Saturday, October 6, 2012

Working with Samsung's S-Pen

On Thursday I visited Samsung's GALAXY Studio to draw something on their Galaxy Note 10.1 and get a chance to win one of Samsung's new Galaxy devices (Galaxy Note 2, Galaxy Note 10.1 or Galaxy S3) – though I'm sure my untalented drawing won't win this week ;)
Samsung promised to also print out your drawings on a T-shirt but unfortunately their T-shirt-printer broke the day before so we just got photo prints.

Of course this GALAXY Studio is only promotion for their devices, especially the Note devices which feature the S-Pen – a stylus to be used with the Note devices to accurately input drawings.
So I took the opportunity and not only tested simple drawing but also using the keyboard as well as testing some of the features (especially apps!) Samsung announced for the Note 2.

Drawing using the S-Pen really works great, because with just fingers, you could never reach that high accuracy. Sometimes drawing didn't work: I saw the result but after lifting the pen, the last drawing vanished again. Fortunately this only happened when I accidentally also touched the screen with my hand, so it looks like the the Galaxy Note 10.1 was just too big for me ;)
Using the keyboard with the stylus was also really easy and not as uncomfortable as I expected, but I definitely prefer using my fingers for this one – and luckily that's possible!
I also asked Samsung's promoters about this feature where you can write notes on the back of a picture (which in my opinion is a great idea). At first they did not understand my question, they thought I wanted to use images in my notes, not notes on my image – but eventually they were able to show it to me ;)
It was just after they showed me how to open that, when I realized that the Samsung (and almost all the other manufacturers) still use hardware keys – which was why I was not able to find the feature: it was just hidden in an off-screen menu.
Last but not least, the guys there, showed me a neat app to edit photos – similar to Instagram (but with more useful effects). I didn't catch the name but it comes out of the box with at least the Note 2.

So what's the conclusion? I really like the S-Pen technology and it's really easy and comfortable to use but it's also great to be able to use your fingers if you like (without feeling any difference). This stylus approach is especially useful for drawing as well as quickly taking notes – writing with a pen is usually faster than using a (software) keyboard. There are some small flaws but I guess they are not that grave.
The apps on the Note 2 are also quite nice, but the device itself is a little bit too big for a phone – so let's continue calling it a phablet ;)
Also, Samsung deciding to use hardware keys was not a good decision. It's hidden and does not help users get the best out of their Android device (especially when switching between manufacturers). I definitely prefer the Google way on my Galaxy Nexus: only software buttons and action items I'm already used to.
Now I only need to win one of those devices ;)

UPDATE: I did not win – the competition was too good ;)

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