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I work for Toys for Bob / Activision. Posts here are my personal views, and do not necessarily reflect that of my employer. 

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Galaxy Note S-Pen Mods

Quick mods for the S-Pen for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Note 2.

Note 10.1 S-Pen mod, inside of a Micron Pen

Note 2 S-Pen mod, inside of a Pentel Clic eraser

Either one of these work on the other, but I recommend using the plastic tip for the 10.1, as the rubberized tip feels a bit too grippy, and result is a little lost of pressure sensitivity on the low end. The 10.1 S-Pen actually is a bit easier to get to the heavy pressure side, whereas the Note 2's pen requires a heavier hand to get to the extreme pressure levels. Both work great though, and it doesn't take very long to get used to either of the pens.

All Wacom Penabled pen/stylus work with the Note devices. "Penabled"are the ones for the Tablet PC's, not the Cintiq or normal Wacom tablets. However, the Penabled pen's tip are several millimeters off from the actual drawing tip, when used on either the Note 10.1, or the Note 2, so you are better off using the stock S-Pens with the Note devices.

And as a side note, the Note 1's S Pen adaptor does NOT work well for drawing on the Note 2 S-Pen. They DO work, but the pressure levels are different, so that you can only get light lines when using the Note 1 S-Pen on the Note 2 or Note 10.1 screens. This may work ok for writing, or note taking, but for art it is virtually useless. The original Note's S Pen holder also does not fit the Note 2's slightly bigger S-Pen.

So... why did I spend all this energy and effort to make these pens more comfortable to hold? Because they are my favorite digital art devices at the moment, see my Digital Art Tools review.... plus I think unicorns poop rainbows everytime I sketch with them.


  1. Hi, I have a note 10.1 and was wondering if you've ever come across issues with the spen on certain areas of the screen?

    Specifically, say I open up sketch book and try do draw diagonal lines across the whole screen slowly, I get certain areas where the lines will jerk at the same point or in a line, usually round the edges of the screen and along the middleish. It will only happen if Im drawing lightly and very slowly but it's rather annoying.

    Sorry to bother you, but I was wondering whether I had a faulty unit or it was something to do with how the screen is built.

    1. Yes.... let me guess, you have a case on it? and it's got a magnetic flap on it? Magnets will make your lines bunkers, and warp around exactly where the magnets are on the case. Lines will fade and curve a bit around areas of magnetic field.

    2. Mine does it without a case :( . I assume there's some components under the affected parts of the screen causing magnetic fluctuations or something then. No matter I'll just have to draw a little harder on those parts lol. Thank you for replying .

    3. Sorry thought for sure that was it. I haven't done this myself, but apparently there is a calibration for the pen.... not sure if that helps. http://androidforums.com/samsung-galaxy-note/441781-pen-calibration.html

    4. Google has lead me to find that this is not an uncommon issue:


      And that it could possibly be fixed by opening up the pen and altering the pressure sensitivity . Though I don't think I really want to mess with opening things up myself lol, so ill probably just learn to live with it. Thanks for the link and your time :).

  2. Thanks alotI-Wei Huang .
    I was realy thinking of changing my note2. Then I found Yes , I have a flip cover .
    Then I replaced the magneg under the phone with a metal piece and kept the magneg on the flip side.
    Now my s pen is smooth as butter .


    1. Oh awesome. Yeah I'll do more vids soon on more tweaks on the note for artists.... and I'll make sure to mention the magnet issue. I almost returned my 10.1, thinking that the screen is faulty. On the note2, the edges does get funky though, even without the case. I think the last 1/4 inch or so gets a bit warped, assuming it's wires or something creating interference. I mostly notice it on the right edge of the screen. But I've grown used to it, and just zoom move to center to draw.

  3. Was wondering if you would recommend the lenovo thinkpad 2 over something like the note 10.1...

    I have the note 10.1 right now via amazon and am thinking of returning it for the thinkpad 2. The fact that artrage and mypaint seem like they will never come to android makes me think I would be better served with a full windows machine. The thinkpad 2 lacks real processing power but for basic sketch and paint apps, I would think it would hold up. I have an ipad with a jot touch but can't seem to really feel "free" when working on the platform, I like the note 10.1 much much better.

    Any thoughts on this?

    P.S. I really appreciate your blog too, have used it for tips on the jot touch, note 10.1 etc :)

    1. Took the note 10.1 to Philly sketch club...it was killer.


    2. Hey BEM, first of all.... awesome sketch! love your lines. I have not tried thinkpad 2, but I do have the Samsung Series7 Slate, which is a real powerhouse, and capable of high res and powerful programs. But the reason that I love the 10.1 more, is the tablet pc's are PC's, which is both good and bad (see my comparison video in the previous post, if you haven't already). Because it's a pc, you can use high end programs that are capable of much more. But because it's windows, it's hard on battery, heat, and overall just not a good tablet. So comparing Samsung 7 slate to samsung Note 10.1, I prefer the Note... mostly because you just pick up and go, and don't have the headache that goes along with windows.... heat, battery, constant updates, virus, and makes me not want to boot it up to sketch. Note just is always ready and easy, and it does 99% of what I want to do, when I just want to sketch/paint. Also, Note's 1024 levels of pressure if more than the tablet pc's.... not sure about the thinkpad's stats. Seeing what you can do with the Note at sketch club, looks like it's everything that you need?

    3. Well, I broke down and bought a samsung ativ...the full windows 8 atom version. I figured since best buy is pretty good with returns and if I don't like it, I'll return it.

      It is really nice. Sketching and painting on it is really good. But, as you said, sketchbook pro on the note 10.1 is built for mobile. As great as sketchbook etc are on a windows slate (like the ativ) they are a bit clunky when trying to sketch and paint. You can't just use your hand to pan and zoom and paint with the pen. Also, there is no "pen mode" like in android. So your hand makes marks when you are sketching.

      In the end, I think I need both! Ha ha. I will probably end up waiting till the tax return comes in and pick up the samsung ativ pro (which sports a i5 processor) and keep the note in the meantime (which means selling my ipad).

      Thanks again for the insightful blog, I'll keep checking back :)