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This $70 S Pen/case combo wont turn your S21 Ultra into a Galaxy Note – Engadget

It appears extra doubtless than ever that the Galaxy Be aware line as we all know it’s on its manner out, and that is positive to be dire information for followers of the S Pen. Or will it? With the launch of this yr’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung is outwardly attempting to provide its fan-favorite stylus a lifetime of types past the Be aware — however you’ll have to search out one your self.

When you’ve got an old Galaxy Note mendacity round, you’re golden — simply pop that S Pen out and sketch away. Should you don’t, you should buy a model new one for $40 from Samsung, or shell out an additional $30 for a silicone case/S Pen bundle. That final possibility looks as if probably the most complete possibility as a result of it provides Samsung’s stylus someplace to dwell, however after dwelling with it for every week… properly, let’s say it’s been a combined bag.

Thoughts you, that is not due to the S Pen itself. The truth is, I really actually like this factor — it’s some of the snug S Pens I’ve ever used. That consolation is all because of the S Pen’s dimension. At simply over 4 inches lengthy, its heft and really feel have extra in frequent with a basic ballpoint than the diminutive stylus constructed into Samsung’s Galaxy Be aware smartphones.

Gallery: Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely S Pen case pictures | 7 Images

Gallery: Samsung Galaxy S21 Extremely S Pen case pictures | 7 Images

This $40 S Pen packs the entire requisite bits wanted to play good with the invisible Wacom digitizer contained in the S21 Extremely’s huge show. That clearly means you possibly can write with it, however you too can maintain the S Pen above the display and faucet its button to carry up a palette of helpful choices and shortcuts. It very a lot feels just like the S Pen expertise from the previous days, which is okay should you’re the sort who principally jots down fast reminders and grocery lists. (For different enjoyable options like assist for air gestures and digital camera management, you may have to attend for the dearer S Pen Professional coming later this yr.) 

The S Pen can also be quick, which frankly got here as a little bit of a shock. After I was engaged on our S21 Extremely assessment, I famous that stroke latency — that’s, the lag between beginning a stroke and seeing it on-screen — wasn’t fairly as little as on units like the Note 20 Ultra. I wrote that after testing the S21 Extremely with a Lamy S Pen Samsung gave away after some launch occasion, however the challenge appears to be gone with this first-party stylus. Our assessment unit hasn’t obtained any software program updates after publication, so I am snug chalking up that discrepancy to the S Pen I used to be utilizing. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra S Pen case

Chris Velazco/Engadget

If all it is advisable use the S Pen for is writing, you are in good condition right here. That stated, I am slightly hesitant to suggest it to artists. For the previous few years, Galaxy Notes have been capable of detect the angle at which the S Pen was being held to supply appropriately angled strokes. That also occurs on the S21 Extremely with this considerably much less clever model of the S Pen, and from what I can inform, the impact works about as properly right here because it does on the Galaxy Be aware 20 Extremely. There are most likely some edge circumstances right here I am not totally accounting for, however the expertise nonetheless feels fairly shut.

So, as I stated, the S Pen itself is not the issue right here. It is the case that leaves me wanting. For one, it suffers from all the problems different silicone circumstances do — it is fast to choose up lint and mud, and clings to the within of your pocket. That appears much more unavoidable right here due to how rattling huge the S21 Extremely turns into when it is inside this case. It was already slightly larger and heavier than final yr’s S20 Extremely, however this case makes it much more unwieldy. I get that this was unavoidable — in spite of everything, the case has to deal with a bodily bigger S Pen on a regular basis. Nonetheless, individuals accustomed to the Galaxy Be aware’s easy-to-grip body might discover this bundle unwieldy. 

Samsung Galaxy S21+ in use

Chris Velazco/Engadget

It is also value noting that, due to all of the buttons on the S21 Extremely’s proper facet, the S Pen slips right into a slot on the case’s left facet. That is nice information for lefties, however not a lot for everybody else; I have never been capable of prepare myself to drag out the pen with my left hand but, so utilizing this stylus/case combo at all times requires a clumsy little juggle. Fortunately, the S Pen is kind of straightforward to drag out and reinsert once you’re carried out.

Regardless of the case’s heft, it feels surprisingly shoddy in some locations. Most notably, the trim proper across the charging port cutout feels very flimsy; I may undoubtedly see it snagging on one thing and snapping when being pulled out of a bag. Sadly, at time of writing there aren’t any different S21 Extremely circumstances obtainable that additionally comfortably home the S Pen, so individuals seeking to flip their new flagships into ersatz Galaxy Notes simply need to make do.

In equity, I am undecided what Samsung may have carried out to make this bundle nicer to make use of — aside from selecting higher supplies, that’s. The S Pen’s dimension calls for an outsized case, and like I stated, that is the one sport on the town proper now for anybody who needs to make use of an S Pen with an S21 Extremely with out shedding it. Let’s be clear, although: As nice because the S Pen may be, this stylus/case combo is nowhere close to as considerate or as elegant as a correct Galaxy Be aware, and possibly wouldn’t win over Samsung’s die-hards. For that purpose alone, I hope Samsung would not kill off its line of power-user phablets utterly — optimistically, that ship hasn’t sailed simply but.

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