Samsung can't catch a break lately.  If it's not their Smart TVs getting caught spying on you, it's their smart refrigerators exposing your GMail login. (Wait.  What?  Why does your refrigerator even know your farking GMail login?   Do I even want to know?) 

Samsung's new top-of-the-line phablet, the Note 5, has a pen/stylus built into it.  Of course, the tablet knows if the pen is embedded in it, or has been popped out by the user to do something.  There seems to be some debate in the blogosphere as to whether the problem with it is a design flaw or a user error:  If you insert the pen into the tablet point-first, all works properly.  But if you insert it the other way, it gets stuck.  Very, very stuck.

pen SO stuck

The sensor levers that detect the insertion of the pen act as ratchet pawls and lock the pen in.  If you pull it out, you will break the levers, rendering a bunch of the tablet's functionality non-functional.

To me it takes a certain amount of technical elitism and lack of empathy to place all the blame for this on the users.  If inserting that pen wrong-end-first causes such severe damage, why is it possible?  How difficult would it have been to increase the dimensions of the button on the top of the pen so that it would simply not fit into the channel, more than a couple mm?  So in this debate, I come down firmly on the side of, this is a design error.

This article was updated on May 9, 2023

David F