The Galaxy Note 9 S Pen lets you take pictures from a distance, and it's great fun!

The Galaxy Note 9 S Pen lets you take pictures from a distance, and it's great fun!
What makes a good camera good? Is it the clarity of the images it produces? Is it the smoothness and stability of its videos? Surely, image quality is a make-or-break factor in a camera, but being fun to use also matters as far as the average consumer is concerned. 

This brings us to the Samsung Galaxy Note 9. The phone doesn't just have the best camera on a Samsung phone yet. It also offers a neat little extra feature that we genuinely enjoyed testing. As some of you may know, the new S Pen that comes with the Note 9 is Bluetooth-enabled, which allows the two to communicate with each other from a distance. And pressing the S Pen's button with the camera app open will – snap – take a picture. Neat!

"But what's the point?" you may ask. Well, the S Pen's remote shutter abilities let you take photos while up to 10 meters away from the phone, without relying on self timers, and you can more easily take group photos with everyone in the picture. Or you can snap selfies from epic angles without having to reach for the on-screen shutter button. Here are some photos that the guys and I took with the help of the Note 9 and the S Pen:

Photos taken with the Note 9 using the S Pen as a remote shutter key
Photos taken with the Note 9 using the S Pen as a remote shutter key
Photos taken with the Note 9 using the S Pen as a remote shutter key
Photos taken with the Note 9 using the S Pen as a remote shutter key
Photos taken with the Note 9 using the S Pen as a remote shutter key
Photos taken with the Note 9 using the S Pen as a remote shutter key

Photos taken with the Note 9 using the S Pen as a remote shutter key


Cool, huh? 

Alas, this new level of creative freedom comes with its hurdles and oddities. One is that unless you have a tripod designed for use with smartphones, positioning the Note 9 can be tricky. You need some sort of support to rest the phone against, and you may often have to improvise – for some of the pictures above, for instance, I used my camera bag to keep the Note 9 upright. In certain situations, cases with a built-in kickstand could be of help.

Another problem we encountered was that using the main camera for S Pen shots of ourselves was difficult, primarily because we couldn't see the viewfinder displayed on the other side of the phone. Shooting such photos with the front camera is a lot more convenient – you can frame the shot more easily when you can see what the camera is pointed at. Of course, the images will not look as good as those out of the main cam, but they're definitely shareworthy, and having autofocus on the front cam surely helps. All of the six photos above were shot with the Galaxy Note 9's front-facing camera.

So, are the S Pen's remote shutter abilities a gimmick or is this a feature you truly see yourself using? Let us know in the comments below!

Related phones

Galaxy Note 9
  • Display 6.4" 1440 x 2960 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, Octa-core, 2800 MHz
  • Storage 512 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh(29h 3G talk time)

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26 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 30783; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Best phone of 2018, nothing tops it.

2. midan

Posts: 2555; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Feature which you use few times and then forget it, it's bad in so many levels. For example who want to have photos having pen in their hand? also you really don't know what you shoot, are you framed, is it over exposed etc. So much effort to see that you took bad photo. I have this kind of product for my DSLR and i used it few days and it was very very small compared to long pen, that one you could actually hide inside your hand, but it still looked stupid in photos. If you want to do this You can already do same by just using for example your voice, no need to have any physical device making your photos look stupid, There's camera apps which takes photo when the sound is high enough (you can set the db) and also other ways to trigger your camera.

4. srgonu

Posts: 500; Member since: Feb 13, 2012

You don't have to point the pen like that as shown in the photos. You can be casual.

5. midan

Posts: 2555; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Of course you don't, but how that change anything, holding pen in your hand looks silly if you don't do some business ad photos :D

8. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

You do realize that not every photo shows the individuals' entire body, right?

6. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

"Feature which you use few times and then forget it, it's bad in so many levels." Do you have a Note 9 & forgot that your S-Pen has this feature or are you just ASSuming that people who actually use the phone will forget? "For example who want to have photos having pen in their hand?" People taking a group selfie & the person in front holds the phone while the person in the back clicks the S-Pen. "I have this kind of product for my DSLR and i used it few days and it was very very small compared to long pen, that one you could actually hide inside your hand, but it still looked stupid in photos." That's your experience. Owners of the Note 9 can't help it that you would look stupid in photos. "If you want to do this You can already do same by just using for example your voice...There's camera apps which takes photo when the sound is high enough..." Except for at sporting events, amusement parks & other places with loud background noises that still down out those settings. "...no need to have any physical device making your photos look stupid..." Again, owners of the Note 9 can't help that you would look stupid in photos.

