How to use S Beam on your Samsung Galaxy S3

If you want to send large image, video or song files from one Galaxy S3 to another, Samsung has come up with S Beam. Here's how to use it.

John Thompson
John Thompson has been addicted to technology ever since he tinkered with his custom built PC when he was 10 years old. He has been the proud owner of seven Amazon Kindles, but only because he accidentally destroyed the first six. John is a freelance journalist and is not an employee of CNET.
John Thompson
2 min read

One of the most exciting features to be 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 larger files.

By combining NFC and Wi-Fi Direct, S Beam is capable of sending larger 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.

How to enable S Beam

How to use S Beam on your Samsung Galaxy S3: transfer files

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

How to use S Beam on your Samsung Galaxy S3: enable S Beam

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.