Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra flat screen design will improve the S Pen experience

Samsung has quite a large number of smartphone models in the market, but few have reached notable fame more than the Galaxy Note series. And yes, that includes the one that burst into flames. Although that brand of stylus-bearing smartphones has officially been retired, its spirit lives on in the “Ultra” model of Samsung’s Galaxy S flagship. Call it by any other name, these devices were designed with one unique feature that very few phones have to date: an active stylus for scribbling notes and even making art. That said, there is perhaps some irony that these phones’ screens aren’t designed to take full advantage of that feature, at least in some edge cases, literally. That might finally change with the Galaxy S24 Ultra next year which will be ditching a rather old design convention to hopefully give the S Pen an edge, pun intended.

Designer: Samsung (via David Martin)

Once upon a time, smartphone screens whose edges curved to the side were regarded as a sign of premium and stylish design. There was indeed a hint of elegance, not to mention manufacturing excellence, at seeing the screen disappear to edges, not unlike an infinity pool. It was also a visual trick to make at least the side bezels disappear, though in reality they’ve just been pushed down nearer to the frame. Today, however, that design seems to be showing its age and the trend is leaning more towards completely flat screens and edges.

On stylus-enabled smartphones like the Galaxy Note line and the more recent Galaxy S Ultra models, those curved edges are more liabilities than assets. Technically, a part of the screen “falls off” the edges and can’t be reached by the S Pen without sliding off. Depending on the app, that might be precious screen real estate wasted, and there have been awkward moments when the tip just slips off and ruins your momentum.

According to recently leaked photos, the Galaxy S24 Ultra next year will finally address one of the pain points of avid S Pen users. The screen seems to be completely flat on all sides this time around, which means that owners will have access to the full width of the screen. This design actually benefits all types of content since there will be no interface elements or images that will look distorted at the edges.

The rest of the phone, however, will retain the design from this year’s Galaxy S23 Ultra, at least based on those same photos. That meant it would still have curved left and right edges, while the top and bottom are completely flat. There’s also no change in the camera design, though the hardware is, of course, expected to see some upgrades. This goes in line with leaks last month that the Galaxy S24 series will take a more iterative approach to its design, largely keeping the same aesthetic while slapping flatter screens on top.

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Apple Pencil Killer? ZAGG’s Pro Stylus 2 comes with Tilt Sensitivity and iPad Magnetic Wireless Charging

Apple’s always had an incredibly locked ecosystem, limiting how other products integrate with its devices. Other wireless mice don’t have the smoothness of the Magic Mouse, other TWS earbuds don’t have Spatial Audio, and other styluses don’t boast of the same features as the Apple Pencil… but ZAGG’s Pro Stylus 2 comes incredibly close. Designed to work with both the iPad as well as the iPhone, the Pro Stylus 2 feels familiar in your hand given its slim design. It also has precise fine tip for accurate drawing, palm rejection to ensure your hand doesn’t accidentally tap the screen as you sketch or write, tilt recognition to alter your stroke style when you hold the stylus at an angle, and magnetic wireless charging that lets you snap the Pro Stylus 2 onto the side of your iPad Pro or even a Qi charger to juice its battery. The $75 stylus also has extra features in the form of a dome-shaped on-off switch on top, which also doubles as an IBM ThinkPad-style touch-sensitive ‘nub’ for navigating canvasses and scrolling pages…

Designer: ZAGG

A lot more colorful than the original Apple Pencil, ZAGG’s Pro Stylus 2 almost seems like the iPhone SE of styluses. It’s eye-catching, affordable, and gets the job done. It looks and feels just like Apple’s own Pencil, making it easy to use without that learning curve. The pointed tip is perfect for sketching, taking notes, and navigating pages – but don’t expect pressure sensitivity, a touch-sensitive grip, or that new hover feature on the iPad Pros. Instead, you could expect the accuracy you’d get from a pencil-shaped stylus, with the added functionality of being able to tilt it to affect your brush pattern. The Pro Stylus also snaps right to the side of the iPad Pro like Apple’s own writing instrument, and has the added benefit of being able to work with iPhones too.

