Samsung’s Notebook 9’s S Pen challenges Google and Apple, sans batteries

Samsung already offers credible competition for Google’s Pixelbook in the Chromebook space, and now with its new Notebook 9 and included S Pen, it’s gunning for its Pen too. With 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt support, Samsung’s offering is already fully featured, but ditching the need for a battery could help it stand out from the crowd.

Although Steve Jobs famously decried the humble stylus on modern touch devices, the use of a digital pen or pencil for artistic and calligraphic input has made quite a comeback in recent years. Apple’s own Pencil and Google’s Pen are two standouts, but just as Samsung has provided credible competition for such tech giants in a variety of sectors, its new Notebook 9 Pen with included S Pen could do much the same in that input market.

The Notebook 9 is a refresh of previous models, with three different versions likely to debut at next year’s CES show. One of them, however — the “Pen” version — will include the new S Pen stylus peripheral built right into the body, according to Hexus.

It has a 0.7mm fine tip, with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. In comparison, the Google Pixelbook Pen has 2,000 levels of sensitivity, which might mean Samsung’s is a more versatile tool for artists. Apple’s Pencil has an unspecified number of pressure levels, while Microsoft’s Surface Pen also offers 4,096.

Tilt support is also offered with the Samsung S Pen, a feature that was much hyped among other technology companies with stylus devices earlier this year. We’re also told that when you pull the S Pen out of its dedicated holster that the notebook will automatically launch the Air Command app, which gives you quick and easy access to S Pen specific apps and functions.

The feature that could help Samsung’s S Pen really stand out is that it doesn’t require an external battery. Google’s Pixelbook pen requires an AAAA battery to operate, which are pretty cheap and can also be found in similar products like Microsoft’s Surface Pen, though they’re not a common type.

Not having to worry about batteries running out without a replacement is a nice feature for those who like to use their digital pen on the go.

Computing

Old Nvidia graphics cards to get ray tracing support in upcoming driver

Nvidia's RTX ray tracing technology will no longer be limited to RTX graphics cards. An upcoming driver update will add support for low-end ray tracing to GTX 10-series and 16-series graphics cards.
Mobile

Apple iPad Mini 5 vs. iPad Mini 4: What’s new in Apple’s long-awaited refresh?

The long-awaited refresh of the iPad Mini is finally here, but just how big an upgrade does the iPad Mini 5 represent? We compare it to the outgoing iPad Mini 4 in various categories to delve into the differences and pick a winner.
Mobile

How to choose an iPad in 2019: A practical guide to Apple’s tablets

Selecting an iPad from Apple's lineup can be intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. Our comprehensive guide should put the numbers and specs in practical, easy-to-understand terms. Find your ideal iPad with the help of our guide.
Gaming

Get the most life out of your Xbox One controller with these tips

The Xbox One controller has fantastic battery life, but eventually your batteries will still die. To make it even better and ensure you never have to stop gaming, follow these tips.
Computing

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.
Computing

Edit, sign, append, and save with six of the best PDF editors

Though there are plenty of PDF editors to be had online, finding a solution with the tools you need can be tough. Here are the best PDF editors for your editing needs, no matter your budget or operating system.
Computing

Apple iMac gets more powerful with new Intel CPUs, Radeon Pro graphics

Apple on Tuesday, March 19 refreshed its iMac lineup with new models featuring slightly more powerful Intel processors and new AMD graphics cards. The new 27-inch 5K model comes with options for Intel's six-core or eight-core ninth-gen…
Cars

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.
Photography

Paper designs digitize in real time using an Illustrator-connected paper tablet

Love graphic design, but prefer the feel of real paper? The new Moleskine Paper Tablet - Creative Cloud Connected syncs with Adobe Illustrator in real time, turning paper sketches into digital drawings.
Computing

Make the most of your toner with our five favorite color laser printers

Color laser printers have improved dramatically over the years, and today's models offer both blazing print speeds and great image quality. Here are our favorite color laser printers, from massive all-in-ones to smaller budget options.
Computing

Firefox 66 is here and it will soon block irritating autoplay videos

Do web advertisements have you frustrated? Mozilla is here to help. The latest version of the browser will soon block autoplaying videos by default and will also help make web page scrolling smoother.
Computing

USB4 will be the fastest and most uniform USB standard yet

USB4 is on the horizon and alongside a massive boost in speed it's also unifying with the Thunderbolt 3 standard to help finally create a singular wired connection protocol that all devices can enjoy.
Computing

The U.S. government plans to drop $500M on a ridiculously powerful supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy has announced plans to build a $500 million exascale supercomputer by 2021. The project, known as the Aurora supercomputer, is expected to boost research efforts in fields such as public health.
Buying Guides

Apple has powered up its iMac lineup, but which one should you opt for?

With new processors and graphics cards for both the 4K and 5K models, the iMac feels like a good option for creatives again. But which should you buy? Here's our guide to choosing the right Apple all-in-one for your needs.