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Circuit Breaker

Samsung adds Bluetooth to the Galaxy Note 9’s S Pen, making it more powerful than ever

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The best S Pen yet?

Photo: Chris Welch / The Verge

The Galaxy Note 9 is here, and like every Galaxy Note device before it, one of the highlights of the Note 9 is the thing that separates it from most other smartphones: the S Pen stylus.

This time around, Samsung is upgrading the S Pen in a big way: it’s adding Bluetooth Low Energy, turning the stylus from a mere note-taking accessory into a full-fledged remote control for your phone.

As the original rumors suggested, the addition of Bluetooth adds a ton of new tricks to the S Pen. You can use it as a remote camera shutter, a presentation remote with Samsung’s DeX, and for music controls. Pressing and holding the button opens the camera by default, but that shortcut can be customized to launch any app users want. Samsung says that it will open up the S Pen’s new Bluetooth features to developers later this year.

The extra functionality means that the new S Pen drains more power, but Samsung has a clever solution to that: using supercapacitors, the S Pen can recharge in the phone in just under a minute and last a half hour. It’ll still work as a regular stylus even when the pen dies, too. The idea is that users should never have to think about managing battery life on the pen, which is smart.