9. darkkjedii

Posts: 30783; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Post of the day.

10. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Thanks boss! Looks like my patience might pay off with the possibility of a silver Note.

15. darkkjedii

Posts: 30783; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Yep yep

13. midan

Posts: 2555; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

Sport events? Amysement park? That was funny, i want see you using this pen at those, wouldn't it just be maybe easier like say someone that could you take photo of us? :D Look those photos phonearena took, they almost all of them look crappy, overexposed, sky is only white etc. All that could have fixed if someone who actually see the cam would have took those photos. They can be also out of focus, blurry etc. You have no idea what happening behind the cam and you want to use it at sport event :D sorry but so funny.

23. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Actually the above photos look good doe a front facing camera.

25. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

"Sport events? Amysement park? That was funny, i want see you using this pen at those..." I have a Note 8 & used it at Volcano Bay, a waterpark, where I took pictures & uploaded them while the phone was wet & even wrote my captions on my wet screen with, you guessed it, my S-pen. It actually would've been easier for me to snap a pic by holding my phone in one hand & click the S-Pen with the other. "Look those photos phonearena took, they almost all of them look crappy, overexposed, sky is only white etc. All that could have fixed if someone who actually see the cam would have took those photos." If these "phone critics/phone reviewers" or whatever they want to call themselves don't know how to upload photos or take the time to use the feature properly then that's on them. I tested it at Best Buy & it's like using the phone remotely. "and you want to use it at sport event :D sorry but so funny." Right, cause no one had ever used their phone at a sporting event. Just face it, YOU don't know how to use the remote S-Pen features. Step your motor skills game up before trying to criticize something.

17. imlegitcusimthasht

Posts: 306; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

you sound stupid af. Obviously, you haven't used it. Rather have a thin barely noticable pen in my hand rather than my whole arm like some little 14 year old high school teenager taking pics of themselves all day instead of actually hanging out. It's a front facing camera, what do you expect from the quality. It's still good enough. And to be honest, I like the pen, especially if I'm at a club or bar, it makes me look fancy at the bottle service tables. And most of the time, you can actually hide the pen. All that voice activated s**t sucks. Barely hears you. No matter what, you can't even see the SPen like that. Lmao. And judging by your photo, you would be the first to hate no logic in what you're saying. Don't like it, don't talk about it. STFU

20. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

The pen Is small enough to conceal in your hand. But dont worry hater. We dont. Are what you think about a phone we know you wont buy. But if Apple had done this, you would have been all on their jock. So hypocritical fans are.

3. NJBBB

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 02, 2018

It's gimmick but at least this one have it

7. MarvzIsFallen

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 11, 2017

It’s really a gimmick like their prices. This gonna sell very bad to the point that it will be price $699

11. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

The gimmick is you posting dumb@$$ comments.

12. Mreveryphone

Posts: 1791; Member since: Apr 22, 2014

It's only a gimmick if you don't know how to use properly...

14. midan

Posts: 2555; Member since: Oct 09, 2017

How you use it properly? It's a fact that it's very hard to take photo if you can't see what you are shooting.

16. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 996; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

you do realize there are more functions than just for photos, you can use the pen to pause or skip music. to change slides in select apps, and who know what other companies may implement into the feature. As for your claim, it's mentioned in the post, yes its hard, but you can simply use the Front Facing lens. Sure they might not be the greatest photos but to get a quick group picture it works.

18. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

Wow. You're an imbecile. How is it that one can't see what they're shooting by holding the S-Pen & using its feature to capture an image? Please quit imposing your inability to use motor skills on others.

24. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Apple fan. Uses a phone that dowsnt have cool features, go.micky or not. Wanna tall down about someone else product. Apple fans are such retards.

22. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

But you can see, because the screen is big enough. Also the deont facing canera on the S9/Note9 are Qwaome and clear. In fact it takes better pictures than the front and rear camera on the iPhone X

21. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

Or cant because toir phone is years behind the curve.

19. strategic_developer

Posts: 1627; Member since: Jul 17, 2018

It is a very good idea and I have been e enjoying it. It is gimmicky. But it is useful. Especially be cause gou sont have to use the time and w everyone in the picture can take they're time and get set and not have to rush to beat the timer.

26. Rigmaster

Posts: 234; Member since: Jan 22, 2018

This should also be called the S-theft feature.

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