Samsung responds to Galaxy Note 5 S-Pen flaw

If you insert the S-Pen stylus into the Galaxy Note 5 the wrong way there's a good chance that you'll damage the pen or the device. Samsung's advice: Follow the instructions in the user guide.

It seems that Samsung's new Galaxy Note 5 has a design flaw. If you happen insert the S-Pen stylus the wrong way into the device - either accidentally or on purpose - then there's a chance that the stylus, device, or both will be damaged.

Now I've not had any hands-on time with the device to check this out for myself, but ZDNet's editor-in-chief Larry Dignan has.

"I've been testing the Note 5 and after reading about the hubbub I inserted the S-Pen backward," Dignan wrote. "The reports are true, the pen gets stuck and you have to yank it out pretty hard. The S-Pen definitely catches on the device's innards."

And it seems once is enough for damage to occur.

"I got away with the mistake once, but the stylus doesn't fit into its slot flush every time like it used to. If I did it a second time it's likely that the top of the stylus could get caught in the phone."

Samsung's response to this issue has so far been to tell users to following the instructions:

"We highly recommend our Galaxy Note5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure there are no issues."

And to Samsung's credit the instructions do warn that inserting the stylus the wrong way can cause damage.


I've handled a lot of devices over the years, and I've come across my fair share of boneheaded design and engineering issues. Some are minor, some are not. My test as to whether something represents a serious issue or not is simple: Does the flaw allow a regular user through normal operation of the device to break something inadvertently?

This flaw seems to fall into that category. This is the sort of design flaw that should have been caught at an early stage and engineered out of the product. The flaw, along with Samsung's admission of the flaw in the user guide, seems to suggest that this product has been rushed to market before it's ready.

Bottom line, you just shouldn't be able to damage a product by accidentally inserting the stylus into it the wrong way short of having to hammer it in or something. This is a design flaw, and should be fixed.

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