The Galaxy Note 9 S Pen could be the best one yet, here's why

The Galaxy Note 9 S Pen could be the best one yet, here's why
With the launch of the original Galaxy Note in 2011, Samsung singlehandedly created a new category of smartphone. With its 5.3-inch display, which was back at the time considered huge, and its unique stylus, the Galaxy Note managed to leave a mark and pave the way for a successful flagship lineup of phablets for Samsung. Now, 7 years later, in a world of gigantic smartphones, the large screen is no longer among the major defining features of the Galaxy Note series, but the S Pen stylus still is.

Creating an iconic, long-lasting smartphone features is no easy task, but Samsung managed to pull it off with the stylus. Some people may dismiss it as a simple gimmick, sure, but those who've grown to love it know that there's no other phone out there that controls better with a stylus than a Galaxy Note.

The S Pen is what makes a Note phone a Note phone. And yet, it has seen surprisingly little in terms of substantial improvements over the years, whereas the Note devices themselves have changed and progressed quite a bit since the very first one launched in 2011. This is seemingly about to change with the Galaxy Note 9, however, as it is rumored to usher in the biggest S Pen upgrade yet – long-range wireless connectivity. What does this mean for the Note 9? Let's go over the things we know and the things we want.

More autonomous S Pen



With the Galaxy Note 9, Samsung is "freeing" the S Pen

The S Pen stylus has thus far been very much tethered to its host device, be it a Galaxy Note phone or a Samsung tablet, as it needs to be in close proximity to the screen in order to fulfill its function. And this only makes sense, right, it's a stylus and it's used mainly for writing and drawing, so why wouldn't it work only when touching the screen or hovering over it? But this is seemingly about to change with the arrival of the Galaxy Note 9 and its Bluetooth-enabled S Pen, which would enable long-range connection between the phone and the stylus.

But this raises a simple question: "why?" It's a pen and it's used for writing and it has this convenient slot on the bottom of the device. Who'd need to use it 20 feet away from the phone and for what reason? Well, according to the latest rumors and reports from around the web, the Bluetooth-enabled S Pen may be used in a variety of different and interesting ways, though some sources suggest some rather outlandish implementations, such as a speaker built-into the S Pen, which is something we doubt will happen.

Music playback control and remote shutter release


The two most popular rumored features, or at least the two most widely publicized, are remote self-timer and some sort of audio playback control function. The self-timer sort of makes sense, as a Bluetooth-enabled S Pen could be used as a remote shutter release to take pictures from afar, but this would necessitate that you place your Note 9 on a tripod or prop it somewhere and actually leave it outside of your personal space (which is not something many people like to do these days). But jokes aside, this could be a convenient feature for taking group shots – just prop the phone somewhere, gather in front of it, and snap a picture with a press of the S Pen button.

Another talked-about possibility is the use of the S Pen as a music playback control device. The stylus may have a single button it, but it could still be used to pause and/or change a song without having to open whatever streaming app you're using. Single click to pause, double-click to skip, for example. Furthermore, if your Note 9 is connected to a Bluetooth speaker somewhere in your house, you may be able to change the song from the other room... provided you carry the S Pen by itself.

All said and done, we'd be lying if we told you we were excited about these rumored features. We think that Samsung can do so much more than that, so here's something we've had on our minds for a while, and we think Samsung should just make possible on future Note devices.

The Galaxy Note 9 as a graphics tablet / touchpad



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. You know, just like dedicated graphics tablets... which Wacom has also been building for years and years.

We've already shown you how you can turn your Samsung Galaxy Note 8 into a graphics tablet with a simple app, but we wish Samsung would just allow for this out of the box. This could be a boon for artists, which are already quite fond of Note devices, and can be done quite easily both through a wired and a wireless connection. Many image editing programs, such as Photoshop, Lightroom, and even free ones like Gimp, support graphics tablets with pressure and tilt sensing.


The Galaxy S9 can already do it when connected to a DeX Pad


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Moreover, Samsung has the DeX Pad, which already turns your Galaxy S9 or S9+ into a touchpad when connected to a monitor. The Galaxy Note 9 could potentially (and very easily) be used as an input device when connected to a computer or monitor as well. Only it has the added benefit of the S Pen.

