Do you fancy the new features on Samsung Galaxy S5? Heart rate monitor, download booster, selective focus, etc.? Well, how about we tell you that you could get those features on your current Android phone. Without spending a penny. Yeah, right! It’s the era of smartphones, and you know what they say — “there is an app for that“.
You can get most of the Galaxy S5 features on any Android device. However, things that are wholly dependent on hardware components may not have substitute in the form of an app, like the fingerprint scanner on Galaxy S5, it cannot be substituted with an app. But heart rate monitoring is a different story. Apps could utilize your current phone’s camera to get heart rate, we’ll discuss this in detail later.
So before we start let’s first take a look at the new features in Samsung Galaxy S5. Thankfully, Samsung has released a video detailing all the new features of Galaxy S5.
GALAXY S5 FEATURES VIDEO
Let’s see now what alternatives you could use to get them Galaxy S5 Features on almost any Android device out there. We’ll go one by one with explanation of each feature and apps that can be used as alternative for the feature.
HEART RATE MONITOR
There’s dedicated hardware on Samsung Galaxy S5 to let users monitor their heart rate instantly on the phone. It works by placing the tip of index finger on the heart rate checker (located on the back of device, below camera) for a few seconds and your heart rate bpm starts showing up on screen.
It’s exciting, but it ain’t no new. Heart rate monitoring apps has been available on Android since 2010 (4 years, that is). Let’s have a look:
The two apps provided below can check your heart rate without a dedicated heart rate sensor on the phone.
HOW? Heart rate can be checked by placing the tip of your index finger on your phone’s camera. The key part is that your index finger should be near a light source — if your phone has flash near the camera then it’ll do the job of lightning up your finger, otherwise after placing your index finger on camera move your finger near a light source (a torch or bulb) and you’ll be good.
INSTANT HEART RATE
Instant Heart Rate has to be the oldest heart rate monitoring app available on Android. The app works great and gives you near accurate heart rate measurement with graphs. It also tells you if your heart rate is good, average or bad.
RUNTASTIC HEART RATE
Runtastic Heart Rate is a relatively new app for monitoring your heart rate but it’s more advanced than Instant Heart Rate app. Runtastic has neat UI and allows you to compare or share your heart rate with friends on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.
Samsung has introduced a new feature on Galaxy S5 that combines available internet connections on the device and then use the combined data speed to boost download speed on the device. The WiFi and LTE/3G /4G connections are combined and then their commutative data speed is used to boost download speeds.
SUPER DOWNLOAD – Fast
The Super Download – Fast app lets you do the same magic of combining data speeds of all available internet connections on your device and then use it to give a boost to your downloads. However, as you know this is tricky stuff, the app requires root access to be able to combine download speeds from WiFi and 3G/LTE/4G.
On a plus point, the app is also a good download manager with support for increased concurrent threads to further boost download speeds.
Another fitness bonus that Galaxy S5 offers is a Pedometer. It intelligently counts all the steps that you walk throughout the day and then uses that data to show you how much health benefits you’ve gained by walking. The Galaxy S5 has a hardware component to do this job and only three other phones on the market currently has dedicated hardware for counting steps — Nexus 5, LG G2 and Galaxy S4 Google Play Edition.
Anyway, the good news is that steps can also be counted without the help of a dedicated hardware component on a device. While a hardware component does help in saving battery power its job can also be obtained using other available sensors on an Android device — Accelerometer and Gyroscope.
Check out the apps given below to see it in action yourself:
NOOM WALK: PEDOMETER
Noom Walk has clean interface, advanced features, social sharing options. And most importantly the developers claim that Noom Walk uses less than 2% battery during a day of use.
Runtastic Pedometer is another great app to count the steps you walk throughout the day using your phone. And while it’s similar to Noom Walk in most of its features, one additional feature it has is that it can even tell you the speed of your walking. Cool, right?
Galaxy S5 lets you create a blurred out background or foreground on your photos even after you’ve captured them. It makes photos look beautiful and is something for which DSLR camera’s are popular for.
We’ve some apps on Play Store that lets you do the same thing, but we’ve got to admit that on Galaxy S5 it’s painlessly simple to do so, as compared to the alternative apps shared below:
AfterFocus is the most robust app available on Play Store to defocus and blur out background or foreground on photos. However, unlike Galaxy S5 it doesn’t automatically blurs background at one-touch, you’ve to select the area which you want to be in focus and the app will then blur out everything else on the photo.
Easy Focus is another great app to perform SLR camera like blur on background objects in photos. The app’s interface is simple and like AfterFocus, you’ve to select the area which you want to keep focused in a photo. It’s worth it to give this app a try too along with AfterFocus.
S HEALTH [Samsung’s fitness app]
The S Health app on Galaxy S5 comes installed on other Samsung Galaxy devices as well. It helps you keep track of your fitness and sports activities.
There are plenty of apps available on Play Store for fitness tracking and chances are that you might have already tried some of them. In case you haven’t, check out the links below:
icon-hand-o-right Runtastic: Runtastic has the widest range of fitness apps available on Play Store. Must check out their apps.
icon-hand-o-right Endomondo: Endomondo is another great app to keep track of your fitness and sports related activities.
POWER SAVING[quote]Samsung GALAXY S5 can last for 13 hours at battery level as low as 35% only[/quote]
Samsung has put the best power saving features on the Galaxy S5, so much that it could last for 13 hours at battery level as low as 35% only. There’s this ‘ULTRA Power Saving” mode on the Galaxy S5 that turns the device’s screen to a Grayscale display and blocks every process on the phone leaving only the Call and SMS function active. We could easily imagine how much battery that could save on a phone.
We did not find any app on the Play Store that could do such wonders, since it requires deep integration with system files on a device. And I’m not aware of any custom ROM either that could do such power saving. But we’re hopeful that some developer would take up the idea and integrate it into a custom ROM soon enough, if not an app.
Anyway, we’ve got some apps below that could still save you a good amount of battery power and are very similar to other power saving modes on the Galaxy S5:
Greenify lets you freeze apps from running in background. Once you freeze an app with greenify it’ll no longer be able to drain your battery ever, unless you use it. If you’ve root access on device you could even freeze system apps, but be very careful with that since it could lead to an unstable system if you freeze an app that’s actively required by the system.
EASY BATTERY SAVER
Easy Battery Saver takes the pain out of toggling between WiFi/Data/Bluetooth options to save battery power. Plus, it has enhanced automated options for blocking certain apps from using data in the background and thereby consuming both phone’s resources and network data causing unnecessary battery drain. A very useful app for all Android devices.
HDR (Rich Tone)
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, it lets you capture photos with natural colours under any light conditions. With HDR, the camera captures the same image at different exposure levels and layers them to create one optimised photo. It helps in taking pictures in high contrast situations, like in front of an open window or with the sun behind your subject.
Samsung calls it “Rich tone” on its devices.
If you bought your phone in 2013, chances are that you already have this feature on your phone. Check in your camera app. If not, you can download the HDR Camera app from the Play Store (link below)
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