Since day one, I’ve never been a big fan of phablets. In fact, I sort of wished aloud that they would die off as soon as they first began popping up, and my personal opinion hasn’t changed much since then. While I certainly appreciate the added screen real estate, gigantic phones simply aren’t comfortable to use. We’re now in a place where phones with large displays have shrunk down to more manageable sizes though — in fact, I’d love to switch to the Galaxy S7 edge if I could. But alas…
There is still one functionality issue that continues to bother me about some phablets, though. You have these great big phones with great big screens, but the interfaces on many handsets are just stretched out to fill the bigger canvas. You’ve got all that space, why not shrink things down a bit so you can fit more on the screen?
As it turns out, there’s a terrific hidden display mode on the new Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 edge that does just that, but you’ll never find it without a little help.
When you first set up an iPhone after taking it out of the box, Apple’s iOS software walks you through a quick configuration process. One step in that process allows users to choose either a “Standard” mode that makes UI elements nice and compact so that more can fit on the screen, or a “Zoomed” mode that makes everything larger and easier to see.
Why on Earth doesn’t every smartphone offer a similar option?
Well, it turns out that Samsung’s new Galaxy S7 and S7 edge do allow users to shrink things down to create a more compact viewing experience. The problem is that you have to jump through a few hoops to enable it. And that’s where XDA-Developers comes in, because they’ve figured out how to do it.
Here are the steps from the site’s recent blog post:
- Download Nova Launcher (free) — don’t worry you won’t have to set it as your default launcher.
- Long-press on the home screen and select Widgets.
- Drag and drop the “Activities” widget onto your home screen.
- In the widget options, scroll down to “Settings” and then choose .DisplayScalingActivity.
- Tap the icon to open the menu and select “Condensed” to change the display mode.
- Reboot, then switch back to the TouchWiz launcher if you’d like.
It’s simple enough but there’s certainly no way you would have found it on your own. Now that you’ve enabled it though, you can make much better use of the big, beautiful screen on your Galaxy S7 or Galaxy S7 edge.