Galaxy Note 5 owners report broken S Pen issue

If you’ve already picked up a Galaxy Note 5 or are thinking about buying one, you really need to read this. The device, despite having a top-tier price tag and months of development and testing, has a serious design flaw. If the S Pen is inserted the wrong way around, you can irreparably damage the phone.

You may think this is silly. I mean, why would any normal person put the S Pen in blunt end first? The problem is kids may not know how it works, and sometimes you simply won’t be paying attention yourself. There’s also no warning that if you’re doing it wrong, you could break your phone.

samsung galaxy note 5 s pen
This is the only way the S Pen should be inserted into the Galaxy Note 5. / © ANDROIDPIT

This is where the problem lies. Inserting the S Pen the wrong way around is just as easy as it is to insert it the right way. But if you insert it blunt end first it will get stuck. While you may be able to get it back out again, it will break the pen removal detection mechanism responsible for launching the Air Command menu when the phone is on, as well as the note-taking tool on a darkened screen.

samsung galaxy note 5 air command s pen
Inserting the S Pen incorrectly can break the auto-detect pen removal mechanism. / © ANDROIDPIT

Some users have been left with an S Pen stuck permanently in the slot and others have had the blunt tip break off inside the phone. Regardless of whether you manage to get it back out or not, broken pen detection is the price you pay. Fortunately, a number of tech sites have tested the claims and found them to be true, so you don’t have to. At least one has managed to get the feature working again but it seems to be a fluke.

While there is some debate over whether this is user error or a major design flaw, we think it’s a problem on Samsung’s part. Note 5 owners should, of course, insert the stylus the right way, but the lack of a warning or any kind of mechanism to stop you doing so – a slightly larger blunt end or a lip on the side would have done the trick – means that Samsung has released a very expensive phone that is prone to easy breakage. It is impossible to think Samsung isn’t aware of this.

samsung galaxy note 5 s pen 2
Pay attention and don’t let the kids play with your Galaxy Note 5. / © ANDROIDPIT

Now, we don’t want to scare you off the Note 5, it’s a fantastic phone to be sure. But if you have one or are thinking about buying one, be extra careful with that S Pen and perhaps remove it before letting your kids or little cousins play around with your phone. What Samsung’s response to this will be – ignore the issue, recall the phone or release a modified S Pen – we don’t yet know, but we’ve reached out for comment and will report back.

What are your thoughts on this? Is this user error or a major design flaw?

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