Opinion

In defense of the Galaxy Note’s S Pen: Don’t fix what’s not broken

There has been some talk recently about how the S Pen has been holding back the Galaxy Note series. The argument being made is that removing it would free up space for a larger battery, a more advanced camera system, and other improvements. That, to me at least, seems like a futile attempt to make the Galaxy Note series something that it’s not. Something it hasn’t been ever since this series was introduced.

When the first Galaxy Note was launched in 2011 many argued that it didn’t make sense to have such a big display (5.3-inch) on a smartphone. Since everyone else was in a rush to copy Apple’s no-keyboard, no-stylus approach, Samsung’s decision to include the S Pen was viewed by many as a mistake. Less than a decade later, not many will be willing to purchase a flagship phone with a display of that size, and try as you might, you won’t be able to pry the S Pen out of a Note loyalist’s fingers.

Samsung didn’t break new ground with the S Pen. There’s a long list of mobile phones that came with a stylus from companies that no longer exist, running on platforms that have long been discontinued. What made Samsung’s attempt stand apart was the execution. The large display made customers feel that perhaps the stylus could help them achieve more instead of just being a novelty. The additional features that it offers made the S Pen more than a tool meant for precise taps.

It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the Galaxy Note series played an instrumental role in pushing the industry to adopt larger displays. Samsung improved the S Pen functionality with each iteration, with the biggest change coming last year when the S Pen was upgraded with Bluetooth compatibility. The S Pen can now be used as a remote for controlling presentations, taking pictures, launching apps and more.

S Pen enables plenty of practical use cases…

Contrary to what some might believe, there is considerable practical use for the S Pen. Take the screen-off memo feature, for example. Want to jot down something quickly? Just take out the S Pen and scribble the note on the screen. You don’t even have to turn on the display, let alone unlock the phone. On a recent trip to Korea, S Pen Translate proved to be a lifesaver as I could quickly translate directions in navigation apps from Korean to English. Based on my own experiences in countries where English isn’t widely used, this is a highly underrated feature. Seamless currency conversation is built into this feature as well.

Let’s not forget that the Galaxy Note series has always been meant for professionals. The S Pen can let you sign digital documents as if you were using an actual pen, make precise annotations on work documents, get a clear picture by hovering it over a complex spreadsheet, and more. There is so much that it allows you to do effortlessly that you just can’t replicate by simply tapping your finger on the display. And yes, if you love doodling in your free time, it lets you do that too.

… And drives the flexibility the Note series is known for

It doesn’t matter if everyone who purchases a Galaxy Note does everything the S Pen makes possible. What matters is the freedom and flexibility that the S Pen provides. There is nothing quite like it for a smartphone. No wonder many users who have shifted to the Galaxy Note don’t even consider purchasing a Galaxy S flagship anymore.

It is that freedom and flexibility that is the hallmark of the Galaxy Note series. It is the reason why the Galaxy Note exists in the first place. Killing the S Pen simply means killing the series. There would be no other incentive for customers to purchase this phone, and if removing the S Pen does allow for a bigger battery and other improvements, why not launch it as a “Pro” version of the Galaxy S flagship?

Samsung gets criticized, often unfairly, for its missteps. It is an undeniable fact that the Galaxy Note represents its best work. It went against the tide at a point in time when nobody thought that a phone with a stylus could survive, that customers won’t buy a phone with an “enormous” 5.3-inch display. It has proven its critics wrong year after year for almost a decade now. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having the S Pen on the Galaxy Note series, which is why there is absolutely no need to fix something that’s not broken.

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Gunter2
Gunter2

The original article in Phone Arena was just too stupid to even bother responding to. Take away the Spen from the Note then all you’ve got is an S10 plus. They sell millions of Notes because of the sPen.

ranjitbhonsale
ranjitbhonsale

There are costly styli that are meant to simulate your finger sold separately for other phones. This shows that people are interested in a stylus and would like enjoy all that a pen would do. We have been used to the pen as an input device to the paper and find it faster than any keyboard from access point of view. Yes there are people who type faster than writing but to invoke an app you need to first unlock>invoke app>select new>then type. As rightly said that the Screen Off Memo is a big + to the note and no… Read more »

locarno
locarno

“There’s a long list of mobile phones that came with a stylus from companies that no longer exist, running on platforms that have long been discontinued.” But they were based on old resistive touchscreen “On a recent trip to Korea, S Pen Translate proved to be a lifesaver as I could quickly translate directions in navigation apps from Korean to English.” Why you not switched to the English language in the app? Please write article about this trip. “There is absolutely nothing wrong with having the S Pen on the Galaxy Note series, which is why there is absolutely no… Read more »

Anthony17
Anthony17

I think this article is in response for one published in Phone Arena.

Gunter2
Gunter2

@locarno. Tell the truth my friend. You’re being stupid on purpose. Am I right? Almost every single comment you make is so incredibly brainless and dumb, you’ve got to be doing it on purpose to get a reaction. Nobody could actually be as stupid as you pretend to be.

locarno
locarno

I need to stop doing this.

Gunter2
Gunter2

That may be the smartest thing you’ve ever written. You definitely need to stop making a fool of yourself.

TECHFRIEND
TECHFRIEND

Agree with both siaho & o0MHJ0o, the Spen is an iconic & essential feature of the Note model.

DaVinciDevice
DaVinciDevice

Merge Galaxy S with Galaxy Note, Set S Pen as an option. And provide Accessories such as Phone Cover/Case which can store S Pen. That’s all the options available for this problem.

TECHFRIEND
TECHFRIEND

They’ll never do this; critics & Samsung fans know that Galaxy S & the Galaxy Note are Flagships. Having 2x gives Sammy a Market awareness advantage. Allow the Galaxy S to flood the market months prior while the Note takes some spotlight from Apple’s next phone.

siaho
siaho

Removing the s-pen will literally leave it a S10++. Seriously, the whole argument is absurd. You don’t like the s-pen, but want a great big screen phone?! Perfect, go buy the s10+! Removing the s-pen is asking for note series drop out.

o0MHJ0o
o0MHJ0o

What nonsense! 😂
I’ve never heard anyone say the S Pen is holding the Note back, it’s what MAKES it a Note! Nuff said. They will never remove the S Pen from the Note series because some idiot who doesn’t understand technology thinks a pen in a phone is a “waste of space”.. Lol

locarno
locarno

But why Samsung want to remove S-Pen from Note series ?

Gunter2
Gunter2

They don’t want to remove. Can’t you read?