging through the menus.


So there you have it. Any favorites? Am I missing anything? Feel free to let me know in the comments. You also also check out the Android Police Note 3 review and my video review of the Galaxy Note 3 on the MKBHD YouTube channel, along with my other video work. Peace!

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii


  • Lasse

    Marques Brownlee + Android Police = WIN!

    • Ivan Myring

      Who the hell down voted?

      • me


  • TynanDeRosa

    Samsung Galaxy Bloat 3

    • southerndinner

      Big Neckbeard De Rosa

      • TynanDeRosa

        After owning a Samsung Galaxy Bloat 2, there's no neckbearding sorry little friend. Shit's bloat-rific.

    • http://www.twitter.com/hEbBoOo Ahmadovich

      Retards, Retards Everywhere.

  • Lucas Laws

    So MKBHD is on AP and hes doing On The Verge videos... /r/android is going to implode.
    So is he going to be a regular contributor now?

    • http://www.youtube.com/MKBHD Marques Brownlee

      Ha! Yes I'll be back, and we'll be working on more stuff together.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii
      • Luqmaan Mathee

        By the way nice ,unbiased iPhone 5S review although I'm not an iOS fan.

      • Julio M

        I wanted the mkbhd outro so bad :/ I ended up humming it

        • Jente Koopmans

          The outro song is Deadmau5 - Channel 41 :)

          • Andrew

            Channel 42

          • Jente Koopmans

            Oh sorry, i meant Channel 42... Before the track was released it was called channel 41 xD

    • Grimmjow

      What On the Verge video? Tell me quickly !?!?

      • Justin W

        90 Seconds on The Verge. He was the host in one a few weeks back, but I'm not sure what episode though - sorry :(.

        • Lucas Laws

          2 of them, actually.

          • TonGi018

            What was the other one?

  • TY

    Contact swiping, a.k.a. lol Sorry android design guidelines and convenience, no swipe-able tabs for you.

    • bse88

      Its an old feature designed when phones screens were not that big

      • TY

        Also an old feature designed for the Gingerbread days.
        It's incredibly frustrating that the biggest Android OEM doesn't even have the intention to properly follow the design guidelines.
        They made the first Android phone with 4.0. Yet 2 years later they are still shipping devices with a menu button. Non-swipable tabs. Long lists of menus. What are the interface designers doing?

        • southerndinner

          So don't use it? I use it every day

  • Miah

    MKBHD + Android Police = Epic Porn!

  • southerndinner

    You guys got rid of that hack Ron and got this guy? Awesome. Marques is great and easily one of the best YouTube reviewers.

    Great pickup!

    • TY

      How dare you say AP got rid of Ron =[ "Getting rid of" is a negative phrase, implying that Ron is bad. No he isn't, and he left for a better job as Ars.

      • Ramesh

        It's what we call 'a joke'.

        • TY


      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Cameron Summerson

        Better job? ಠ_ಠ

        • TY

          Well, at least from his point of view, I guess.

          • Blowntoaster

            why not call it, exploring other options...

        • Jon_D7

          Well...this is awkward :/

      • southerndinner

        Ars is a sperge fest for the 1% of Android Users who care about benchmarks. Ron spent multiple pages complaining about it and even made an article about it. Good for him for finding a site that appeals to the spergiest of spergy neckbeards but I see AP is a relatively mainstream Android audience appealing site, not people who dismiss non-Nexus devices before they even open the box.

        Marques can appeal to both mainstream audiences and those that are a little bit nerdier than others. Ars is above and beyond that but it hits the point of arrogance and is really annoying.

        Marques is great. Ron is a redditor/Linux nerd's wet dream. I'll take the former.

        • TY

          Do you mean the benchmark cheating thing? If yes...

          Caring for benchmark cheating is very different from caring for benchmarks. It is accessing the moral standard of OEMs, rather than having an obsession on the score.

          • southerndinner

            Caring is one thing. Obsessing over it page after page is another. He offers no real insight to what most people care about.

