Over the years, many Galaxy Note owners have told me a similar story about Samsung’s S Pen. They say it’s one of those accessories that gets used a lot in the first week, and then seldom ever again. Despite the fact that the S Pen is one of the crucial differentiators that makes a Note a Note, I understood completely. During my time with the Note II as a kind of “extended daily driver,” I felt much the same: the S Pen was an occasional novelty and little more.
As I made clear in Pocketnow’s full review of the Galaxy Note 4, I’d still like to see more streamlining, simplicity, and compatibility find their way to the Note 4’s S Pen. As is typical of most things Samsung, the S Pen software sometimes prioritizes cheap tricks over substantial utility. But where last year’s Note 3 took this imbalance to an extreme, the Note 4 pulls back a bit – much to the betterment of the user experience. Samsung has fully embraced the concept of the S Pen as a “mouse-like” accessory to the computer-like Note, and the result is the best stylus experience you can find on any smartphone today.
With all those features come complexity, though – as well as a software structure that buries some of the S Pen’s coolest capabilities. So join me for a video tour of all these hidden features. Whether you have a Note 4 or not, you’re bound to get a kick out of discovering just what’s possible with a stylus-packing smartphone in 2014. And if you want the full review experience, check out our extended piece on the Note 4 or the video review embedded at the bottom of this post. Enjoy!