Samsung's Galaxy Note II and its magic S Pen: real innovation or a gimmick?
But are those features really requested or is it just the big screen and powerful specs that people are buying? Most importantly, is the S Pen the kind of true innovation that you, the customers, want to see in phones, including the stylus-enabled software with all those fancy hover actions? Or do you see through that and consider the S Pen nothing more than a gimmick, another feature with doubtful practical significance that would lure people into spending their money? And why? Hit us with your thoughts on that in the comments below.
- Samsung's Galaxy Note II and its magic S Pen: real innovation or a gimmick?
1081 votes (1081 votes) The S Pen is an example of real innovation with hover actions, quick notes during call and a better drawing app!
522 votes (522 votes) The S Pen is merely a nice gimmick. Real innovation is in chips, interfaces and screen technology!
1. steelicon (Posts: 309; Member since: 02 Apr 2011)
The feature set should be standard across the 2012 lineup of Galaxy Note, including Galaxy Note 10.1 GT-N8XXX.
2. fragmentation (banned) (Posts: 31; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
If you think it's innovation, it means your fingers are malfunction.
Seriously, exactly how many note user use the sPen 24 hour?
4. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1907; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)
Well said... I only got it..cause its screen size
7. fragmentation (banned) (Posts: 31; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)
And I dont understand how many user will use sPen to do AirView, by clicking the photo and video when you have FIVE PAIR OF FINGERS!!!
10. phitch (Posts: 214; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
Because we all know that fingers are far more accurate than the tip of a pen?
45. SleepingOz (unregistered)
Never mind.. These haters draw, write and trace better with their fingers than with a pen.
54. MobileCaseReview (Posts: 241; Member since: 10 Feb 2012)
Yeah to be honest, at first I got it because of S Pen functionality. But ever since I flashed CM 9 and now Liquid Jelly Bean 2.0, I never use the S pen. It literally came down to realizing it was just for screen size. It spoiled me having so much screen real estate and makes it hard to consider moving to smaller screen phones. However, if the next developer phone has a 5 inch screen, it will be an instant transition lol.
24. whysoserious (Posts: 316; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)
Since when did you guys prefer drawing something with your fingers, or taking notes and not your pen? There's a reason why Samsung call it "note."
37. SlimSoulja86 (Posts: 642; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)
Isnt useful when you're visiting sites where u need to place the cursor on the manu and the other menu will appear. I think it's innovation, this will be useful for artists who don't just wanna create stuff in front of their PC, they can just take the Note and start creating. That is the whole idea i think.
59. Dr.Phil (Posts: 911; Member since: 14 Feb 2011)
Considering the definition of innovation means creating a new method of doing something, I would say yes this is innovative. Yes, we have seen cellular devices with a stylus before, but those were mainly used for what you were just speaking of: replacing your fingers. Devices with touchscreens back then had either smaller screens or were not as accurate with the touch of a finger. Then along came capacitive touch screens and larger screen sizes that did away with the stylus. No one thought of any reason to go back to using a stylus because touchscreens were able to be fully used with your fingertips. Samsung obviously saw there was a reason to bring back the stylus, but this time with some new technology added to it: the Wacom digitizer. This allows artists to be able to do doodles and drawings with different levels of pressure that you cannot get with a normal stylus. It enabled note-takers to quickly jot down notes more comfortably (and I would argue quicker) than writing them with your fingertips. What I would ask for you to do is to pick up a Galaxy Note II and just try writing or drawing first with your fingertips and then with the S-Pen. There is a difference. I have noticed while using the note that while jotting down notes I have more room. You see when you draw with your fingertips you tend to write bigger and draw bigger than you would when using the S-Pen. So, in short, to answer your question yes it is seen as innovative because Samsung took an old technology that was used years ago, updated it with newer technology for a new usage, and then implemented it along with accompanying technology that uses the S-Pen's capabilities.
3. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1907; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)
I have the first galaxy note .....and at first it was amusing ...now now i forget, its even there. .. :-\
5. Crossblade (Posts: 190; Member since: 21 Apr 2005)
The S pen is great for .... Draw Something :D
60. easymomo (Posts: 89; Member since: 04 Jul 2012)
LOL, When I got the 1rst model, it was only for the screen size. I only started using the s-pen after several months. It is usefull for some people and not for others but it's still innovation.