A button on top is what sets the Pro Stylus 2 apart. Working like the nub found on old-school IBM laptops, it lets you navigate pages and scroll using your thumb (as shown above). It also serves as an on-off switch, allowing you to power down the stylus to conserve battery power. Moreover, the stylus powers down on its own with 15 minutes of inactivity, helping increase the stylus’ battery efficiency. Either way, the battery lasts a whopping 6 and a half hours on full charge… and if you ever run out, the Pro Stylus 2 snaps right to the side of an iPad Pro to charge, or even rests on any Qi charging dock to juice its battery.

Charge the Pro Stylus 2 by attaching it to the side of the iPad Pro

The Pro Stylus 2 looks quite similar to the Apple Pencil except for the fact that it comes in 5 different colors instead of the Pencil’s singular white finish. The tips are replaceable, allowing you to change colors as well as replace the pointer if and when it wears out. It starts at $75, undercutting the 2nd Gen Apple Pencil’s $129 price tag by a cool $54. Obviously, it misses out on some crucial features like pressure sensitivity and the hover ability too, but for someone looking for a multipurpose stylus with the right amount of basic functionality (and that sweet magnetic charging feature), ZAGG’s Pro Stylus 2 might just be the perfect alternative to Apple’s own offering. Oh, and it also comes with a 1-year warranty too!

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Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE Review: Every Little Bit Counts


  • Premium build quality and packaging

  • Includes plenty of extras, such as a glove, pen case, and two pens

  • Bundles versatile Quick Keys remote

  • Good performance and accuracy


  • Expensive compared to other pen tablets (except Wacom)

  • A few driver quirks with Quick Keys remote

  • Tablet has too few shortcut keys without extra remote




A formidable rival to the Wacom Intuos, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE offers impressive performance, premium aesthetics, value-add extras, and a rather daunting price tag.

Plenty of designers love the simple joys and liberating functionality of pen and paper, but it gets harder and harder to escape the call of the digital realm. When it comes to tools for turning ideas and designs into digital artifacts, Wacom’s drawing tablets have long held the lion’s share of the market and continue to do so, at least on the high end. Plenty of alternatives have popped up in the past years, each trying to nibble at that large pie, especially with exponentially more affordable offerings. Almost out of nowhere, a new competitor jumps into the fray, loudly challenging the long-time champion on its own turf. The Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium makes quite a few promises, especially with its special Bundle, but are they just empty words or something that can truly stand the test of real-world problems? We put our creative hats on and give the pen a twirl to find out if this is a tool that designers and creatives can learn to love.

Designer: Xencelabs


Even before you open the box, you already get the impression that this is no mere challenger. Granted, it goes back to the age of packaging that is more elaborate and sometimes wasteful than necessary, but it’s hard to deny that the quality of the Xencelabs Pen Tablet’s presentation definitely makes a good first impression. Fortunately, it isn’t just skin deep, and this high-quality trait continues to other parts of the product.

For one, you are immediately greeted by a tablet and accessories that are predominantly white with mixes of gray, a color scheme that is almost unheard of and unseen in the pen tablet industry. It’s definitely a nice touch that sets Xencelabs apart from its peers. Of course, not everyone will find this color appealing, and there’s a non-SE bundle that has the traditional black motif.

Although the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is your typical plastic affair, you can definitely feel in your hand that it isn’t the cheap and flimsy kind of plastic. It has a solid build quality that will be important if you plan on bringing this along with you a lot. The white surfaces are smooth and shiny, while the grays have different textures, depending on their purpose. The drawing area, of course, has a frosted texture that produces a more realistic drawing experience, while the rubber grip on the pens makes them more comfortable to hold.

The package also comes with a pen case that fits the two bundled pens, replacement nibs, a USB cable, and dongles for wireless connection. A pen case is already a rare treat on other tablets, but one that looks stylish inside and out is an even bigger deal. All in all, both the tablet and its bundled accessories look as premium as Wacom’s high-end offering, which shouldn’t really be surprising considering how much this bundle costs.


As a tool that you’ll be using as much as pen and paper, it is critically important that this tablet and its pen are comfortable to use, especially for long periods of time. Despite the “tablet” being the main part of the product, it is actually the pen’s ergonomics that is even more important. Fortunately, Xencelabs doesn’t disappoint in this area either, with not one but two pens to fit your preference and style. One is the typical Wacom-style pen that swells near the bottom before tapering at the tip, creating a bulbous shape that is something uncommon with normal ink pens. The other pen is the regular barrel, which is more common among laptops and mobile devices that support a stylus.

