When a flagship device launches, it’s usually only a matter of time before some sort of controversy arises. There was #antennagate for the iPhone 4, #scratchgate for the iPhone 5, and last year’s #bendgate for the iPhone 6. Now it’s Samsung’s turn to join the party.

The problem stems from inserting the Galaxy Note5’s S-Pen in the wrong way, head first, instead of tip first like normal. Doing so makes the S-Pen catch on to a lever deep inside the pen cavity, causing it to get stuck.

Samsung has been no stranger to controversy before, but this new one, some have called it #pengate, or #penghazi, is more egregious than any so-called “-gate” we’ve seen before.

Trying to remove an S-Pen that’s lodged inside of the Note5 inevitably leads to all sorts of issues, including broken internal levers which mess up the S-Pen’s removal detection. Dom over at 9to5Google lends the best explanation that I’ve seen thus far.

The point is, inserting the S-Pen head side first will more than likely cause irreversible damage to your $800 phone. The fact that it only takes an absent-minded second to pull this devastating action off is what makes this issue do bad.

Samsung doesn’t seem to see what the big deal is, and issued the following statement to the BBC:

We highly recommend our Galaxy Note 5 users follow the instructions in the user guide to ensure they do not experience such an unexpected scenario caused by reinserting the S-Pen in the other way around.

That’s an absurd excuse. Samsung doesn’t even include a physical manual or any sort of on-screen warning about such a matter. You have to go and download the PDF manual in order to find this warning.

Samsung PDF Manual Note 5

Samsung’s warning via its Galaxy Note5 downloadable PDF manual

This is Samsung’s fifth Galaxy Note device, so it’s not like its new at including a stylus with its phones. None of the previous Galaxy Notes suffered from this issue.

It’s way more likely that you’ll accidentally insert the stylus the wrong way than it is for an iPhone owner to bend an iPhone 6. The fact that Samsung could have easily made it so that the stylus only inserted in the right direction is what makes this whole ordeal even more sad.

People have railed on Apple in the past for its response to issues with its products. The one that comes to mind most often is Steve Job’s “You’re holding it wrong” quip in response to the iPhone 4’s #antennagate. But this is on a whole new level. A bad cellular reception is one thing, but permanently ruining your device due to a brief mental lapse is another. Seriously, just watch the video from Android Police embedded above. It literally takes no effort to insert the stylus the wrong way.

It’s so easy to do, that even Leo Laporte, a known techie, suffered from the issue:

And when Apple was going through the #bendgate issue, Samsung was quick to pile on:

Samsung could have easily prevented this. The fact that its very own PDF manual warns against this shows that Samsung’s designers knew good and well that this was an issue.

Ship ’em they said. Ship ’em, anyway.

  • Gerardo Castro

    Proof Samsung is a woman 😉

  • JulianZH

    not really sure the point of this article but ok.

    • The point is Samsung, arguably Apple’s chief competitor, shipped an $800 phone with known design flaw. A design flaw that’s much worse than any deisgn flaw shipped on an iPhone. I thought it was interesting.

      • Alan Osborne

        Agreed Jeff. Glad I read about this before doing Samsung’s test drive. Good to know what issues different phones have.

      • It is funny how none of the previous notes has this issue yet the new one does and its really easy to do it.

      • Kroffy

        Maybe because they changed the mecanism of the pen on the Note 5 ?…

      • Just because they changed the mechanism doesn’t meant they couldn’t make the other end of the stylus a tad thicker so it could’t be inserted incorrectly…

      • Manuel Molina

        Not see how this is a design flaw when the phone is not designed to have the pen go from the top part of the pen into its holder as shown in the video. And the idea that a kid is going to realize that to get the pen, you’ll click that button to flip it backward seems invalid. This just sounds like something stupid iPhone users want to point at. It’s suppose to be the pens tip part going into the phones holder. I don’t see someone saying “hey, let me put the chance at messing up my phone and seeing if the pen goes in backwards”. Seems like a way to get back at apple for its flaws, when in truth, the iPhone 4 was a design flaw for the calls to drop if you held your hand over the edges of the phone. The 6 was a design flaw as well, as the casing for the phone has a pressure point that the phone bends in your pocket if put in a certain way. The 5 was just paint and not too much design.

      • Shinonuke

        My iPhone 6 have been sat on while being in my back pack and there are no signs of it being bent. Have yours?

