Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet looked exciting enough by itself at yesterday’s special unveiling. But wait until you get a hold of one of the accessories that debuted at the same time as the 10-incher. Oddly enough, Sammy didn’t mention a word about the HM5100 Bluetooth S Pen during the actual press conference, but threw it in the kit that everyone from the media attending the event received on their way out.
You can imagine the surprise of our good friend Zach Konig from Engadget when spotting the BT S Pen in the press kit. Though thankfully. he managed to recover from the shock very swiftly and serve us a short, but very exciting hands-on video with the accessory.
The BT S Pen is not your run-of-the-mill stylus, and, although it looks very similar to the standard-issue Note S Pen, it has a couple of unexpected aces up its sleeve. As you might have guessed from its name, the BT S Pen comes with Bluetooth functionality, but also a built-in microphone and tiny speaker.
Why would you need all those things? Well, to make and receive calls, of course, without ever touching your 3G-enabled tablet. As you’ll be able to see in the video clip at the end of the post, speaking into the pen looks a bit weird, but the sound seems crisp and loud enough to make this accessory a highly functional one.
You should be able to still use Sammy’s new S Pen/speaker/microphone as a regular stylus, even though the guys over at Engadget forgot to make a quick demonstration of this particular function. Oh, well, maybe they hadn't recovered from the shock after all.
Supposedly capable of running for three hours of talk time or 130 hours of standby between charges, the BT S Pen weighs 21 grams, so it’s a bit on the bulky side, at least compared with the standard Samsung Galaxy Note Pen. Still, it’s not like you’d have trouble lifting it or fitting it into your pocket, which is basically all you should care about.
The pen includes a micro-USB cable, so charging also not an issue, as you can juice it up straight from your tablet or phablet. Oh, right, I forgot to mention, the accessory should be compatible with the Note 10.1, as well as the 5-incher phone/tablet hybrid and hopefully the second-generation Note phoneblet launching soon.
Unfortunately, we’re probably still some time away from the BT S Pen’s commercial release, as Samsung has hesitated to talk about pricing or availability. We could definitely hope to see the stylus/speaker made available at the same time as the Note 2, while in financial terms you should be ready to spend a lot more than those $30 charged for the basic S Pen.
Be sure to check out Engadget’s quick hands-on video below and please let us know what you think of this new gimmick from Samsung. And yes, we do know it looks a bit familiar.