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S Pen on the Note 4 is better than ever: Feature Focus

The Galaxy Note 4 brings quite a few improvements to the table when it comes to aesthetics and hardware, but let’s not forget the one feature that sets the Note 4 apart from just any old ‘phablet’: the S Pen.
October 2, 2014

Despite the fact that big phones are all the rage these days, the Note series still has few to no worthy direct competitors. What makes the Note series different from just any old massive handset? The S Pen of course. Yesterday we gave you a first look and unboxing of the Note 4, now we take a closer look at the S Pen in our latest feature focus.

Each iteration of the Note phone family has brought a lot more than just beefed up specs, there’s also plenty of S Pen enhancements both on the software side and even in the design of the pen itself. Without further ado, let’s jump in and take a look:

Improved sensitivity, new pen choices


For the Note 4, the S Pen has been enhanced to have higher level of sensitivity from 1024 levels to 2048. Technical jargon aside, the end result is better control of writing speed, pressure, and angle against the screen allowing the thickness and concentration levels to be customized.

On the software end, that means you now get new pen types like fountain pen an calligraphy pen. As you press harder on the screen, you’ll also notice the stroke gets even thicker to better emulate what your writing would be like when using a real pen or pencil.

S Pen now double as a mouse


If you didn’t already love the S-Pen before, you may be excited about its new mouse feature, which allows you to hold down the S-Pen button and use the pen like a mouse for selecting text, photos, files and more.

As noted in the video, it can also be a big help for streamlining copy-and-paste actions. There’s not a lot more to say about this feature, but for those looking to use the Note 4 productivity, it is pretty epic addition.

Photo Note


Photo Note is a new feature that allows you to take a picture of an image and it will automatically detect and highlight any words contained in the pic. Even better, it can handle images taken at an angle and adjust them so it can detect/highlight the words you wish to capture. From there, you can edit it and add your own revisions.

This could be especially useful if you start a set of notes on paper and want to save them to your phone, while also adding a few changes along the way. This could also be useful for students to get notes off a whiteboard or blackboard and the list goes on.

Air Command


Making a return from the Galaxy Note 3, the Air Command Menu is an important part of the Note experience. At first glance, it might seem about the same as always with familiar options like Action Memo, Image Clip and Screen Write. That said, you’ll still find subtle changes here and there such as Action Memo’s new S Note shortcut that will let you take your action memo straight to S Note.


Probably the biggest new Air Command feature is Smart Select, however, which lets you use the pen like scissors — so to speak. In other words, you can cut out parts of what’s on your display and then save these snippets for a bunch of different purposes like sending the snippets in texts, emails and more.

Wrap up

In a nutshell, those are the biggest changes you’ll find with the new S Pen. Overall, the experience is similar to the Note 3, just with a bunch of extra improvements thrown into the mix. Probably the most intriguing of these changes will be the S Pen Mouse function, based on our time with the device, but really all the changes here are welcome.

Be sure to stay tuned to Android Authority where we’ll be having more Note 4 coverage coming down the road, including a full review.