While both pens are comfortable to hold, the choice won’t simply be a matter of preference. The larger pen has three buttons, while the smaller rod only has two, forcing you to decide between functionality and form. Fortunately, missing a button isn’t as devastating as it sounds since there’s a remote that comes with the bundle. Both pens also have erasers on the opposite end that you can map to other functions, a feature that, so far, only Wacom has been offering.

The ergonomics of the drawing slate itself boils down to two things. First is how light or heavy it is to carry around, which, in this case, is more on the heavier side, which adds to the weight of the laptop you already have in your bag. The other aspect is how well it supports your hand and your wrist while you draw on it. Unlike any other pen tablet, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium has a gently sloping bottom edge supposedly designed to be an ergonomic wrist rest. For those starting out with this tablet, that might indeed be comfortable, but those switching over from existing brands might find the curve a bit unfamiliar.


Xencelabs entered the drawing tablet scene with guns blazing, claiming to challenge Wacom on multiple fronts, especially the price. Of course, a lot of other brands have already been shouting the same thing, and their focus on the price tag produced less than impressive results. Admittedly, they have improved significantly over the years, but there’s still a gap between them and Wacom, a gap that the former Wacom employees that have formed Xencelabs are now trying to fill.

The good news is that Xencelabs isn’t all talk. Whichever of the two pens you choose, you’ll be able to get smooth, crisp lines with no jitter. You can definitely feel that 8,192 levels of sensitivity to the point that you might even want to dial it down a bit to suit your style and hand strength. The tablet’s surface has enough resistance that it doesn’t feel like you’re gliding plastic on glass, especially if you switch to the felt nibs that offer more traction. It’s definitely close to what you would expect from Wacom, but other more affordable tablets from XP-PEN, Huion, and the like are already catching up anyway, making this advantage less significant as time goes by.

The tablet’s value, however, goes beyond its raw drawing performance. For example, driver installation and software management has always been a bane of these computer peripherals, including Wacom. Xencelabs’ software, however, is almost perfect, except for a few glitches involving the included Quick Keys remote. The drivers work without problems, and the software to configure the tablet, pens, and remote is clearly labeled and easy to use. There are definitely a lot of features, almost too many for beginners.

One small but nice feature is the lights on the corners of the tablet’s active area, whose colors you can set on a per-app basis. It might sound inconsequential, but having very visible cues on the boundaries of the drawing area, as well as which app you’re focused on, can help a lot in staying sane during a crunch. That same light-changing feat can be seen on the remote’s dial, which can also change its hue depending on the mode it’s in.

If the tablet and the pen are the stars of the show, the bundled Quick Keys remote plays the supporting role. An accessory that comes as an expensive add-on on other brands, the remote offers 8 keys that can be assigned to different functions and 5 modes that bump up the total to 40 configurable shortcuts. That’s not counting the LED-lit dial that can be used to, for example, zoom in and out or change the brush size with a simple twist. Unlike other similar remotes, it has an OLED display that doesn’t force users to memorize which button does which action. The remote definitely works great and is one of the highlights of this package. Although it’s technically an extra, it actually becomes a necessity because the tablet, unlike others of its kind, only has three buttons that are awkwardly placed at the top. That might be far too few for the professionals that Xencelabs is targeting, making this $99.99 remote an essential part of its proposition.

Another thing that sets the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium apart is that it can work both with a USB cable and the included wireless dongle. The latter offers more flexibility in setting up your workspace or when working away from your desk without having to deal with the instability of Bluetooth. It does mean you’d be giving up a USB slot even when going wireless, which can become even more problematic when you use up another slot for the Quick Keys remote.


As a device that needs to be thin and lightweight, it’s really no surprise that the Xencelabs Pen Tablet and its accessories use plenty of plastic, although the packaging thankfully doesn’t have that much. If that weren’t bad enough, the track record of these kinds of devices being repaired and recycled isn’t that good, and most consumers opt to throw away and replace broken products instead of getting them repaired, especially when repair costs far outweigh new purchases. In that sense, there is very little that Xencelabs does differently from its peers, at least nothing that it has proudly revealed yet.

As an extremely young brand, it’s probably not that surprising that Xencelabs is laser-focused on actually cementing its place in the market. It has pit itself against a giant, and its survival and success is currently the most critical aspect of its business. At the same time, however, it is a young brand that could have made a difference right from the start with a stronger and more visible sustainability commitment. Only time will tell if it can get up to speed in this aspect, presuming it actually makes it through its first products.


