Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy Note 10 Plus(+) are here and that means so is the brand-new iteration of the S Pen, the super powerful pen tool that Samsung has been releasing with every version of the Note since the initial device. Each year the S Pen gets better and better and brings more features to the table (last year Samsung added the ability for the S Pen to work as a remote shutter for the camera), and this year is no different.
Air Actions (Motion Gestures)
One of the biggest changes this year, if not the biggest, is the inclusion of the motion gestures with the S Pen that were mentioned by us a few days ago. Samsung is calling these Air Actions and they bring some real functionality to the S Pen and the Galaxy Note 10 series phones in general as you can use these to complete actions without having to touch the phone's display.
Swapping Between Cameras
Some of the main features related to the camera include the ability to flip back and forth between the front and rear cameras with a quick flick up after pressing and holding down the button on the pen, making it easier than ever to switch to the front camera to take a selfie and then back to the rear camera when you're ready to capture main photos.
Zooming In And Out
Another main feature related to the camera is the ability to use the S Pen to zoom in and zoom out on photos using a clockwise or counter-clockwise arc motion. To initiate either of these you will still have to hold down the button on the S Pen before starting the gestures, and to stop you simply let go of the button. You can also use the gestures to change the camera angle.
Flipping Through Photos & Adjusting The Volume
Tired of smudges on your phone display when showing your friends and family all those awesome pictures you took on your last vacation? No problem. Simply flick the S Pen left or right to sift through photos in your gallery app, sans smudges. If that wasn't enough you can also adjust the volume of tracks (or any audio) with a simple gesture up or a simple gesture down when you need or want things louder or quieter.
More Air Actions On The Way
Samsung has baked in a number of Air Actions from the start, but it's also working with app developers to open up the availability of integrating these actions into third-party applications. One of its partners is YouTube and you'll be able to fast-forward or rewind through videos swiping left or right with the S Pen, as well play or pause videos all without having to touch the phone – the S Pen handles it all.
Since Samsung is working with app developers as well to expand on this, it wouldn't be surprising to see some Air Actions making their way into games as well as apps. To be clear Samsung isn't necessarily working with every single developer, it is however opening up the S Pen's Motion Controls SDK so that developers are able to work with it in ways that fit their apps. The SDK is opening up on the evening of August 7, so it might not be long before more apps make use of the new motion controls.
Handwriting To Text
Another big feature of the S Pen this year is the ability to take your hand drawn notes and turn them into digital text so that you can export them to other places, all from the device and without having to retype everything you just wrote down. Samsung announced this new feature at its Unpacked event in Brooklyn on August 7, stating that it would allow you to export the digital text into multiple supported formats including Word documents, PDF documents, and text files.
Handwriting to Text in Multiple Languages
Samsung knows how popular its phones are the world over. People use the Note series devices in many different countries where people speak a different language, and because of this Samsung wanted to make sure that the handwriting to text feature was able to understand more than English and Korean.
To do that it claims it collected millions of handwriting samples and was able to use those samples to help the S Pen and the handwriting to text feature to understand dozens of different languages and convert them into the various digital text formats that are supported. Samsung does not mention which languages are supported but it does state that the S Pen can accurately convert handwriting in Samsung Notes for those that are as it's powered by machine learning.
Redesigned Galaxy Notes Gives You Further Options For S Pen Customization
To make the S Pen even more useful Samsung redesigned the Galaxy Notes app and the S Pen technology to allow for more customization with the handwriting feature. You can now change multiple things with the handwriting such as ink size and ink color allowing you to shrink and enlarge the text as well as change the color of the font.
All-New, Longer-lasting Battery
The S Pen was already a powerful tool and Samsung's newest features for it are making it even more powerful, but all that extra functionality is likely to drain the battery faster than before, so to combat this Samsung integrated a new longer-lasting battery into the S Pen that can help it last as long as you need it to. Samsung is boasting that is has up to 10 hours of standby time and if it does happen to ever run low you can pop the S Pen back into the silo on the Galaxy Note 10 to charge it back up.
This isn't exclusively an S Pen feature as it works in accordance with photos and video, but with the new AR Doodles technology and the new S Pen you can draw pictures and stickers on top of your images and video footage to make things more fun and whimsical. You can also add effects and animations.