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Home / Tips and Tricks / Galaxy S21 Ultra works with Samsung S Pen, Pro stylus: price, features and limitations

Galaxy S21 Ultra works with Samsung S Pen, Pro stylus: price, features and limitations



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The Galaxy S21 Ultra works with the S Pen.

James Martin / CNET

This story is part of THIS ONE, where our editorial team brings you the latest news and gadgets from the fully virtual CES 2021

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Samsung has finally done it. Simply the smartphone maker announced the Galaxy S21 line-up, and with it the fact that the Galaxy S21 Ultra supports a feature that was once exclusive to the Galaxy Note ($ 780 at Amazon) family of phones: S Pen stylus support.

That means S21 Ultra owners will soon be able to use the tiny digital pen to take notes, take better screenshots, sign documents or draw in their favorite apps. There will be some things the S Pen can do on the Note, but can’t do on the Galaxy S21, and the stylus won’t come with the S21 Ultra – you’ll have to buy it separately.

We’ll walk you through the basics of the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s stylus support, including S Pen compatibility, features, and where to store the stylus when not in use. (How to use Samsung Galaxy SmartTag.)


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Does the S21 Ultra come with an S Pen stylus?

It does not. You can buy one directly from Samsung for $ 40, which is designed specifically for the S21 Ultra. There are also two different types of Samsung cases you can buy, both of which include an S Pen. They cost $ 70 each.

Alternatively, you can buy and use any S Pen stylus from Samsung, with prices ranging from $ 25 to $ 40.

Can I use the S Pen from a Galaxy Note or Galaxy Tab?

Yes. Samsung has said the Galaxy S21 Ultra will work with an existing S Pen from a Galaxy Note phone or Galaxy Tab tablet. However, it won’t be able to use every feature (more on that below).

Does the S21 Ultra have a place to store the S Pen, like the Galaxy Note?

No. Instead, you’ll either need to buy or get an S21 Ultra case designed to store the S Pen for you really good at keeping up with the small stylus.

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The S Pen works for writing or drawing in your favorite apps.

James Martin / CNET

What can I do with the S Pen on the S21 Ultra?

You can tap and navigate through different menus, jot down your thoughts or take notes in the Samsung Notes app, or sketch a new idea in your favorite drawing app.

What can’t the S Pen do on the S21 Ultra than on Note phones?

The S Pen integration with the Galaxy S21 Ultra lacks Bluetooth support, which means you don’t get the same gesture feature that lets you do things like control slideshows or skip songs by tapping the stylus like a magic wand – see below for the S Pen Pro.

Another disadvantage of the lack of Bluetooth support is that you will not receive notifications if you leave the S Pen behind. So if you walk away from the stylus, your phone won’t buzz and let you know that the two are separated.

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The S21 Ultra will eventually get more S Pen features, but you’ll have to wait for the S Pen Pro.

Screenshot by CNET

Do you want more functionality? Wait for the S Pen Pro

Samsung spoke briefly about the S Pen Pro, a new stylus the company plans to release later this year that will include Bluetooth features on par with the Galaxy Note line. Samsung specifically called out the ability to use gestures with the S Pen Pro on the Galaxy S21 Ultra during its Unpacked presentation. However, we don’t currently have a price or an exact release date. But if you want more than a simple stylus with your S21 Ultra, you may want to wait until the S Pen Pro is available.

We fully expect the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s new S Pen capabilities to include even more, but we’ll have to wait until we get our hands on the S21 Ultra and dig before discovering more features. In the meantime, check out our first impressions, and if you want to order a Galaxy S21 yourself, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get one on launch day.


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