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Tuesday, 16 July 2013

So you have, or you're thinking of buying the new Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphone?

I have had my Galaxy S4 for a little time now so I would like to share some of the apps and hardware which has made my computer more useful. Let's face it, it's a computer which allows you to make phone calls.


The very first thing is to purchase the “AVG” app for just under £10. This will keep your phone clean of malware, check all email attachments, and check every app you download for dangerous code. It is a must.

The app which comes with the S4 from Samsung is “S Health” and this counts your exercise steps, whether walking, running or using stairs. You set yourself a daily target. I have started on a low one of 5,000 steps, and you can't cheat, and you get a sense of failure if you don't get an average (of the week of your daily average times 7). And, you can't cheat, unless you strap it to your arm when you are...

Whilst we are on health, I'll mention “AlcoDroid” this registers how much you have drunk and you can get an accurate unit count to two decimal places. You have to put the alcohol content in and the amount of the liquid. It also gives a fair idea of your alcohol/blood content but stresses this fluctuates from person to person. My target is 24 units (we are advised to keep to 28 units now for me) and I never reach more than 80% of target. More like 75%

These two apps have over three weeks, cut my drinking down by 140% and I feel fitter from the exercise.

I also have “TubeWalks” this covers walks between all tube stations on the network so if I travel anywhere, I now get off the stop before and walk along a mapped, well documented walk to the next station. The guy has done all the walks and has photos so you don't get lost. As an aside, he has also done the Lands End to John o'Groats walk. Free for the central London version and only 72p for the full tube network.

Polaris Navigation” is a good off-road app. It has a compass, gives your lat and long position to 6 decimal positions, shows altitude, Has a waypoint manager, a trail manager, map view of current position with Google Earth, get driving/walking directions, timer, sunrise/sunset and allows you to email full position details. Has a lot more but you get the gist?

Find my car” is useful, especially if you've ever been to the NEC in Birmingham. I use it on holiday by setting it for my hotel in case I get lost.

Out of all the Twitter lookalikes, I prefer “Tweetcaster”, and naturally have “Skype” and “Dropbox”.

Google “Finance” is ideal for the Investors, and Google “Goggles” is useful in a foreign language country if you don't speak the language. Take a photo of a notice and it does something clever with OCR and Translation and gives you the notice in English. “Silent Boot” enables you to lose the Samsung sound when you switch off and on. Useful in the theatre or cinema.

Quicker” is useful for checking wifi, internet, gps, sound, screen etc. “FCM” allows you to get a ring in your specified time as a 'get me outta here' signal. I set the time for a meeting and have the phone ring me at the end of the time. Then pretend an emergency and disappear. “ConvertPad” is a wide ranging conversion facility converting just about anything.

And, you must have the “Astro File Manager” so you can move files from the built in SDCard to your own extra card, get a 64GB card, you'll soon fill it.

I use “PowerAmp” for my music, the best one I found. “YouTube” and “IMDB” are staples, the latter is out of this world if you want information on every film ever made, actors, directors etc. Amazon's “Kindle” allows you to read your book on the phone, and syncs it with your Kindle so you always know your place. “SASSurvival” is very helpful even in urban areas. I use Gmail and Google Calendar so “K-9 Mail” is a must as it syncs with Gmail perfectly. For my diary I use “Business Calendar” as that also syncs with Google. I chose “EverNote” for my notepad as this syncs also with my desktop.”Herb and Spice Helper” is terrific in the Kitchen.

For my shopping list I use Valuephone's “Shopping List Manager”. This allows me to build the shopping list on my PC using a decent keyboard! The weekly shop at Tesco has been reduced by 20 minutes. Before each item I have the aisle and position number. For example '12f Ice Cream' means it is in aisle 12 on the side nearest the front door, b for back door. Left and right are useless as you don't know which side you will start the trip down the aisle.

I also have “Wine Dictionary” so I can blind you with my knowledge! And “BarastaMe” so I can blind the girl behind the coffee counter with my expert knowledge!

I have tried the browser which comes with the phone, Firefox and Opera but found “Chrome” to be superior.

I have mentioned just a small amount of my 139 apps, but surely enough to be getting on with?


First of all, I have a little charging box with a spare battery in it, from Amazon, More about this later.

I also have a 10,000 mA store of my own electricity from Anker, also on Amazon.

These two items allow me always to have extra battery power when out and about. When my battery is dead, I put a new one in, put the old one in the charging box, and plug it into the Anker storage, inside my bag and it charges up the battery as I go along.

I have a nice leather case for my phone which gives it more of an executive look and protects my phone as they don't bounce very well. You can get this at, wait for it, Amazon!

Finally, for when I don't want to lug a case about, I bought a double size battery with a deeper phone back, from Anker, via Amazon and have a Vega holster as I carry this on my belt. You may find this hard to believe, but Amazon stock this! Alas Vega Holsters are not on Amazon.

For those who have purchased the fantastic S4, I hope some of these ideas will prove useful to you. It's a tremendous phone, do take full control of it.

Finally, if you already have one, please feel free to disagree or add your favourite apps in the “comments” section. But please, only constructive criticism. Not “this app is crap” not allowed. But “this app is crap because...” is allowed.


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