back to article Samsung to fight iPad with stylus, windows

Samsung today pledged to "completely redefine mobile computing" - by bringing back the peripheral we thought was lost, the stylus. In a bid to make writing "personal again", the company, as expected, has taken its Galaxy Note five-incher and stretched it out with a 10.1in display. The irony here is that the stylus was long …


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  1. Whitter
    Thumb Up


    I still use my (now very old) TC4200 with stylus for a host of graphical or sketch-based stuff. The latter is as you'd expect - slightly worse than paper, but not bad and quicker / easier than using a mouse: particularly when not at a desk. It might come down to is the stylus replaceable/cheap, and where is it kept?

    1. LarsG

      The Stylus

      Killed it for the windows PDA's.

      Remember the Compac ones, I still have one, a crash every 10 minutes.

      The introduction of a touch screen killed the stylus off.

      Well done! Samsung

      1. LarsG

        Re: The Stylus

        Compaq I mean

      2. BristolBachelor Gold badge


        " Remember the Compac ones, I still have one, a crash every 10 minutes."

        You must be "holding it wrong". I have the Galaxy Note phone with a stylus, and I don't think it's ever crashed!

    2. Fibbles

      Re: Good.

      There are many good uses for a stylus and tablet but if it doesn't have pressure sensitivity it's pretty useless for graphic or illustrative work imo. For the time being I think I'll stick with pencil and paper for sketching if I'm away from my work station.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Good.

      I would love a tablet that integrated Wacom's pen accuracy along with multi-touch for fingers... that would allow me to truly draw with real feedback!

      But higher resolution screen would be nice..

      1. Paul M 1

        Re: Good.

        And that's exactly what the Note is. It's not just a capacitive stylus - it is an active Wacom-style pen. The screen contains an active matrix that provides power to the pen when brought near, hence the point of putting the button on it.

        Also, bring the pen close to the screen and you get a small cross-hair just below the tip so you can see exactly where you're going to make contact - very useful.

        You'd be amazed how many uses you can find for it when you realise how easy and effective it is - I sometimes take a screenshot of a crossword or sudoku puzzle and then fill it in by pen as if it were a newspaper because I prefer that experience.

        All of this on a Galaxy Note of course so as long as they 've got the palm-rejection bit working it should be even better on the 10.1.

        Will I get one? No - I hate 16:9 on a tablet - Android manufacturers, please don't force me down the Apple route!!

        1. Peter 48

          Re: Good.

          actually it is 16:10 compared to apple's 16:12 and closer to iso paper dimensions (16:11). What's more, the wider screen makes displaying two apps side by side more useful. I actually prefer this format over that of the iPad.

          1. Disintegrationnotallowed

            Re: Good.

            how is 16:10 closer to 16:11, than 16:12??

  2. the-it-slayer

    Old school?

    Wow. The only way Samsung can fight the iPad is to bring back a peripheral that made tablet computing pointless and stupid? Yup. For a minor use where most people will just leave it in it's holder. Ah well, can't be helped Samsung can't think of their own ideas.

    1. Shagbag

      The stylus is optional

      The screen is still multi-touch and responds to all the same gestures as previous products.

      The disappointment for me is the screen resolution.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old school?

      Wasn't it Dell or someone else who brought it back first? I think perhaps Samsung is hoping people buy two for multi-touch.

      If you want to draw you're probably still best picking up pen/pencil/charcoal and paper first. Then scan in to retouch and apply other FX. Paper is still the best user interface, nothing can crash and if the power goes off you lose nothing.

      1. Lord Voldemortgage

        Electronic vector drawings have some advantages over pen and paper and there's other uses like drawing routes over maps or annotating photos where pen input comes in handy.

        It's certainly a good option to have and I'd favour devices that allowed it.

    3. Steve Evans

      Re: Old school?

      I'm sure if Apple introduced a stylus you'd see it as perfecting and revolutionising an old idea?

      Or would you just forget that it ever existed before and return to your job at the US patent office, "Approved" stamp tightly gripped in hand?

      1. HMB

        Re: Old school?

        "I'm sure if Apple introduced a stylus you'd see it as perfecting and revolutionising an old idea?

        Or would you just forget that it ever existed before and return to your job at the US patent office, "Approved" stamp tightly gripped in hand?"

        You forgot 'magical'.

      2. the-it-slayer

        Re: Old school?

        @Steve Evans - Nope. I just wouldn't buy it if that was the emphasis. My thinking here is that the stylus would use a different logic when presented to the touch interface and be recognised to get the most of it? If not, surely it'll make it more difficult for apps to take advantage of it if there's no API for it to differentiate it with human touch.

        Samsung has lost this fight already.

    4. Peter 48

      Re: Old school?

      10 million Note users would disagree with you there

  3. keithpeter Silver badge


    "The lack of a stylus [does not] seem to have hindered artists like David Hockney from creating critically acclaimed works on the pen-less iPad."

    True, but it might be instructive to compare Hockney's Photoshop/Wacom tablet portraits with the iPad still lives and landscapes. The former (on display in the Saltaire gallery, just next to PACE's headquarters) are built up from a range of lines of differing pattern and colour. The iPad images are more like watercolour sketches. Hockney works with the medium as you'd expect an artist to.

