The S Pen has been a key differentiating feature of Samsung’s range of Note smartphones since it first popularised the large-screen “phablet” category of mobile devices in 2011.
Over the past seven years, smartphone screens have increased in size so the large size of the displays in the Note range are no longer unusual, but it remains one of the few smartphones that comes with a stylus.
Samsung partners with Wacom to provide the technology that goes into the S Pen — the same company that builds the stylus and slate technology used by professional digital artists.
As a stylus and pointing device, the S Pen may be used in various applications available on the Galaxy Note 9.
The Samsung Notes app lets you use the S Pen to take handwritten notes, or use handwriting recognition to produce text. While the Note 9’s display is locked you can also eject the pen and use Screen Off Memo to quickly make a note of something and save it to the Notes application.
Air Command is another feature enabled by the S Pen — a radial dial of icons which act as shortcuts for apps and other features. By default, it opens automatically when you eject the S Pen while the Note 9 is unlocked.
Users may also add features such as Magnify and Glance onto the Air Command shortcut bar.
Magnify lets you enlarge any part of the screen you point to, while Glance lets you minimise an app to a small window while you continue with another task. You can then point the S Pen at the Glance window to get a full screen view of the app you minimised.
In addition to the stylus functionality, the S Pen in the Note 9 can now act as a remote control for several apps.
This is thanks to the S Pen supporting Bluetooth Low Energy, offering battery life of up to 30 minutes on a single charge of less than one minute.
By default, pressing and holding the button on the S Pen will launch the camera. A single press will then take a photo, while a double press will switch to the front-facing camera.
These S Pen shortcuts may be configured in the settings menu, allowing you to use the S Pen to start and stop video recordings too.
The S Pen may also be used as a remote in Microsoft Powerpoint, the Note 9’s Voice Recorder app, the Gallery, the Clock’s stopwatch feature, and in music player applications.
All of these remote features may be configured or disabled, if you prefer.
The video below showcases the various remote control and stylus features available through the S Pen that comes with the Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
This article was published in partnership with Samsung.