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Samsung's new phone has a major engineering flaw

Samsung's new phone has a major engineering flaw
Photo courtesy of Samsung

If you've looked at buying a new smartphone in the last five years, then you've probably considered a Samsung. Its Galaxy line launched it from a minor mobile player to the top Android smartphone maker.

For better or worse, Samsung is also who you can thank for the increase in smartphone screen size, with that being a major selling point of each new model. It also created the "phablet," or phone-tablet, with the Galaxy Note series, which features screens over 5.5 inches.

In fact, Samsung just released a new Note, the Galaxy Note5, along with the Galaxy S6 edge+. Both phones are the same size, have a similar look and use the same internal hardware. The only real difference is that the S6 edge+ is aimed at enjoying multimedia and the Note5 is aimed at productivity.

To that end, the Note5 keeps the Note line's signature built-in stylus, called the S-Pen, for taking notes, drawing and other activities. However, in tweaking the look of the Note5, Samsung created a major problem.

In past versions of the Note, you could only put the stylus in one way. Trying to put it in backward was either impossible or very hard.

On the new Note5, the S-Pen slides in fine either way, so if you aren't paying attention you can put it in backward. You can see from this video how it might be possible.

The problem is that if you put the S-Pen too far in the wrong way, it can get stuck. To make things worse, if you manage to yank it out, it has a good chance of permanently damaging the sensor that tells the phone when the pen is in. This causes some of the features related to the S-Pen to stop working.

Samsung acknowledges that this could be a problem, and even included a new warning in the Note5 manual to not put the pen in the wrong way. However, its solution seems to stop at telling users not to put the S-Pen in the wrong way. That could change when it starts getting warranty claims for broken pen sensors.

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