The biggest stand-out feature of Samsung's Galaxy Note series is hands-down the S Pen stylus. Over the years, Samsung has greatly expanded the functionality of the S Pen and the software that comes along, transforming the Note series from a run-of-the-mill notebook substitute for the digital age, into productivity beast.
The brand new Galaxy Note 10
does its part in bolstering the already impressive capabilities of the S Pen by introducing even more remote control features, giving users even more good reasons to pop the stylus out of the phone. And though there's many new features to get excited about, it's really not our style to settle for built-in functionality. Oh no, where's the fun in that?
One of my favorite things to do with Note phones is to turn them into dedicated mini drawing tablets of sorts. Since the S Pen is very precise and has 4096 pressure levels, it can be used quite effectively in conjunction with the Note 10 when connected to a computer. Here's how to do it:
Setting up the Galaxy Note 10 as a drawing tablet for your computer
First up, you need to download an app called VirtualTablet
on your Galaxy Note 10. I'm linking the free version here, which has ads. If you like it enough, you can get the paid version here
Once you've installed VirtualTablet on your Note 10, you need to download the server app on your computer. You can get it here
under the "VirtualTablet Server for Windows"
section. You may also need to download and install Microsoft's .NET framework 4.0 or a higher version, if you don't already have it on your computer.
After you've set up the server app on your computer, open the VirtualTablet app on your Gaalxy Note 10 and choose a connection method. There are three types available, but just stick to either Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
, because they are by far the most convenient.
Method 1: Connecting over Wi-Fi
Tap on the Wi-Fi symbol to initiate a connection. If it doesn't pair automatically with your PC, try typing in your IP address
If you want to connect to your computer via Wi-Fi, make sure that both your Note 10 and your computer are connected to the same network and then open the VirtualTablet Server app for Windows that you just installed. On your Note 10, tap the "Wi-Fi" symbol in VirtualTablet app and then "Connect". Your Note 10 should automatically pair with your PC. If it doesn't work for some reason, you can try to establish a connection by manually entering your PC's IP address.
Method 2: Bluetooth
Pair your Note 10 with your computer via Bluetooth, make sure the Server app is running on your computer. Tap the Bluetooth icon in the Virtual Tablet app on your phone, and select your computer from the list of devices
To connect over Bluetooth, you need to pair your Note 10 with your computer. After the pairing process is complete, open the VirtualTablet app on your phone, tap the "Bluetooth" icon and select your computer's name from the list (it'll be the only one if you don't have other paired devices). Make sure that the Server app is running on your computer as well.
Method 3: USB
After you've enabled USB debugging on your Note 8, connect it to your computer via USB, tap the connect button, and launch the Server app
Connecting via USB is a little bit more complicated than the other methods, so we suggest sticking to either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Still, if you want a wired connection, you need to enable USB debugging on the Note 10. To do so, go to Settings > About phone > Software information, and tap the "Build number" field a couple of times. You'll see a congratulatory message pop up saying that you are now a developer. Well, congratulations then! Now head back to the main Settings screen, scroll to the bottom, and you'll see a new option called "Developer options." Tap on that and enable "USB debugging." After you've done this, connect the phone to your computer with a cable, tap "Connect", and fire up the Server app for Windows. You should be ready to go!
Using the Galaxy Note 10 as a graphics tablet
Okay, so after you've connected the phone to your computer using one of the methods outlined above, it's now time to actually start using it as a graphics tablet! Since you don't want your Note 10 to be utilized as simply a pointer device for your computer, but to actually take advantage the S Pen's pressure sensitivity, you need to open the VirtualTablet app on your phone, tap Settings, and make sure that the "S-Pen/Wacom stylus" option is enabled! This is the default setting, but double-check if it's enabled, because your Note 10 will otherwise act as a simple touch pad!
After that, it's time to configure the pressure sensitivity and cursor speed. That's pretty simple, as both variables can be controlled from the VirtualTablet Server app via two sliders, as shown in the image below:
And there you have it! You can now use your Galaxy Note 10 as a graphics tablet on your PC! It's not perfect by any means, but it's good enough to give you a taste of what it's like to draw or edit photos with a dedicated tablet. So, here's some essential apps that you should try out!
Apps to try out
Adobe Photoshop – drawing tablets come in handy when editing photos, as they allow for very fine movements of the cursor, while their pressure sensing capabilities can be invaluable when retouching. That means that you don't need to adjust the opacity of the brush tool, but rather you can just apply less pressure on the screen. Pretty neat, eh? Just make sure that you enable "Shape Dynamics" in Photoshop and set it to "Pen Pressure."
Fresh Paint – Microsoft's take on Paint for the touchscreen age. It's not too convoluted of a tool, but it does offer some interesting things to play around with, such as different canvas textures, paint viscosity, and more.
Bamboo Paper – probably the most involved note-taking app for stylus users. Bamboo Paper lets you paint, sketch, color, and write down ideas on what is probably the most comprehensive digital notebook I've ever seen. It's probably more well-suited for on-the-go use, i.e. on tablets, but still a fun thing to try out on your desktop or laptop.
Of course, there are many other apps out there that you can try using with your Note 10 as a drawing tablet, but I'm leaving the joy of discovery to you!