Samsung’s new Galaxy S21 Ultra supports the company’s S Pen stylus. Support for the accessory has been a staple of Samsung’s Galaxy Note smartphones for years, but this is the first time it’s been supported in the company’s Galaxy S-series. The new S Pen will be available as an optional $39.99 accessory, and Samsung says the S21 Ultra will also work with S Pens from other Galaxy Note or Galaxy Tab devices.
As for what you can use the stylus to do on the S21 Ultra, Samsung has outlined a range of familiar use cases. These include drawing, note-taking, photo editing, and signing documents. Physically, the new S Pen stylus is a little bigger than previous Galaxy Note S Pens, but it retains the side button. Samsung is also releasing a bigger S Pen Pro later this year, which comes equipped with Bluetooth and support for air gestures.
Unlike Galaxy Note phones, the Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn’t have a built-in slot for storing the stylus. Instead, Samsung is selling cases with S Pen carrying slots, which cost $69.99 when bundled with the stylus. Having to use a case to carry the accessory doesn’t sound as convenient as being able to slot it in the phone directly, but it’s a compromise given there’ll be plenty of Galaxy S21 Ultra owners who won’t bother with the optional accessory.
In the new lineup, stylus support is exclusive to the Galaxy S21 Ultra. You won’t be able to use an S Pen with either the Galaxy S21 or S21 Plus.
Rumors of the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s stylus support have been around since last year, and the feature was essentially confirmed in an FCC filing at the end of December. Now that the Galaxy S series is inheriting one of the Note series’s biggest features, there are rumors that the latter could be discontinued. However, this has reportedly been disputed by one Samsung official.
Update January 14th, 11:02AM ET: Added details of Samsung’s S Pen Pro.