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How does the S-Pen support on the Galaxy S21 series work?

How does the S-Pen support on the Galaxy S21 series work?

The Samsung Galaxy S21 series has just launched, and we know pretty much everything already that there is to know. With the Samsung Galaxy Note series reportedly axed, many were worried that there would no longer be any flagship Samsung smartphones that support a stylus. Thankfully, the Samsung Galaxy S21 series does support the S-Pen… kind of. The S-Pen is only supported on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, and it’s not quite as convenient to use as with the Note series. Keep in mind that you won’t be able to use air gestures or any Bluetooth controls if you purchase the regular S Pen, so you’ll have to wait for the S Pen Pro to release later this or (or use any past Tab or Note-series stylus) to use air gestures with your shiny new S21 Ultra.

Using an S-Pen with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The first thing you’ll need to do is either pick up an S-Pen that works for the Samsung Galaxy Note series or pick up the new S-Pen that Samsung has launched specifically for the S21 Ultra. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is backward compatible and will work with an older S-Pen from something like the Galaxy Note 20. If you don’t have a previous Samsung device, then you can either pick up an S-Pen individually or even a third-party one – check out our list of the best Galaxy S21 Ultra styluses if you don’t want to shell out $40 for one. It’s an entirely optional accessory, and it means that you can turn your Galaxy S21 Ultra into what would have been a Galaxy Note 21 Ultra, assuming that the Note series is gone for good.

There’s a problem with that though, as you’ll just have a loose S-Pen that can’t dock inside of your smartphone. If you have to put it in your bag or your pocket, there’s a chance that you might end up losing it or damaging it. That’s why Samsung has also launched an S-Pen and case package.

The case is a special one that can hold onto the stylus so that you don’t need to worry about losing it. In essence, it works pretty much the exact same way as if you had a Galaxy Note series device and wanted to dock your pen. In a future update, Samsung will enable gestures and Bluetooth controls, so that you can use it the exact same way that you would on a Galaxy Note series device. The pen itself is quite similar to the pen that you can purchase for the Samsung Galaxy Tab S7, and you can still click both the top of the pen and a button at the side. If you want to save some money, you can go for the S-Pen on its own, but otherwise, we highly recommend picking up the case as well.

    S-Pen for Galaxy S21 Ultra

    The new S-Pen for the S21 Ultra

    It's very similar in terms of specs and features to the S-Pen found in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but this is a new slightly thicker S-Pen designed for the S21 Ultra and designed to be stored separately, vs slim enough to fit into the phone like with the Note 20 Ultra.
    Samsung Official S-Pen + Case

    Store your S-Pen in style

    The S-Pen for the Galaxy S21 Ultra is great but doesn't attach to the phone so unless you want an S-Pen that roams in your bag, you'll want a case that can store it. The official case from Samsung does just this, and is the best way to keep your S-Pen with your phone.
    S-Pen for Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

    Affordable and colorful

    If you'd rather not buy the new S-Pen and prefer the slimmer design of last year's Galaxy Note 20 Ultra S-Pen, look no further. You can pick up the S-Pen from the last Note flagship starting at just $26 and it's available in four different colors!

About author

Adam Conway
Adam Conway

I'm a senior editor here at XDA-Developers. I'm also a 22-year-old Irish technology fanatic and Computer Science graduate. Lover of smartphones, cybersecurity, and Counter-Strike. You can contact me at [email protected] My Twitter is @AdamConwayIE and my Instagram is adamc.99.