From a design and performance perspective, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is already quite a heavy hitter. It performs just as well as an equivalent Wacom Intuos Pro but also goes even beyond that with features like wireless connectivity, configurable LED indicators, and two pens right off the bat. The bundled Quick Keys remote definitely adds to the value, something that you’d have to buy separately with other brands.

Things get a little less clear-cut, however, when you start talking about the price. At $380 for the white Bundle SE or $370 for the standard Black version, it isn’t exactly the most affordable kit outside of Wacom. If you remove the remote, you’re still left at $280, easily three times the price of a medium-sized pen tablet from XP-PEN or Huion. Of course, compared to Wacom, you’re actually saving quite a lot, especially if you consider all the extras you’re getting. Needless to say, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium is in a middle ground of sorts, muddling its overall value when compared against more affordable options, with or without an extra remote.


Although it is still the household name among drawing tablets, both with displays or without, Wacom is no longer the only player in the field. A lot of rivals have risen up and have eaten away at its bottom line. There might still be a discernible difference between Wacom and other players when it comes to performance, but that gap is closing after years of improvement and development. Suffice it to say, there isn’t any lack of “Wacom alternatives,” which is what makes Xencelabs’ arrival both surprising and a little bit questionable.

Make no mistake, the Xencelabs Pen Tablet Medium Bundle SE is impressive in almost all aspects. It looks and feels premium, especially with its uncommon white design, and its accuracy and responsiveness demonstrate its pedigree that can be traced back to Wacom itself. The bundle throws in plenty of nice extras, not least of which is the Quick Keys remote, which is still a great deal, even considering the price. It’s that price, however, that will cause many creatives to pause for thought when there are exactly many alternatives that can do just as well for a lot less. Xencelabs’ pricing makes a clear statement that it is aiming for Wacom’s throne, launching a premium device that puts it closer to the titleholder than other rivals. It remains to be seen, however, if this strategy will pay off or if the Xencelabs Pen Tablet will be a one-hit-wonder.

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Adonit Star iPad stylus looks like your traditional fountain pen to give you an analog feel

I have to admit that I don’t have the best handwriting. But one of the things I’ve recently discovered is that I apparently have better handwriting when I use a fountain pen and so I am trying to start collecting them. Just the other day I was thinking how cool it would be if there was a combination of a stylus and fountain pen that I can use for my iPad and Kindle in the hopes I have more legible writing that other people (and myself) can actually read.

Designer: Adonit

Apparently, there is already one in the market and it won’t break the bank. The Adonit Star is a third-party iPad stylus that mimics the look of a classic fountain pen but is specifically created to be used as a stylus for the iPad. While the usual stylus, specifically the one sold by Apple, is just a white cylindrical pencil with a “writing tip”, this one looks like the pens that lawyers, journaling advocates, and other analog writers use to write prettily on their documents and notebooks.

The Adonit Star stylus has a black, metallic body with a removable cap to protect the tip of the stylus. The tip actually looks like the arrowhead design of a typical fountain pen except that it doesn’t have ink in those tips. But as a stylus, it has the usual functions you would expect from one. You don’t need any Bluetooth connection to use it on your iPad. It can last for 11 hours on a single charge and if you run out of juice, just plug it in through the USB-C port and a 4-minute charge will give it an hour of battery life.

The fountain pen stylus has a 1mm tip that should give you fine control and it also has good palm rejection so you can write on your iPad comfortably. You can use it to write notes and even to sketch. I don’t know if this will solve my handwriting problems but at least it’s just $49.99 compared to the $100+ Apple Pencil 2 so it’s a good, fashionable, and cheaper alternative.

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Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 is a powerful convertible for creative professionals

Although paper will never really disappear in our lifetime, our civilization today heavily relies on digital content, from graphics to videos to even documents. These digital artifacts don’t just appear out of thin air, of course, and somebody (or something) has to make them. Creating these assets, especially computer graphics and digital art, is a job in itself, and it requires the proper tools for the best possible output. Normal laptops, no matter how powerful they are, won’t always cut it because they lack both the form and the features to support more creative work. To address that particular market, Lenovo will be launching the new ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 with a sturdy 360-degree hinge and garaged stylus to deliver the power that professionals need, no matter their line of work.

