Samsung should kill the S Pen

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Samsung should kill the S Pen
The Galaxy Note is Samsung’s holy grail. It's the company's most expensive smartphone, its biggest profit driver. Even the exploding Note 7 did not stop Samsung from resurrecting the Note series like a phoenix from the ashes.

And what makes a Galaxy Note a Galaxy Note is the S Pen. The stylus that is always with you, neatly stored inside the phone. It's something that you can just take out any time and start writing notes right on your lock screen. Easy as pie. And best of all, no other phone has it.

And yet here I am, saying that Samsung should kill the S Pen, and I mean it.

But why? Hear me out, there are a few reasons that might convince you that an S Pen is not such a great idea after all.

It takes up a lot of space

Yep, A LOT.


The convenience of having that S Pen safely stored inside the phone is also the reason why your Galaxy Note does not have a much larger battery.

Yes, the S Pen takes a ton of space that could have been used for a bigger battery, a better and more versatile camera system, or some other thing that you have been dreaming about.

Right now, the Galaxy Note 9 has a 4,100mAh battery, but if you have used the phone long enough, you know that the actual battery life is good, but not really great and definitely not quite out there with the very best.

So... which one would you prefer: a totally amazing battery life or the S Pen?


Most things the S Pen does, you can just do with your fingers

And many others are useless gimmicks


But the even bigger problem with the S Pen is that apart from its natural use for hand-written notes and drawing, there is very little other practical use for it. Samsung has introduced features like an easy way to create animated GIFs from videos you watch using the S Pen, but it's such a simple gesture that one can easily do with their fingers that we are left confused as to why it's an S Pen exclusive in the first place.

Being able to make precise selection would have been useful on a bigger screen if you run something like Photoshop, but it's not of much practical use on a phone.

And yes, you can also do a few other things like magnify a part of the screen with the S Pen, but I don't see why you can't just pinch-in with your fingers to zoom in rather than going through the complexities of pulling out the S Pen.

Of course, some of the capabilities of the S Pen like the option to use it as a remote for taking selfies, or using the S Pen button to start and pause music playback might come in handy for some people, but are those conveniences really something that you use on a daily basis?

Artists are better off using a tablet anyway

The phone screen size is just not big enough


But then, some will argue that the S Pen allows you to sketch on the go, but I am yet to meet a serious artist not commissioned by Samsung who would prefer to draw on their phone rather than on a tablet. That does not mean such people do not exist, but it's hard to argue that drawing on a tiny canvas the size of a phone limits your creative freedom severely. Heck, Apple thought a 10-inch tablet is not big enough for artists and released a 13-inch models for those who really like to draw.

So yes, if you care about the art that you are creating with a stylus, chances are that you are NOT using a smartphone.

And if you don't care that much... why even bother with an S Pen?

Redefining the Note series

The S Pen might be holding back the Note series


The huge space inside the phone that the S Pen occupies, the resulting missed opportunities for a larger battery or more functionalities because of that, the limited added value that it brings, and the fact that artists will prefer to use a tablet for drawing are the main reasons why I think Samsung should kill the S Pen.

But there is one more reason.

The Note has not only been Samsung's "stylus" phone, it has also happened to be its flagship when it comes to power with additional cooling, larger battery, and more features. In other words, it has been as much a Galaxy "Note" as it has been a Galaxy "Pro" in a sense.

My experience shows that the S Pen is what holds back the Note series and prevents it from becoming the killer "Pro" phone, one with unprecedented battery life, with advanced cooling for the gamers and with features that bring meaningful innovation. Features like that buttery smooth 90-hertz refresh rate that we got on say the OnePlus 7 Pro are missing on Samsung's flagship. It does not have a 3D face recognition system that will make unlocking the phone effortless. It lacks that super zoom periscope camera that we saw on the Huawei P30 Pro. The space that Samsung frees up inside the phone could help with some of that and can elevate the Galaxy Note to become the true "Pro" phone, a dream device that won't please a small niche of S Pen lovers, but will be loved a lot more by the masses.

Do you share my vision of such a "Pro" version of the Galaxy Note, even if it means sacrificing the S Pen? Let me know in the comments below.

Related phones

Galaxy Note 10
  • Display 6.3" 1080 x 2280 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 10 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Octa-core, 2840 MHz
  • Storage 256 GB
  • Battery 3500 mAh

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136 Comments

1. stijnvbml

Posts: 69; Member since: Feb 20, 2013

Agreed. It is such a useless niche future and I bet 95% of note users only use the pen a few times and then forget about it. Being Samsung, they could make a separate version with a styles but I don’t think it is worth the space to ship it on all versions.

15. pimpin83z

Posts: 476; Member since: Feb 08, 2019

"It is such a useless niche future and I bet 95% of note users only use the pen a few times and then forget about it." 1. The S-Pen would've detected that you meant feature & not future. 2. Your comment is asinine because you made it bad in an assumption & not actual Note users.

56. stijnvbml

Posts: 69; Member since: Feb 20, 2013

1. I’m using a keyboard, like normal people, not an S Pen to write my comments. Yes, my phone made the wrong prediction or I typed it wrong. Whether a phone has a pen built in is irrelevant for the spelling of words. 2. But here is the thing, I have seen people with note phones everywhere and never seemed one working with a pen. Btw, I worked at the biggest retailer of phones and we sold literally a handful of S pens. More people called because they wanted to know if they could still use their phone without a pen than wanted a new one. Most note users aren’t die hard users but just regular consumers who wanted the newest Samsung flagship. I would bet that without the S Pen, sales do not drop of a new note phone.

