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Galaxy Note 5 ‘Penghazi’ – what really happens when you insert the S Pen the wrong way?

Updated Dec 19th, 2018 9:04PM EST
Galaxy Note 5 Pengate S Pen Stylus Fix
Image: Zach Epstein, BGR

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As great as it may be, the Galaxy Note 5 does have one serious design issue that can break one of the most significant new features of the new handset. Sure, it takes a lot of bad luck or ignorance to put the Galaxy Note 5’s S Pen in its slot backwards, but it’s also a design flaw from Samsung, as some accidents are bound to happen. Just imagine children playing with the phablet and the clicky stylus — as soon as they put it back in the wrong way, the auto-detection features of the S Pen are toast.

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Labeled as #pengate, this first Galaxy Note 5 scandal is dangerous if you mishandle the handset. Most users will likely never have to deal with the problem, but it only needs to happen once to break the phone.

9to5Google performed a teardown of the handset in collaboration with uBreakiFix, discovering that the stylus slot contains two levers, both with a particular function, and both breakable.

One of the levers is placed towards the top of the device, aligning with the stylus notches found near its tip. Its role is to keep the S Pen in place once it’s stowed. The other lever is located lower, and it’s the one that senses whether the S Pen is stowed or not, triggering software features based on the S Pen’s location.

Inserting the S Pen backwards can break that lower lever, meaning the phone will suddenly lose the capability to trigger software features when the S Pen is removed, because the Galaxy Note 5 won’t know whether the stylus is stowed or not.

Samsung has not revealed how it plans to fix the issue, but the teardown suggests that lower lever is so easy to break, and so hard to repair, that Samsung should just issue replacements rather than trying to repair the broken component.

In other words, if you plan to buy a Galaxy Note 5, make sure you don’t insert the S Pen stylus in the wrong way.

More images showing that broken lower lever follow below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.