Designer: Lenovo

The pen is mightier than the sword, as they say, and it is definitely more usable than the mouse for certain work. The stylus has become the tool of choice for those who need to draw or write in digital form, whether it’s for drawing art or signing documents. Although some laptops do support this kind of pen, most have it as an additional purchase that exists outside the body of the machine. In contrast, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 makes the pen a core part of its design and purpose to the point that it has its own silo inside the laptop, so you’ll never risk losing it while in transit.

Of course, such a tool would be almost pointless if the laptop didn’t support actually using it comfortably. As the name suggests, the ThinkPad X1 Yoga can bend backward completely, transforming the laptop into a tablet and anything in between. This flexibility in form brings flexibility in function, allowing the same laptop to be used for typing, drawing, watching, and even reading. Even better, the latest generation of this convertible PC has the muscle to support all those use cases and applications you need for work.

The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 will run on the latest Intel Core processors, which would be the 13th generation at the time of this writing. The 14-inch screen not only supports resolutions of up to WQUXGA 4K but can also have a touch option, turning the laptop into a true tablet when fully folded backward. The laptop is also designed to support hybrid work arrangements, particularly with the Lenovo View suite of features that include privacy guards and alerts that detect unauthorized people looking over your shoulder, as well as auto-framing, background concealment, and video enhancements for stress-free video meetings.

This generation of ThinkPads also represents Lenovo’s continuing commitment to be a responsible company and reduce its negative effects on the environment. While the ThinkPad X1 Yoga itself doesn’t benefit from the use of recycled materials, save for Post Consumer Content plastic in some components, its packaging uses 100% bamboo and sugarcane fibers, and its box is made from plastic-free packaging with 90% recycled or FSC-certified content. The Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Yoga Gen 8 will be available starting April 2023, with prices expected to start at $1,859.

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New Kindle finally lets you write notes on your ebooks

There are three kinds of book lovers (at least in terms of format): those who still prefer print above all else, those who are wholly digital, and those that can work with both. I am of course, the last one. And those that are ebook readers and hybrid readers, the Kindle is a holy grail. The E-Ink display is the closest that you can get to an actual book and is better for the eyesight and concentration of readers as compared to normal tablets. Now, we’re getting the next step in the Kindle evolution and it has got me reaching for my wallet and that pre-order button.

Designer: Amazon

It’s been a while since we’ve gotten a totally new Kindle and now, we have Kindle Scribe, a 10.2-inch device with the E-Ink screen we’ve gotten used to. This new model is not just a reading device but also a writing tool as you can use it with a stylus to take notes, edit files, and “write” on the margins of your ebook. Kindle users have been dreaming of a device like this as it actually mimics the action that some readers have been doing for years on their actual, physical books, only the notes you write here can be saved and accessed digitally.

The E-Ink display really is a blessing for those whose eyesight have been affected by the tablet or phone displays that we’ve been using for years. It is the first 300ppi, front-lit display and you’ll be able to adjust the light and the contrast that will best suit your preference. The handwritten notes that you’ll be adding to your book will be stored in your Kindle collection. You can even directly import word documents from Microsoft directly to your device and work on them using your stylus. PDF markup and display of saved webpages are also allowed on the device.

But don’t think this device can be your new tablet as it’s still basically a Kindle which means it’s built for reading and note-taking. The display is still black and white although a future device may sport a colored E-Ink display. In terms of design, the device is similar to the Kindle Oasis with a bezel on one side so you can hold it properly while reading. But the Scribe itself is not chunky at all as it’s only 5.8mm thick and may be thinner and lighter than the thinnest of tablets, the newest iPad Air.

I for one, cannot wait to get my hands on these and start writing notes all over my ebooks. It is still for pre-order but will cost you $339.99 while you have to add a few more dollars to get either the Basic Pen or the Premium Pen which can both be attached to the side of your Scribe.

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Leaked Apple Patent hints that the next-gen Pencil will sport a rotating element

Steve Jobs openly despised and ridiculed the styluses that were the mainstays of pocket PCs and Palm devices that predated smartphones, but more than a decade later, Apple would embrace the stylus and make it its own. Granted, the styluses of Jobs’ era were nothing more than glorified sticks to poke at tiny screens, providing no additional benefit to the user experience. The Apple Pencil was, of course, anything but simple, and it has succeeded and thrived in a market dominated by long-time player Wacom. Of course, there are really no other options when working with an iPad, but Apple’s premium tablets probably wouldn’t have enjoyed as much success if the Apple Pencil didn’t exist. Of course, the creativity tool is hardly perfect, and this concept based on a newly awarded patent brings a touch of style to a more powerful Apple Pencil of the future.

