Video: The Galaxy Note 3 comes with a “tiny screen” mode that enables one hand usage

Samsung’s Galaxy Note devices have always been unapologetically big. It’s OK if you don’t like big phones, because there are plenty of people out there who do and will gladly spend $800 or more on a flagship 5.7 inch smartphone. But what if the Note 3 is going to be your first “phablet”, how are you going to cope? The guys at Android Central have discovered that Samsung’s latest behemoth comes with a neat software trick that shrinks the Note 3′s screen.

When you enable a buried option in the one-hand operating menu, you can enable a “tiny screen” mode with a simple swipe gesture. Like Alice in Wonderland, what you see on your Note 3′s display suddenly becomes smaller and you’re effectively using Android as if it were a windowed application on your desktop computer.

Will a ton of people use this mode? I’d like to think that no, if you buy a Note 3 then you’re only going to use it with two hands. Yes, there are many things you can do with one hand, but it’s a phone that begs to be held in one palm while your free fingers poke and prod the display.

What really needs to happen here is that Google and/or Samsung need to redesign Android in such a way that size doesn’t become an issue and you can use a phone with a 5.7 display just as easy as you can a phone with a 4.5 inch display. Pulling down that notification is the first thing that needs to be addressed, and we’ve already seen LG tackle that issue by introducing an on-screen key next to the regular Android buttons that when pressed pulls the shade down.

Here’s hoping Samsung is listening.

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  • http://alpha.app.net/jmanes James Manes

    lmfao what

  • alfonso hall

    Lol what’s the point of having a 5.7 inch screen just to shrink it down

    • meliorist

      How often would you shrink it down, though? You wouldn’t shrink it down to read e-books, write emails, watch videos, browse the web or play games. The only time you’d want to shrink it down would be if one hand was occupied and you needed to make a phone call with your free hand. That might be 1% of the time.

      • alfonso hall

        It is a nice feature, for those who have small hands. I actually like this device and I will be picking one up

  • SirRawlins

    April 1st is several months away yet….

  • Alonso’s Brother

    The best bit is, the swipe takes TWO hands to do. So you need two hand to swipe the screen down to one hand size, so you can use it one handed.

    • http://acousticconfusion.tumblr.com/ Kwackers

      Seriously? You use your thumb. It only takes one hand for the gesture.

  • Kam Banwait

    Innovation, is what they’ll call it. I think they’ve found the largest usable screen size.

    • http://www.imls.uzh.ch/research/baudis.html Michael Baudis

      Well, that would be about the size of an iPhone screen?

      • Dustin Kimble

        If only you could enlarge the iPhone screen to the size of the notes…. And use the stylus…. And use it all day without charging…. Haters gonna hate….

        • Samsunghater

          Wait aren’t you hating?

  • http://blog.nicholasmodesto.com/ DigitizedSociety

    It is humorous, but I give them credit for addressing a user pain point. You would think it would be nice to demonstrate the “one-hand” mode by activating the mode and using the device with “one-hand”.

  • Chakintosh

    UX thrown off a cliff.

  • http://foomandoonian.net/ Foomandoonian

    Now that’s Samsunovation.

  • Terry

    I don’t believe there is a Note product. Samsung just demos S4s with exceptionally small hands

  • http://www.jphotog.com Hrunga Zmuda

    Another bullet point!

  • alfarro

    Lol! Looks like a redneck hack! (and it works!)

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/12/nancy-elliott-anti-gay-ne_n_460544.html Former Representative Elliott

    Seriously? What a joke.

    Samesung innovates again!

  • http://www.tumblr.com/blog/his-divine-shadow His Shadow

    This is without a doubt the funniest thing I’ve seen this week.

  • Q.

    Lol! This is hilarious!

  • http://acousticconfusion.tumblr.com/ Kwackers

    I can’t get the gesture to work. I even reset my entire phone. Is anyone else having this problem?

    • nate

      I cant get it to work either. No clues

      • nate

        Ok. After more searching. There is a bug with accessabilities settings. Specifically pebble stuff and fbquickview for galaxy gear. After turning it all off my “use for all screens worked”

        • http://acousticconfusion.tumblr.com/ Kwackers

          haha yeah I was just about to tell you that. I’m glad you found it out though…. can’t believe I reset my whole phone for this one feature. I’m kwackers

    • Javster

      Yes! Same problem here. Have you gotten it to work?

  • Guest

    Exactly! I can’t believe people are hating on this. this will help me out so much as I usually can’t use my phone with 2 hands at work.

    And Samsung never claimed this to be an innovative feature (though it is). They didn’t even advertise it. It’s just simply a nice add-on for anyone who wants to use their phone with one hand for a few minutes.

    God forbid someone tries some new. You people.

    • Simon

      Yeah well, it’s hilarious for some of us that people buy those tabletsized “phones” in the first place. And then seeing them struggle with it is just too good :-)

      (no, I don’t have an iPhone)

  • http://acousticconfusion.tumblr.com/ Kwackers

    I can’t believe people are hating on this. this will help me out so much as I usually can’t use my phone with 2 hands at work.

    And Samsung never claimed this to be an innovative feature (though it is). They didn’t even advertise it. It’s just simply a nice add-on for anyone who wants to use their phone with one hand for a few minutes.

    God forbid someone tries some new. You people.

    • Kam Banwait

      I don’t think people would’ve cared if Samsung didn’t compare their screen sizes with other companies, but they do, and the size of their screens is one of their selling points.

      Now they offer a big screen for small screen use. It’s a step backwards in a way, but a nice to have feature for power users, which is over shadowed by their own marketing of “big screens”.

      • meliorist

        A five to six inch screen is better all round. Apps, ebooks, the web, videos, photos, and emails look better and are easier to use on a bigger screen. People who use such phones do not go back to using 4 inch and smaller phones.

        Most things that people do on the phone, they’re quite happy doing with two hands, so the one-handed use is for a minority of situations (e.g., you’re walking, carrying a briefcase, you’re in a hurry, and you want to make a phone call). This feature means you can use the phone one-handedly in such situations, but don’t have to sacrifice your enjoyment of a big screen the other 99% of the time.

  • Samsunghater

    Funny how one handed mode looks just like a iPhone 5 sized screen. I love samsungs “innovations”

    • Samsunglover

      Yes — what you might call backward compatibility with all those legacy iPhones.

  • Josh

    There is a thread on XDAdevelopers.com concerning this feature not working.
    Mine stopped working after about a week.
    Anyone else have this problem? or hear of a fix??