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How to use S Beam on your Samsung Galaxy S3

The Galaxy S3 makes it easy to transfer large photo, video, or song files from one Galaxy S3 to another. Here's how to do it with the Galaxy S3's S Beam feature.

One of the most exciting features announced with the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S3 is S Beam, which uses near-field communication (NFC) and Wi-Fi Direct to send files between two phones.

Android 4.0 already has a feature called Android Beam, which works over NFC to transmit information such as contact details and browser pages from one mobile to another. But it doesn't use Wi-Fi Direct, so it's impractical for large files.

By combining NFC and Wi-Fi Direct, S Beam is capable of sending large files between phones, such as images, videos and music tracks. The transfer is initiated by NFC and the actual file transfer is handled using Wi-Fi Direct. This means you can expect transfer speeds of up to 300MBps.

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How to enable S Beam

S Beam settings on Samsung Galaxy S3
Screenshot by CNET UK

You can activate both Android Beam and S Beam through the Settings app on your Galaxy S3. To do this, go to Settings > More settings, and you will see separate entries for both. Tap on each of them to ensure that they are activated.

You will need to enable NFC in the same settings window as well, as this allows the phone to transfer information with other NFC-enabled devices.

How to transfer files using S Beam

Transfer files using S Beam on Samsung Galaxy S3.
Screenshot by CNET UK

Transferring a file between two phones couldn't be simpler. You simply navigate to the image, video, or music track that you want to send and hold the back of your phone against the back of another S Beam-capable device. Your phone will tell you to "tap to beam," and the file transfer will begin.

As the transfer uses Wi-Fi Direct, you can then take the phones away from each other and the transfer will continue uninterrupted. You don't need to be connected to the same network for this -- it all happens automatically between the phones.

At the moment, S Beam is only available on the Galaxy S3, although as Samsung continues to release more Android 4.0 devices, you will be able to transfer files in this way between more models. You can use the Android Beam functionality with any phone running Android 4.0 or later that has NFC capabilities.

Originally published as How to use S Beam on your Samsung Galaxy S3 on CNET UK.