Designer: Sarang Sheth

The first Apple Pencil was a minimalist’s dream, a simple, nondescript white cylinder that opened the iPad Pro to whole new worlds of creativity. There was, of course, plenty of room for improvement and innovation, and the second-generation Apple Pencil brought a faceted barrel for a better grip, as well as a touch-sensitive area you can double tap to trigger some function inside an app. While it was a significant step up from the first-gen Pencil, it was still leagues behind something like a Wacom pen, often regarded as the gold standard when it comes to styluses.

Apple is naturally aware of the limitations of its own stylus, but it is also aware of how the Pencil’s minimalist design played a big role in its favorable reception. Simply adding buttons would have solved one problem at the expense of a well-loved trait, so that was definitely a no-go. A newly awarded patent (reported by Patently Apple), however, reveals one idea that the Cupertino-based company has played with, one that could hit two birds with one stone.

In a nutshell, it extends the second-gen Apple Pencil to include another touch-sensitive area, one near the middle of the stylus, to expand the number of gestures that people can use. For example, rather than just double-tapping the area, one can also slide their finger on the touch-sensitive surface. This gesture can be mapped to some action, such as changing the size of a brush or scrubbing the timeline of a video.

The patent also mentions the possibility of a twisting motion for the Pencil, one that could be tied to a motion sensor inside the barrel. Rather than complicating the internals of the Apple Pencil, however, this concept design opts for a more direct approach that also turns out to be more elegant. It adds a knob on the top end of the Pencil with a design similar to the Apple Watch’s crown. The control mechanism is simple, intuitive, tactile, and stylish. It is unambiguous in its function, requiring no additional training or mental shift to use.

Admittedly, this design requires the use of the other hand to turn that knob, but it also means that there will be no accidental activation or triggers just because you have a fidgety hand. It breaks away from the Apple Pencil’s unibody design and minimalist appearance, but it also adds an embellishment that is still in line with Apple’s aesthetics. Whether Apple implements even the original design laid out in the patent is still a matter of conjecture, but it hopefully has an upgrade ready for the Apple Pencil ready for artists, designers, and creatives soon.

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Adonit’s new stylus attaches to your iPad for charging just like the Apple Pencil… and it costs just $45

The perfect Apple Pencil competitor doesn’t exi… oh wait.

Although third-party styluses almost always end up being trashy substitutes to the Apple Pencil, Adonit seems to have brought out the big guns with the Neo Pro – a stylus that looks and functions as closely to the Apple Pencil as humanely possible. It glides across your iPad’s surface with the kind of precision and grace you’d expect from Apple’s own hardware, and even snaps to the side of your iPad to charge magnetically and wirelessly. The only two caveats seem to be the fact that the Neo Pro doesn’t come with pressure sensitivity, and doesn’t have the tapping feature like the Apple Pencil that allows you to alternate between brush types by double tapping the side of the stylus. For the lack of those two seemingly niche features, the Adonit Neo Pro does make for a rather compelling purchase considering its $45 price tag is more than 64% cheaper than Apple’s own $125 Pencil.

Designer: Adonit

The Neo Pro is just one of Adonit’s many styluses in the Neo series. While the others all magnetically snap onto the iPad and offer a variety of features from palm rejection to the ability to replace nibs to even one with shortcut buttons, the Neo Pro is the only stylus that charges wirelessly off the iPad. It also comes with native palm rejection, replaceable nibs, and even boasts tilt sensitivity – a feature that was only reserved for the Apple Pencil and Logitech’s Crayon stylus.

At the $45 price point, the Adonit Neo Pro is WELL worth its price, and even undercuts the $69 Logitech Crayon. It comes in matte silver and matte grey finishes, has a light on one end that lets you know whether your stylus is connected and functional (the stylus works in conjunction with the iPad via Bluetooth), and even has a battery widget that appears on the iPad screen to let you know the Neo Pro’s battery status, although given that it perpetually sits on the side of your iPad, there’s no reason it wouldn’t be at 100%. The Neo Pro is compatible with the 4th and 5th gen iPad Airs, the 6th gen iPad Mini, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd gen iPad Pro 11-inch, and the 3rd, 5th, and 6th gen iPad Pro 12.9-inch, although it’s limited to just those models. If you’re looking for something much more universal that works with other devices too, the rest of the Neo variants are universally compatible with capacitive displays.

