S Pen in smartphones and tablets from Samsung. What the stylus can do, use in practice


Many perceive the S Pen in Samsung products as an extra and completely unnecessary thing, moreover,

sometimes it happens that they never get it,but at the same time they do not know what the stylus can do in relation to the device. Samsung does not like it when the S Pen is called a stylus, the reasoning is simple - there are many styluses on the market, but there is only one S Pen.

The first S Pen appeared in 2011 withthe Galaxy Note line, which today has become ordinary Galaxy smartphones, or rather, the best of them with the Ultra prefix. I have been using the S Pen for over ten years, watching the evolution of this stylus and what it can do. Honestly, for some reason, many people evaluate the usefulness of the S Pen in some kind of mythical coordinate system - they say, you need to get it almost every minute, write something by hand, and so on. When was the last time you wrote something by hand, and did not make short notes, but really outlined some text? I think that for most the answer will be obvious: you wrote a very long time ago, and there will be no value in the same S Pen for you. This is exactly what people who are not familiar with the S Pen argue, and include common sense, which, alas, does not work in this case. The ability to write text by hand is one of the features of the S Pen, and I'm afraid not even the most important. But let's try to figure out in order what the S Pen can do and how I use it in practice. I’ll make a reservation right away that I take out the S Pen up to a dozen times within a month, but when I do this, it literally saves me, since it has no alternative.

What are the S Pens - what is the difference between them

Most get an S Pen with their smartphoneor tablet from Samsung. For example, in the Galaxy S23 Ultra, it is built into the case and can be easily snapped out of it. With tablets, as a rule, it is offered in the kit, and the S Pen is different in size.

There are differences in size, in how you cankeep a pen in hand. Of course, the S Pen in tablets is more convenient due to its size, while the built-in one in a smartphone is a compromise, you won’t be able to write with it for a long time, but this is usually not necessary.

In order for the S Pen to work with yourdevice, a special touch layer is added to it, it is developed by Wacom together with Samsung. Interestingly, Samsung invested money in Wacom after developing the first Note smartphone, limiting patents to anyone's ability to create similar devices. For example, Apple was able to make the Apple Pencil for tablets, but they cannot replicate the S Pen for smartphones. But not only technical characteristics are important here, but also software that can turn the S Pen into a useful tool.


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Now a couple of words about how clicks are recognized.An additional touch layer recognizes the force with which you press on the screen. Up to 4096 degrees of pressure, which allows you to determine the force and draw lines of different thicknesses, no difference from real life. The thickness of the line depends on the device, on average it is 0.7 mm.

Some devices come with a smalla metal plate, many are wondering what it is and why. With it, you can remove the tip of the S Pen and change its side - from soft to hard plastic.

The stylus can be passive or active, in the firstIn this case, it does not have any electronics, but there is a button on the case, there are contextual commands - such an S Pen works only at the screen. In the active version, there is a small capacitor in the case, as well as a Bluetooth chip, this allows you to control the device from a distance, turn the S Pen into a remote control. The built-in accelerometer detects movements, which is also important for recognizing commands that you can control in certain applications. The S Pen charges in seconds. Operating time - up to 30 minutes or 200 button presses.

Depending on the device, charging occurseither in the body of the phone, where the S Pen is installed, or on the back of the device (in both cases, charging is wireless). If for some reason you have not charged the active S Pen, then it will continue to work as a passive one, there is no difference here.

There is no need to worry about the S Pen wasting a lot of energy, charging consumes 0.5 mAh, for a smartphone battery with a capacity of 5000 mAh, this is nothing.

In theory, the S Pen works with any device,which supports it, they can be called interchangeable. Starting with Z Fold3, smartphones with flexible screens have received S Pen support on the internal display. Given the nature of the internal screens, the S Pen for the Fold is different, so you cannot use the S Pen from tablets or other smartphones with such devices. At the same time, the S Pen from Fold works with other devices, there are no problems here.

We write by hand - when and why it may be needed

The smartphone is locked, I take out the S Pen, and immediately there is an opportunity to write something by hand on the screen or make a sketch.

Quick note is useful in all situations wheresomething needs to be written down. To some extent, this is an analogue of Post-It notes, those same yellow leaves that many people stick on their workplaces or on the refrigerator.

Sometimes I have to attend meetingsincluding officials. The format of such meetings varies greatly, but people are always annoyed when someone is on the phone, usually followed by a bossy shout and an apology in the style of "I'm taking notes on important points." In response, they offer to take a pen and paper.

I wrote down notes on my phone many times during the meeting, the presence of the S Pen in my hands says exactly what I'm doing, does not cause ambiguity. And no one pays attention to it.

People of some professions use notepads,for example, lawyers or journalists. For them, a notepad on a phone or tablet is extremely convenient, as it allows you to take notes and save them. What's more, handwritten notes can be recognized into plain text.

For those fans of notes who like to write by hand, it is possible to type text in any language (I emphasize separately that Russian is also available) and immediately recognize it.

The quality of recognition grows asusing the S Pen, the more you use it, the better your handwriting becomes. It's a matter of habit and how much you need to keep handwritten text in its usual form. The latter is handy if you want to search through your notes.

In the settings, you can specify the automatic detection of the S Pen in the keyboard, then you will immediately see the input field by hand.

Application interface and AirView support

Samsung has redesigned a number of applications in order tothat they support the S Pen, in particular, show more information when you bring the stylus to the screen. This is far from the most useful or necessary function, something that can be safely classified as trifles. In the gallery, when viewing a tape of pictures, you can hold the S Pen over a photo, its preview will appear.

Viewing events in the calendar is organized smoothlyalso, you just get additional features that you do not need in everyday life. But for presentations, it can be good when you need to show something on the big screen.

