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Samsung launches premium S Pen to tempt iPad artists in the US

Samsung launches premium S Pen to tempt iPad artists in the US

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The S Pen Creator Edition features enhanced tilt sensitivity for more precision when drawing, and a single button for switching between software tools.

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A hand writing “Spe” using the Samsung S Pen Creator Edition
The slightly thicker shape of the Creator Edition S Pen should feel more natural to grip — like a real pencil.
Image: Samsung

The S Pen Creator Edition tablet stylus that Samsung unveiled alongside its Galaxy Tab S9 series in July is now available to buy in the US for $99.99. Designed with writing, sketching, and digital painting in mind, the S Pen Creator Edition is a more premium stylus compared to the standard $59.99 S Pen that ships with Galaxy Tab S9 devices, providing more benefits for creative professionals like additional tilt-sensitivity and a thicker shape for improved grip.

The S Pen Creator Edition is compatible with Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and higher, Galaxy Note10 and higher, Galaxy Tab S Series, and PCs that already support the existing S Pen. It cannot be used with any Galaxy Z series of folding devices. The stylus is battery-free and doesn’t require charging, and the flat side can magnetically attach to compatible Galaxy Tab devices for storage, just like an Apple Pencil.

The Samsung S Pen Creator Edition against a white backdrop.
The silver button is a dead giveaway that this isn’t an Apple Pencil, but there are certainly similarities in the design.
Image: Samsung

Samsung claims that this latest stylus is its “most advanced S Pen yet,” though that does come with some caveats as Air Commands — an S Pen feature that allows users to quickly access various functions by pressing the stylus button while hovering over the screen— are strangely not supported. The S Pen Creator Edition is only available in white, and features a single button on the side that can be used to interact with tools in creative applications (such as switching between pen and eraser functions). It also carries an IPX4 rating — meaning it can withstand light splashes — which is less protection than the submersible IP68 rating on the cheaper S pen.

The Samsung S Pen Creator Edition having its nib changed.
The stylus comes with two replacement nibs and a simple tool to aid in safely inserting them.
Image: Samsung

Right down to its appearance, the S Pen Creator Edition is Samsung’s real rival to the Apple Pencil which has gained a loyal fanbase of iPad creatives who prefer its combined convenience over traditional, bulkier drawing tablet setups. This popularity is largely driven by the iPad platform (owing to its well-supported catalog of iOS-exclusive apps like Procreate and Forger), but the Apple Pencil itself — particularly its $129 second generation model — has its own merits, such as creative-focused features like gesture controls for swapping between tools in drawing apps.

Samsung will need to improve its creative software offerings across the Galaxy Tab series to have any real hope of competing against the reputation Apple has already built, but the S Pen Creator Edition is certainly a start. At the very least, it’s better equipped to handle creative tasks than the $79 USB-C Apple Pencil that was announced last month, which ditches features like pressure sensitivity entirely.