Samsung quietly reengineers Galaxy Note 5 to fix Pen-gate issue

Igor Bonifacic

January 19, 2016 7:00am

When the controversy surrounding Pen-gate (the design flaw that allows Note 5 owners to break their smartphone’s stylus detection functionality by inserting the S-Pen backwards) initially broke out, Samsung responded to the crisis by pointing Note 5 owners to the manual included with their smartphone.

The company later added a sticker to the front of the smartphone, duplicating the warning found in the phone’s manual. Now the company appears to have taken its most definitive step toward resolving the issue once and for all.

A photo sent to Phandroid, seen below, reveals Samsung has reworked the Note 5’s pen detection mechanism (the new system is the one pictured on the motherboard to the left). According to the person who sent in the image, the mechanism, despite its makeshift look, ensures the S-Pen is not inserted improperly.

New Note 5 Motherboard

Besides taking the phone apart, there doesn’t appear to be a way to tell apart this new revision from the Note 5s that came before it. So don’t take this news an invitation to see if the Note 5 you just bought is free of the issue.

Related reading: Galaxy Note 5 review

SourcePhandroid
  • Haseeb Khan

    Start The Discussion 🙂

  • Brad Fortin

    I’m surprised it took this long. Isn’t this the sort of thing that’s usually figured out by the time they reach QA?

    • HiKsFiles

      Q-what? 🙂

    • bcollett

      Quality Assurance

    • HiKsFiles

      I know what QA is… was just being sarcastic 🙂

    • TP

      This is the sort of things like antennagate.

    • Brad Fortin

      Sort of. This issue didn’t affect previous Notes and likely won’t affect future Notes. Antennagate affected (and still affects) any phone held in a death drip regardless of make or model.

    • TP

      Well Antennagate didn’t affect any phone I have owned and used. Am I the only exception in the world then?

    • Brad Fortin

      Have you held your phone in a death grip where the antenna is placed?

      You can easily search YouTube. Even the antennagate conference Apple held had several examples of competing devices suffering the same problem when held in the death drip, with video and everything.

    • TP

      Yes, I tried that so many times when I watched Steve claiming ‘all phones are like that’. I couldn’t make it happen. I tried with the next phone I got, it did not happen.

    • Mo Dabbas

      To be honest no. It’s not. This is something design in a certain way and some are misusing it.
      If you put windshield fluid instead of the radiator fluid and damaged your car does it become the manufacturer fault? The two tanks looks quite similar in many cars and if one is dumb enough he/she might mix them up.

    • Brad Fortin

      If we’re using a car analogy it’s more like putting a cigarette lighter in backwards and getting it stuck. It’s hard to account for human stupidity during QA but if you’ve only got one moving part (lighter/pen) you might as well test it.

    • Mo Dabbas

      I know this is off, but do car makers still make cigarette lighters in their cars? The last two cars I had didn’t have the lighter part, just a cover. which is good since I don’t smoke and I don’t like people smoking in my car.

    • Brad Fortin

      I think it’s still an option on select models. I remember seeing a “smoker’s package” a few years ago but they might not offer that sort of thing anymore.

    • El Capitan Morgan

      Brad, not sure if you ever own anything more than an iPhone but if you own one of these things, you’ll noticed its not that bad…unless you’re too stupid to insert it improperly. What fanboys usually claim these as “non-issue”.

    • Brad Fortin

      It’s a non-issue… until a child, or Leo Laporte, gets a hold of your phone.

    • El Capitan Morgan

      A child shouldn’t be even holding an adult phone. I don’t have a kid yet but when I do.. I’ll lend him my iphone cause it is child friendly than Samsung Note 5. Before he/she inserted in the wrong way, could have poke the eyes already. So no… but thanks for pointing that out! 🙂

    • southerndinner

      Kinda like “you’re holding it wrong”?

    • Brad Fortin

      Kinda, except this issue only affects the Note 5, whereas holding a phone in a death grip affects all makes and models of phones.

    • southerndinner

      Your spin skills are impressive

  • TP

    Just avoid inserting that way.

  • Stephen Cornthwaite

    This doesn’t really stop the spen from being inserted incorrectly though, does it? What it does is stop the spen from being snagged by the little sensor arm, and then having that sensor arm broken when you remove stuck spen. They would have had to do more if they wanted it to stop the spen from being inserted incorrectly to begin with.

  • FlamesFan89

    Or, ya know, just use your device correctly.

  • Mo Dabbas

    “Samsung quietly reengineers Galaxy Note 5 to fix Pen-gate issue” — So they’re going to offer free courses to wipe idiocy?
    That’s nice of them.

  • Raj Singh

    Bizarre how someone could unintentionally place the pen backwards into the chamber and then force it in.

  • I’m not a Samsung fan, but this was most definitely user error. I work for a wireless retailer and for the lolz, we attempted to put the pen in backwards (just to see if it was easy) and realized to get it to go in, we would have had to force it in with some serious effort. No amount of QA can account for basic human stupidity.

  • Omar

    Can’t fix stupid.