Unfortunately, although something similar may happen, the S Pen still has one limitation when compared to most dedicated graphics tablet pens -- it has only one button, whereas most styluses have two, just like a computer mouse. This comes in handy, because you can map your left and right mouse buttons to them. Samsung's choice to continue the tradition of having a single button on the S Pen leads us to believe that graphics tablet functionality hasn't been considered by the company in a way we'd like to see, but if the Galaxy Note 9 is compatible with the horizontal Dex Pad, then users may be able to use it as a graphics tablet when using drawing or image editing apps on a monitor.

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17 Comments

1. darkkjedii

Posts: 30969; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

It should be the best one yet, feature wise, and build quality wise.

8. perry1234

Posts: 643; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

I am very eager for Note 9. Need to switch from my iPhone , even though the iPhone experience is also very enjoyable, and I am going to miss some features.

2. Zylam

Posts: 1813; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

Bring on the new Tabs.

3. Bankz

Posts: 2531; Member since: Apr 08, 2016

so why not just carry your phone instead

7. perry1234

Posts: 643; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

I am guessing , but I think if the S Pen controls Bluetooh devices, you can effectively double the range. Speaker—> in 10 meters you have your phone—> then you have your S Pen which can potentially have another 10 m range. Effective range is 20 metres now. And vice-versa obviously.

4. apple-rulz

Posts: 2026; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

“With the launch of the original Galaxy Note in 2011, Samsung singlehandedly created a new category of smartphone” Bulls**t. All Samsung did was use the Dell Streak as their template for the Note series AKA phablet, Samsung created nothing. Next the author will be crediting Samsung as being the creators of the Android OS.

5. perry1234

Posts: 643; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Dell is not a small company, and the Streak was marketed like crazy. I know , because I was actually working in Dell at the time. The problem was, it did not utilize well the screen estate that was available to it, plus the resolution of the screem was very poor. Galaxy Note showed us how to properly utilize the screen estate. It did many things with the unique S Pen experience, and well, that is why it is such a hit. The only thing comparable to an S Pen experience is the iPad Pro with Apple pencil and that is a pretty big and expensive package (unless you get them on some kind of a deal, like me).

6. Rampage_Taco

Posts: 1036; Member since: Jan 17, 2017

Samsung made the Phablet mainstream. or would you give that credit to the 6 Plus? As with the Android OS remark, many of the features that get added to it throughout updates were already on Samsung devices thanks to the Samsung Experience/TouchWiz.

11. toosmoove

Posts: 914; Member since: Sep 28, 2017

"Samsung made the Phablet mainstream. or would you give that credit to the 6 Plus?" What?! No Note, no Plus iPhones. Period.

10. sissy246

Posts: 7078; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

Oh look who is here. You love Samsung so much. Samsung made the phablet popular so get over it. I remember a company laughing at Samsung for making a big phone and now look what that same company is doing.

12. apple-rulz

Posts: 2026; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

And Apple made the smart watch genre popular, so what? It’s my duty to keep you Samsung fanatics grounded in reality. It’s a tough job, but I like it.

16. yalokiy

Posts: 955; Member since: Aug 01, 2016

The company that made smartwatches popular was Pebble.

9. 47AlphaTango

Posts: 718; Member since: Sep 27, 2015

I pretty much prefer the old design where you can place the stylus on the phone and have no worries of misplacing them!

13. LiveFaith

Posts: 455; Member since: Jul 04, 2015

Interesting to see what features this brings. I could see the BT stylus having some valuable uses. I'm shocked with the success of the Note line that nobody has truly tried to compete. As an old Palm Pilot Junkie from the 90's, I fell in love with my Note 3, then 5, now 8. With all the compelling phones out there, I'm still a daily pen user. Nothing else offers it. Thankfully Samsung pushes the edge of phone tech with the Note series, so I've generally had a really good phone along the way.

14. Rigmaster

Posts: 234; Member since: Jan 22, 2018

Oh boy. This is a huge nothing.

15. akashgohil

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 04, 2018

i think its the best one.

17. Voodooman

Posts: 26; Member since: Oct 20, 2017

The Notes died with the introduction of the edge and the high aspect ratios. They are not Notes anymore, they are merely high end devices plus a stylus.

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