There’s a big design flaw in Samsung’s latest phone, the Galaxy Note 5 that breaks the included stylus’ functionality if you slide it into its slot backwards.
The internet had a collective freakout over the flaw for most of Tuesday. And rightfully so. I tried it, and found that it ruins many of the important features in the Note 5.
The Verge received an official statement from Samsung essentially stating that it’s the user’s fault for not reading the instructions properly, and that the scenario was “unexpected.”
Unfortunately, Samsung’s reply isn’t good enough because it’s far too easy to break one of the defining features of the Galaxy Note line due to its own design flaws. It’s like saying that a customer shouldn’t have dropped her phone on a marble floor because she didn’t read the instructions saying the phone isn’t designed to withstand high-shock impacts.
It appears Samsung knew about the flaw too. The following screenshot from the Note 5 user manual warns you not to insert the S Pen backwards:
S Pens on previous Galaxy Note devices were much harder to slide in backwards because they were wider at the top, so they never had this problem.
The issue is still fresh, so Samsung may figure out a better way to deal with this problem in the near future. I’ve also reached out to the company, and will update this post as soon as I hear back. But for now, the official statement is to be careful and make sure you’re sliding the stylus in the proper way.
What happens when you break the S Pen
It might be different for others, but my Galaxy Note 5 review unit will now randomly vibrate to alert me to replace the S Pen, which is a handy feature if I leave the S Pen behind. Except I’m getting the alerts when the S Pen is
in its housing.
And the cool new feature that lets you take notes without needing to unlock your screen is also busted. Instead of turning on when I remove the S Pen, it now turns on when I put it back in.
Also, the S Pen icon that appears on the Galaxy Note 5’s home screen when you remove the S Pen also never goes away, even if the S Pen is in its housing. It worked fine for a while, but it broke eventually after taking the S Pen in and out a few times the correct way.
Is this a dealbreaker? Probably not. The Galaxy Note 5 is an incredible phone, and it’s the best phone I’ve ever used. It’s unfortunate Samsung didn’t try to fix the problem before, but you should be fine as long as you’re really careful.
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