raspy's Adventures with the Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy Watch

Discussion in 'General Smartphone/Handheld/Wearable Discussion' started by raspabalsa, Jan 6, 2020.

  1. Hook

    Hook Professional Daydreamer

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    I forgot to mention, I got a Samsung Active 2 .44 watch for Mrs. Hook for Mother's Day. She loves it and is fine with using her finger rather than the bezel. Turns out the screen on the .44mm Active 2 is exactly the same as on my .46 Galaxy Smartwatch, so that measurement is not the screen but includes the bezel too. A;so, she fell asleep in the bathtub with the watch on (did I mention she loves it) and it was held underwater for an hour with the power on. :vbeek: So, apparently, the waterproofing is quite good. Not a problem with the watch. :newpalm:
     
  2. jigwashere

    jigwashere Mobile Deity

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    I'm glad Mrs Hook is waterproof!

    Sent from my moto g stylus using Tapatalk
     
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  3. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    That's a great present, Hook! And an opportunity for a review of the Active 2 ;). I've been thinking about getting a smartwatch for Mrs. R and I've been debating wether to get the Watch or Active 2. Mrs. R likes big watches, but my Watch is much too big for her wrist. The Active may be just the right size.

    The bezel-less design does have a plus: no dust or dirt gets between the bezel and body of the watch. Winter here is very dry and windy, and some grains of fine sand got betwween bezel and body on my Watch. I could hear the grating sound when I turned the bezel. I had to get a small piece of paper and run it all around in between to get the particles out. Just like good old days when we scooped dust from between the Palm's bezel and the touchscreen! Luckily nothing got lodged inside and the bezel was again turning smoothly, with only the expected clicks. I guess I should have bought the bezel-less model, but I prefer the bezel over the rounded edge of the Active.
     
  4. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    I'm starting to like Bixby. Like, really :)

    Bixby still doesn't match Google's Assistant strength in searching the web and similar stuff, but I found it's very powerful at automation. Bixby is such an integral part of Samsung devices that it can go deep into settings and apps and do Tasker-like stuff, but in a more efficient and intuitive way. I had the following task I wanted to automate: when I go cycling, I always listen to music through wired headphones, but I only use one of the buds, so I can hear outside noise through the other ear. I prefer to use only the left bud, keeping the right ear clear. Several of my tracks have very distinct left and right audio channels, meaning I lose part of the music when hearing only through the left ear. Knack's "My Sharona" is a good example, because the guitar solo is on the right channel, so when hearing only the left one I miss the solo. My phone has several places where I can switch audio from stereo to mono: the music player (JetAudio+ is my prefered player), the Accessibility settings (under "hearing enhancements") and the Sound Assistant app. I wanted to automate the switch, so that when plugging wired headphones the audio will be switched to mono, and when unplugging them it will be switched back to stereo, so that when I listen to music or watch videos on the phone or my BT headset I'll get stereo sound. I also wanted to automate other things when riding: usually I keep the phone's AOD off, turning it on with a tap, but when riding I want it always on so I can quickly glance at the time or audio track. Also, I want the phone's screen to remain at portrait mode while riding, because I keep the holster I mounted on the bike's handlebars in vertical position, and sometimes when I maneuver the phone gets tilted and the screen rotates automatically. Finally, I want JetAudio to be launched automatically when inserting the wired headphones. Here's how this is set up in Bixby Routines:

    Screenshot_20200527-091035_Bixby Routines.jpg

    As you can see above, it's a simple If -> Then setup. I set connecting the wired headphones as the sole condition, and added the commands I wanted. Bixby Routines can launch an app and select an available action for that app. Some apps have several, some have none other than launch. I set Dolby Atmos to set the audio profile to "Music", the AOD display to on, screen to portrait, and the "Play Music" action to launch JetAudio+ and starting playing from the loaded playlist. The final action, "Run quick command" was trickier. Quick Commands are set so that speaking or typing a certain command will trigger Bixby and execute an action. Here's where Bixby surprised me with its usefulness:

    Screenshot_20200527-091054_Bixby Voice.jpg

    The first part defines where to run the command, because the phone can control other devices, such as a TV, smart lights, etc. By default is set to run on the phone itself. The second part is the voiced command to trigger the action. Here I typed "Mono On", although it's possible to just leave the quotation marks alone with no text because this action will not be triggered by voice, but by the Routines app. The third part is the action to execute. Bixby is able to identify that I want it to run the Sound Assistant app, and then go to its Settings, then to Advanced Settings, and then toggle the control for mono audio. Very nice. The same syntax works on several other apps. For example, I can type "open the camera with night mode" or "in Samsung Music, play my Workout playlist". Sadly, this doesn't work so well with 3rd-party apps, so I can't tell it to select a playlist from JetAudio+. I may start using Samsung Music just to make it select my workout playlist automatically.

