Sunday, 19 January 2014

Samsung's Air View and Air Gesture Feature

It seems like the touchscreen phones manufacturers, Samsung in particular, are getting bored by the touch interface. They have added the "air" input to command the device. Is this a worth addition or is it just a burden to the processing power, battery life and the physical hardware of the device? Let's find out, at least from a regular user's point of view!

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Air Gesture.

What it can do?

This feature let's user perform a task without touching the screen, like flipping a page from left to right or the reverse, scrolling a page up or down by "waving" your palm over the "air", movement,  sensors.

How to activate?

To turn the feature on, go to settings, controls, motion control, air gesture(1). Do not worry that you do not see the air gesture icon(2) at the top as this does not show until a suitable situation where air gesture is compatible, like in an opened email(2) and whilst reviewing pictures. It can do four things.

  • Quick glance function lets you see important information when you activate the sensor(encircled) whilst the device is lying on a flat surface. It shows the  call summary, messages received, battery life and other notifications. 

  • Air jump lets you scroll opened email message. It doesn't work when you are with the list of email. You need to touch and open one to activate it.
  • Air browse. The name has nothing to do with internet browsing. It flips forward or backward opened photos from a folder. Whilst it says it also support pages and music tracks, I could not make it work when  I am playing music and reading Metro digital magazine. I hope I am just doing it wrong.
  • Air call accept. This feature could be helpful when you are driving. There's an option to put turn the device speaker phone function when it is activated by air gesture. If you do not have a bluetooth handsfree installed, then this is a good help.

Air gesture seems to be an impressive feature but it is not practical because of it's compatibility to only a handful of programs. And I think the sensors need polishing as well as sometimes your gesture is not recognized when you move it too slowly or too swiftly, or too far off from the screen. I noticed that to get the best result for this feature is to keep the palm distance about half an inch away from the screen and about 1/2 to 1 second speed.

Air View

What it can do?

If Harry Potter has a magic wand to control object's movement and turn them into something, you can do that do, with a stylet or with your finger tips and one of the latest Samsung smartphones. You can  see the content of a text message, see thumbnails of photos in a folder, see the elapsed scene whilst watching a video, or magnify a part of the screen whilst reading.

How to activate?

Go to settings, controls, motion control, airview. You can choose which one to use, either your finger or the supplied stylet depending on your preference, but I do recommend to choose auto switch(3). I use primarily my finger to do this trick although the pen option has more functionality with it.

  • For the finger option, the information preview shows  the content of a text message(4) whilst in the list view, or a glimpse of a message whilst using the email application. This doesn't work when you use your browser to view your email. This is a useful feature when you usually receive bulk emails or text messages and need to get a quick look.
  • The progress preview lets you go to a specific part of a scene whilst watching a movie by showing a preview of a scene whilst hovering your finger over the progress bar. It can make your video editing faster.
  • The webpage magnifier(5) is a real treat for me, with my eyes failing to focus, I do not need to use an eyeglass or squint to read a page. These feature is only active when you are using your browser. The magnifier does not work in documents, text messages or emails read using the email application.
  • It can also preview the assigned speed dial numbers whilst you are at the phone's keypad. Though I have not tested this feature yet.
The previews and magnifier are quite useful to me. Specially now that I need to wear eyeglasses when reading small texts. But still, the only let down of these features is the compatibility issues with most of the existing programs. I would like to magnify everything in my screen, but at the moment it is only available with the browser function. Even the built in digital magazine is not supported. With this limitations, the air features are not really a big selling point or either a thrill factor for me to like Samsung products more!


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