Samsung HM5100 Bluetooth S Pen makes a surprise debut in our Note 10.1 'press kit,' we pencil in a chat (hands-on)

Samsung HM5100 Bluetooth S Pen makes a surprise debut in our Note 101 'press kit,' we pencil in a chat handson

Hidden among the higher-profile items at Samsung's Galaxy Note 10.1 launch today was a device that at first seemed familiar, but turned out to be far more than your everyday S Pen. That's right, Samsung's already capable stylus just got a major boost -- meet the BT S Pen. The device, which received no formal introduction during its host device's launch event, first appeared in the "press kit" bag that attendees received on the way out the door. It's similar in size and shape to the company's Galaxy S Pen Holder Kit, which serves as a sleeve for the standard-issue Note S Pen, but Bluetooth functionality, along with a microphone and tiny speaker, enable the lightweight plastic contraption to double as a wireless headset -- sure to come in handy with the SIM slot-equipped international Note 10.1 flavor.

We caught our first hint of the pen's functionality upon discovering a bundled AC adapter -- that seemed mighty odd. The box also included an unusually beefy user manual and no fewer than five replacement "nibs" (read: stylus tips). Pairing took but a few seconds, and then we were on our way answering calls with a single tap of the talk button. There's also a built-in vibration mechanism, which serves to alert you to incoming calls. Sound quality was solid, but speaking into a pen admittedly felt a bit odd -- you may not draw as many stares as you would if speaking directly into a 10.1, but the seemingly unusual action may still turn a few heads. Otherwise, the S pen functioned as expected.

The packaging is all we have to go off of at this point -- Samsung reps we spoke to didn't know to expect the device today, so there's no pricing or availability info to share. We do know that it's rated for three hours of talk time and 130 hours of standby, it weighs 21 grams, offers Bluetooth 3.0 compatibility and will work with Galaxy Note devices -- you could use it as a headset with other gadgets, though there wouldn't be much appeal. It also includes a micro-USB charging cable, with the port accessible just above the shirt clip. That's all she wrote for now -- apparently this accessory was available exclusively at today's event, and may not make its way to the US, if it's released at all. You can see it in action now though, in our hands-on video after the break.