Breaking the Galaxy Note 5 is as easy as reinserting the stylus backwards

Owners of Samsung’s new Galaxy Note 5 should be careful about how they handle the device’s stylus. According to reports from various outlets, reinserting the Note 5’s S Pen into the smartphone the wrong way can permanently disable the handset’s stylus detection feature. This means that functions like quickly taking notes when the phone’s screen is off, or automatically accessing the S Pen’s radial menu no longer work. A video from Android Police shows the flaw in action, with the outlet reporting that stylus detection remained permanently broken after its tests. A similar story from Ars Technica found the same issue, but with the caveat that the reporter was able to get the features working again after some judicious wiggling of the S Pen inside the smartphone.

The flaw is particularly annoying because of the ease with which the S Pen can be inserted into the Note 5 the wrong way. With previous versions of the Note, it was impossible (or simply very difficult) to put the stylus in blunt end first, but the Note 5’s redesigned S Pen means it’s the same shape all the way down its length, and can be pushed into the phone just as easily the right way as the wrong way round. Without any physical resistance to warn users, it’s a fair bet that at least some people will insert the S Pen backwards, perhaps permanently damaging their smartphone. We’ve asked Samsung for comment on this apparent design flaw and will update this story when the company responds.

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