The standard set of applications from Samsung - what you need SPen for

The context menu that may appear when using the S Pen, you customize as you like, select the programs and features of interest.

Let's start with the "Quick Note" mode, in which you candraw or write something. But the main thing is that the window can be made transparent, it is placed on top of other windows. Samsung did not name this mode of operation in any way, but I called it tracing paper. Remember the transparent sheets of paper that we used to transfer pictures to when we were kids? Something similar can be done here as well. Or you can take notes, and in the background you will have a photo or video, and the latter will be played. That is, you can not only work, but also immediately make notes.

The Select and Save mode allows you to selectany piece on the screen (rectangle, lasso, freeform - and with a pen it's very easy to do this!), Then you can save it as a graphic file or GIF animation. But what I like and help in my work is the ability to recognize text in a photo or screenshot, select the desired piece, and you already have text in any language. Cool? Not that word. While you are working with these clippings, you can place them on the screen, they will be in front of your eyes. For those who create collages, this is a unique tool.

A screenshot is a regular screenshot, you can immediately write or draw something on it. No difference from regular screenshots.

Live messages are old, but this does nota less interesting possibility is to create an animated video in which you draw or write something, and then send the MP4 file to a person. The animation is quite beautiful, especially if you can draw.

AR sketching is an opportunity to attach some drawings to a person’s face (any camera, even the front one, even the main one). Interesting? For the youth, yes, everyone else will just skip this feature.

Translation - point the S Pen at a word, and with the help of Google's translation service, a translation immediately appears, the number of languages ​​\u200b\u200bis huge, you can listen to how the word sounds.

Magnifier - the ability to enlarge some part of the screen, bring it closer.

Calendar entry - you can manually add events to the calendar, a very handy thing at meetings.


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PENUP is a social network for drawing lovers

I would like to specifically focus on thissection, as it deserves careful study. I don't know how to draw, more precisely, my art is such that I can become a typical representative of the modern art school: scribble-doodles, uneven lines and similar delights. I have always envied those who can show the beauty of the world through drawing, for me this is a kind of magic.

The presence of the S Pen allows you to draw, andcreate very interesting pictures - here I emphasize that it is better to draw on the big screen of the tablet. My daughter draws well, and the tablet helps her with this. But you can draw on the screen of a smartphone, but it's not so easy. Look at the drawings created with the S Pen.

PENUP has a Coloring Pages section, new templates are constantly appearing in it, you can color or draw them, see how hundreds of other people have done it. Meditative stuff.

And you can just draw, learn to draw, andthe lessons are such that you see every movement, you can repeat it. The coolest thing that teaches adults and children and does not cost an extra penny.

For conceited people there is an opportunity to participate in contests, compete for real prizes.

S Pen settings section - what can be done with the stylus

Let's go through the S Pen settings, in themhides a lot of interesting little things. Let's start with the fact that you need to enable contextual actions, so you can set up a quick launch of applications or some function when you press a button on the S Pen.

By default, this is a camera, that is, they took out a pen,pressed the button, and immediately the camera started up. Convenient, as it can later be controlled using the S Pen. Please note that each application has its own set of gestures that can be controlled in the air.

For example, I like to display a presentation on a largescreen, and control the display with the S Pen, on the TV I show photos and flip through them with the pen. For many, this looks like a fantasy. On the plane, I sorted out the pictures in the gallery, I also controlled the scrolling with the S Pen, I didn’t have to touch the screen. If someone I knew was next to me, it would be possible to show pictures without hands.

In the settings you can connect to the deviceseveral S Pens, do not turn it off, and then it will be instantly ready for use. If you move away from the S Pen (only for active S Pens with Bluetooth), the device will let you know.

Of course, you can change the shortcuts in the S Pen context menu, customize them for yourself.

Real life experience with the S Pen, or an afterword

People need concrete and real examples of howhow the S Pen can help in their lives. In Vienna, I saw a remarkable picture: a girl put her smartphone on the pavement, took a memorized pose, she had an S Pen in her hand, with which she took pictures. A remote control that is always with you.

He spoke about meetings and reactions of officials, butThere are also problems in museums. Sometimes they don’t allow you to take pictures of the exhibits, but you want to write out the name of the artist and the title of the work, then the S Pen and quick notes come to the rescue. Of course, you can use the pen for covert shooting, but it's up to you whether you break local rules or not. I observed people who, sitting in a cafe, took pictures of people passing by on a smartphone using the S Pen - exactly the same story of hidden shooting. By the way, you can start the recorder with a pen, manage the recording - journalists or someone else, this function will come in handy.

Every few days I need to sign somedocuments, I do it all on my phone, open Samsung Notes, there is already a sent file, where I leave my signature, and only then I send it by mail. For the last five years I have been doing just that, and it helped me to put a squiggle in places where there was simply no other possibility - outside the house or office, often on trips to godforsaken places. I remember how a French traveler in the Pamirs looked at me when I chatted in English, signed documents at the same time and sent them through the barely working local Internet. The action took place in a roadside cafe in the mountains, there were cakes on the carpet, there was tea - and right there my makeshift office in the form of a telephone in my hands. The man shook his head and said that this was the last thing he expected to see in the Pamirs. It is possible that the penetration of technology into such corners is a negative part of our world, or maybe a positive one, depends on your point of view. For me, this has always been a big plus.

I have no illusions that I need an S Penconstantly, every moment. But in those moments when I have to use it, it is indispensable in every sense. There are up to ten such situations per month, which is quite a lot. To know when you might need the S Pen and, most importantly, for what, it is worth exploring its capabilities. According to this material, it is clear that there are plenty of them and they are diverse, they will satisfy very different people.

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