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The S Pen on the Galaxy S24 Ultra stinks, literally

If you hold the S Pen near your nose and take a whiff, you'll get a strong unpleasant odor, resembling burnt plastic.

Published onMarch 20, 2024

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra S Pen inserted
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • The S Pen housed inside the Galaxy S24 Ultra has an odor that resembles burnt plastic. S Pens on previous Ultra models also have the odor.
  • The internal heat of the Galaxy S24 Ultra could possibly be reacting with the plastic on the S Pen, potentially causing this odor.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is one of the best Android flagships you can buy right now. It has plenty of amazing and unique features, ranging from its anti-reflective coating on the display to its versatile camera setup to its innovative S Pen. But if you have a Galaxy S24 Ultra or previous Galaxy S Ultras, you may want to avoid sniffing the S Pen. As it turns out, the S Pen smells really bad.

Reddit user LatifYil posted an interesting observation about their Galaxy S24 Ultra’s S Pen. To them, the S Pen “absolutely reeks,” like it is “being barbequed by the internals.” The Redditor prompted many others to sniff their S Pen, and sure enough, plenty of people agree that the S Pen on the Galaxy S24 Ultra stinks.

For science and science only, I sniffed the S Pen on my Galaxy S24 Ultra, and it does smell quite bad. The odor is best described as halfway-burnt plastic. You need to hold the S Pen right under your nose to smell it, so there’s not a lot of sillage here. However, some users have noticed a burning plastic smell when they’re gaming on their phone, though they did not make the correlation with the S Pen.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra's S Pen has a burnt-plastic odor.

Once you do smell that burnt-plastic odor, you cannot undo the experience. On my end, the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s S Pen does not see a lot of use, so its hygiene isn’t particularly compromised in any way. And just to be double sure, I washed my hands quite thoroughly before more sniffs, before you jump into the comments with this.

To me, there appears to be some weight in the theory that the internal heat of the Galaxy S24 Ultra is slow-cooking the plastic on the S Pen. But I don’t think it is a cause of particular concern, as I see no visible deterioration on the S Pen and its plastic cover. I’ve owned the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S22 Ultra, and Galaxy S23 Ultra in the past, and the S Pen at the end of one year of ownership remained in the same shape and quality across those units (though I did not smell the S Pen, so I cannot confirm if it also stinks on those units).

When a similar issue was posted on Samsung’s Community forums, a moderator responded that the heat from the phone internals could cause the S Pen plastic to heat up.

Users have mentioned that previous Galaxy S Ultra models also have the same stinky S Pen odor. S Pens housed externally may not have this burnt-plastic odor, though their hygiene may remain equally questionable.

I’ve contacted Samsung for comments on the S Pen’s odor. I’ll update the article when I hear back from them.

Let us know in the comments if you can smell the odor on your unit. Yes, that means a lot of us are sniffing S Pens today. For science!

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