10 Things You Should Remember to Use with Your Android Tablet

For your Android tablet, some things are definitely worth remembering. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should tie a string around your finger. Out of the long, long list, here are ten good ones.

Dictate text

Dictation is such a handy feature — don’t forget to use it! You can dictate most text instead of typing it. Just touch the Microphone key on the keyboard — or anywhere you see the Microphone icon — and begin speaking. Your utterances are translated to text. In most cases, the translation is instantaneous.

Change the tablet’s orientation

Larger-format Android tablets have a natural horizontal orientation. Smaller tablets beg to be held vertically. You won’t break any law by changing the tablet’s orientation.

Apps such as Chrome and Email can look much better in the horizontal orientation, whereas apps such as Play Books and Play Music can look much better in the vertical orientation. The key to changing orientation is to rotate the tablet to view the app the way you like best. Rotate!

  • Not every app changes its orientation. Some apps — specifically, games — appear in only one orientation: landscape or portrait.

  • eBook reader apps have screen rotation settings that let you lock the orientation to the way you want, regardless of what the tablet is doing.

Work the Quick Actions

Many tablet controls are available at a single, handy location: the Quick Actions drawer. Pull it down to turn tablet features on or off, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, screen orientation, and other On–Off settings. Using the Quick Actions drawer is far more expedient than visiting the Settings app.

  • On some tablets, the Quick Actions appear in the notifications drawer.

  • Some tablets feature a vast array of Quick Actions, only a handful of which appear at a time. Try swiping the Quick Actions left or right to see more.

  • As a bonus, many Quick Actions drawers feature a shortcut to the Settings app.

Employ keyboard suggestions

Don’t forget to take advantage of the suggestions that appear above the onscreen keyboard when you’re typing text. To replace your text with the highlighted suggestion, simply touch the onscreen keyboard’s Space key. Zap! The word appears.

To ensure that suggestions are enabled, follow these steps:

  1. Start the Settings app.

  2. Choose Language & Input.

    On some Samsung tablets, touch the Controls tab and then choose Language and Input.

  3. Touch the Settings icon by the Google Keyboard item.

    Samsung tablets might refer to this item as Samsung Keyboard.

  4. Ensure that there’s a check mark by the item Next-Word Suggestions.

    This item might be titled Predictive Text.

Avoid the battery hogs

Three items on an Android tablet suck down battery power faster than a massive alien fleet is defeated by a plucky antihero who just wants the girl:

  • Navigation

  • The display

  • Wireless radios

Navigation is certainly handy, but the battery drains rapidly because the tablet’s touchscreen is on the entire time and the speaker is dictating text to you. If possible, plug the tablet into the car’s power socket.

The display is obviously a most necessary part of your Android tablet — but it’s also a tremendous power hog. The Auto Brightness setting is your best friend for saving power with the display. If you shun Auto Brightness, avoid setting the screen to its maximum shine.

Wireless radios include Wi-Fi networking, Bluetooth, and GPS. When power is getting low, consider disabling those items.

Use a docking stand

A docking stand is a helpful way to hold the tablet, to keep it propped up and easy to access.

  • Not every Android tablet has a companion docking stand. Sending the tablet’s manufacturer an emotional letter begging them to produce such a stand doesn’t seem to help.

  • Given the choice of a multimedia stand or a keyboard dock, the multimedia stand is preferred. Though keyboard stands are nice, they occupy too much room on a desktop.

Make phone calls

Using the Skype app, you can place phone calls and video-chat with your friends. Skype even lets you dial into real phones, as long as you boost your account with some Skype Credit.

Check your schedule

The Calendar app can certainly be handy to remind you of upcoming dates and generally keep you on schedule. A great way to augment the calendar is to employ the Calendar widget on the Home screen.

The Calendar widget lists the current date and then a long list of upcoming appointments. It’s a great way to check your schedule, especially when you use your tablet all the time. You can always stick the Calendar widget right on the center Home screen panel.

Snap a pic of that contact

Whenever you’re near one of your contacts, take the person’s picture. Sure, some people are bashful, but most folks are flattered. The idea is to build up the tablet’s address book so that all your contacts have photos.

Use Google Now

Google is known worldwide for its searching capabilities and its popular website. By gum, the word Google is synonymous with searching. So please don’t forget that your Android tablet, which uses the Google Android operating system, has a powerful search, nay, knowledge command. It’s called Google Now.

  • On most Android tablets, you access Google Now by swiping the screen from bottom to top. This trick may even work on the lock screen.

  • The Google Now app is titled Google.

  • The Google Search widget provides a shortcut into Google Now.

  • Beyond Google Now, you can take advantage of the various Search icons found in just about every app on an Android tablet. Use the Search icon to search for information, locations, people — you name it. It’s handy.

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