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What is an S Pen?

Are you in the market for a Galaxy tablet or Samsung’s new shiny Galaxy S23 Ultra and noticed a curious-looking S Pen being offered as an add-on but aren’t sure what exactly it does?

That’s where we at Trusted Reviews come in. We’ve used Samsung’s S Pen with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the newer Galaxy S23 Ultra and a smattering of older Galaxy phones and tablets and know everything there is to know about the high-tech stylus.

From explaining what an S Pen is to what it can be used for, we break down everything you need to know about the Samsung S Pen stylus right here.

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What is an S Pen?

The S Pen is a stylus you can use with your Samsung Galaxy device. It comes with a number of different devices, each with its own unique features and capabilities.

The most basic model has a button that lets you take notes or draw pictures on your screen.

Other more advanced models like those included with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Ultra are able to control the device by hovering over certain areas, such as previewing images in the Gallery app, as the display can detect the stylus without making contact.

Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

The knock-on effect means it’s easier to scribble notes and create digital art using the stylus as it’ll give you a preview of where your pen nib will be on screen.

The most recent S Pen is also one of the most responsive around, with an impressive 2.3ms latency bringing the stylus much closer to a traditional writing experience than even the iPad-exclusive Apple Pencil 2 and its 22ms latency.

What can an S Pen be used for?

An S Pen can be used for a wide range of tasks. Some of the most common uses include:

  • To write, draw, and sketch on your Galaxy Note device with the S Pen stylus.
  • To take notes in meetings or during lectures by writing directly onto your device’s screen.
  • To edit documents by hand while reviewing them on your tablet or smartphone screen.
  • To crop text, images or other graphics from your phone.
  • As a shutter control for the device’s camera app.

Is an S Pen worth it?

Based on our experience reviewing devices with an S Pen, since the tech first appeared on the original Galaxy Note, the answer to this question depends on which device and type of S Pen you pair it with.

It’s great for devices like the Galaxy S22 Ultra and newer Galaxy S23 Ultra, where the S Pen slots easily into a small silo on the bottom of the device, ensuring it’s always accessible for notes or camera shortcuts.

However, this isn’t the case with the S21 Ultra or the Z Fold 4. With these phones, you’ll need a separate case for the S Pen, and this can make it a fiddly addition.

On the tablet side of things, we found the S Pen very useful on the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. Paired with the tablet’s screen the S Pen was fantastic for everything from scribbling notes, to managing spreadsheets and digitally painting.

Which devices do S Pens work with?

S Pens work with a variety of Samsung devices, including:

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