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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra's biggest upgrade just got confirmed by FCC

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra with S Pen
(Image credit: LetsGoDigital/Giuseppe Spinelli)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has been heavily rumored to be compatible with an S Pen stylus, and now there's apparently irrefutable proof of it.

The presence of the phone in an FCC listing (spotted by Android Police) is not only evidence that the phone's on track to debut in January as expected, but also that the S21 Ultra's most talked-about new feature is definitely real.

You can check the listing yourself for the Samsung device codenamed "SMG998B" but a lot of it is technical and uninteresting to the average user. The bit we're looking at is found within one of the many test reports, which simply states the device "can also be used with a stylus device (S-PEN)".

The description also reveals that the S Pen will have a hover function to allow users to control the phone without directly touching the display, something we've seen on the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

The rest of the report confirms a lot of wireless features that we'd expect from a flagship phone. That includes elements like ultrawideband connectivity, NFC, wireless and reverse wireless charging and the new WiFi 6E.

While it's great to see the S Pen coming to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, it looks like the accessory won’t come in the box and will be optional. You also won't have anywhere to store the S Pen in the phone if you do buy one, which is frustrating, although Samsung cases will likely offer a stylus slot.

Samsung has said itself that it was bringing the S Pen to more phones, albeit without detailing which models or when. That happened just over a week ago when ™ Roh, Samsung Electronics' president, said that the company was planning to introduce features from the Galaxy Note to other phones

However, Samsung is also adamant that the Galaxy Note series isn't going away. While we were concerned that Samsung was going to kill off one of its most unique phones by giving its signature feature to another model, a source from within the company has claimed there will be a 2021 Galaxy Note phone after all.

We haven't got long to wait for the Galaxy S21 to get its introduction. Leaks are pointing to a launch event on January 14. The S21 Ultra should be the most exciting model, as it will reportedly pair S Pen support with four rear cameras, including two telephoto lenses with 3x and 10x optical zoom. 

Richard Priday

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. He's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.