The latest issue with the Galaxy Note 9 is the fragility of the S-Pen. The stylus is one of the key points o differentiation between not only the Note 9 and the rest of the Galaxy range but also between the Note 9 and a number of competing phablets from other manufacturers. This year’s iteration of the S-Pen uses bluetooth connectivity for the first time, opening up many communication options from camera shutters, control of presentations, and better interactions.
It’s worth mentioning that there are also reports that say a non-fatal fall of the phone (like, on a carpeted floor) also resulted in broken S-Pen. For its part, Samsung has offered replacements in some cases, but – as the damage is physical – getting such approval hasn’t been a pleasant experience for affected users.
Samsung is already dealing with poor feedback around various Galaxy Note 9 software issues, including long lag times for the camera and ‘frozen’ soft keys in the TouchWiz UI. These can potentially be dealt with through over-the-air software updates, but a physical problem with a Note handset is a trickier fix.
Thankfully the S-Pen is a detachable accessory. Unlike the sealed battery of the Note 7, which led to the entire run of phones eventually being recalled, it’s not a showstopper to replace the S-Pen with an improved unit, it’s just rather pricey both in terms of cold hard cash but also in reputational damage.
The last thing Samsung needs is for another physical flaw in the design process to be attached to the Note name. Not only would it damage sales of the Note 9, but with the Galaxy Note range potentially on the chopping block, the S-Pen could be the final straw that kills the Note.
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This article was originally published on Forbes.com