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Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 renders suggest a small but critical design change

Samsung might finally cave into consumer pressure in its next foldable phone, but is it actually the best solution around?

The Galaxy Z Fold 3 is arguably the best-selling foldable phone Samsung has launched, at least next to the clamshell-type Galaxy Z Flip 3. It’s not without its fair share of criticisms, of course, especially with the lackluster front-facing camera hiding underneath the screen. In addition to increased durability, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 ignited interest with its compatibility with an S Pen, Samsung’s Wacom-powered stylus. That new power, however, came with a big catch that almost soured the feature for many users. A designer has now created 3D renders that try to envision what the next iteration would be like if Samsung gave that stylus a home inside the foldable phone.

Designer: Waqar Khan

The S Pen for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 fulfilled fantasies of having a digital notebook you can fold open and write or draw on. Just like with analog notebooks, however, the S Pen didn’t slide inside the phone as it did with the previous Galaxy Note phone series. Samsung tried to justify that step back with the pen’s size, which wouldn’t fit inside the phone, and the newer hardware it had to cram inside the bigger stick, but those excuses didn’t fly with many people, especially Samsung’s own fans.

This design meant that Galaxy Z Fold 3 owners would have to buy and carry that S Pen separately, which created the risk of losing the stylus or even breaking it accidentally. Samsung used a similar strategy with the Galaxy S21 Ultra last year but released a case that included a place to stow the S Pen. In contrast, the first-party flip cover for the Galaxy Z Fold 3 felt like an April Fools joke gone bad in both its design and usability.

With the Galaxy S22 Ultra this year adding a silo for the S Pen, rumors and expectations that the Galaxy Z Fold 4 would follow suit. These renders are based on unofficial information and perhaps a bit of wishful thinking, and they show what the foldable phone would look like if it had the S Pen built-in. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t look different at all.

It was almost as if the designer took a Galaxy Z Fold 3 model and simply carved out a whole for the S Pen ala the Galaxy S22 Ultra. There are almost no visible changes other than that, which might not bode well for those who were already disappointed with last year’s cameras. Fortunately, it’s still too early to tell if this will indeed be the case.

While an included S Pen in the Galaxy Z Fold 4 would indeed solve the problem of speed and convenience, it still raises the question of whether it is the best solution or just a workaround. Having a stick that’s always ready for your notes and doodles is definitely better than having to fumble around for a pen, but it isn’t the most ergonomic tool either. Even the biggest fans of Samsung’s stylus would admit that their hands hurt after prolonged use, and even the larger Galaxy Z Fold 3 S Pen can feel a bit cramped.

Samsung does offer an even larger S Pen Pro that offers more features and, more importantly, gives a better grip for those who need to use the stylus for more than just a few minutes. That, however, brings us back to the original problem of where to keep the stylus. The S Pen Pro is much taller than the phone, so none of the cases, including third-party designs, would actually fit.

There is no easy answer to this design puzzle, at least not yet, but Samsung could have alleviated some of the pain points if it properly designed a case for the Galaxy Z Fold 3. To date, it still has only one official case that accommodated its open S Pen, making it feel like the feature was more of an afterthought rather than a key selling point. Admittedly, that gave accessory makers and even some more creative owners to design their own solutions, which looked and worked better than Samsung’s official product. They’re still not perfect, but it doesn’t bode well for Samsung’s reputation in the design community if it couldn’t even create a decent solution for a $1,800 phone.

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Galaxy S22 Ultra design turns Samsung’s flagship phone on its head

It is pretty much everything the leaks said it would be, but now Samsung might be caught in a bit of a bind moving forward.

Thanks to a plethora of leaks that started way back in September last year, Samsung’s latest flagship smartphones didn’t come as much as a surprise. The Galaxy S22 Ultra, in particular, turned out to be exactly what they said it would be, a successor to the Galaxy Note line in everything except the name. This brings quite a few big design changes that are ironically too familiar, but it does make one wonder if this new direction muddles Samsung’s product design story more than consolidates it.

A Tale of Two Galaxies

For those unfamiliar with Samsung’s innumerable smartphones, the company has always had to top-of-the-line brands, the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note families. In the beginning, the two were easy enough to distinguish because of clear design differences and features. The Galaxy Note phones set themselves apart by not only having a stylus but also by using extra-large screens. Once ridiculed by Apple, “phablets” as they were called, have now become the norm, and the line delineating the two have become blurrier every year.