        Anyways back to the topic, my note 3 had this issue. I had many occasions when I put the pen in the wrong way in a bit of a haste and was able to pulled it out without permanent damage. The note is in its 5th generation already. Samsung should have addressed the issue. Example, antenna gate was addressed by placing a second antenna. Was that so hard to do? Nope. Samsung have competent engineers who can fix the pen issue, but choose not to.

      • Manuel Molina

        I’m on my second one – my first 6 plus bent from having it in my back pocket and my right side pocket all the time.

        And again, you’re blaming the company for putting the pen in the wrong way? That seems more personal if the pen wasn’t made to go in head first in the first place.

      • The point is how easy it is to accidentally slide the pen in the wrong way. Someone could easily not be paying attention and slide it in the wrong way with no resistance (which is the problem) and end up breaking the phone. It doesn’t have to be a child. Obviously someone did this on accident first which is how it got reported. I can very easily see not paying attention and sliding it in the wrong way.

      • Manuel Molina

        If you seen the video, when he pushes in the pen wrong, there’s pushback for him putting it in. If, let’s say, you do put in backwards, there’s the pushback from the pen and you would notice your putting the pen in the wrong way. If you still put it in that way, you are asking for your phone to get messed up. The pen isn’t suppose to go in backwards.

      • I doubt they are blaming Samsung for inserting the pen wrong. The issue is, how could you miss something this small, they forgot to make the end thicker.. To me that’s a flaw because they’ve not let that happen on four previous phones…

      • Manuel Molina

        He forces the last part of the pen into the port. It goes at first, then he has to put some extra pressure for it to go in and feel a click as he says in the video. If you notice that feeling of pushback as you’re feeling the tip, then you are asking for it to mess up. Put your bullet in the wrong way of a gun and it jams and messes up the gun? Design flaw or common mistake or stupidity?

      • All of the above, whoever inserts it is wrong but they should have still made it harder to make the mistake.. They’ve don’t it before so why stop now, people are not getting any smarter obviously..

      • Senith Deelaka Ranchagoda

        Well, it doesn’t matter which side you insert you’ve to force it in the last part.. Because the clippy thing at the end has to be retracted and it needs force.. So it you didn’t pay attention you have a chance of having a broken phone.. Which in my point of view is a design flaw..

      • Rowan09

        It should not allow you to put the pen in the wrong way and in there lies the design flaw. I have an iPhone 6+ and work in construction and it’s not bend. I also know a lot of people who put it in their back pockets and it’s not bent. A design flaw affects all device and this is why this IS a design flaw. I fix these phone and the switch that’s triggered lets the phone knows the S Pen is taken out will break according to this article making the phone think it’s out even when it’s put back in. I never owed a Note 5 but if the setup is like the Note 2 this is what it will do.

      • Manuel Molina

        Let’s agree to disagree. Clearly the pen doesn’t belong in the phone the wrong way, and thus why it messes up. But he said it’s just as easy to put the pen in backwards, but before anything, he had to force the last part of the pen to click in order for it not to work.

        So is it hard to say that putting your phones pen the wrong way into the port could mess it up? I’m gonna take my Xbox 360 game and put it into my Xbox backwards and move the system. When I get the scratches on my game, I’ll just say it’s a design flaw since everyone would mistakenly move their Xbox one time when a game is in it. And kids put their games in backwards all the time. Microsoft made a design flaw, yeah?

      • Rowan09

        Microsoft did have a defect with the 360 if you move the system while it was playing it could mess it up and the red ring of death was another. No one is saying the phone is necessarily flawed just the pen design was flawed. What can Samsung do to solve this problem would be to redesign the pen so it will only go in one way. It’s a simple solve at least on paper just make sure the pen only goes one way, it’s easy for someone to make a mistake and put it in the wrong way. Why are you trying to make excuses for Samsung when they are absolutely wrong with this one?

      • Manuel Molina

        If anyone moves their system while moving their system, it messes up the disc. The PS3, ps2, Wii, Wiiu, GameCube, PS1 and Xbox and 360 do this. There’s no designing flaw. If you move a CD player all over the place while it plays, the disc gets messed up. If you put your disc in the wrong way, you mess up the lens and the entire system. So I don’t see your point on that. And I’m not making excuses for Samsung, I’m saying it’s illogical for anyone to say it’s a design flaw when the pen isn’t designed to go in backwards, and thus, messing up the phone. It wasn’t made to go in that way. This is just a thing where we don’t see eye to eye. I agree to disagree here.