6. phitch (Posts: 214; Member since: 06 Mar 2012)
It is innovative, there are two types of people who buy the Note. People who buy it for it's size and people who buy it for it's utility. Victor, I understand you dislike Android, especially as of late, but really the s-pen is a fantastic option to have. It is innovative as it really is the first pinpoint accurate stylus for capacitive touchscreen phones (not tablets... HTC Flyer). If we are going to say "iOS's Siri is innovative" when it really isn't, then you have to say the same about the S-Pen, regardless if you use it or not.
20. Victor.H (Posts: 417; Member since: 27 May 2011)
No dislike for Android at all on my part, actually. The topic I wanted to bring for discussion here is whether the S Pen should really be the big focus of Android's biggest phone maker Samsung as it has been lately with the Note 10.1 and Note II.
It's a great feature to have without a doubt, for me it's kind of like a bonus coming with the phone, and I'm pretty sure creatives appreciate it much more. But is it really the single most important thing that we should focus on? Are you happy about it getting the most attention from Samsung? And would you want to see more development and innovation in styluses, or consider screen technology, processors, cameras and so on more important? I'd love to hear more opinions on that.
27. SGSatlantis (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
It's not like Samsung is cutting corners on the other features of the N2. It's a bonus, you can use it if you want to and forget it if you don't. And the Note lineup is more of an alternative to the S3 and Tab10.1 if you really need the S pen. Me being a nostalgic I'm missing my pen from the SE P1i and that being said I would really like if my GNexus came with one, but I don't plan to upgrade to the N2 because of its size.
31. IamYourFather6657 (Posts: 321; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
erm gimmicky 2GB of ram and a downgraded screen ?
38. SGSatlantis (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
Wow I've never heard anyone complain about getting 4X ram than the "high end" iphone, and how is the screen downgraded it has 3 subpixels and it's brighter. BTW unlocked it will be cheaper than the 4S so think about it.
44. IamYourFather6657 (Posts: 321; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
i wont buy the Note , i will buy the HTC One X instead
Where the old note one with its dual core CPU sells for rm1999 and S3 sells for 2199 here in Malaysia HTC One X with its none pentile screen and quad core tegra 3 cost just RM1850 !
Samsung products are just like apple products , overpriced
61. nk_blu (Posts: 8; Member since: 26 Jul 2012)
According to you, it sounds like all phones with similar core specifications need to be priced the same. Then how do you put a price on removable battery and microSD slot? These are important to some users and take value in it, so maybe for them, HTC One X is the overpriced phone...hrrmm
66. IamYourFather6657 (Posts: 321; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
Read an article on phonearena
A survey shows that less than 1% of smartphone users care about removable battery or SD slot
I have removable battery on my nexus , but i never removed my battery not even once . The One X comes on 32GB 1850 while S3 comes in 16GB 2199 , with 32 GB of storage i dont think you will run out .
Conclusion Sd slots and removable battery might be important for some , but for most they are useless and GS3 is still overpriced
47. IamYourFather6657 (Posts: 321; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
Btw , i never ran out of the 1GB of ram on my nexus unlike my mom's 128mb ram xperia x8
2gb of ram is for spec hungry people like you where you want a 1000hp supra for no reason
Judging by your name , you are probably just a Samsung Fanboy troll
53. SGSatlantis (Posts: 205; Member since: 20 Jul 2011)
I've had HTC and SE phones, my GNexus is my first Samsung phone that i bought for 280€. Here in SE Europe the 4S costs 650€ and the S3 is 600€ with better specs. I agree that Samsungs smartphones are at most 10% overprived but the iPhone is 40% since you can get a Sony with compareable specs for around 350€. Quad cores and 2gb ram make sense for power users and it serves as a guarantie that the device will be supported for longer.
I am a fan of StarGate Atlantis, and my profile was created when I was using HTC EVO 3D. I bought my phone based on the price and being a Nexus for vanilla Android.
69. IamYourFather6657 (Posts: 321; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
high 5 nexus user .
Alright i think i should apologize so i am sorry .
