If you’re lucky enough to own a Samsung Galaxy S III, you already know that you have of the single most powerful and flexible smartphones on the planet. However, along with that power and flexibility comes great responsibility — a responsibility to know how to make the best use of your device. Some of these tips can be applied to other Android smartphones and some are unique to the S III (and possibly other Samsung devices).

So, without further adieu, let’s dive into these tips, so you can get the most out of your uber smartphone.

1. Display battery percentage

Tired of having to guess how much battery life you have (based on glancing at the tiny battery icon)? If so, the Samsung S III has you covered. Do the following:

  1. Open up Settings
  2. Tap Display
  3. Scroll down and tap to enable Display battery percentage (Figure A)

Now, you’ll see a percentage of how much battery you have remaining in the notification area of your device.

Figure A

The Verizon-branded Samsung Galaxy S III displaying the default battery status.

2. Turn on Wi-Fi Direct

There are many ways to share files between devices. Samsung has come up with a method that is more reliable than Bluetooth and faster than email. This is done with the Samsung proprietary Wi-Fi Direct, which allows you to quickly and easily share large files between compatible devices. Basically, this lets devices communicate with one another a wireless access point. To enable this feature, do the following:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap More Settings
  3. Slide the on/off slider to enable Wi-Fi Direct
  4. When Wi-Fi Direct is on, tap the Wi-Fi Direct entry in Settings, and then tap the Scan button
  5. Tap the device you want to connect to (the owner of the target device will have to OK the connection)

To share a file, simply open the file, tap the Share button, and select Wi-Fi Direct as the share method.

3. Turn on S Beam

Another unique means of transferring data between Samsung Galaxy S III phones is S Beam. This is the technology shown on the “The next big thing is already here” commercials. Two S III users bump phones together to quickly transfer files to one another. This technology uses Near Field Communication (NFC) and Wi-Fi Direct so that enabled phones can touch to transfer information. This is really just a means to make Wi-Fi Direct even easier (but Wi-Fi Direct must be enabled).

To turn this feature on, follow these steps:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap S Beam
  3. In the S Beam screen (Figure B), slide the on/off slider to the right

Once this is on, all you have to do is touch devices and tap the screen. Whatever is on the screen should then be shared with the other device (which must also have S Beam enabled).

Figure B

You get the full directions on the S Beam screen.

4. Enable Motion controls

Your Samsung Galaxy S III can use motions to control your phone. For example, you can automatically call the contact on the screen by moving the phone to your ear. You can also turn your phone over to mute incoming calls. To enable this feature, do the following:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Motion
  3. Scroll through the listings (Figure C), and enable any Motion control you like

Figure C

One cool gesture allows you to take a screenshot by swiping the side of your hand from right to left (or left to right).

5. Encrypt your device or SD card

With the Samsung Galaxy S III, you can encrypt your device and/or your SD card. Once encrypted, you’ll have to enter a password each time you either turn the phone on or connect to the SD card. This does give you a nice layer of security, but it pretty much marries the SD card to the phone. So, regular SD card backups become a necessity. However, for users who must have extra security, this is a pretty handy feature.

There are two caveats to the encryption:

  • It’s software-based, so it puts a bit of a hit on the processor cycles on the phone
  • It’s irreversible

To encrypt either the device or the SD card, do the following:

  1. Start with a fully charged device
  2. Plug your device into its charger
  3. Open Settings
  4. Scroll down and tap Security
  5. Tap either Encrypt device or Encrypt SD card (Figure D)
  6. If encrypting the SD card, select Encrypt SD card, Full Encryption, Exclude Multimedia files

Figure D

You will not be able to start this process if your device is not fully charged.

I would only recommend encryption if you must have it. If you’re unsure or just need to encrypt certain files, consider using a piece of software (such as SecureMemo) instead of the full-blown device or SD card encryption.

The Samsung Galaxy S III is a powerhouse of a device. And no matter how much you use it, there will always be more power and more flexibility to be had. Give one of these tips a try, and see if it doesn’t make its way into your daily usage.

Do you have additional Samsung Galaxy S III tips? Share them with us in the discussion thread below.