Samsung’s S Pen has been the one thing that sets the Galaxy Note series apart from its competition in the phablet market. While others just made big smartphones, Samsung decided to make the most of its huge screen real estate by adding super-sensitivity and developing what could be the best modern stylus. Because the screen is so sensitive, the S Pen could have a nib no bigger than a regular ball point pen, and that makes it really pleasant to use. It also comes with a bunch of really useful features which, when you get familiar with them, become essential day-to-day functions.
1. Use it as a mouse
Using the button on the side of the S Pen, you can press and hold it to drag and select content on screen. In your browser, this will be a chunk of text. You can then select to copy and paste it somewhere else. Or if you’re in the gallery, you can use it to select multiple images and share, edit, delete or move them to a different folder. Also like a mouse you can use it to move up and down pages, or interact with the screen. Virtually anything you’d normally use your finger for, you can use your S Pen for.
2. Handwriting, everywhere
Sure, it’s not quite like writing with a pen on paper. But as far as plastic on glass goes, this is the best writing experience. Because I’m someone who loves writing by hand, this is awesome. And Samsung’s software is pretty good at detecting what you’re trying to write, even if your handwriting isn’t particularly neat. You can write anywhere that has a text field by hovering the S Pen above it until you see the blue “T” icon appear. Select it, and start scribbling.
3. Action Memo
S Pen has its own bespoke pop-up feature menu called Air Command. One of its features is Action Memo, which happens to be one of the most useful features around. You can scribble a quick note and pin it to your screen, or save it to your scrapbook. More importantly, you can write down a telephone numbers, email address, physical addresses and it’ll automatically detect them and give you a list of options like calling them, adding them to contacts, shooting an email or navigating to them. Oh, and you can sync them to Evernote if you like.
4. Screen Write
Another Air Command feature is screen write. When selected, this takes an automatic screenshot of your entire screen and then takes you straight to the picture editor to let you draw or scribble on your image. It’s useful for circling maps, or just adding glasses or facial hair to your least favorite people.
Although you can use your S Pen to scroll up and down the screen in the browser or other app normally by pressing and dragging, the S Pen can actually be much smarter. Hover the pen at the top or the bottom of the screen and watch your content automatically scroll up or down. It’s a little more convenient, and doesn’t take at all long to get used to.
6. Preview Message
Another handy feature works in the Messaging app. You can preview text message content by hovering the S Pen above any message in your inbox. Just in case you want to see if it’s worth replying to before committing to opening it.
7. Pressure sensitivity
Unlike many styluses, the S Pen is pressure sensitive. In compatible apps — like S Note, for instance — you can press harder to get a thicker line when drawing or writing. It’s really very clever and adds to the feeling that this is no ordinary stylus.
8. Image Clip and Smart Select
Unlike Screen Write, Image Clip and Smart Select let you choose specific areas of the screen to take shots of. With Image Clip, you choose a rectangle area, whereas Smart Select lets you cut out any area you like, and it can even detect borders if you want to convert that to a rectangle or circular area.