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.


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