Now that we’ve had this year’s first hint of sunshine, it’s only natural that thoughts should turn to the impending festival season. What could be finer than relaxing with your mates in bucolic surroundings, with the world’s finest music on tap and countless accompanying activities and spectacles?
We Brits do festivals at least as well as anyone – and the good news is that your GALAXY Note II could dramatically enhance your festival-going experience, whether you’re on the trail of the heaviest rock known to mankind, introspective shoe-gazing fodder, brain-melting psychedelia or whisper-sung alt-folk.
In pre-mobile phone days, festivals would routinely involve such annoyances as returning to the spot where you had arranged to meet your mates every hour, on the hour, when they didn’t turn up first time around. Thankfully there’s no longer any need for such dull inconveniences in this day and age!
Indeed, your GALAXY Note II, as well as allowing you to locate your mates, can perform a plethora of vital festival functions, such as getting you back to your tent, getting you to all those bands you wanted to see and making sure that you’re appropriately dressed in the process. Here’s how to get the most out of it at this year’s festivals.
We reckon that the first app you should download – presuming the festival you’re attending is in the UK – is Weather Bug (Earth Networks, free).
And it’s worth downloading long before you set out, as it provides a weather forecast for the area in which your festival is sited, so can help you make decisions about what clothes to take. Although no seasoned festival-goer would leave the house without shorts, sunhat, wellies and waterproof trousers. Not to mention at least two towels – as one will always be drying out.
Next up, just in case you forgot your torch – or even if you remembered it, but left it in your tent - there are countless apps that turn your GALAXY Note II into a torch, of which our favourite is Tiny Flashlight LED (Nikolay Ananiev, free.
If you’re heading to a festival with an unfamiliar layout, the chances are that, at some point – particularly if, ahem, you have overindulged – you might forget where your tent is. Never fear, there’s an app for that, namely Festival Buddy (Dave Lavelle, free) – which also lets you mark the location of other rather important things like your car, the toilets, the main stage and so on.
Preserving your festival experience for posterity (and for showing off to your mates on social media) is, of course, vitally important – and your GALAXY Note II, with its particularly fine camera, can help with that.
If, say, you want to catch the full scene of the sun coming up from Glastonbury’s Stone Circle, you’ll be glad you downloaded one of the better photographic panorama apps such as Photaf Panorama (Bengigi, free).
And for those random moments when you’re wandering around a random part of the site and hear a DJ playing the finest tune ever, you’ll thank yourself for having downloaded Shazam (Shazam Entertainment, free), which will identify it for you.
Finally, for those epic, main stage, lighters-aloft moments, you’ll be able to contribute to the mood without risking burned hair thanks to the Virtual Zippo app (Bandsintown, free).
When you’re spending days in the middle of a field, things that you normally take for granted – most notably plug-points – can be tricky to find. It’s actually worth checking out the website of your service provider, especially if you’re going to one of the bigger festivals – Orange, for example, has run charging lounges at Glastonbury, and Vodafone has sent a charging truck to various festivals in the past.
Either way, a decent solar charger could well prove to be a handy buy, too – and we highly recommend either PowerTraveller’s SolarMonkey (£35) or the same company’s PowerMonkey Explorer (£65), which adds a rechargeable battery to the SolarMonkey charger, so you can leave it soaking the rays up, then use it to charge your GALAXY Note II at night.
But it still makes sense to husband your GALAXY Note II’s battery resources as much as possible, so we’d recommend the following techniques:
Turn down the screen brightness: just head to the pull-down Settings bar at the top of the screen, and you get a Brightness slider; uncheck the Auto box and move that slider to the left.
Reduce the screen-timeout: head for Settings> Display > Screen timeout, and you can adjust how long the screen stays on before switching itself off.
Don’t leave apps running: make sure that, when you’ve finished using an app, you switch it off, rather than leaving it running in the background.
Crank up the power-saving mode: head for Settings > Power-saving mode, and you’ll be able to turn off non-essential features like key vibration and the background colour-scheme, and ratchet down the quad-core processor’s speed, all of which use up tiny bits of power, but they all add up. You can turn power-saving off when you need the phone’s full power, naturally.
Take care with your social network synching: if your GALAXY Note II is set to update your Facebook, Twitter and other accounts every five minutes, that will use up a lot of battery. So head to Settings, scroll down to Accounts and make the intervals between updates longer. Another way you can control social network updating is by downloading TweetDeck (Twitter, free), which amalgamates your Twitter, Facebook, FourSquare and Buzz accounts, so you can update all four at the same time.
Mind your connectivity: the chances are that you won’t often be able to tap into Wi-Fi, and you can save power by switching off Bluetooth, the GPS (make sure you switch it back on if you’ve lost your tent) and Near-field communication. All of which can be accessed straight from the pull-down Settings menu at the top of the screen.
Finally, the best way to plan your festival schedule – picking your favourite bands and setting alarms to tell you when they’re playing and where – is to download the specific, official app for whatever festival you’re attending.
Let’s face it, no self-respecting festival would be seen dead without its own free app these days, but those apps tend not to appear on Google Play until just before the festivals themselves take place.
So keep your eyes peeled and be sure to closely monitor Google Play, and try to remember to update your dedicated festival app – just in case some bands have pulled out and others taken their place – just before you set out.
Plus, you’ll also find that Twitter is the perfect festival network, thanks to its ability to tell you where your mates are going to be, and to allow you to summon them to where you are.
Let’s hope the weather holds – a vintage summer spent lounging about in fields beckons.
Also check out on Your Mobile Life: