Something important almost got lost in the fireworks of the Galaxy S21 unveiling – Samsung is launching two new S Pens, including a Pro model. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G supports both, in fact, you can use any current or old S Pen (so if you have an old Note laying around, you can use its stylus).
The new S Pen is lager in all dimensions, making it more comfortable. This is made possible since the stylus doesn’t have to fit inside a thin phone, instead it is attached to the side of select cases.
We should point out that this is a passive stylus (as in there’s no batter inside), so the Bluetooth functionality from recent Galaxy Notes is missing. However, thanks to the Wacom technology, the S21 Ultra can detect when you press the button to trigger certain actions and shortcuts (as long as the S Pen is near the display).
Then there’s the S Pen Pro. This one is even larger does does offer the Bluetooth features, e.g. using the stylus as a remote shutter key or controlling the music player. The Pro will be available later this year, its price was not revealed.
As for the basic S Pen for Galaxy S21 Ultra, that is $40 by itself or you can get a $70 case that comes bundled with the stylus. Or, again, you can use an old S Pen you have.
The S Pen Pro is not exclusive to the S21 Ultra, by the way, it will work on existing S Pen-capable devices as soon as they are updated to One UI 3.1. The list includes the Galaxy Note10 and Note20 as well as tablets like the Galaxy Tab S6 and S7.
Perhaps an even bigger deal is that Samsung is opening up the S Pen to third-party companies that sell Wacom-based styluses. It’s not quite clear if these will work from day 1 or if a software update is necessary.
Here’s a quick look at some supported models:
Compatible styluses: Hi-Uni Digital Mitsubishi Pencil • Staedtler Noris digital • LAMY AL-star black EMR
Check out our announcement coverage wrap-up for more on the Galaxy S21 series and other products that Samsung unveiled yesterday.