But at least you agree with me that Samsung products are slightly overpriced
4 malaysian ringgit is = 1 euro , so why should i pay more for a phone with same specs , less memory . The only reason i should do that is because of the Samsung badge and Samsung badge like apple's logo is considered trendy and cool
68. ph00ny (Posts: 602; Member since: 26 May 2011)
You should get yourself an old Nexus S. It runs the latest android os and probably does pretty much everything you want without paying a boatload. Like you said, specs hungry people want high performance items for no reason
39. mrbtree (Posts: 59; Member since: 22 Feb 2012)
screens is bigger with the same resolution but it's not a pentile display, this is a proper rgb matrix display, it's not always about resolution.
for people who are still confused. rgb is better than pentile
67. ph00ny (Posts: 602; Member since: 26 May 2011)
You honeslty don't think better soc, "upgraded" screen (can't whine about pentile anymore), better spen, more software addons focused on the spen interaction and a larger battery doesn't count?
40. SlimSoulja86 (Posts: 642; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)
Victor, when you seel a product or when you advertise a product, to attract the consumer you need to have USP (Unique Selling Point) something that will differentiate your product from that of the competitor, I think the reason why Samsung focus on the S-Pen is because it's the Note's USP, and one of the kind. Just as Apple uses the Retina Display to sell their product and persuade consumers that it is the best screen ever. While other Manufacturers might have the same screen, the word "Retina" makes it sound like it's one of the kind. It really makes me doubt your judgement that, you even said "But is it really the single most important thing that we should focus on?", unless if you don't know anything about Marketing, then I forgive you. Because now the USP of the iPhone 4S is Siri, and for Note II is the S-Pen features.
It all boils to the USP of your product. In this case the S-Pen gets all the attention. While other features comes later. You always need one feature to differentiate your product from the rest.
Just saying Mr Victor H
46. tedkord (Posts: 4800; Member since: 17 Jun 2009)
People are confusing innovation with usefulness.
48. IamYourFather6657 (Posts: 321; Member since: 01 Jul 2012)
exactly , you are not gonna use more than 1GB of ram on your phone so 2GB is just used to attract dumb consumers into buying this product
50. frydaexiii (Posts: 1231; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
Actually, 1GB is hardly enough for the international S3, especially since I run alot of customisation background software like Lightflow, Big! Caller ID and stuff, leaving very little for foreground apps, resulting in launcher reloads because it has to kill it inorder to make room for the foreground app. 2GB should solve this problem.
8. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3012; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Magic?? Hell no!! Innovation?? Maybe!!
12. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
13. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3012; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Sorry...i can't access the link!!!
But i got the idea!! :D
33. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
Just copy and paste links in to your internet browser's address field and hit enter. :)
9. TROLL (banned) (Posts: 4851; Member since: 13 Apr 2012)
Love the Note, had it for 9month's, and liking it.
11. PhoneArenaUser (Posts: 5478; Member since: 05 Aug 2011)
Magic = No
Innovation = Nothing new
14. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3012; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
Agreed...we have seen it when the first note arrived...nothing new!!
22. Nathan_ingx (Posts: 3012; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
I guess there is a samsung S-pen fan trolling around here!! :D
15. PackMan (Posts: 277; Member since: 09 Mar 2012)
What a stupid poll.
Those hundreds of capacitive stylii for iPhone and iPads are a gimmick.
S-pen in Note II is an improvement as it has higher pressure sensitivity and some more.
And lol at people comparing S-Pen it with finger.
You can't beat the S-Pen and wacom digitizer with finger and capacitive stylus.
17. hateftotti (Posts: 141; Member since: 03 May 2011)
Just hope those,who said Galaxy Note 2 is not innovative device,NOT consider new iphone as an innovation because after that I will consider them as idiots...
19. CX3NT3_713 (Posts: 1907; Member since: 18 Apr 2011)
Oh iPhones arent innovating at all. It just works :-\
21. speckledapple (Posts: 879; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)
I think it is partly innovation because although we can all use just about any of those cheap rubber tipped touch pens on our touchscreens, it doesnt ever really do enough. Back in the day of the PDA, productivity really did matter to those who had it. And regardless of the screen tech there just has not been as much of a focus on it today. Bringing back the ability to really be productive with a pen BUT with additional software to make that experience much better, that is bringing back something that we gained with our powerful devices.
Upgraded screens and internals are great but they are more expected year after year. No one expects to have a less powerful device than they did a year ago. But being more productive?; thats something that is coming back with devices like that.
