Samsung’s response to Galaxy Note 5 S-Pen issue: Read the F’n Manual


Yesterday, we warned you folks of a potential pitfall that you could stumble into should you find your Samsung Galaxy Note 5’s S-Pen inserted the wrong way. The pitfall is that the pen will get stuck, and it had a chance to break the phone’s S-Pen detection mechanism.


We thought everything would be fine, because who could ever make the mistake of putting the S-Pen in backwards when each end of the thing are different? Turns out, a lot of people fear they could make this mistake down the line. Some are going as far as calling this a design flaw, and while that’s fair classification, it’s not a flaw in the sense that something wrong is happening when you’re following instructions: you can only encounter this flaw when you don’t do it the way it’s supposed to be done.

That’s the exact response Samsung has to the situation, too. Here’s the statement they’re sending to combat all this noise:

 “We highly recommend our Galaxy Note 5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure they do not experience such an unexpected scenario caused by reinserting the S pen in the other way around.”

In short: read the f’n manual. It’s a manual for a reason. It may be boring, but if there’s something important in there — such as a warning to guard you against issues like these — you’ll be glad you did. Do you operate your car without first reading the manual? We sure hope not. Your phone should be no different. Here’s a quick look at the page in question in case you are still stubborn enough to pass on the literature:

note 5 s pen

And yes, we know not every situation is the same. Kids exist, and sometimes they aren’t satisfied with that $5 toy you snagged from Walmart. They want your phone, and they’re probably the very crowd of folks who’d be most susceptible to making this mistake. Perhaps it’s time to buy them one of these.


Should Samsung have made the S-Pen insertion mechanism absolutely fool proof? That’s up for debate. Engineers are always taught to test against the lowest common denominator in terms of user error, but what if a different S-Pen design meant Samsung couldn’t go with the beautiful, sleek form factor of the Samsung Galaxy Note 5? There’s an argument that Samsung could have made the warning more obvious, but there is a warning somewhere in the box.

Even if the issue didn’t come down to overall device design, why should Samsung take heat for people using their devices wrong? Everyone’s always quick to blame the user when their smartphones catch fire because they’re not using an OEM charging cable, so why aren’t users blamed for using other parts of the phone in the way OEMs didn’t intend?

Take responsibility for your actions. Be responsible and careful. Use some common sense. And for the love of all things right, please read the f’n manual.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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