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Samsung Galaxy Note 8: Everything you need to know about S Pen features, Air Command and more

Samsung has added some new tricks to the S Pen on the new Galaxy Note 8. Here’s everything you need to know.

samsung galaxy note 8 review s pen

Back in 2011, Samsung launched the original Galaxy Note phablet and one of the key highlights of the device was the S Pen stylus. Styluses did exist even before the Galaxy Note series, but they worked with resistive touchscreen displays, and weren’t accurate enough to let you draw on the display. The Galaxy Note series changed it all, and the latest Galaxy Note 8’s S Pen bring a lot of new tricks up its sleeve.

To begin with, the new S Pen stylus is capable of sensing up to 4,096 levels of pressure, and with a thin nib that is less than 7.5mm thick, you get an experience closer writing on a paper using a pen. And just like the Galaxy Note 8, the S Pen is also IP68 certified for water and dust resistance. This means, you can take out the stylus and start doodling or jot down quick notes even under the rain.

The S Pen is located at the bottom right corner, and you just need to push the button once to eject it. Once you remove the stylus, the notes taking app starts by default, allowing you to quickly jot down notes. After you’re done, you can add save the note or even pin it to the ‘always on’ display. But this is only when the screen is locked. When the screen is already active, removing the S Pen brings up a small ‘Air Command’ icon on the right. Tapping the stylus on the icon brings up a number of options – smart select, live message, translate, magnify, glance, Bixby vision and more. Let’s take a look at each of these features and what all you can do with them. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 8: How dual cameras work, enhance photo quality and more

Samsung Galaxy Note 8 – S Pen features you should know

‘Always On’ Quick Notes

There are times when you want to jot down things quickly, but there are a lot of hassles, unlocking the phone with fingerprint or passcode, opening the app, and tap on ‘create new note’ to start taking notes. The Note 8’s ‘always on’ display does away with that. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 hands-on, first impressions: A slightly bigger Galaxy S8 with S Pen

When your phone is locked and you take out the S Pen stylus, the note-taking mode is turned on, without even unlocking the device. You can jot down the notes, and save them, or even pin it on the ‘always on’ display, so whatever you scribble is available without even unlocking the smartphone. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S8 review: A combination of beauty, beast and near-perfection!

Smart Select

There are times when we are watching a video on YouTube or any other video platform, and we want to convert a particular scene into a GIF. The Smart Select option makes that easier for you. Simply remove the S Pen and tap on Smart Select in the Air Command option. You will see four options, lasso tool, oval, rectangle and animation. ALSO READ: Samsung Bixby Voice: Here’s the list of voice commands, so you can master the newest AI assistant around

Here, tap on animation, resize and select the frame, choose quality – standard or high – and tap on record. It can record clips for up to 15 seconds, and convert them into GIFs. You can also start doodling over it for a more customized experience. Also, the other option – rectangle – comes in handy when you have an image with text on it, and you want to copy it. Simply select the tool, choose the area, and tap on extract, all the text will be extracted from that image.

Live Message

Want to make your messages lively? This is one of the best tools for that. Remove the S Pen, and tap on Live Message in air commands. Next, you can select between a pen, pencil or glittering pen, followed by color, and choose a background – which can be a solid color or a photo from your gallery. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S8 camera review: A closer look at the front and rear camera on the newest flagship out there

So, let’s say you had a birthday party, cut the cake and you want to send it to your friends with a message. Tap on live messages, choose background image, use the glitter pen, and scribble ‘Yummy’ on it. The entire action when you start writing till you end is recorded as a GIF and you can then send it to your friends on social networks or over messenger apps.


I’m a fan of Romanian music, and I listen a lot of DJ Project songs. Now, while they sound all good, I don’t understand the meaning of the lyrics. This is when the translate feature comes in handy. Simply open the browser, search for lyrics and when the page is open, take out the stylus and tap on translate. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy Note 8 or Samsung Galaxy S8+: Which is a better buy?

It uses Google Translate feature and lets you choose between the source language (Romanian in this case) to the language you want to translate in – English, Hindi, French, Gujarati, Japanese and more. And you can not only translate words, but also full sentences and paragraphs. There is just one small catch, your internet needs to be working throughout, and you need to know the source language, as it cannot detect on its own.


People like me who follow cricket and football are often hooked on to these sports, and when working, a tab with live scores is always open. On the Note 8, you can use glance mode to minimize the scores tab, while continuing doing your work. It will appear as a small window at the bottom, and when you want to check the score, just hover the S Pen over the glance screen, and it will pop up, and the moment you move the stylus, it will be minimized again. This feature comes very handy, and can help you be more productive without distractions.


Lastly, there are times when you are into maps app or reading a PDF, but due to small font size, you’re unable to read it clearly. The magnify mode offers up to 300 percent magnification level so you can see the minutest details.

These are some of the interesting new features of the Galaxy Note 8. We have already talked about the dual-camera setup and how it works, and will soon be bringing the full review of the smartphone, so stay tuned for that.

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Samsung Galaxy Note 8


Android 7.1.1 Nougat with TouchWiz UX
Exynos 8895 Octa-core 64-bit Processor
12 MP (f/1.7 aperture) + 12 MP (f/2.4 aperture)
  • Published Date: September 19, 2017 9:38 AM IST