59. Xavier1415

Posts: 174; Member since: Feb 26, 2012

the non pen version is called the Galaxy S # lol

77. chenski

Posts: 759; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

Yeah but some people insist note is more than just s series with pen, even though it is just that

120. Kainan

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 10, 2019

Just simply an S serie if you don't like the S Pen

50. Cat97

Posts: 1861; Member since: Mar 02, 2017

Or Samsung should just make a special case with an S-Pen compartment, for those who need it. And exclude S-Pen from the Note 10 internals.

51. Fred3

Posts: 495; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Wrong taking it away beats the whole purpose of taking "Notes" with a "pen". There's a phone for everyone and every person i seen with a note was using the pen or says they use it alot. Why should all phones be the same?

54. Mike88

Posts: 328; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

S pen is the single biggest selling point of note series and the greatest way of implementing a stylus. It's the best thing Samsung ever did

2. Kdk2020

Posts: 40; Member since: Apr 27, 2016

Here for the comments

3. djk4363

Posts: 32; Member since: Apr 23, 2013

The S Pen is what distinguishes the Note from other phones. If the pen goes, Samsung may just as well make a Super Pro model and append it to the current S series of the time. A Galaxy S 11 ++ or Pro or whatever.

57. nodes

Posts: 1158; Member since: Mar 06, 2014

Just because you are different doesn't mean you are better than the other. Stylus is outdated on a phone, just like what Jobs said many years ago, people buy the Note series not because the S-Pen, it's either the 'premium' status or simply a reliable complete package from well-known company. At least that's me.

63. Plutonium239

Posts: 1199; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Jobs was wrong about styluses, what was outdated were those old styluses. The s-pen and the stylus for the surface pro series add more functionality that can't simply be duplicated with a touch.

70. Mike88

Posts: 328; Member since: Mar 05, 2019

Don't forget the amazing apple pencil 2 on iPad pro.

86. Plutonium239

Posts: 1199; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

I can't comment on the apple pencil because I have not used one nor have I looked closely into its capabilities.

104. Lita9

Posts: 56; Member since: May 07, 2017

jobs also said who wants big screen above 4inch yuck.. Now look at iphones as big as note series still not even close in terms of features. The whole world is laughing at job's comment.

4. afrohoxha

Posts: 235; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

The note is for professionals and amateur artists , not for smartphone addicts. Professionals don't care if the phone has 90 hz display or 10x zoom. They want to take quick notes, sign documents , do select-cut-copy-paste-share operations quickly and more precisely while having all this information on the cloud and on the go. Amateur artists on the other hand want to draw quick sketches of something that inspires them at the moment...it's not for you Victor..and maybe not for me either. Doesn't mean it's not for other categories of users.

5. TournaFlyer

Posts: 27; Member since: Sep 20, 2014

Don't remember ANY article on this fine site that I've DISAGREED with more!

6. chenski

Posts: 759; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

Nah they don't need to kill the pen, just lower the price and it'll sell like hotcakes

24. User123456789

Posts: 824; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

S costs less and barely reaches 40 mi sales. Note would not sell much not even if it was $800. Except Apple and OP (both dont have midranges) all other sell more midranges/low ends than flagships

64. Plutonium239

Posts: 1199; Member since: Mar 17, 2015

Apple doesn't have midrange? I could have sworn that is all they have ever made.

136. meanstreak

Posts: 4; Member since: Jan 26, 2015

Just exactly how well do hotcakes sell

7. Xxtoxicskittlexx

Posts: 189; Member since: Jun 11, 2018

It's a separate product line. Don't want it then get the S series. The Note series defined the phablet generation. There is no way Samsung is getting rid of it. So why pander ?

8. Wazupmrg

Posts: 154; Member since: Apr 10, 2017

This is an idiotic article. With technological improvements in battery design, you can get much more power with the same space. Even with an s pen, the note consistently has a better battery life than any apple device. Do the same thing with fingers? Ever write with your finger on a screen to write something? It's messy. An s pen allows very fine writing with detailed precision. The apps and functions you can pull up with the blue tooth s pen is incredible. This is just a biased attempt to discredit the note given the upcoming announcement. Pathetic instead of demanding other manufacturers live up to innovation, they take time to tear down something that really is. Note users are incredibly loyal. This article needs to be put in the trash.

9. Fred3

Posts: 495; Member since: Jan 16, 2018

Sure, loose the S pen so these articles can have more reasons to slam the Note

81. ZEUS.the.thunder.god

Posts: 1094; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

This. Pure garbage and super idiotic article. Author's level of intelligence (or stupidity) is mind boggling.

10. jellmoo

Posts: 2562; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

I'm sorry, but what? How would that differentiate it from the S+ device? It would just be a slightly different phone released 6 months later. The S-Pen is the entire identity of the Note line. And when it comes to productivity, your finger cannot compare to the S-Pen. Whether it's annotation, editing, signing, on the fly notes, or quick sketching, it's literally a class of its own. Why on earth would Samsung remove the dominant feature, one that is unique in the smartphone realm, to create nothing new or interesting?

11. VariableCheapskate

Posts: 102; Member since: May 29, 2019

Yeah because Apple can't be bothered to add any useful productivity tools, you know like, a fully functioning stylus to their twenty-five-hundred dollar iPhone... So Samsung should get rid of it? This is a dumb opinion piece.

26. iloveapps

Posts: 855; Member since: Mar 21, 2019

Idiot, because apple put their stylus on ipad aka pencil. Much better than small screen on your note where your finger can do it most. Its typical useless and niche product.

33. pimpin83z

Posts: 476; Member since: Feb 08, 2019

No it's not. Can you hover your finger over text to translate it or preview the web link? Can you jot a quick note while the screen is off? Can you press & hold on the screen to record a screenshot? Can you hover your finger over the screen to magnify the text? You might want to choose your replies carefully before you go calling people idiots.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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