Smartphones

Configure Samsung's S Voice for a more efficient mobile experience

Jack Wallen highlights some of the S Voice capability, and how you can use this tool to make your mobile experience even more efficient.

If you've purchased a new Samsung mobile, like the Galaxy S III, then you have a voice command tool that can make your mobile life incredibly more efficient. With S Voice, you can command your phone to do your bidding -- even from the lock screen!

Out of the box, S Voice works great, but there are ways to make it even better. By default, here's what S Voice can do:

  • Voice dial (sample "Call Chauncy mobile")
  • Text message (sample "Text Chauncy message, 'Are you free tonight for dinner?'")
  • Search Contacts (sample "Look up Chauncy")
  • Navigate (sample "Navigate to Louisville, Kentucky")
  • Memo (sample "Memo Send Chauncy a birthday card")
  • Schedule (sample "New event Lunch with Chauncy August fourth at 1PM")
  • Task (sample "New task Finish Chauncy birthday gift")
  • Music (sample "Play playlist Chauncy's favorites")
  • Social update (sample "Twitter update Happy birthday Chauncy!")
  • Search (sample "Search origin of name Chauncy")
  • Open app (sample "Open Facebook")
  • Record voice (sample "I am recording my voice for Chauncy")
  • Driving mode (sample "Driving mode on/off")
  • Set alarm (sample "Set alarm for 6:00 AM")
  • Timer (sample "Set timer for 60 minutes")
  • Weather (sample "What is the weather for today?")
  • Simple settings controls (sample "Turn Wi-Fi on/off")
  • Get an answer (sample "How man gold medals has the U.S. Olympic team won?")
  • Local listing (sample "Find restaurants")

Now, let's take a look at some configurations that can help S Voice become even more efficient for you.

Wake up command

This is one of the coolest features of S Voice. Instead of having to unlock your screen, open up the S Voice application, and then speaking your command, you can configure S Voice to wake up (and be at the ready) from the lock screen. Here's how to pull this off:

  1. Open up S Voice
  2. Tap the menu button
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Tap the Wake up command (make sure it's checked)
  5. Tap Wake up in Samsung unlock (make sure it's checked)
  6. Tap Set wake-up command
  7. In the Set wake-up command window (Figure A), tap Wake up S Voice
  8. Figure A

    The S Voice on the Verizon-branded Galaxy S III.
  9. If you've already set the command, tap Change command
  10. Tap the speaker button (Figure B) and repeat the command four times
Figure B

As the screen says, make sure the command is a 3-5 syllable word (or words), otherwise the command won't register.
After you've successfully added the command, you can test it by tapping the power button on your phone and then tapping it again. From the lock screen (Figure C), speak the unlock command you just recorded, and S Voice should open immediately. Figure C

If you don't want to go immediately to S Voice, just swipe the screen as you normally would.

From the Set wake-up command screen, you can also set commands for other functions, including:

  • Check for missed calls
  • Check for missed messages
  • Open camera
  • Check schedule
  • Play music
  • Record voice

Each of the above functions can be activated from the lock screen by setting a simple voice command.

There's one caveat to enabling the wake-up from lock function. It sets the mic to listen at all times, which will quickly drain your battery. You can get around this by enabling the Only listen while charging function. This means the wake up command will only work when the device is plugged in for charging.

In order to enable this feature, do the following:

  1. Open S Voice
  2. Tap the menu button
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Tap Only listen while charging (make sure it's checked)

That's it.

Locale and social settings

If you plan on using your home address with S Voice, you'll need to enter that information in the Setting window first. Here's how:

  1. Open S Voice
  2. Tap the menu button
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Scroll down to the Home Address section
  5. Tap Home Address
  6. Enter your home address
  7. Tap OK

Now, you can speak commands like "Navigate to Home Address," and the navigation app will open with directions from your current location.

You can also integrate S Voice into your social applications (like Twitter and Facebook). To do this, you must authenticate to the application you want to use from within the S Voice settings. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Open up S Voice
  2. Tap the menu button
  3. Tap Settings
  4. Scroll down to the Social Settings section
  5. Tap on the app you want to integrate, and enter your authentication credentials for that app

Once this is done, when you speak a command like "Twitter update The Galaxy S3 rocks," it will post it to your account.

The Samsung S Voice application is an amazing tool that will go a long way to make sure your Samsung Galaxy mobile experience is extremely efficient. If you are the proud owner of a Galaxy S III, make sure you give S Voice a try. Once you get used to the tool, you won't look back.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

9 comments
VincentVegas
VincentVegas

When I set a timer and open S-Voice again after some time, the timer is not shown anymore. And there is no function to show running timers. What are we supposed to do in that case?

btr1976
btr1976

How do you compose a text message if your phone is locked? I can successfully unlock my screen with the wake up command but then how do you launch s-voice to send a text?  Seems like I still need to touch the device in order to launch the voice commands.  Any ideas?

paulinyork999
paulinyork999

I am a long time Iphone user and am dissapointed with S Voice to be honest.  I don't want to risk all my personal details by leaving my phone on swipe unlock.  S voice will not work if your phone is locked with a keypad!?!  

Regarding hearing S voice speak back to you... You need to make sure that the volume for media is turned up.  It caught me out.  It was obviously chatting away to me, and I couldn't hear a thing.

Having said all that..  When I have used it, I am sure it recognises my requests far better than Siri ever did.

brooks@intellinet-comptng
brooks@intellinet-comptng

I am a recent convert from iPhone 4. I use voice dialing all the time with a blue tooth headset. Occasionally the iPhone would not get the right party, but it was not a frequent problem. With my Galaxy Siii, I can rarely get it to dial a contact. First, I use a PIN code to lock my phone. Even when I specify an unlock phrase, it will not unlock and startup S-Voice. So I removed the PIN from the screen lock. No my phone content is somewhat exposed. Now I can push the button on my Plantronics bluetooth headset and S-Voice will wake up. I constantly get network errors, it takes for ever to even get to the point of asking S-Voice to dial, but it is an eternity before it actually dials. Most often it come back with multiple matches (which is does not list) and you have to manually select from the screen to dial. It will not understand Mike is synonomous with Michael (Siri did) - a minor issue however. The performance and accuracy is so bad I can hardly ever use it. This is a major feature that I use daily. It really makes this phone sub par and may force me to switch back to the iPhone. Everything else is working to my satisfaction and it is a worthy competitor to the iPhone in all other aspects. However, this one is driving me crazy. Is there any hope? Are there any 3rd party voice apps that are better? Is Samsung addressing this issue?

TrueBooleanFalse
TrueBooleanFalse

Make sure you have voice reply enabled, it is in the bottom left hand corner of S-Voice. If it is disabled, it will have a circle with a cross in it, if it is enabled, it will have a face/head with two concave lines coming from the 'mouth'

fazil ma
fazil ma

hi... am new here, i just brought galaxy s3 one week back that time when i experience the s voice function it works fine now there is no voice response reply from s voice but it shows on the screen. i already reset the phone once now also same ...plzzzzzz help...... thanks and regards fazil m a

FreeStanler
FreeStanler

How does S Voice compare to Google Now?

wolfmanjon
wolfmanjon

I have been trying for an hour to get S Voice to work on my voice. I have tried the wake up command and everytime I give the command, it opens and then tells me to say the wake up command. I also can't get it to unlock the phone. Help!

Schno
Schno

Has anyone figured this problem out? Mine has never spoken back and I have spent hours looking at all settings with no luck.

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