In an attempt to simplify its smartphone lineup, Samsung released the Galaxy J, Galaxy E, Galaxy On, and Galaxy A series of smartphones over the course of the last year, in addition to its flagship Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lineups. The company’s mid-range Galaxy J smartphones went on to become bestsellers in India. All the devices in the Galaxy J series come with Super AMOLED displays, a front-facing LED flash (except the Galaxy J2 and the Galaxy J3), dual-SIM card slots with 4G LTE connectivity, and relatively good specifications for their price tags.
Recently released smartphones in the Galaxy J series come with a unique S Bike Mode that is targeted towards bikers in India. If you didn’t know already, a lot of people in India use bikes for their daily commute and Samsung is trying to attract such users and make their journeys safer with S Bike Mode. S Bike Mode is available in Indian variants of the Galaxy J2, Galaxy J3 (2016), Galaxy J5, Galaxy J5 (2016), Galaxy J7, and Galaxy J7 (2016).
How to activate S Bike Mode?
There are two ways to activate S Bike Mode: you can use the S Bike Mode NFC tag and tap a compatible device on it, you can activate it manually through the quick setting toggle in the notification shade, or long press the power button and activate the feature from there. The best way to use the first method is to apply an NFC sticker on an easily accessible part of the bike, like the fuel tank or near the speedometer. However, it will only work with the Galaxy J3 (2016), Galaxy J5 (2016), and Galaxy J7 (2016) since only these feature NFC connectivity. For other devices in the Galaxy J series, you’ll have to resort to the quick setting toggle or the power menu.
What happens when you activate S Bike Mode?
After activating S Bike Mode, any call that you receive would be answered by the inbuilt answering machine on the Galaxy J device. Callers would be prompted with a message that you are riding a bike and asked to call you later. You would not see any notifications during this time either. Callers would be charged for the time they listen to the answering machine.
Callers are prompted to Dial 1 to reach you directly when it’s an urgent situation. During such situations, the call would go through even when S Bike Mode is activated. When an urgent call arrives, you need to be riding at a speed less than 10 km/h to be able to receive the call. Of course, coming to a complete halt is always a better idea when it comes to talking on the phone when you're out riding or driving on the open roads.
The Notifications tab accumulates all the missed calls so you can view them after reaching your destination. You can also activate Smart Reply to send automated text messages to callers. A Smart Reply message looks like this:
Hi! I am currently driving. I will reach my destination in about 20 minutes. I will get back to you soon.
The My Rides section logs the information about all the rides when S Bike Mode is activated. These logs contain total distance traveled on each day, and you also earn badges for riding. You can tap and hold on the big S Bike Mode icon to turn it off when you reach your destination.
Are there any downsides of S Bike Mode?
First of all, you can activate S Bike Mode using the NFC sticker only when the screen of the device is turned on, which is a letdown. S Bike Mode is also incompatible with Bluetooth headsets or wired earphones, so you'll have to take calls by stopping the bike. Moreover, it is not possible to operate the device while using S Bike Mode if you're wearing gloves since none of the Galaxy J smartphones feature a Glove mode. Also, the Smart Reply feature needs a working Internet connection.
You can’t disable S Bike Mode when your bike is in motion, but that is exactly the point as it makes riding safer. Overall, S Bike Mode is a great way of ensuring you keep your focus on the road and not on your phone when you're riding a two-wheeler, and it would be great to see it come to other budget and mid-range Samsung phones in the future.