Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 could get the Note 20’s best feature

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung really knocked it out of the park with the launch of the Galaxy Z Fold 2 earlier this year. But despite all the improvements, foldable phones could still be better.

Thankfully, one new rumor claims the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 will feature something a lot of people have been asking Samsung to include on all of its flagships, not just foldables. That’s right, the Z Fold 3 might be getting an S Pen.

But not just any S Pen. Rather than just taking the same S Pen that’s available in the Galaxy Note 20, Samsung is apparently set to completely remake the S Pen for the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Or, at the very least, redesign how the stylus actually works when it connects to the screen.

According to Korean tech site The Elec, the current S Pen design is too rigid for the foldable displays and trying to use one would risk damaging the screen. After all, the foldable glass on the Z Fold 2 is softer than the traditional hard glass screen of a non-folding phone, and the last thing Samsung wants is a peripheral scratching it.

The rigidness in the S Pen is down to it using Wacom’s Electro Magnetic Resonance (EMR) technology, which uses a digitizer inside the display to avoid the need for a dedicated power source in the stylus itself. But The Elec says Samsung is looking into Active Electro Static (AES) technology to avoid damaging the foldable displays, and that involves turning the tech on its head. 

In this instance the stylus itself is powered, while the display is a passive receiver of the information. Apple employs similar technology with its own stylus, the Apple Pencil.

Making this change means a hypothetical Z Fold S Pen is going to be very different, and will likely need to be larger to accommodate a built-in battery that won’t die after five minutes. So unlike the Galaxy Note series' S Pen, it probably won’t be able to slide inside the Z Fold 3 for safe keeping. Expect something that looks more like the Galaxy Tab 7's S Pen when this arrives, even if the inner technology isn’t quite the same.

The prospect of a stylus for the Z Fold 3 is going to be quite appealing to some. After, all, the foldable phone is just a fold-out tablet, and a stylus can be very useful for taking notes, sketching and more. So here’s hoping Samsung figures this out, and sooner rather than later.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.