    I created a second Routine to turn mono audio off using the corresponding Quick Command, and that routine is triggered by disconnecting the wired headphones. JetAudio+ has a setting to stop music when headphones are unplugged, the screen will return to auto rotate and AOD will turn off once the wired headphones are no longer connected.

    This setup works very nicely. Just plug the headphones, JetAudio will launch and start playing, then Bixby will kick in and run the Quick Command to turn audio to mono. There is a short interruption in the music when Bixby says aloud "Alright, it's on" when switching audio to mono and "I turned mono audio off" when switching to stereo. Sometimes it will say "Ok, mono audio is on" instead :cool: :D . After this, the music resumes playing automatically.

    I just re-enabled all the Bixby stuff I was keeping disabled on my phone, to see what else I can get it to do for me :newpalm:
     
  5. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    Rapsy - all I can say is - Wow - my head is spinning. That's so cool what you've done!

    Sent from my moto g stylus using Tapatalk
     
  6. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    That was my old setup ;). Now this is cool:

    Screenshot_20200531-085724_Bixby Routines.jpg

    Screenshot_20200531-085742_Bixby Voice.jpg


    First screenshot is from Bixby Routines. Almost the same as the old one, except that I added another action to change screen timeout to 30 seconds. I usually keep it at 2 minutes, but I find the screen distracting when cycling. This way the screen timeouts and switches to AOD, which also includes the music control. The best thing is that when the Routine ends, the screen timeout returns to the previous value automatically.

    The second screenshot is the new Quick Command. I stacked 5 actions and Bixby executes them perfectly. I switched from my regular music player to Samsung Music just to be able to use these commands. As you can see, I added a command to set media volume to my preferred level when cycling, then the command to switch audio to Mono. The next commands are really sweet: I usually listen to my playlists sequentially, but when I ride I like to have the tracks shuffled, so the third command activates shuffle. The fourth command loads and plays my bike workout list (which I named, with a complete lack of originality, "Bravo Whiskey" :rolleyes: :p). The last command immediately advances to the next song. Why? Because once the playlist is loaded, it will always start playing the first song in the list, regardless of shuffle. Once the first song ends, then it will shuffle to any other. But the first song I listen to will always be the first one in the list, which is kind of boring. With the last command the list will load, start playing, then immediately shuffle jump to any other track. This way I will listen to a different song every time I start my ride :newpalm:.

    There's one action I haven't been able to set to my liking, and that is to start the Cycling Tracker on my Galaxy Watch automatically. If I add a Quick Command to start the tracker, it will do so on the phone, meaning I won't have continuous track of my heart rate. I haven't found a way to have Bixby on the phone make the Watch start the tracker. The best I've managed is to speak the command to the Watch, then it will start the tracker. But I'll keep tinkering :)

    I'm very much impressed with Bixby's Routines and Quick Commands. I had no idea they were so powerful, useful, and fun. I see now that I was wrong to so quickly dismiss Bixby when I purchased the S10+, because I was comparing it to Google's Assistant instead of actually trying to find out what I could do with Bixby.

    There's another benefit: once I re-enabled the Bixby apps on my phone, the BT connection with my speakers stopped acting up. Now they connect every time on the first try, as it should be. I think the original problem appeared when I batch disabled all Bixby stuff, which included a BT-related applet. Seems this somehow affected connection of third-party BT devices.

    Now I disabled the bxActions app, which I installed (and purchased!) to remap the Bixby button to Google's Assistant. I think I'll start using the button for its intended purpose :).
     
    Last edited: May 31, 2020
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  7. jigwashere

    jigwashere Mobile Deity

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    I haven't heard much about Bixby, but what I've heard has always been negative. Thanks for this, raspy!
     
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  8. EdmundDantes

    EdmundDantes Mobile Deity

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    Yes, elaborate, but super-impressive.
     
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  9. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    Just an idea for those of us with the Galaxy Watch - it seems to me that my watch charges faster if I put it in Airplane Mode while charging.

    As I said - it seems to me - YMMV

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy Tab A (10.1") /128GB using Tapatalk
     
  10. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Yesterday I made an impulse purchase... didn't mean to, but made it anyway: a Dex Dock for my S10+. It's an interesting gadget that can turn the phone into a desktop computer. I now have three docks for my Samsung devices:

    Docks.jpg

    Left is the wireless fast charger, center is the Dex dock, right is the wireless watch charger.

