Which Galaxy S21 versions support the S Pen?
Best answer: S Pen support for Galaxy S21 is limited to just the Galaxy S21 Ultra. In a fun surprise, Samsung will offer two versions of the S Pen — the S Pen and the S Pen Pro! The S Pen is available now. The S Pen Pro will come later this year.
- The best of Samsung: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra ($1,200 at Samsung)
- Your basic S Pen: Samsung Galaxy S21 5G S Pen ($40 at Samsung)
- Keep your S Pen with you: Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G S-View Cover with S-Pen ($90 at Samsung)
The S Pen on the S21? It's complicated.
If you're like me, you have been using a stylus for Android phones for years. This year, Samsung did what many have speculated would eventually happen; it added S Pen support to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. However, S Pen support for Galaxy S21 is limited to just the Galaxy S21 Ultra; the Galaxy S21 and S21+ do not support the S Pen at all. But there is a lot more to the story.
The S Pen is an electromagnetic resonance (EMR) pen that doesn't have a battery and does not need to be charged. It is for writing and drawing on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Unfortunately, Bluetooth functionality such as Air Gestures will not work. However, later this year, Samsung is releasing the battery-powered S Pen Pro, which will have Bluetooth LE connectivity and support those additional functions.
Adding to the confusion, any existing S Pens, such as the one that comes with the Galaxy S20 Note with Bluetooth connectivity, will work with the Galaxy S21 Ultra for writing and drawing, but Bluetooth features will not work. Only the S Pen Pro's Bluetooth functionality will work on the S21 Ultra. You can purchase an S Pen from Samsung right now for about $39.99, or you can pick up an S View Cover for the S21 Ultra that includes the S Pen and a place to store it for $89.99.
Clear as mud?
Samsung is bringing a much-requested feature to its top-tier phone. S Pen support is awesome for those who dig the accuracy of stylus input. But it's happening in a convoluted way by dictating the terms under which your stylus will work. Plus, it's charging more for the privilege.
For those who have been clamoring to bring the S Pen to other Galaxy phones, I'm sure an extra $40 won't make much of a difference. We would have liked to see the full stylus experience (including a place to keep it) baked into the creme de la creme of phones, but hopefully, these baby steps will eventually lead to the promised land.
The best of everything
It's the Ultra phone, now with more S Pen!
Samsung is not pulling any punches with its best phone of the year. The Snapadragon 888 processor, 5G, 128GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, and incredible camera setup make this the phone to beat for 2021.
Write and draw
It's what you've been asking for!
Samsung added S Pen support to its top-of-the-line phone, the Galaxy S21 Ultra. You can use the S Pen to write and draw on your screen with incredible precision like never before.
A pocket for your pen
It's your favorite pen and a place to keep it!
If you're wondering where to keep your S Pen, wonder no more. Samsung made a flip cover with S View to see notifications while the cover is closed. It also has a pocket for the included S Pen to store it when it's not in use.
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Adam has been writing and podcasting the mobile tech space for almost a decade. When he's not writing, he hosts the Benefit of the Doud podcast, spends way too much time on Twitter, and redesigns his office space over and over.