Did you know that many of today’s smart phones have an FM radio receiver in them?

It’s true. Many Android smart phones have FM radio receivers built in which wireless carriers block by default. Why would they do that? Simple, because they want you to use your data plan on streaming music services. Duh.  So how do you use the included FM receiver in your phone?

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A couple of months ago I got myself a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and it is by far the best phone I’ve ever owned.

As a rule I love new technology, but I really get excited when it’s actually something that is useful to my business productivity, or just makes life a little more fun when I’m sitting at my desk.

Two of my favorite features of both Android and the Galaxy Note 4 is Text to Speech, combined with Voice commands. They allow me to use my phone as a voice operated communications center that reads me my incoming messages, email or caller ID, and gives me the ability to reply without having to physically touch the phone or have it on me.

Galaxy Note 4 Text to Speech

When I’m at my desk my phone is normally  on a nice little stand that I got from Amazon  and connected to my Jabra Bluetooth headset so that I’m hands free all day.

Text to speech is a nice little convenience that will read incoming text messages, email and  caller ID from Favorited contacts to me without requiring me to stop what I’m doing to look.

To set up Text to Speech: 

  1. From any Home screen, tap Apps.
  2. Tap Settings.
  3. Scroll to ‘SYSTEM,’ then tap Language & input.
  4. Under ‘SPEECH,’ tap Text-to-speech options.
  5. Select desired TTS engine:
    • Samsung text-to-speech engine (I use this setting)
    • Google Text-to-speech Engine
  6. Next to the desired search engine, tap the Settings icon.
  7. Tap Install voice data.
    • For the Samsung text-to-speech engine, the desired language may already be downloaded.
    • However, you have the option of downloading a higher quality version.
  8. Next to the desired language, tap Download or the Download icon.
  9. Wait as the language downloads. It may take a few minutes.
  10. Tap the Back key.
  11. Tap Language to select the language.
  12. Tap the back key to get back to the Language and Input screen.
  13. Scroll down to Read notifications aloud. This is where you’ll set which notifications you want read to you.



Messages and Caller ID is read from Favorited Contacts.  To Favorite a contact:

  1. Go to your call screen.
  2. Select Favorites ★
  3. Tap the plus symbol + to add Favorites from your list of contacts
  4. Add as many contacts to your favorites as you wish, or make them all favorites.


So now you have your Galaxy Note 4 set up to read you your messages and caller ID to you. Big whoop. You still have to physically touch the phone to reply to the messages or return the calls, right? Nope. This is where that Bluetooth headset and the stand (which I told you about earlier) that holds the phone upright really come in handy.

You can set your Note 4 up to respond to your voice commands so that you can make calls, send messages or email using the “OK Google” command which is a default feature of Android 4.3 and above.


To set up Voice Commands:


  1. Go to your Settings
  2. Scroll back down to Language and input
  3. Under ‘Speech” tap Voice search
  4. Tap Speech Output and set to “On”.
  5. Go back and select “OK Google Detection”, and select “Always on” and “When locked”.
    If it doesn’t prompt you to, on the same screen select “Retrain voice model” and it will prompt you to say “Ok Google” a few times for voice recognition.
  6. You’re all set.  You can now prompt your phone to make calls, send emails, texts and many other tasks using just your voice even when the screen is off and locked.

As an Android phone your Galaxy Note 4 is programmed to understand many Google Now commands including answering questions, tell you the weather, check flight information, get sports scores, set reminders, and much more.  Yep, it really does work as well as you see on the commercials.

Here’s an updated list of Google Now voice commands.

If you’re using your Samsung Galaxy Note 4 in “Car Mode”, your command will be “Hi Galaxy” for your basic functions.

When you get the hang of using your Note 4 completely hands free it’s actually a little fun. You can go full days without touching your phone to check messages or make calls. It also helps that I work alone and can use voice commands freely without disturbing anyone else in the office.

A Bluetooth headset with decent range gives you the freedom to roam and not be tied to the desk. If you work with others, it also gives you privacy since only you will hear the incoming messages that your Galaxy Note is reading to you.

Convenience and Productivity aside, it’s also just plain cool as heck.

If you’ve found this article helpful, let me know in the comments.