      • Rowan09

        Wrong the PS3 can be moved while playing I’ve done it and I watched my friends 360 mess up 3 times just by slightly moving it while it was on. CDs don’t get messed up by movement, I have/had a portable CD player and that’s why they made anti-skip. The pen was made to go one way, but yet still someone can put it I the wrong way with minimal effort and that’s called a defect. If the pen was truly made to be one way then it shouldn’t go so far the wrong way. All Samsung needs to do is make one end bigger and defect solved.

      • Rob Floyd

        Stupid iPhone users? …keep it classy mate…smh

      • Joey_Z

        I’m pretty sure people who discovered this are loyal Samsung customer who would pre-order the note and get their hands on it on launch day. Also, are you sure the bentgate is not fake? Looks around you in real life, how many people have bent their iphone 6? I have a co-worker who doesn’t care too much of his iphone 6, the aluminum back is all scratches and chips, and the screen is cracked near the speaker, but it’s never bent…

      • Manuel Molina

        I don’t think bendgate was as serious as it was made out. My phone did bend, but that’s because I ran with my phone during jogging and kept shoving it in and out my pocket without a case. But you’re basing your results on everyone results, as there was clearly a small population of people who had their phone bend.

      • Dante Arellano

        No one of those androide users pay top dollar like 800 they usually buy the chipes ones

  • japplemusik

    This is obviously laughably so bad for Samsung, but this is our chance (as the Apple community) to show them we’re not about stooping to their level by rubbing it in their faces and making commercials about it (Samsung’s satirical bendgate commercial anyone?). It’s tempting, but we need to bite our tongues this time!

    • japplemusik

      And I’m just thinking about it now, but Samsung wants us to try out their devices with their new program? Why, so we can all break them and end up having to pay for them anyway??

  • GustaMusta

    I’ll call it #stuckgate 😛

    • rockdude094

      #Thatswhatshesaidgate :PP

      • Rizal Adikara Djaingrono

        #OMGate :))

  • Has Samsung ever heard of QA?
    How is it that this is not possible with previous note’s?

  • Ottawa Gamerz

    wow how stupid can u be.. and now whats next apple going to release the apple pen or a pen watch or what ever apple decides to copy this time this guy girl is just fn stupid note 4 u cant do that

    • Shadowelite123

      I couldn’t understand even a bit of what you just said. Are you using the pen?

      • William Melendez

        Thanks for the laugh lol

      • Alberto Espinal

        Lol Lol omg

      • Good one haha

      • Ikr

    • Senith Deelaka Ranchagoda


  • Cristian B

    Jeez samsung sent out that tweet literally like 6 days after the iPhone 6 was released. Talk about no chill lmao

    But in all seriousness, this is definitely a major flaw for the note. I hope they resolve it soon.

  • Eikast

    Well karma is a bitch. Sucks to be Samsung but they really screwed themselves over with this one.

    • Rowan09

      They were already killing the Note line anyways, so I guess this might be the nail in the coffin. Reviews I’ve read said they would choose the Edge + over the Note 5 especially since it’s the same specs just without a stylus. The Note series is suppose to be the phablet now it’s just another Galaxy with a stylus.

      • Drocx

        What is your definition of a phablet?

      • Rowan09

        Huh? I didn’t make up the definition and a phablet meant a phone 5″ or more but know it just means a really big phone. Apple only releases 2 phones a year 6 & 6+ while Samsung releases over 20 with different variations. Apple is no god to me, just a tech company that I like its products. Anyone could see the Note series was getting killed 2 years now. The Note was the phablet device and if you wanted a phablet you had to get the Note or the failed Mega. Now they just released the Galaxy Edge + with the Note 5 and they are both the same phones as the Edge with a bigger screen and the Note just has a stylus. Is a stylus the only selling point now for the Note now? If that’s the case it will be gone soon.

  • Manuel Molina

    Really? If you put it in the wrong way and it breaks, that’s a design flaw? Just think about that. If I put my NES controller the wrong way into the system and the systems ports break, that’s a design flaw then? If I put the CD in the disc tray backwards and the lens gets messed up from the print label, that’s a design flaw?

    • CyPh3r

      Are you being willfully obtuse or is this a condition that develops as a result of using Samsung based products?

    • TechToch

      but in previous galaxy note phones nothing happen if you put the pen reversed

      • Manuel Molina

        Does that still change the fact that you shouldn’t put your pen in that way it doesn’t belong in the first place? You’re asking for the phone to mess up.

      • TechToch

        it can happen by mistake specially if you are rushing !

