Samsung’s S-Pen – The ultimate guide - Android

Get it on Google Play

Samsung’s S-Pen – The ultimate guide - Android

Samsung's iconic S-Pen is one of the most recognizable smartphone accessories in the world. Have you ever wondered what it's capable of? This ultimate guide tells you everything that you can do with Samsung's S-Pen!

The Samsung Galaxy Note phones are among the most popular and powerful Android devices every year. We are in the eighth generation with the Galaxy Note 9 — remember, Samsung skipped the Galaxy Note 6 and went straight from the Note 5 to the Note 7. Each device has come with a variant of the S-Pen, an included stylus the software in the OS supports.

This is no ordinary stylus. Each generation has added functionality. Thus, we focused primarily on the S-Pen from the Galaxy Note 9. Most of this stuff is also available on older Note devices to a certain extent. Let’s get right into this.




About the S-Pen

The clicky part does little more than help you remove the S-Pen from the Note.

Let’s start out with some quick specs about the S-Pen itself — specifically the one that came with the Galaxy Note 9. Some of these specs carry over from previous generations and some are brand new. Of course, we expect the Galaxy Note 10 S-Pen to improve upon these specs as well.

  • This year’s S-Pen connects to the phone with Bluetooth, a new feature in 2018. Of course, it still lives within the body of the device unlike most of its competitors.
  • It gets power from a super-capacitor battery instead of the classic lithium-ion batteries of the Microsoft Surface Pen or the Apple Pencil. Samsung claims a full charge takes only 40 seconds.
  • A full charge allows for up to 30 minutes of usage time or 200 button clicks. Users get a notification when the battery is at 20 percent to remind them to charge.
  • It uses a wireless charging method while resting within the body of the device to charge. It is different than the Note 9’s’ wireless charging method. Thus, you cannot charge an S-Pen with the phone’s wireless charger.
  • Samsung estimates it uses 0.5mAh per full charge. In other words, S-Pen shouldn’t affect your battery life at all, even if super-capacitors slowly lose charge over time. For reference, 0.5mAh is 1/8000th of the 4,000mAh battery in the Note 9.
  • The S-Pen still works without a charge. You just lose the remote capabilities until you recharge the S-Pen again.
  • The tip of the S-Pen is 0.7mm thick. It also registers up to 4,096 pressure levels. This is on par with the Microsoft Surface Pen 2 and most Wacom tablet styli.
  • The 2018 S-Pen is available in four colors — yellow and ocean blue, lavender, black, and brown. Hit the links to check them out on Amazon. They range in price from $40 to $50. They also determine your primary writing color, but we’ll talk about that later.
  • The S-Pen operable distance with Bluetooth is 30 feet.
  • A little-known feature of the S-Pen is its multiple tips. Every recent Galaxy Note device comes with a little puller tool you can use to remove the S-Pen’s tip, which you can then flip. The default is a soft rubber tip, but you can flip that for a hard plastic tip. The puller tool should be in the box your Galaxy Note came in.

Basic features

S-Pen direct writing input example

Direct Writing Input is exactly what the name says it is.

S-Pen comes with a variety of basic features. These work basically all the time, and you can toggle them on and off in the settings menu.

Air View – Air View allows you to glean quick information by hovering the stylus close to bits of information. It works best in Samsung’s calendar and gallery apps. We haven’t seen it work well with third party apps, like Google Calendar or Google Drive.

Direct Writing Input – This lets you fill out text fields on your phone with actual writing. Simply hover over a blank text field until the icon pops up. Click it and you can start writing stuff out instead of typing it in.

Screen Off Memo – A classic Note feature. You can take notes on your device without unlocking the screen. Simpy remove the S-Pen while the screen is off and follow the on-screen prompts to use the feature. You can save these notes to Samsung’s note app, record multiple notes, erase what you wrote, and even change the thickness of the digital ink.

PENUP – This is a social network of sorts for Samsung Note owners. You can create drawings, color in existing drawings, and share your artwork across the collective. It comes stock on the device, but you can uninstall it if you don’t want it. It is also available in the Google Play Store if you change your mind.

Change S-Pen ink color – You can, in fact, change the color of the digital ink for your device. Unfortunately, your only two options are the pen’s actual, physical color and white. You can buy additional S-Pens in different colors if you must. However, this is only an issue in apps that don’t let you change colors, like the screen-off memo feature. Samsung Notes itself lets you change the color, as do most other apps with stylus functionality. It’s lame, but also not a huge deal.

Visible Pointer – You can set the device to show a pointer graphic when the S-Pen is close enough to the screen. This is an old feature and on by default.


Air Command features


Air Command for S-Pen

Air Command – This is the native interface for using all of the various functions. It appears by default by removing the S-Pen from the device while the screen is on. There is a rotary UI with all of the options. You can disable this in the settings if you really want to, but we can’t imagine why you would since many of these functions aren’t available elsewhere in the UI.

Notes – It’s a Galaxy Note dev

05/12/2018 06:45 PM