Best S Pen apps for the Galaxy Note 9 and the Galaxy Tab S4

Best S Pen apps for the Galaxy Note 9 and the Galaxy Tab S4
Samsung is probably the only company that's gotten the stylus right on a smartphone. First introduced in 2011, the original Galaxy Note stood out from its competition with its huge (for the time) 5.3-inch display and, of course, the unique S Pen. Now, seven years later, the big display is not so much a defining feature of the Galaxy Note lineup, but the stylus still is. In fact, the S Pen is what makes a Galaxy Note a Galaxy Note. And if you're looking for something grander, well, Samsung has also successfully incorporated the stylus in various tablets as well, chief among which the recent, 10.5" Galaxy Tab S4

In this list, we are including both productivity- and creativity-oriented apps, although let's face it – the creative applications of the S Pen arguably outweigh its productive aspects (in yours truly's opinion)! Some may simply like scribbling down notes, or scrolling pages by hovering the pen toward the top or bottom of the screen, or maybe translating entire passages of text on the fly. But for the creative types out there, the  S Pen is so much more than that. It's—well—it's a pen! And it has a digital sheet of paper to go along with it! Or is it the other way around? Bah, it doesn't matter! What I'm getting at here, is that there sure are a lot of excellent apps out there that take advantage of the S Pen's capabilities, that also happen to be geared toward content creation. If you just want to scribble down notes, you're still covered!

AutoDesk SketchBook

Download on Google Play | Free



AutoDesk's SketchBook is hands-down one of the best all-around drawing apps for touchscreen devices. It offers users a multitude of tools to play around with, such as various types of paint brushes, customizable pencils, pens, and markers—including many stamps, and "shape" brushes, if that's more your jam—as well as a full-fledged layer editor with up to 16 blending modes. There's also a handful of easy-to-use transform modes that let you rotate, resize, and mirror your creations in different ways. And for the serious artists out there, who like to share the process of going from zero to finished with others online, AutoDesk SketchBook has a neat time-lapse recording feature that lets you record in-app videos of your progress for each drawing.

But SketchBook is not the only awesome app by developer AutoDesk, which by the way is the same company behind the wildly popular CAD drafting software AutoCad. We suggest that you check out everything on offer by AutoDesk (which, yes, includes a mobile version of AutoCad), as there are a dozen or so very fun, very useful apps on offer, and they all are a perfect match for any S Pen device out there.

FlipaClip

Download on Google Play | Free w/ in-app purchases



FlipaClip is one of the best apps for creating animations on Android devices, and it's even better to use with Samsung's S Pen!

FlipaClip works like an old-school flip book, letting you animate frame by frame, but with a modern twist. That is, it has all the conveniences of a modern art app – various tools to work with, easy way to undo your actions, automatic saving, and many more.

The great thing about this app is that it can be enjoyed by complete beginners and advanced animators alike. Yeah, you can't make a feature film with it (take that as a challenge!), but it's easy to get into and work with, and it's surprisingly versatile and capable once you get a feel of it. Heck, you can even record your own audio to use in animated clips!

As far as the S Pen goes, the developers of FlipaClip have introduced support for Samsung's stylus, allowing the app to tell between different levels of pen pressure and tilt. This means that the harder you press the S Pen on the screen, the thicker the line you draw with will be.

As other apps of its ilk, FlipaClip allows you to easily share your creations across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, and Tumblr.

MediBang Paint

Download on Google Play | Free




MediBang Paint is a free paint app that makes great use of Samsung's S Pen. Upon opening the app for the first time, you'll be met with a walkthrough on how to get around its rather complicated, but very future-rich, interface, and my advice would be to pay attention! MediBang's interface is not all that complicated, but it is a far cry from SketchBook's minimalist aesthetic, so it may take a bit of getting used to. But on the other hand, it also grants you more creative freedom with a myriad of tools and options to choose from. With over 100 brushes and other tools, and over 850 backgrounds and textures to use in your creations, if versatility is your end goal, then MediBang Paint is sure to please.

During our time with the app, we found that drawing with the S Pen feels fluid and responsive, especially when using paint, with brushes leaving pleasing, colorful strokes atop the digital canvas. As can be expected, MediBang Paint supports layers, cloud syncing, and much more, but some of the features require that you create a MediBang account (which is free).

Adobe Illustrator Draw 

Download on Google Play | Free w/ in-app purchases



Paint is a free paint app that makes great use of Samsung's S Pen. Upon opening the app for the first time, you'll be met with a walkthrough on how to get around its rather complicated, but very future-rich, interface, and my advice would be to pay attention! MediBang's interface is not all that complicated, but it is a far cry from SketchBook's minimalist aesthetic, so it may take a bit of getting used to. But on the other hand, it also grants you more creative freedom with a myriad of tools and options to choose from. With over 100 brushes and other tools, and over 850 backgrounds and textures to use in your creations, if versatility is your end goal, then MediBang Paint is sure to please.

During our time with the app, we found that drawing with the S Pen feels fluid and responsive, especially when using paint, with brushes leaving pleasing, colorful strokes atop the digital canvas. As can be expected, MediBang Paint supports layers, cloud syncing, and much more, but some of the features require that you create a MediBang account (which is free).

Bamboo Paper

Download on Google Play | Free w/ in-app purchases



Samsung has been using Wacom-made digitizers in its Galaxy Note series since the very beginning. Digitizers that can not only track the pen pressure that's being applied on the screen, but also pen tilt. In other words, at what angle you're holding the stylus while interacting with the screen.

Bamboo Paper is one of the most comprehensive digital notebooks that you'll find out there, and it comes straight from the masterminds at Wacom. It's really a lot more than just a note-taking app, this one. It definitely is inclined more toward the productivity side of the spectrum, as far as this list is concerned, but Bamboo Paper allows for plenty of creativity as well. Think of it not as a simple note-taking app, but more as a digital album where you visually express ideas with ink and paint, annotate concepts with photos, and a lot more.

If you're looking for a cross-platform notebook app with cloud sync and all the bells and whistles, look no further than Wacom's Bamboo Paper.

Squid

Download on Google Play | Free w/ in-app purchases




Squid is another note-taking app that makes good use of the S Pen. But it doesn't really care if you're using the stylus or your finger, it just doesn't want you typing away at a digital keyboard! It's a pretty refreshing take on the digital notebook and one that offers all the functionality that you'd expect from an app like that, but tops it off with a handful of features aimed at power users.

Some of Squid's stand-out features include quick selection tools that let you copy/paste items between pages, export notes as PDFs, and a neat "whiteboard" feature that lets you use your device as a digital whiteboard during conference calls (although you'd need a Miracast or Chromecast for that one). Further, Squid is entirely vector-based, which means that you can resize your notes and scribbles to your heart's content without compromising quality!

Bonus: Turn your Note 9 or Galaxy Tab S4 into a graphics tablet



You can actually setup and use the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and the Galaxy Tab S4 as a graphics tablets on a PC. The process is fairly simple and it's a great experiment, especially if you use image editing programs on the regular.

You just need to download an app called VirtualTablet from Google Play and install a client app on your PC. Then you can link the devices via USB cable, bluetooth, or even Wi-Fi. To learn how to do this, check out this How-To, which shows the process done on a Note 8, though it should work just as well on the Galaxy Note 9 and the Galaxy Tab S4.


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