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Note 10 stylus has new 'air gestures' to let you wave commands like Harry Potter

The digital S Pen embeds a new trick into Samsung's most powerful phone.


NewS Pen gestures can remotely control the Galaxy Note 10 and 10 Plus.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Galaxy Note 10 and Note 10 Plus are packed full of features and specs, but there's one new trick for the S Pen die-hards among you that Samsung hopes you'll love. The digital stylus can now control the Note with gestures.

Last year's Note 9 introduced a Bluetooth connection that makes it possible to take photos from afar by clicking on the S Pen's button. Today, Samsung extends that feature to gestures -- flicking your wrist right, left, up or down to flip the camera lens, change camera modes, or advance to the next photo, Power Point slide or camera mode. You can also trace a clockwise or counter-clockwise circular motion to zoom in or out on an image while you're taking a photo.

Gesture control isn't new. Samsung used a version of it years ago in its Galaxy phones, where waving your hand across the camera sensor would advance a photo, for example. This year's LG G8 uses motions to control the phone, to little benefit, and Google already announced that the forthcoming Pixel 4 will use gesture controls, too.

I'll admit it wasn't the easiest to master when I first tried it, and sometimes the movement didn't result in my intended action. But the S Pen stylus does give the Note 10's gesture control an edge because it makes it truly remote, like if you're giving a presentation, taking a photo or controlling a playlist from across the room.

Samsung's Unpacked event is ongoing. You can catch all of the new Galaxy Note 10 announcements live.