Every year, Samsung has been rumored to ditch the Galaxy Note brand because it overlapped too much with the Galaxy S series. Those rumors came to a head last year when the Galaxy S21 Ultra sported a stylus, albeit one that had to be stowed away separately, and when no new Galaxy Note phone was launched for the first time in a decade. The Galaxy S22 Ultra pretty much cemented that by looking less like a Galaxy S and more like a Galaxy Note.

This could put Samsung in a conundrum for the future of its phones. If it does retire the Galaxy Note line, and it is likely to do, will it adopt this duality of designs for the Galaxy S phones for the coming years? Wouldn’t it be more prudent to just adopt a single design language? That remains to be seen next year, though, but I wouldn’t put it past Samsung to keep this dichotomy for a while.

Subtle Differences

The differences between the two are even more pronounced this year because the two designs are used in the same brand. The smaller Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ have an almost iPhone-like look this year, with the usual flat display matched with flatter edges. Granted, the sides still have a bit of curve to them, but not as pronounced as in previous generations. Given how Samsung is often accused of following Apple’s lead, this subtle change won’t be lost on its critics.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra easily sets itself apart with its size and design. It is the largest of the three and is perhaps Samsung’s largest premium Galaxy to date (it is shorter but wider than its immediate predecessors). It comes with a curved edge screen and very curved edges, which isn’t exactly new and might even give its target audience some problems (as we’ll note later). It is, to some extent, a nod to the past, but there are also some designs that are somewhat new, at least for the Galaxy S flagship.

The biggest one is that the S Pen stylus now has a silo inside and won’t require extra accessories to keep it close to the phone. It’s a double-edged sword, though, since users will have to contend with a thin stick to use as a pen. It’s not the most ergonomic for prolonged use, and heavy users might find themselves buying and keeping a bigger S Pen anyway.

One new design detail about the Galaxy S22 Ultra is that it doesn’t have a camera bump, leaving the camera as small, individual islands of their own. While it does away with somewhat controversial camera structures that have become obnoxiously big, it might cause some concerns over how vulnerable those lenses might be. Conversely, those protrusions might also be cause for concern over how they might scratch surfaces they’re lying on, like wood.

Designed for Creatives

The Galaxy Note line has traditionally been aimed at professionals or “prosumers,” people who would have had use for a stylus for note-taking in particular. Over time, Samsung has tried to play up the S Pen, which is powered by technology from the famed Wacom, as a creativity tool, and it makes its biggest spiel with the Galaxy S22 Ultra this year. There is, of course, all the hardware you can ever ask for in a smartphone, but that only serves to power the actual experiences that creatives, including product designers, might need to do their work on the go.

The S Pen, of course, can be used for note-taking as well as sketching. The larger screen of the Galaxy S22 Ultra affords more space, at least for thumbnails and rough ideas, things you would sometimes do on the back of an envelope, a napkin, or a small pocket notebook. The powerful cameras and photography software also allow designers to quickly snap up photos of interesting objects and designs they come across.

Samsung, however, is also playing up the phone’s utility as an extension of its other new product, the Galaxy Tab S8 tablets. A special connection between the two devices transforms the phone into a dedicated screen for tools in apps like Samsung Notes and Clip Studio Paint. This would move almost all UI controls from the larger screen, leaving only the canvas you need to work on.

Sustainability Promise

One thing that’s new and common to Samsung’s newest line of devices is a stronger push towards sustainability. Samsung has committed to using plastics recycled from discarded fishing nets, starting with this year’s lineup. It also tried to reduce its packaging even further to reduce the materials produced and used, which adds up to reducing carbon emissions in the long run.

Although not directly related to using sustainable materials and processes, Samsung also made a rather big promise that does contribute positively towards reducing e-waste. Extending the period that it will officially support these devices means that owners get to keep them for far longer. It’s still not up to Apple levels, mind, but it still goes beyond what most manufacturers offer, including Android maker Google. This means that it would take much longer before we see the Galaxy S22 Ultra and its siblings being thrown out or replaced, something that eventually adds to the amount of electronic waste and manufactured materials in the long run.

Designer: Samsung

The post Galaxy S22 Ultra design turns Samsung’s flagship phone on its head first appeared on Yanko Design.