On Thursday, Aug. 9, Samsung unveiled its latest member of the Galaxy family at the Samsung Unpacked 2018 event. With four products being unveiled, there are no shortage of new gadgets and their individual features to dive into. But one in particular is getting a lot of hype. So what does the Galaxy Note 9 S Pen do, exactly?
To back up, there's plenty for Samsung fans to get excited over about the Galaxy Note 9 itself, not to mention the whole family of products that were rolled out on Thursday. At the launch, Samsung rolled out its new Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Home in addition to the next-gen Note. But the S Pen is arguably one of the coolest features of all that the company has delivered at Unpacked this year.
The S Pen, the Note's latest stylus companion, is now Bluetooth-enabled, so it works like a remote control to your phone. You can take photos, change the music, and use Samsung DeX (the docking station) with the new-and-improved pen.
The S Pen's Bluetooth capability revolutionizes the mobile device world for a number of reasons. CNET reports that the Bluetooth function works up to 30 feet away, and you can use the stylus with a number of different apps, and the clicks change depending on which app you're using. You can even customize how the pen works.
Importantly, this additional Bluetooth function means that the stylus does burn through a charge more quickly. But according to CNET, it can be recharged by placing it back inside its holster in the phone in less than a minute. Each charge reportedly will last a half hour or 200 clicks.
The fact that the S Pen lets you take photos without needing to touch the phone's shutter button itself changes the phone photography game. The built-in shutter means you can snap photos from the stylus itself, and the possibilities here are seemingly endless. (So if your life has been plagued by the tragedy of finally achieving the perfect selfie angle only to discover you can't quite reach to press the camera button, those dark days are behind you.)
The S Pen and its features certainly got Twitter talking, and not just among the tech geek and Silicon Valley press crowd.
"The bluetooth S Pen ia [sic] about change the smartphone camera game," tweeted South African celebrity Maps Maponyane, apparently from the audience at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. "Something so simple that will take it to the next level."
Aside from camera function, the new S Pen has also retained its writing and drawing functionalities, but as CNET's Jessica Dolcourt points out, you can take notes on the device with the stylus without having to unlock it. (If you're someone like me who has to physically write things down to remember them, this could seriously up your note-taking skills.) The pen reportedly is compatible with Spotify and works as a presentation remote.
The phone is expected to be released officially on Aug. 24, but preorders for the Galaxy Note 9 begin at 12:01 a.m. ET on Aug. 10.