For many years, Samsung divided its phone lineup with the S-Series in the first half of the year and the Note series in the second half. But after the company hinted it was abandoning the Note series to sell more folding phones in 2021, the truth is not so tragic for Note fans: Samsung is basically turning the Galaxy Ultra into the new Note, as evidenced by the latest batch of leaks.
We already saw the first indications of this last year, as the S21 Ultra supported a newfangled external S-Pen. But frankly, the fact that the pen was external and optional largely killed what made the Note series so appealing in the first place. It also meant you had to spend an extra $70 for a pen and case which made a giant phone even larger.
The S22 Ultra seems set to rectify the death of the Note. We’ve been hearing rumors that the S-Pen would be included inside the S22 Ultra since September, but now we have something more concrete. Leaked images from 91mobiles appear to be official Samsung renders of the device, which will include an S-Pen that looks much like the ones included with prior Note devices.
We don’t know much about this new S-Pen’s capabilities, but I suspect most Note fans will just be happy to have the stylus directly integrated into the phone’s body again. It’s just much more elegant than a chunky case, especially if that case doesn’t fit your aesthetic or durability preferences. Besides, clicking the S-Pen into place was always immensely satisfying.
More importantly, including the S-Pen with the device gets people to actually, you know, use the S-Pen’s features. That’s long been one of my complaints about Microsoft’s Surface devices: developers aren’t going to take stylus input seriously if a significant portion of their potential customers isn’t buying a stylus in the first place. Making the stylus an optional accessory gives off the message that it’s a niche tool, not the genuinely useful feature it is.
Sure, some people will be unhappy with the move, as the S-Pen will take up space that could theoretically be used for a larger battery or other components. On the other hand, it’s a bit of a shame that Samsung is seemingly only providing pen input for its most expensive phone; I would’ve loved to see a cheaper note series phone, not just an ‘Ultra’ one.
Still, I’m glad the integrated S-Pen is all but certainly making a comeback; it’s proof it never should have gone away in the first place.