  • Evgeny Kosakovich

    Is there any app in play store that have a Call Notification Window functionality?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Yes. Forgot to mention it.

      Small Call: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.rocksauce.smallcall.free

      Added to the post now.

      • orville porter

        You have to get the PRO version. Free version puts ads in your notification bar.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

          Not for long, if it doesn't want to get booted off the Play Store.

          • orville porter

            hopefully this is implemented sooner rather than later

  • New_Guy

    I didn't realize how clutch the notification access on any fill screen app is untildI started using the Moto and was freaking out when it wouldn't do it. Need to be in AOSP like yesterday

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Definitely my favorite TouchWiz feature. This and multi-window are the only reasons stopping me from going AOSP for my primary phone.

      • SetiroN

        ... except there are other things that do the same thing with none of the bloated, gimmicky elephant that touchwiz is? :)

        - the intuitiveness and rapidity of operations with PA's halo is an order of magnitude better than samsung's multiwindow (and this new pen window... draw out the pen>hover it>select>draw a square>select an app? Are you kidding me? How is that convenient?)

        - Swipe Status Bar allows does just the same thing PLUS it allows you to enjoy hiding the status bar everywhere else if you want to.

        • southerndinner

          Heaven forbid that someone enjoy software that you don't.

          • SetiroN

            Everyone can enjoy whatever they want, apple's is by far the highest selling phone after all, objective facts making alternatives better will still exist though.

            There's people who enjoy to eat shit in the world, but nothing is going to stop me from thinking they'd be better off with a steak.

        • Blowntoaster

          you my friend are seriously nitpicking. why all the negatives about the Note 3? so it has cool features (that you don't like), and bloat and all that. it's still a good phone, and it doesn't require you to go fish for custom roms on XDA, that at times are unstable, though good and very smooth. You like simplicity, that's all good. others like Touchwiz, the S pen gimmickry etc. so let them enjoy it as you enjoy the stuff that you like...

        • UniBroW

          swipe status bar is good and tries to replicate the same thing that touchwiz does but it doesn't always work out as you'd like it to. Some apps just don't behave correctly with swipe status bar and end up reloading. this doesn't happen on touchwiz.

      • papernick

        Search for 'Smart Statusbar' in the Play Store.

  • jamesindc

    Good work Marques!

  • robogo

    Marques, welcome to Android Police! I am so stoked you're here as well, I'm subscribed to your Youtube channel for a while now, love your reviews.
    Can't wait to see what you and AP team can and will do! :)

  • smeddy

    1) gets told to hold down back button

    2) Accidently exits article

    3) Sheepishly returns

  • Pre86


  • Brad Aanderud

    My first post on Androidpolice.com. Welcome Marques. I've been watching you on YT for a long time. Can't wait to see what you do here.

  • r1fo

    Wow MKKBHD and Android Police?!?!? Two of my favorite things together at last :)

  • Oobiewan

    In your hands it looks like a 4" device :D

  • SetiroN

    How people actually appreciate all of that gimmicky, hard to reach and unintuitive stuff is astonishingly mind blowing to me.

    The #1 touchwiz feature is the possibity to...

    draw out the pen>hover it>select>draw a square>select an app? Are you kidding me? How is that convenient?

    It almost manages to make me appreciate apple designs.

    • shaun Goh

      oh well, i guess you never understand if you haven't try it, galaxy note 3 have the best feature, and the pen windows is exactly what note 3 needed><

      • SetiroN

        For some reason you assume I haven't, all while clearly being a fanboy.
        There isn't a single samsung feature that comes close to standard solutions designed for quick, single handed operation.

        • Kellic

          The note is not designed for quick single handed operation. Or did the screen size not give that fact away? Seriously your complaint is about as legit as someone who drives a Prius and complains that its off-roading capabilities suck. Why would anyone buy this car to go off-roading?!

          • SetiroN

            Requiring two hands to do the exact same thing you could do with one in half the time is silly regardless of your out of place car comparisons.

