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Samsung debuts a smarter, more capable S Pen

Who needs keyboards?

Tablets and pens have gone hand in hand since the days of cuneiform and the original Galaxy Note. However, as the Notes (as well as Tabs and Notebooks) themselves have advanced in capability over the past few years, their styli generally haven't kept pace. However at Wednesday's Galaxy Note 8 announcement, Samsung revealed that the venerable S Pen is about to receive a timely update as well, enabling it to act more like a real pen.

For starters, the newly-improved S Pen features the same fine tip and pressure sensitivity as the Note 7, which tablet-based artists are sure to appreciate. That's 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and a 0.7mm tip for those yearning for the exact numbers. And, when used in conjunction with the new Galaxy Note 8, users will be able to much more than produce better digital artworks. Rather than type out their SMS messages, for example, users will be able to write out their missives by hand. They'll also have the option to write a note in using Live Message, apply special effects and then share it as an animated Gif on a variety of social media platforms.

The writing system itself is getting faster as well. On older models, if you wanted jot down a quick note, you'd have to pull out the S Pen from its holster and unlock the screen before you could start writing. But with the Screen Off memo feature, you'll be able to start writing as soon as the pen clears its dock, without compromising your phone's security, and then pin it (and up to 99 other pages of text to your Always On Display) for quick access and editing. The S Pen will also help the Globetrotter crowd by allowing them to translate entire sentences (and currencies) simply by hovering over the text string.

Update: This post has been updated to clarify the pen tip and pressure sensitivity on the Note 8 S Pen are the same as the stylus that arrived with the Note 7.

Follow all the latest news from Samsung's Galaxy Note 8 event here!