    A digital notebook sounds interesting, and I hope that handwriting recognition improves, and that 'sketch interpretation' can be provided (optional straightening of lines &c). Perhaps we'll have a SketchPad like system available cheaply soon (only 50 years after first being programmed).

    1. Lord Voldemortgage

      " I hope that ... 'sketch interpretation' can be provided (optional straightening of lines &c)"

      That's available in the S-Note app on the Galaxy Note so it ought to be present on the larger device too.

  4. Wang N Staines

    The res is crap!

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Wait for WinSurf?

    The screen resolution is too low and it seems there is no keyboard integrated with it.

    I am bursting to buy a tablet but refuse to pay a fortune for the iPad 64Gb 3G version which subsidises the much cheaper models. Also lack of stylus and integrated keyboard.

    All this makes me really interested in the Asus Transformer 300 but it's "low" resolution screen is critical issue for me.

    Seems that I will need to wait to see the WinSurf product hopefully with a resolution at least midway between these Android devices and the iPad3 but with keyboard and stylus it will be a winner from a functionality / workflow perspective for me.

    Given MS track record I am sure to be disappointed however and at the rumoured $199 or $299 level there is no way that will include a decent enough screen.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Wait for WinSurf?

      As I understand it, there's no stylus option on WinRT. It's only available on x86 Windows. Which from my memory of the MS website, when they announced the Surface, had a higher res screen than the ARM version as well. Shame about price and battery, I suspect...

    2. Peter 48

      Re: Wait for WinSurf?

      low res screen? have you actually used one? the only benefit this "retina" display madness offers is a slight improvement in sharpness. Hold the whole thing at arms length like you would normally use it and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference. Have a look at this link

      I have a transformer TF101 with the same "low" res and not once have I felt the need for greater resolution.

  7. Steve Crook


    I know these things take planning, and once in the pipeline it's difficult to change things, but a tablet that size with that sort of resolution? I won't be buying one, even if the price is lower than stated.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Disappointing

      What's wrong with the resolution? I've got a Samsung Galaxy 8.9 with the same resolution and a Wacom Bamboo stylus. There are very few things on a tablet where a higher resolution pays dividends, Apple's sub-pixel rendering is just smoke and mirrors for the distance at which you generally hold these things. A high resolution 2500 x 1600 is reserved for my desktop. Two windows next to each other, say e-mail and music player, perfect on lower resolution. Or shopping list and a map.

      1280 x 800 with a Stylus is perfect for site engineers, etc. Handwriting recognition, of which I was long a fan is much less efficient than a keyboard but being able to sign off docs, say patient charts, contracts is worth its weight in gold.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Disappointing

        What's wrong with the resolution?

        Agreed. I keep seeing the same comments whenever a "new" tablet is reviewed and it seems anything but the highest resolution is frowned on by both reviewers and commentards.

        Apart from some edge cases, I suspect most users would barely (if at all!) notice they "only" had 1280x800 if they were given some random tablet with that screen res. It may be noticeable if compared side by side with a higher res device but I bet most people won't be able to tell when used separately.

        1. Peter 48

          Re: Disappointing

          exactly. Like I posted a little earlier this is a classic example of emperor's new cloths:

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: Disappointing

            You can tell the difference in ordinary apps looking a bit nicer. But mostly it's not a huge difference, and I don't care about it. However, when it comes to reading text, it's a huge difference. Text is a lot less blurry at small sizes, and since I got an iPad 3 I've become less happy with my desktop monitors.

  8. Steve Evans

    Don't worry...

    "Samsung today pledged to "completely redefine mobile computing" - by bringing back the peripheral we thought was lost, the stylus."

    Don't worry. I'm sure the stylus will be lost (again) very shortly.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't worry...

      Agree. Unless the 'device' has somewhere to park the stylus when not in use it will be lost in triple quick time.

      My friend's Lenovo has such a recepticle and he's lost three in the past year. I predict Samsung making these 'unique' and not and old stylus will work. Then they'll charge £50.00 a pop for a new one. Well they have to make money somewhere don't they coz they sure won't make much on the original sale now that MS has got in on the game and will sell theirs at a loss.

      1. Peter 48

        Re: Don't worry...

        they do, you slide it into the case

      2. Return To Sender

        Re: Don't worry...

        @AC 17:42

        Actually I've been quite surprised at how cheap genuine Samsung accessories are compared to some vendors. The pen for the Note is about 15 quid on Amazon (remember it's not just a simple capacitive pointer).

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Here's hoping...

    the build quality and software updates are better than the S3.

  10. Dick Emery
    Thumb Down

    Screen res. AGAIN!

    Seriously. They need to up the DPI as well as have stylus support. That way artists can finally find something useful for digital painting.

  11. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    For those of us with fingertips greater than 5mm in diameter a stylus makes a lot of sense.

  12. Eddy Ito

    Is a mid-size coming?

    Give me a 7-8" version and they can leave the resolution the alone.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: Is a mid-size coming?