    When I said I didn't mean to buy it, I really mean it :D. This is what happened: a co-worker just purchased a Galaxy Note 10+ . This was almost enough to make me jealous because that's a very large screen, has the pen, and the design is more angular than my S10+ and appeals more to me. But his Note doesn't have 3.5mm jack or heart rate meter, and I'm still not convinced I'd use the pen. Anyway, back to topic, he had seen my wireless charger and wanted one for his Note, but he accidentally purchased the Dex dock instead. Supposedly the salesperson told him that when the dock is collapsed (see pic further below) then it works as wireless charger. This is not true, the dock does charge the phone but only via the USB port. So I impulsively bought the dock from him and I'm testing it. Looks interesting and cool, but it's usefulness is doubtful.

    This dock was designed for the S8 series of Galaxy phones, but works perfectly with my S10+. But do I need it? Strictly speaking, no. Out of the box, my S10+ supports Dex (Desktop Experience) by itself. This means I can connect to any monitor via a USB to HDMI cable or even over WiFi, and I can mirror the screen or project an optimized desktop on the larger screen. I can connect BT mouse and keyboard to my phone, turning it into a full desktop computer. But this has several caveats. First, when phone is connected to monitor via cable it can't be charged (unless via wireless). Second, if connected to monitor via WiFi sometimes there's noticeable latency and even some glitches. Third, this requires owning BT mouse and keyboard. The Dex dock solves all this by providing ports for all accessories: two USB ports for mouse and keyboard - maybe also Wacom tablets, although mine is back home so I can't test it-, one USB-C port to provide energy to the dock and connected peripherals, one HDMI port for video, and one Ethernet port.

    The dock can be collapsed, same as my wireless charger, but it's much bulkier. The USB port for the phone is covered when collapsed, so it can't be used in this way.

    docks collapsed.jpg

    Out of the box, there is one major inconvenient: this dock doesn't include the power adapter, and it's very particular about which adapter it likes to work with. I have two Samsung "Adaptive Fast Charging" adapters, one from my S10+ and one from the wireless charger. They have the exact same electrical specs printed on the side, yet the dock will only work with the S10+ adapter, not with the one from the wireless charger. I have no idea why. The latter adapter is perfectly able to fast charge my S10+. I tried with my co-worker's Note 10+ adapter, and it works, but it doesn't with any other of his Samsung fast charging adapters. Again, no idea why. There must be some extra communication going on between dock and adapter that prevents it from using just any Samsung fast adapter. This means I have to set aside my S10+ adapter just for this dock, and I must keep the wireless adapter as the S10+ main adapter, and get yet another fast adapter for the wireless charger. Most inconvenient!

    Finished venting, so how does the dock work? It's awesome! I don't have any computer monitor to test with, and the only screen I have is the 32" TV in my bedroom. I had to remove it from its wall bracket to test the dock:

    desktop.jpg

    The phone automatically goes into "Dex mode" when connected, and projects the desktop as seen above. You can also switch to mirror mode, but it's not much useful this way IMO. That's my Apple BT keyboard and wireless mouse, with its wireless adapter plugged into one of the USB ports. The desktop closely mirrors a typical Windows one: on the left bottom there's a menu button to see the list of apps, and also three usual buttons in any Android device's bottom bar. To the right there's icons for settings and system status, just like on Android's top bar, and very similar to Windows. Above you can see I was trying keyboard settings. My Apple keyboard is in Spanish, but it doesn't quite match any of the layouts available for the Dex environment. I'll have to look further into this.

    For the first time ever, I enjoyed using Excel on my phone:

    excel.jpg

    Almost any app or game I tried works on Dex mode, even movie apps. Usage is very intuitive, and settings are comprehensive. You can, for example, change the screen resolution, configure the mouse pointer speed, and access any other setting of the phone from within Dex. You can also set the phone as a trackpad, but I'm no fan, so I kept using the mouse.

    One thing I couldn't do is use my external hard disk with the dock. The disk won't spin up properly. I guess this is because the dock can't provided enough power for the disk, because flash drives work properly. I think a small SSD might work, or maybe the hard disk with a powered USB hub. I think more impulsive purchasing is on the way :D

    So far I don't know if I'll keep using this Dex dock. I'd need to keep all the hardware (screen, mouse, keyboard) plugged in so I can quickly place the phone on the dock and start working. I could do this at work, except that I'd still need my laptop for the heavy duty work with apps that don't work on Android (Autocad and pix4d mostly), which comprise about 25% of my work time. At home, I might find it useful for doing some quick work on Excel or Google Sheets, instead of firing up the laptop for this. If I manage to connect the hard disk to the dock I could also use it to watch movies. But I'd still need my laptop for my games. Decisions, decisions... I think I'll keep the dock rigged as seen above and see what happens in the next few weeks :newpalm:

    Oh, and I definitely need a larger desk :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2020 at 11:12 AM

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