          • Blowntoaster

            It's more like requiring two hands to do things other devices can't...

    • Kellic

      Oh I don't know maybe because. ITS A FLOATING WINDOW OVER THE REST OF THE DANG SCREEN. See you use your device for basic crap. The note is designed to work. If you want a toy, buy a toy. If you want to open up a spreadsheet and then open up a calculator over it, buy a Note.

  • whispy_snippet

    Kudos to AP for bringing Marques into the fold. Massive respect for his work and insight. A great asset.

  • Jun

    Did Samsung remove alphawolfram from s note? On the note 2, I remembered that you can use s note as a graphing calculator thanks to the wolframalpha database.

  • Matthew

    Big up bro - good stuff as usual.

  • Evan Jenkins

    If there is one thing I'm praying for in Android 4.4 it's the ability to get to the notification bar in full screen apps. Why is this not a stock feature yet? It kills me that just to check a notification in certain apps I have to back out of it entirely. iPhone had this right in iOS 4 I think. Samsung and LG have this too. Just pull down once for the bar, again for the shade. It wouldn't mess up games anymore than having software buttons does now plus there are apps other than games that go full screen like Flipboard and Yahoo weather. It just blows my mind that it hasn't been implemented yet. Probably won't happen, and before anyone says, yes I have tried Bird Bar on the Play Store. It's a little buggy on JB and just feels weird.

    sorry rant over really cool to see MKBHD on the site it's like two of my favorite worlds combined :D

  • jason stroud

    Marques ! I followed you on your channel since eagerly waiting for the galaxy s2 release in the u.s. (long summer of rumors and you and I getting ecxited about it ...tmobile Hurcules leak lol) you do an outstanding solo gig for awhile there on your channel !keep it up man .looks like your getting to big time...NEXT AARON BAKER, RETTINGER ,ETC IN THE MAKING ! Lol

  • john

    A lot of features you mentioned were already available for Samsung galaxy phones. For example the notification bar on full screen. And swiping left on the contacts screen to send a message.
    I think you need to actually look into the product your explaining about before you post on the Internet and make yourself seem not so smart.

    • GreenyO

      You don't know how to read, do you ?
      What don't you understand with "A touchwizz CLASSIC" and "Not exclusive to the Note 3" ?

      I think you need to actually read the text you're bashing before you post on the Internet and make yourself seem not so smart.

    • Blowntoaster

      features available in other Galaxy devices was mentioned by the author. this article is just about what features he likes about the Note 3. Not necessarily exclusive features...

    • UniBroW

      "I think you need to actually look into the product your explaining about before you post on the Internet and make yourself seem not so smart"

      Irony is probably the most delicious thing here on the internet

  • Sebastian Lundgren

    Welcome MKBHD :)

  • dpneal

    Great to have MKBHD here. :-)

  • mLogician

    Nice video.

  • Kevin Daniels

    Marques Brownlee, my favorite Android aficionado and Android Police, my favorite one stop spot for Android news, oh what a match made in heaven!

  • danishdhanshe

    Hope the s800 is powerful enough to smoothly run note3

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    Download Paid Andriod Apps for free:
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  • myoyomi3

    the galaxy note 3 is the best smartphone for the moment...utile the nexus 5 :)

  • loyde

    K Adobe flash player es compatible para el samsung galaxy note 3 Android 4.3 X favor díganme X k me urge

  • Shayd

    #10 Doesn't exist, I checked on mine

  • Celeste Devall

    I'm new to the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 but am already in love with it! One thing I've noticed is that when I send a video, it has to be re-sized and it distorts the video greatly. What setting should I have my camera on to prevent the video from having to re-size?

  • Ann Lazebna
  • paulb

    Hi can I use the usb out on my note 3 to watch videos on a TV the has a usb port ie video is on note 3 but want to watch on big tv

  • blablabla

    If you hold down the key left of the home button it will show you every thing you have done on your phone for the past 30 days. Anyone know how to clear this?