      There's the 7.7 with an AMOLED screen (1024 x 768) and the Wacom Bamboo works fine with it, though the pressure sensitive drivers may only been available for the elect AMOLED means you can actually use it outside and it's less than 400g which means it can go anywhere.

  13. Dana W

    They are hard to get?

    You don't need Windows to get a stylus. I've seen people using a stylus on their IPads. The people who want them just go get them. Any half way decent computer store can sell you a stylus.

    Seriously, their killer hardware is a stick with a plastic knob on the end?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: They are hard to get?


      Those aren't styli (styluseseseses). They're plastic fingers, and about the same size too... So rubbish for detail work, writing, or pretty much anything. What you need is a digitiser, such as was in use on Windows tablets 15 years ago. I believe that's what Samsung use. You also need handwriting recognition as well. I'm tapping this away, painfully, on my iPad, looking forward to something better on my next tablet.

    2. Peter 48

      Re: They are hard to get?

      the two are world's appart, like comparing a massive black marker pen with a fine tipped technical pencil.

  14. Piro Silver badge


    Isn't it a much more pleasant 1920x1200?

  15. Dana W

    Thumbs down.

    Thumbs down to all heretics and unbelievers who do not worship the most Holy Church of Redmond!

    I guess its pretty clear who the "Fanbois" are now.

    I love how every time Microsoft or one of its minions announces this years Apple killer, the Windows Fanboi Fun Police "The Happiness Patrol for you Doctor Who fans" roll in on the FUD express and downvote the unbeliever, a week or so after the release, they will be gone again till the next time Microsoft has its next for sure Apple, Or as in this case, Apple and Android killer. Shades of the Zune fansites,

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thumbs down.

      Are you having a stroke?

      First of all, your post makes very little sense. After reading a couple of times, it appears that you're saying that Microsoft just released a Samsung tablet that runs Android. And that the 'Windows Fanboi Fun Police" will downvote it?

      Maybe a little less wine before you get on the interwebs next time, Dana

      1. Arctic fox

        Re: "Are you having a stroke"

        "After reading a couple of times, it appears that you're saying that Microsoft just released a Samsung tablet that runs Android. And that the 'Windows Fanboi Fun Police" will downvote it."

        Not too mention that the poster appears to be dissing the Doctor. Burn the heretic!

  16. Arctic fox

    Handwriting to text anyone?

    I honestly don't know whether this kit does anything like that but it would be a useful alternative to the virtual keyboard for many I think. Plenty of people are very uncomfortable with a virtual keyboard (I'm happy with them but that's another issue) and being able to input text as fast as you can (literally) write* would be a boon for quite a lot of people.

    *I seem to remember something about the x86 version of the "Surface" having that facility. Something about the software being able to ignore your hand resting on the screen whilst you write. Anyone know/remember any more?

    1. Arctic fox

      Re: "Handwriting to text anyone?" A more general point in this context occurs to me.

      The issue of choice, preference and context as far as how we interact with our devices is concerned. It is surely the case now that with the developments in both hardware and software that both medium to high-end devices should be "competent" as far as all these forms of interaction are concerned. We really ought to be getting to the stage where our mobile kit is something we can direct/control by talking to it, touching it, writing on it and (when we need to) docking it in order to use a keyboard/mouse combination - and that all these options should be present in fully developed form. It really ought to be standard on decent kit that we can fully interact with it by all these means on one and the same device. This would permit the individual to use their own preferred mix of ways of interacting dependent on preference, capacity and context. Such an approach would "humanise" our mobile tech in the sense that the machine would be obliged to accept the owner's choice of input rather than forcing a particular form of input on the owner. Given that there is a strong trend within mobile tech towards the MRCK ("MultiRoleCombatKit" -:P) approach it is surely desirable for the user to have the widest, most comfortable and efficient range of interaction options for the range of uses/situations that the kit is subjected to.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    We're in court! Quick - release all that crap we knew wouldn't sell as a smoke screen! The Marvins will have to deal with it.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I see some comments that are stuck on the "stylus" and are assuming that the screen will not support multi-touch.

    here is the youtube video introduction the product:

    according to the video, it is still a multi-touch screen, with the stylus coming in very handy for many other tasks.

  19. Kobus Botes

    Photo editing?

    Up to now I could not see any tablet in my future.

    But I think I can see me buying one if one can use a stylus to edit photos, especially if it can be combined with touch sensitivity. For instance, say I want to dodge or burn certain areas on a photo, pressing harder can increase the amount, whilst light brushes would have a light effect. The same goes for any other effects, like curves or colour correction.

    If such a machine can combine Digikam, Gimp and Darktable, plus a raw converter, it would be an ideal device to take along on photographic excursions, rather than schlepping a laptop along just in order to save my photos and edit later at home.

    I have no idea, however, if the hardware would be up to the task and would appreciate it if anyone can enlighten me. A quick google also failed to turn up any ports of the above to Android.

    Or could one ditch Android and install linux, for instance?

    1. Argh

      Re: Photo editing?

      It comes with free copy of Photoshop Touch which supports dodge and burn.

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