8 tips and tricks for the Note 7's S Pen you need to know

You can quickly create GIFs, jot notes or translate a foreign language with the new S Pen.

Jason Cipriani Contributing Writer, ZDNet
Jason Cipriani is based out of beautiful Colorado and has been covering mobile technology news and reviewing the latest gadgets for the last six years. His work can also be found on sister site CNET in the How To section, as well as across several more online publications.
Jason Cipriani
3 min read
Watch this: Make a video GIF on the Note 7

Samsung's Note line has made the case for a phone to have a stylus for a few years now, but the Note 7 seems to be the punctuation mark on Samsung's approach. The new S Pen has seen a new design, and new features that make it more useful and far more powerful than it's ever been.

Here are eight fancy S Pen features with the Galaxy Note 7:

Drop it in the pool, it's cool

Samsung has made a key selling point of its Galaxy line out of the fact its devices are water- and dust-resistant. Now that feature comes to the S Pen. You can drop the Note 7 and the S Pen in water, with no ill effect. In fact, you can even use the S Pen to write on the Note 7 while under water. You know, for those scuba diving expeditions where notes are required.

Take notes on the fly, pin to your lock screen

If you remove the S Pen while the screen is off, you can jot notes on the black canvas. You can tap on the down arrow for more than one page of notes, or tap on the thumb tack to pin the note to your lock screen. Any notes taken with the screen off will get saved to Samsung's Notes app.

GIFs for you and you and you

Using the Note 7's Smart Select tool, you can now create animated images on the fly. Remove the S Pen, select Smart Select from Air Command, then Animation. Highlight the area you want to turn into a GIF, set the quality level (normal or high) and record. You can record up to 15 seconds.

Double the screen pressure

Samsung has made the tip of the S Pen much smaller than last year's model. The Note 5's S Pen had a tip of 1.6 mm, while the Note 7's S Pen is just 0.7 mm. To make up for the smaller tip, Samsung doubled the number of pressure levels from 2,048 (Note 5) to 4,096 (Note 7). This means you can change the way ink flows out of the S Pen with various levels of pressure.

Quickly erase mistakes

Whether you're jotting notes or sketching, you can press and hold the button on the side of the S Pen to turn the tip into an eraser. Once you've gotten rid of your mistake, let go of the button and continue writing.

Translation is a breeze

The next time you come across a foreign language, pull out the S Pen, select Translate from Air Command and hover the tip of the pen over the word. A split second later, the translation will show up. You can change languages at the top of the screen.


You can add two new Air Commands, the first of which is Magnify. Select the + icon from the Air Command menu, add Magnify (and Glance, while you're at it). When used, Magnify will do exactly as its name implies as you hover the S Pen above the Note 7's display. From what I can tell, the box size isn't adjustable but the level of magnification is.

Glance at an app

The second new Air Command is Glance. When used, Glance will minimize the current app, placing it in the bottom-right corner. You can then use the Note 7 to carry out other tasks, hovering the S Pen above the app thumbnail to "glance" at it. Perfect for times when you want to keep tabs on a sports score or watch as an eBay auction comes to a close.