The Samsung Galaxy Note 5: one hell of a piece of hardware, with killer display, stunning camera, and a stylus experience the likes of which you won’t find elsewhere. It’s a worthy handset to wear Samsung’s latest flagship hat … if only it weren’t for the stupid issue with wrong-way S Pen usage. Use the S Pen stylus as intended, and you’re in great shape, but with 2015’s redesign, Samsung opened the door for a nasty situation where users could jam the S Pen into their Note 5 the wrong way around, and beyond getting the stylus stuck, such a move could permanently damage the Note 5’s circuit boards, preventing the phone from correctly detecting the pen. Samsung did its best to warn users not to put their S Pens in backwards, but now it looks like the company has finally taken the next logical step and made internal changes to the Note 5 that help actually prevent damage in the case of improper S Pen insertion.
The big problem with old design was this little microswitch used to detect the presence of the S Pen in its holster. The switch was designed with a lever arm that worked just fine when the stylus was inserted correctly – point first – but the grooves on the other end of the S Pen would catch on this lever when stuck in backwards, getting it jammed and ultimately breaking the lever loose when forcefully removing the pen.
That’s the old design you see above and to the right. On the left is our salvation: a new curved guard that protects the microswitch, allowing it to still register the presence of the S Pen as intended, while introducing a new sloped edge that should prevent damage even when the S Pen is stowed backwards.
Why Samsung didn’t do this from day one, we can’t say, but we’re still very happy to see it getting around to fixing the issue – even if that fix does come this late.