The best new smartphone features

Check out our handy hints and tips to help you get the best out of the hottest new smartphones around: the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 and Sony Xperia Z3.
The best new smartphone features

If you’re lucky enough to have a great new smartphone, it’s perfectly natural that you’ll want to impress your friends with its exciting new features. Here are a few examples that we think you’ll like:


The Samsung Galaxy S6 is a stunning smartphone packed with lots of amazing features. We’ve selected a few of our favourites below (and they all work on the S6 Edge too, of course):

Virtual shot

The S6 camera is full of exciting technology, but the thing that’s guaranteed to get everyone talking is the new virtual shot mode.

Virtual shot on the Samsung Galaxy S6 edge

Pick a subject, rotate your phone around it, and ‘virtual shot’ turns it into a jaw-droppingly impressive 3D image that you can rotate and view through 360º.

Advanced gesture controls

The S6 allows you to use a range of simple gestures to interact with your phone.

You can blink, open your mouth, move your head left or right to perform specific tasks (such as adjusting the volume or accessing your camera) without even touching the display.

Gesture control is a cutting-edge feature that anyone can enjoy, and it could make the S6 an ideal choice for people with disabilities. Here’s how to set it up on your S6:

• Triple tap the home button to get the ‘Direct access’ menu.

• Tap ‘Accessibility’ then ‘Dexterity and interaction’.

• Tap the ‘Universal switch’ and enable it.

• Tap ‘Settings’ and ‘Gestures’.

Sound detection

Go to the ‘Accessibility’ settings and select ‘hearing’ for a selection of sound detectors. These include ‘crying baby detector’ and ‘doorbell detector’…

Simply record your doorbell once on your phone, and you’ll be notified when the bell rings. This is a handy feature for the hard of hearing, or the bedroom DJ that enjoys spinning tunes with their headphones on.

What’s your SpO2?

The S6 comes with a heart rate monitor on the back of the phone which we’ve previously mentioned, but did you know you can also measure your SpO2?

This is your blood oxygen level – a good indicator of your general fitness. You can access this feature from the S Health application.


If you’re lucky enough to get your hands on the HTC One M9, you’ll love its great sound and camera. Try these features out, and let us know how you get on:

Surrounded by sound

The BoomSound speakers on the M9 come with Dolby Virtual Surround Sound. This needs to be heard to be believed – we think it’s the most immersive sound you’ll get from any smartphone.

HTC One M9 BoomSound

Using your headphones makes the surround sound even more impressive. When you plug them in, don’t forget that you can select your ‘headphone type’ to ensure you get the best possible performance.

Advanced photo features

The M9’s camera option screen includes ‘selfies’ and ‘panoramic’ shots, but if you want more choices just hit ‘add’. This gives you additional options including a ‘photo booth’ option that captures 4 photos in a grid, and a ‘split capture’ mode that uses the front and back camera to create a single shot.

Before you takea snap you might want to tap ‘Settings’ and ‘Camera options’, to view the automated features available. These include a ‘Voice capture’ mode that lets you take hands-free pics by saying “cheese”, “shoot” or “capture”, and you can also start shooting videos with the commands “action” or “rolling”.

There’s also a ‘make up’ feature that you can use to get rid of blemishes and lines on your face, but be warned – turn it up too high and it works a little too well,resulting in an ultra-smooth, fake looking appearance. If you want to make yourself look like a CGI sci-fi character though, go for it.


The Sony Xperia Z3 is completely waterproof, so don’t be afraid to take the plunge:

Sony Xperia Z3 underwater

Underwater action

There’s nothing like a spot of underwater video action to impress your friends, and the waterproof Z3 is the perfect device for it. Before you get your feet wet though, be sure to activate ‘touch block’ in settings – this is a handy new feature on the Z3 designed to prevent accidental stoppages while filming.

Remote Play

Another of our favourite features on the Z3 is Remote Play. If you’ve got a PS4, you need to check it out.

With Remote Play (and a Game Control Mount accessory) you can mount your Z3 on top of your dual-shock PS4 controller, connect it remotely to your PS4, and start enjoying your favourite game on the Z3’s 5.2” screen.

Remote Play is a real life-saver if you need a gaming fix when the TV’s in use – you just need to make sure your PS4 is switched on and connected to the same Wi-Fi as your Z3.

We hope you’ll find some of these smartphone features useful. If we haven’t covered your phone, why not share your favourite tips and tricks? Or if you’ve got more suggestions for the Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 or Sony Xperia Z3, please feel free to comment below.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

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