26. Victor.H (Posts: 417; Member since: 27 May 2011)
I'd agree with you about productivity and innovation. Still one thing that nags me about all sorts of styluses right now and productivity is that terrible delay between when you touch and when the image actually changes. Technically, it's 50ms to 100ms, and it's really annoying if you're trying to jot down notes with a stylus and your handwriting follows you slowly and you have to wait to doublecheck whether you haven't made a mistake...
Here's an explanation:
is that something that someone finds to be as much of an annoyance as I do?
28. speckledapple (Posts: 879; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)
You do have a point. And that is a prime example of what manufactureres should be working on, the overall experience improvement rather than those performance upgrades that are great and all but do nada to move things along more. Increased response is crucial as we can all understand that touchscreens will be much more immersive to us going forward.
23. frydaexiii (Posts: 1231; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
I call it innovation, because it took some risk to bring it to the market.
Was there a chance that a 5 inch phone would not sell? Yes definitely, but it did sell well.
Was there a way to make the once rendered pointless stylus useful again without suffering backlash? Yes, and Samsung did it well.
Thus, innovation. Which is why I only considered the first and 3rd iPhones as innovation, because it took great risk to try to bring smartphones to the masses, and Apple did it, everything else was just built off this success without much improvements.
25. voxmarc (Posts: 309; Member since: 22 Aug 2012)
for Victor,anything made by Apple is innovation....the rest questionable.....whoah...i smell rotten fruit in this article..
29. whysoserious (Posts: 316; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)
I'm surprised to see an almost 50-50 result on this poll. When mobile companies develop new features, people thinks it's either lame or just a gimmick. But when they develop top specs like mulit-core phones with high ram, people would say it's useless.
Can anybody give one more palm on my face, please? Double facepalm is not enough for this.
32. redmd (Posts: 893; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
And I'm more surprised you forgot this is phonearena.
41. SlimSoulja86 (Posts: 642; Member since: 03 Nov 2011)
I think it's the same thing back in the days when people thought it was pointless to have a cheap camera on your phone that took bad pictures. People always don't look at the bigger picture here, that something needs to start somewhere, everything becomes gimmick when it is first released to the masses, until we all start using it and make it part of our lives. Same thing with social networks. I know people and articles written that Social Media is useless and it' a bad thing for businesses and Media Industry, Until people have realized how good it can be to actually help the Media industry.
My point here is that, we always think that things are just gimmick, until we integrate them into our lives and then realize how we lived without them. S-Pan might be a gimmick to someone who is just happy to use their fingers on the screen, but might be a powerful tool for someone who likes taking notes with a pan, as it can be a struggle to type on a touch screen for them, or someone who is always carrying a notepad to scrabble things, as this will make it easier for them to start something on their Note II and finish it off on the PC.
Damn I'm commenting too much on PA today. Feel like writing an article
49. frydaexiii (Posts: 1231; Member since: 01 Dec 2011)
I like the way you think...Would give more thumbs up if I could.
30. redmd (Posts: 893; Member since: 26 Oct 2011)
The big screen is the innovation, the s pen is just a bonus to go with it. I don't use it everyday but it comes handy when the right occasion arises. I think only a few of those 10 million users only bought the note 1 for it's s pen. To call it a gimmick is somewhat a fanboy hate.
34. protozeloz (Posts: 5378; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
Hey Victor, I think The Stylus is a great Tool and it's quite innovative, my only wish would be if it was something the whole android ecosystem could USE then It would be something amazing, Imagine Samsung and others selling this for any android device with a 25-50 price point and android will support it naively, Heck they could even sell apps on the playstore made for users to download, as long as is something not all developers can adopt then even if its nice, its not good enough, yeah manufacturers could add "Pen" supports to their Apps and we could see a new spin on this things.
the S-pen is quite interesting, but is not for everyone, some features are quite gimmicky, but the core idea of an incredibly pressie pen capable of noting clipping creating out of anything is something no current OS could do. plus the way it helps people draw and do other stuff is really nifty.
Now where is my 7" Note? SAMSUNG?
43. Victor.H (Posts: 417; Member since: 27 May 2011)
Great point about the whole Android ecosystem, the S Pen and Samsung. It seems that for better or worse Samsung has been working a lot on tweaking and customizing Android with things like the stylus integration, but finally those features never arrive on the platform as a whole.
56. protozeloz (Posts: 5378; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
samsung could make more money by having Google adopt the Pen Natively and Selling its apps for non samsung Devices on the play store