Galaxy S22 Ultra is getting Note-worthy competition: flagship stylus phones aren’t dead!



Forever ago in tech years – back in 2007 – Apple’s then-CEO Steve Jobs mocked the idea of phones using a stylus. A known visionary, Jobs insisted that “God gave us 10 styluses” and that’s plenty enough for us to use with our smartphone, why add more just to complicate things?

Was he right to see things that way? Well, we recently ran a huge poll named “The perfect phone, as designed by you”, where we asked if your perfect phone would come with a stylus, and the majority of voters (35%) said yes.

They envision their perfect phone with a built-in stylus, akin to the Galaxy Note series, and now the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Another 33% of the voters were on board with a sold-separate stylus, but did indeed still want that stylus support nonetheless.

Granted, much of our audience is tech enthusiasts, which may not represent what the casual majority of phone buyers thinks like, but nonetheless – there’s a huge number of people who value having a stylus with their phone.

It’s not like Samsung would be keeping the built-in stylus alive in 2022 for nobody, so clearly – the flagship stylus phone niche is worthy enough for such a major phone company’s attention.

But now, finally, after its uninterrupted dominance in the flagship stylus phone market, ever since the first Galaxy Note from back in 2011, Samsung is about to see some competition. And that only means one thing…

The flagship stylus phone market isn’t on life support anymore! Motorola is coming to challenge Samsung for our benefit

The Motorola Edge Plus (2022) is coming, packing promising specs, and notably – smart stylus support. We’re talking a 6.7-inch OLED display with a smooth 144Hz refresh rate (variable, can go down to 60Hz). Powering the phone is, as many of you can probably guess by now, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, paired with 8 GB of RAM.

But again – arguably what makes this upcoming Moto flagship really stand out is that the company has prepared it to work with what it calls the “Motorola Smart Stylus”. That’s going to be Motorola’s first smart stylus, which will support air gestures just like Samsung’s S Pen stylus does. And it will conveniently charge wirelessly from the back of the phone.

However, unlike Samsung, Motorola will sell that stylus separately, bundled with an official case with a dedicated spot for it, both of which you can check out above.

So as we can see, Motorola is executing the flagship stylus experience in a different way from Samsung, meaning the stylus won’t be included and stored inside of the phone itself. That’s how Samsung does it on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Galaxy S22 Ultra, but Moto not copying Samsung isn’t a bad thing at all.

And if you’re part of the proud niche group who loves a flagship stylus experience, the fact that Samsung is finally getting competition in that area is great news – finally there’s choice! But now a new question arises…

Is Samsung ready to take on its first flagship stylus competitor? The Galaxy S22 Ultra wasn’t a huge leap forward after all

To be fair – if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it, right? The Galaxy S22 Ultra is indeed very much a Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with modernized specs, not some huge upgrade visually or functionally. So Samsung clearly isn’t too afraid of any competition and thus rushing to make huge leaps ahead. Or the company is simply confident that the Note/S22 Ultra has reached the peak for what it envisions a flagship stylus experience should be like.

We won’t be comparing the Galaxy S22 Ultra against the upcoming Motorola Edge Plus (2022) here spec by spec, although you can do that here. But instead, we’ll talk styluses and stylus experience expectations, based on our time spent with both Samsung and Moto’s past stylus phones.

Because indeed, Motorola isn’t just now dipping its toes into the stylus smartphone game, just the flagship stylus smartphone game. In the past, the company has released compelling budget stylus phones like the 2021 Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G here:

However, considering Samsung’s countless years of producing flagship stylus phones, we maybe can’t reasonably expect Motorola to immediately match the beloved Galaxy Note experience, that now lives on in the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

But before we rush to conclusions, let’s look at the prices – maybe those will tip the balance in Moto’s favor.

The Motorola Edge Plus (2022) will be coming to the US for a “limited time” price of $899.99 at launch, which will later become $999.99. And that’s without the stylus, as we covered. We’re yet to know how much that would add to the price, but so far things sound a bit expensive, right?

Well, the Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at even more – $1199.99, although you can always check out the best Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra deals available right now, and save a few bucks on that one. Plus, it has the stylus included.

So price-wise, Moto’s option will be much cheaper at launch. But again, Motorola might have a long way to go in order to deliver the kind of dedicated stylus apps Samsung has, such as its perfectly-designed Notes app.

That one is so lovingly crafted, in my opinion, right down to the little details – like how it plays a little writing-on-paper noise as you write with your stylus, in order to simulate the real thing.

Helping Samsung’s S Pen stylus feel like “the real thing” is also its soft tip, which from a design perspective I find much better than, say, the Apple Pencil and its hard tip. Because, you see – when you drag its hard plastic tip along an iPad’s hard glass display, it really doesn’t feel like you’re writing on paper. To me, it always felt awkward and unsatisfying.

But Samsung’s S Pen, with its soft tip, does come much closer to writing on real paper, in my opinion. The question is – would Motorola’s Edge Plus (2022) “Smart Stylus” have a soft tip or a hard one? And again – will Moto bring dedicated apps for it, and will the promised air gestures work well?

We know Moto’s stylus is going to be sensitive to pressure, just like the S Pen, and that’s a very promising sign that it will measure up, but as for the rest – stay tuned for our full review.

In any case – flagship stylus phone fans rejoice! Your niche is far from dead. Samsung didn’t let the Note die, just its name, and now Motorola is coming to provide a bit of healthy, much-needed competition.





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