Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Disappointment of the S-Pen
Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S21 series less than 24 hours ago at the Samsung Unpacked. While the phones are already up for pre-orders, there are some concerns regarding the star of the show Galaxy S21 Ultra and the supposed S-Pen support it brings to the table.
You see, it was all but confirmed that the Galaxy S21 Ultra would bring support for S-Pen, but we weren't sure to what extent this support would be coming to the phone. It almost looked like the Galaxy Note series' death, but then Samsung dropped the bomb on just what the new S-Pen would be capable of, and honestly, it is not really a lot.
The S-Pen for Galaxy S21 Ultra is Going to be Extremely Limited in Functionality
I have been a Samsung user for a long time now and have used every Galaxy S and Note device that Samsung has released. The window to mess things up with the Galaxy S21 series was tiny for Samsung. They made a mighty SoC in the name of Exynos 2100, gave us a powerhouse camera and features in the form of Galaxy S21 Ultra, and ended up messing up the S-Pen support.
For starters, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a digitizer similar to the one found in the Galaxy Note series, but it is not going to be a 1:1 replacement of the Galaxy Note series.
The S-Pen that Samsung will sell for a steep $39.99 would have made sense if it weren't barebones in terms of functionality. For starters, the S-Pen for the Galaxy S21 Ultra lacks some of the most common S-Pen features.
This stylus is meant to be used mainly for drawing and handwriting. Since there's no housing for the stylus inside the phone for the sake of storing and recharging, the new S-Pen isn't powered by a battery at all. It is a passive stylus that lacks any Bluetooth connectivity, and the famous Air Actions are not going to be a part of the new stylus.
However, if you are willing to shed a total of $69.99, Samsung did talk about the S-Pen Pro, which will be released later this year. The S-Pen Pro will bring Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), but recharging it will not be as easy as it would be for a Galaxy Note device.
Not just that, the S-Pen Pro is also going to be larger in size, almost the size of an actual pencil. According, to Samsung, the form factor will be similar to what we see with the Galaxy Tab S7. Samsung didn't give an exact release date for the S-Pen Pro but talked about how they plan to release it later this year.
Finally, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will also work with older S-Pens; however, it is important to know that the phone will still not have support for their Bluetooth connectivity.
There is no denying that Samsung could have made the Galaxy S21 Ultra the ultimate phone by giving it the proper S-Pen support and a silo for housing it. Still, at the same time, I understand that doing so would have resulted in the Galaxy Note series being irrelevant.
For anyone getting the Galaxy S21 Ultra and still contemplating the decision, get the phone because of how powerful it is, and not because of the S-Pen because, at the time of writing, this "feature" seems unnecessary.