You’ve probably noticed a lot of public service announcements today from your favorite blogs regarding the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 and issues related to inserting its S Pen in backwards. If you insert an S Pen into the $700+ Note 5 writing side out, the S Pen can get permanently stuck and will probably damage the S Pen sensor so that the device will always think the S Pen is removed. Inserting the S Pen in backwards seems a bit silly. I’m sure it looks silly to have the pointy end of the S Pen poking out of the device, but it doesn’t matter. It if can go wrong, it will. And in this case, it has for Samsung.
The issue was elevated enough that Samsung felt the need to issue a public statement on the S Pen insertion issue. 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 summary, they said to follow the instructions in the Note 5 user manual.
First, how many of you have EVER read a manual for your phone? Think about your audience here, Samsung. You’re the top mobile device manufacturer in the world. Your audience is literally everyone. Grandmas, teenagers, nerds, NBA players, everyone. Your job is to design a phone that is usable and isn’t going to be ruined when someone makes a silly mistake.
Samsung should have done one of two things: Either design the Galaxy Note 5 so that when the S Pen is inserted the wrong way, it won’t get stuck and won’t damage anything or design the Galaxy Note 5 so the S Pen could not physically be inserted the wrong way. With either option, this whole fiasco would have been a non-issue.
It feels a little insane to me that the Note 5 made it out of any sort of “real life” testing with this issue not being found. In testing, they should have tried every angle to break the phone. They should have found the Note 5′s weaknesses so they could have designed them out of the product. I’m surprised this wasn’t one of the first things tested. Regardless, Samsung didn’t design the $700+ Note 5 well enough that something simple like inserting the S Pen the wrong way is a non-issue.
Some of you may feel this Note 5 S Pen issue is blown out of proportion, or you may feel people are idiots for putting their S Pen in the wrong way. That’s fine. You’re all entitled to your opinion. But some Note 5 users didn’t read and/or follow the manual and Samsung designed their Galaxy Note 5 poorly. Samsung has the resources to design a phone without silly flaws like this. They should be able to design a phone that’s completely usable without having to read the user manual first. They should be able to use a phone that can’t be used wrong. If it can go wrong, it will.
New update from Arstechnica, The Galaxy Note 5 doesn’t actually ship with a user guide in the box or in the software. People from Arstechnica were able to hunt down a PDF online though, and found this: