Opening up the box of your brand new phone is always thrilling. Even more so whenn it’s a top-end gadget like a Galaxy Note 10 or Note 10+.
Configure the side key for power, camera and Bixby
The Note 10 ditched the dedicated Bixby button of previous generations, and that’s generally a good thing — it means the power button is lower down and easier to reach, and if you choose to not use Bixby you don’t have this vestigial button on the side of your phone doing nothing.
Head into the “Advanced features” settings and “Side key” to get started. By default, a double press of the side key launches the camera, as is the case on recent Samsung phones. But if you wish, you can configure the double press to launch Bixby or any other app — it won’t let you deep link into a specific part of the app, but it can at least save you the trouble of tapping the app icon on your home screen.
You can configure the side key’s press-and-hold behavior separately — it can either wake Bixby (holding as you speak, and releasing to send the query), or launch the power off menu like you’d normally expect for a power button. If you choose the Bixby option, you’ll have to change the way you turn off the phone — either press and hold the side key and volume down button, or open the power off menu from the button in the notification shade.
And if you’re wondering how to take a screenshot now that the buttons have switched around, we have a guide for that. But the short version is this: press and hold the volume down and side key for just one second, and release them to capture; if you hold any longer, you’ll enter the power off menu.
Set your screen zoom, icon size, and font size
The Note 10 and 10+ ship with large font, icon, and screen zoom sizes, which together don’t make great use of the screen real estate. But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can change each of these to get the right amount on your screen to match your productivity needs and eyesight.
Everything you’ll need to tweak is found in the “Display” settings. To shrink the size of app icons, go into “Home screen” and change both the home screen grid and apps screen grid to “5×5” from its default 4×5. To keep going, back out and go to “Font size and style” to scale down the font size to suit your eyes — this will only change the size of text, nothing else. Then, go back again and go to “Screen zoom” to see if you’ll prefer a lower zoom level — that will scale back the size of everything the phone shows, meaning you fit more content on the screen without scrolling.
You may have to play around with different combinations of font size and screen zoom to fill the screen in a way that’s most comfortable for your eyes, but with a few settings options each it won’t take long to get it just right.
Get to know the in-display fingerprint sensor
Switching gears from their predecessor, the Note 10 and 10+ have a new ultrasonic fingerprint sensor that’s underneath the display rather than on the back of the phone. If you did what most people do and somewhat hastily enrolled your fingerprints during the phone setup process, we encourage you to go back into the “Biometrics and security” settings to start over from scratch and hopefully improve its speed and accuracy.
With this sensor, it’s important to enroll your fingerprint exactly how you intend to hold the phone. That starts with taking care to hold the phone during the enrollment process how you normally would when picking it up to unlock. Also, pay particularly close attention to the enrollment process when it tells you to reposition your finger for a complete scan. If you plan to unlock the phone when it’s flat on a table, enroll your index finger(s), and again scan them with the phone on a table as you expect to use them.
Once accurately enrolled, pay attention to how your fingers land on the sensor in daily use. Make note of exactly where the phone wants you to place your finger (designated by the fingerprint symbol), and hit it dead center — the recognition area isn’t very big, and it may take a little time for muscle memory to kick in to start getting it right. The sensor doesn’t require that you press hard on the screen, but you’ll start to learn the “right” pressure over time. If you’re finding lots of false rejections after a few days, go clear out all of your prints and start over with new knowledge of how you’ve been using the sensor.
Configure the display colors
You stare at your Smartphone’s display for hours a day, so it should look exactly how you want it to. The Note 10 and 10+ come out of the box with their display set to be “Natural,” but there are options you can change to tweak the exact way it reproduces colors. Under the “Display” settings you’ll find “Screen mode” where you can make the tweaks.
Most people will want to just make the switch from “Natural” to “Vivid” for a more eye-catching view. You’ll notice a bit more contrast and extra pop to colors everywhere, but Samsung doesn’t go too overboard. Toggle back and forth between the two presets to see which you like more, and if you stick with vivid you can tweak further by moving the “white balance” slider between cool and warm to further suit your tastes.
It may take you a few hours, or even a few days, with each to make a decision. But if you’re still not satisfied, tap on “Advanced settings” to get really specific with individual sliders for red, green and blue — you may not know exactly how each one affects the screen, but play around and see if anything makes a noticeable difference for you. Everyone’s eyes see colors a little differently, so this can be a great way to personalize things to look right to you.
Choose gestures or standard navigation buttons
Samsung’s optional gesture navigation system isn’t super exciting, as it doesn’t really integrate with the software as a whole or feel as fluid as some of the competition. Nonetheless, it has one big benefit as it removes the static navigation bar and gives a little more space for whatever app you have open instead. But it isn’t turned on by default — you have to enable it. Under “Display” and then “Navigation bar” you’ll find all of the options.
Navigation bar options
If you turn on “Full screen gestures” it does exactly what you think: replace the back, home, and multitasking buttons with a swipe up in their respective positions. No complicated swipe-and-hold or weird multi-stage movements; just swipe where you previously tapped. If you choose to use the gesture area, you can even turn off the “gesture hints” at the bottom of the screen so you can get back all of that screen space.
Whether you go with the new gestures or stick with the traditional buttons, you can swap the position of the back and multitasking buttons to whatever feels right to you — samsung puts the back button on the right by default, but every other company puts it on the left. The home button has to stay put in the middle, though.
Extra tip: if you stick with navigation buttons, you get the added bonus of being able to do a quick multitasking switch by sliding the home button to the right — it sounds awkward, but it’s really great for quickly switching back one or two apps at a time. Give it a try.