I used the Samsung Galaxy Note8 to work remotely for a week -- here are the best practical tips

Samsung are so confident in the new Galaxy Note8, they’ve gifted one to a lifelong Apple iPhone user – Kate, Business Insider Australia’s Commercial Editor. This is the second story in her journey from having never touched a Samsung, to being a Galaxy Note8 advocate.
You really can work from anywhere… Photo: Kate Prince. Compressed for publication.

For most people there’s no such thing as 9 to 5, things don’t just switch off when you walk away from your desk.

Lugging a large laptop and charger around whilst searching for free Wi-Fi or a strong hotspot signal is inconvenient; so I end up doing a lot of work on my smartphone.

I wanted my next phone to have a larger screen and last month, made the switch from my iPhone to Samsung’s new Galaxy Note8, as part of Business Insider’s collaboration with Samsung. Famous for having one of the largest screen real estates in the premium smartphone market, I jumped at the opportunity to trial it.

Admittedly, I was initially dreading changing over to an Android phone because I was so used to Apple shortcuts and felt like my whole life was saved on my iPhone.

But what I found was that the Galaxy Note8 offered convenience and efficiencies I didn’t realise were missing from my work life.

Here are my tips for how to get the most out of the Samsung Galaxy Note8 when you’re on the job.

Setting yourself up for success… and minimum effort
The screen size [6’3 inches] means there’s a good amount of space for reading, reviewing and writing, but it’s still slim enough that I can hold it in one hand. This is especially important if you’re standing on public transport and need to use one hand to steady yourself.

Once I got the hang of how to customise the screen options, the first thing I did was to set up ‘Apps Edge’ with the apps I use most on my commute – email, HipChat and Chrome. I also added other saved documents I need quick access to regularly. Apps Edge is a customisable menu that pops out from the side of the home screen, putting each app within ‘thumb range’.

I also set up split screen widget App Pairing for Outlook and HipChat (the communication platform we use in the office). This allows me to review emails and answer questions to colleagues in one screen, without having to jump between apps.

I must say, I’m also a fan of this feature when I’m not working – it’s a great way to watch TV and follow social media at the same time if you’re too tired to do much else on the commute home.

Apps Edge and the split-screen widget. Image: Kate Prince

Using the S Pen
The S Pen sets the Galaxy Note8 apart from other smartphones; it’s a pen-shaped device that can be used to write or navigate across the phone.

When I’m logging on remotely, I work mostly across Word, Outlook and WordPress. But if I’m on the go, and only need to mark up a few changes to a document, the S Pen Screen write tool lets me write and annotate on the screen. Because the Galaxy Note8 runs on Android, it comes with Microsoft Office as a default, so I can open any Microsoft file I’m working on. From there, I can edit within the file, or make notes with the S Pen and save it for later.

This same functionality means I can write on PDFs and screenshot, sign documents, and take notes on webpages while researching. For added convenience Screen Write automatically activates when the S Pen is removed, and any screenshot taken of a webpage in Chrome or Samsung Internet saves the page address in the image’s metadata.

If I had time to edit a document I was working on, I found it pretty simple to make changes and insert images. When I did need to be in the office though, I could continue on the Galaxy Note8 by using Samsung DeX, which you can buy separately.

Editing in Word with the S Pen and keyboard. Image: Kate Prince

The S Pen also has a pretty accurate write-to-text conversion that you can set up as a default. If you’re not in a position to use both hands on the keyboard, this lets you jot things down with the S Pen that will automatically convert to text on the screen.

The Galaxy Note8 as a desktop system
The Galaxy Note8 isn’t the first Samsung smartphone to be compatible with their desktop solution, DeX. There are now more DeX responsive apps, making the transition from phone to desktop more seamless. For me, having apps like Microsoft Word and Chrome available meant I could jump from editing a document on the bus to sitting down at my desk with no hassle or down time. While some apps won’t resize automatically, it actually makes for easier multitasking to have them sit at the side of the screen.

The DeX set-up at my desk. Image: Kate Prince

Keep professional and personal accounts at the ready
The Galaxy Note8 also has a Dual Messenger system, so you can clone some of the key messaging apps and sign on with two different accounts. For anyone that manages work accounts across social or mail platforms, this is a great way to make sure you don’t send something from the wrong account. It also saves you having to sign in and out multiple times per day.

After using IOS for so long, the Android system took some time to get used to. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of my devices and apps were compatible straight away. This wasn’t only imperative for a smooth work flow, but also meant it fit conveniently into my everyday life.

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