New Galaxy S21 Ultra smartphone gets support for S Pen for the first time, as Samsung introduces smart earbuds and Bluetooth tracking tag
Samsung has added support for the S Pen stylus to its flagship Galaxy S21 Ultra smartphone, raising questions around the future of the Galaxy Note.
Samsung said it remains committed to the Note line, at least for the time being, and would make plans based on users’ feedback.
In the past, Galaxy Note devices have been Samsung’s only smartphones with stylus support, although its tablets and PCs can also be used with the S Pen.
Samsung said it was looking to expand the S Pen experience.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s stylus support aims to expand the “Note experience” to other devices, Samsung said in a statement.
“It does not mean that Samsung is not committed to the Note category,” it said, adding it would “actively listen to consumers’ feedback” for future product plans.
The current S Pen lacks support for Bluetooth features, such as air gestures, that are built into the stylus sold with the Galaxy Note.
But an S Pen Pro planned for later this year is intended to add those features, giving the S21 Ultra a more Note-like experience.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 6.8in display is only slightly smaller than that of the largest 6.9in Note.
One notable difference is that the Note features a slot for storing its stylus, while the S21 Ultra requires an optional case with a stylus carrying slot.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is to sell for £1,149 when it hits the market on 29 January, with the S Pen costing an extra £35, or £85 when bundled with the carrying case.
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is priced in the same range, at £1,179.
The S21 Ultra is the only non-Note model to support the S Pen, with the lower-cost 6.2in S21 and 6.7in S21+ lacking stylus support.
All three of the new phones, introduced last week, feature redesigned cameras and support 8K filming.
The phones do away with the microSD card slot and do not include a charger – moves that follow in Apple’s footsteps.
Samsung also introduced new £219 Bluetooth earbuds that turn down the music volume when they sense the user is conversing with someone.
The company also announced the £30 Galaxy SmartTag, a Bluetooth-enabled tracking module for belongings or pets.
The tags, which display their location to any nearby, compatible Samsung device, compete with those from market leader Tile and an Apple competitor also rumoured to be on the way.