The new Samsung Galaxy Note 9 is here, with price in India starting at Rs 67,000 for the base model (128GB storage), and Rs 84,000 for the top end variant with 512GB storage. Yes, it looks exactly the same as last year’s Galaxy Note 8, with minor refinements in design. But it does pack a punch when it comes to upgrades.
You get a dual aperture camera module, a bigger 4,000mAh battery, and more. More importantly though, this year Samsung has given the S Pen its biggest update so far. The S Pen now comes with Bluetooth LE module, which opens up a lot of possibilities. It is still the same stylus that we’ve seen on the Galaxy Note 7 and Galaxy Note 8, but with the Galaxy Note 9, it gets a couple of tricks up its sleeve. Let’s take a look.
Watch: Samsung Galaxy Note 9 First Look
Bluetooth S Pen features, charging and battery life
When you look at the new S Pen, you’ll notice that it looks exactly the same as the older S Pen on the Galaxy Note 8. In the fact, the size and dimensions are the same as well. However, the button on new S Pen is a bit smaller compared to the older one.
Besides that, the S Pen is capable of sensing up to 4,096 levels of pressure, with a nib that is less than 7.5mm thick, thus offering you an experience closer to writing on a paper using a pen.
The Bluetooth-enabled S Pen is powered by a tiny battery that offers enough juice to let you use for about 30 minutes or more. Samsung is using a supercapacitor inside the S Pen, which quickly charges it in about 40 seconds.
On a single charge, I was able to use the S Pen’s Bluetooth features for up to 30 minutes, before it needed charging again. When the battery level falls below 20 percent, you will be notified about the same on your phone. And when the battery is completely down, you can still use the S Pen, as you would use on the previous Galaxy Note devices, minus the Bluetooth features.
S Pen as remote control for presentation
The S Pen allows you to interact with your phone in a number of ways. You can start a PowerPoint presentation and a single tap on the S Pen button will change to the next slide, whereas a double tap will take you back the previous slide. This will come in handy for professionals who are constantly in meetings, and working on a lot of presentations. Simply use the DeX adapter to connect the phone to a monitor or a TV, and you can start presenting right away.
This also works in the Gallery app, where you can single press the S Pen button to move to the next photo, or double press for the previous one. It comes in handy when you are showing photos from a trip or a function or so, to your family and friends.
S Pen as camera shutter and media controller
Today, a lot of us use smartphones to click selfies, and a handful of them turn out to be blurry. This is because of the shaky hand movements when you press the shutter button. One way to ensure blur-free photos is to use a timer, but Samsung wants to give you another way to click better selfies. With the camera turned on, you can single press the S Pen to use it as a camera shutter, or double press to switch between front and rear cameras. You can also use the S Pen as a media controller when you are listening to music on Apple Music, Google Play Music or Samsung’s stock music player app. The S Pen can also be used to Play/Pause a video on YouTube or default music player app.
S Pen Air Command features
Besides the Bluetooth features, the S Pen also includes Air Command offering a number of options such as – smart select, live message, translate, magnify, glance, Bixby vision and more. All of these options we have already seen on the Galaxy Note 8, and you get them on Galaxy Note 9 too.
Smart Select lets you record a video playing on the screen, and convert into GIF. Live messages let you record the scribble motion, and send it as an animated video. You also have the S Translate feature, where you can select the text from a website that you are reading, or from a photo that you captured.
Overall, the S Pen with Bluetooth is a solid upgrade. When I first heard of rumors, I was a bit skeptical, thinking of it to be just another gimmick. After seeing the demo at the launch event, I was still not sure, but after using the Galaxy Note 9 and S Pen for the past 10 days, I’m really impressed. It is not a gimmick, and serves as a highly functional tool, something that you will appreciate having.