You can do some pretty cool things with an Android Wear smartwatch, such as check-in quickly at that local restaurant, open a tip calculator, or even pay for your Starbucks coffee. Those are the “smart” things you can do, but probably the most popular thing to do is swap out watch faces. Android Wear has only been around for a few months, and already there are hundreds, if not thousands of very cool watch faces for you to try. There are certainly a bunch of them as standalone apps in the Play Store, but I wanted to show you a few apps that offer you so much more. For starters, they give you ability to design your own watch faces and even share them. That may or may not be your thing, but these apps also offer you a first class ticket to a world of more downloadable watch faces than you can possibly imagine.
One of the coolest features on the original Moto X had to be Active Display. So it’s no surprise that it found it’s way onto the all new Moto X. Now called Moto Display, it’s also not surprising that it is much improved. Moto Display will show you your most recent notifications without turning on the full display. You can even read the contents of each notification such has what someone texted you. This is an obvious battery saver.
Thanks to a few added IR sensors on the all new Moto X, you can now use gestures. Motorola is calling this Moto Actions and the settings for them reside in the Moto app that you will find in your app drawer. There are only a couple of gestures, so we imagine Motorola will add more in future updates.
Motorola Assist launched on the original Moto X, and it’s back as Moto Assist. Moto Assist is a contextual learning engine, and it allows you to set up certain actions based on where you are (home or the car) or what you might be doing (in meetings or sleeping). If you’re familiar with last year’s Moto X, you will remember that there was an Assist app. You won’t find that anymore. Instead, Motorola combined all of their features into a new app simply called Moto. The Moto app houses Moto Voice, Moto Actions, Moto Display, and Moto Assist.
Motorola unleashed Touchless Control on last year’s Moto X, but it’s now been rebranded to Moto Voice for the all new Moto X. If you’re not familiar with Touchless Control, (or Moto Voice), it allows you to ask your Moto X to do certain things without ever handling the device. You can find out who won the big game, set a reminder, set a timer, send a text message, and so much more.
We already showed you the six custom watch faces that Motorola pre-installed on the Moto 360, but you might not know that you can further customize them using the Motorola Connect app. This app was only available for the Moto X and DROID devices, but they have opened it up to other Android devices since not everyone with a Moto 360 will own a Motorola phone.
Assuming your Moto 360 is already paired to your phone using the Android Wear app, just open the Connect app and you will immediately see your 360 displayed on the screen. Tap on that, and you will be given a few options. Just tap on “Watch Faces” and you will be able to select any of the pre-installed faces to customize. Right now the options are a little more limited than I would like, but I assume Motorola will update the app down the road.
Before the Moto 360 was officially introduced, you heard a lot of rumblings about an “ambient light sensor,” which would allow the display to automatically set the brightness based on how bright (or dark) your surrounds are. The Moto 360 also includes an “Ambient Screen,” option in the settings which you won’t find on the LG G Watch or the Gear Live and has confused a lot people.
The Bokeh effect has become a big thing in smartphones over the last few months. If you’re not familiar with the Bokeh effect, it is the process of de-focusing certain areas of a picture, usually the background. HTC went as far as adding a second lens for this effect and Google just added it to their stock Camera app. Now, Samsung has added “Selective Focus” and “Out of Focus” options to the Galaxy S 5. They both do the same thing, but act completely different.
“Selective Focus” is for when you know in advance of taking your shot that you want to apply this effect, and “Out of Focus” is for those times when you didn’t know. You can make changes after the fact with both methods, but they can be a little confusing in how they save the images as well as exactly when they work.
In this video, I will walk you through both options and how they work. Hit the break for the video and be sure to check out all our other Galaxy S 5 guides.
Samsung condensed a few of the camera modes into “Shot & More” with the Galaxy S 5. This makes it a lot easier as all you have to do is press the shutter button, and it will take a series of burst shots. Soon after, the device will tell you what editing modes are available based on what happened in the shot. You will have your choice of Best Shot, Best Face, Drama Shot, Eraser, and Panning Shot. All options were available last year as separate modes other than Panning Shot, which is brand new. The best part of all of this is that you can make as many edits as you want after the fact, which is something you couldn’t do on the Galaxy S 4.
In this video, I walk you through how to get into the “Shot & More” mode as well as how to make your edits and save your images. Check it out after the break, and be sure to hit up all our Galaxy S 5 guides.
Samsung made some changes to the Camera app with the Galaxy S 5. It still offers a lot of different modes, but they simplified things and added the ability to further edit after the fact.
The Mode button is still the heart of everything, but you will find fewer choices. Drama Shot, Best Face, Best Shot, Eraser Mode, and Panning Shot (new) are now part of “Shot & More.” When using this mode, you will be able to choose which effect you want to apply to the photo, and you don’t have to do it right away. You will also find a “Download” option for installing more modes from Samsung Apps. This makes perfect sense since you don’t need to clutter your phone with modes that you don’t plan on ever using. Lastly, HDR mode adds real-time previews for both images and videos.