      • Manuel Molina

        Then we shouldn’t call them smart phones and call them for idiot devices. 🙂

    • Your nes controller won’t go in the wrong way and a cd won’t get messed up if inserted incorrectly. Are you seeing the issues now?

      • Manuel Molina

        Think about this and to what you said. The controller won’t get messed up. Yes, true. The cd won’t get messed up. True. The pen wouldn’t get messed up putting it wrong either though. Yes? But putting the control in backwards could damage the port on the system, no? Weak point? Think about the CD going backwards into the player? The lens gets messed up. Better example? If I take my PS3 game and put the game in backwards, the game could get stuck or the lens could rub off the label. The CD, Controller are items. The item here is the pen. The pen isn’t getting messed up, and so isn’t the CD nor the controller. It’s the device. So if the NES port breaks, the Lens of the disc player breaks, and the phone breaks from the pen, then those are design flaws? The logic doesn’t make sense.

      • Tommy

        They’re too dumb to understand simple comparisons. Idk why u even bother trying. But yeah, I support what u said. It’s about time they RTFM.

    • Antzboogie

      You do have a point for that comment. The one thing I see that’s wild is that it was very simple to fix unless in production already. Everything has its issues to be honest. All devices purposely leave something out to make it look like a spectacular upgrade on the next version. Even Apple does this.

  • ravinigga

    Lol curved not bend. And now where is the curved?
    It’s just a gimmick

  • Stephen

    Once again we blame a company for human stupidity. I am an Apple user, but come on. At some point we all need to stop blaming everything on someone else. Take some responsibility. You know that the S pen is meant to be put in one way. How are you going to get upset when your stupid actions cause it to get stuck. Stop blaming everyone else and look in the mirror as to whose fault the blame should really lie upon. This is so typical of our world today and the reason our society is failing. It’s sad.

    • Manuel Molina

      Ah, there is some same and logical person on here, too. Welcome, sir.

    • Jon20

      I agree!!! I’m not saying the Bendgate thing wasn’t a structural flaw, especially considering they are strengthening it on the 6S but people need to be held accountable for their actions. I’m sure you wouldn’t stick a square glass mirror in your back pocket and expect it not to break if you sit on it. If you want to take that chance, it’s up to you. If you can’t place a stylus in the right way to a machine that you use everyday, it’s not the companies fault that your not paying attention to what your doing. I don’t usually put my phone in my back pocket unless I am doing something that requires me to stay in a bent or squatted position for a long period of time. If not, I just set it to the side. #THINKGATEPEOPLE!!!

      • Rowan09

        I disagree. The pen should not allow you to go in that far to mess up the device. People make mistakes and obviously this is what happened to some people. This is not an issue where someone drops their phone and it breaks so we say it’s a flaw in the glass, if the pen is only made to go one way it should only allow you to go one way. It’s like driving down a road that a 2 way street and then all of a sudden without any warning it becomes a one way and you get into an accident. While the driver holds some responsibility, you wouldn’t say it’s all the drivers fault.

  • TechToch

    Can someone design a picture making fun of this problem as samsung made fun of bendgate

    • Harsh Sac

      That would involve a lot of dirty references…Like, a *lot* of dirty references…

  • Chindavon

    The spirit of Steve Jobs says, “You’re inserting it in wrong.”

  • Dante Arellano

    Samesug is for poor dunm people your welcome

  • Rowan09

    Well the person on Twitter is a grown man and it’s easy to make the mistake when you’re not paying attention.

  • Senith Deelaka Ranchagoda

    Sometimes when you’re in a hurry or when your mind is not on the job.. Somethings like this happens..

  • Still nor sure who is the idiot who will insert it backward

  • Mark Tesch

    “Samsung: You’re inserting it wrong.”

    That’s what she said.

  • Drocx

    While smartphones get smarter, people become more stupid.

  • Harsh Sac

    Haha..Now I’ll just go around stores inserting the S-Pen backwards on every usable sample they have….#EvilGrin

  • Vacak valeria

    i love this post they are the best!!

  • Mariano

    I say its stupidity from the user by not reading thd manual.

  • JT

    It’s not really a design flaw, as much as it’s a “you can’t be stupid, you have to pay attention to the way you’re putting your S-Pen into the phone.” type of deal.

    This website takes every opportunity to throw shade at Samsung, but this is a joke. I have an iPhone, and I love it, but to imply that Samsung really dropped the ball here, or something of that nature, is wrong.

  • AFish

    Why do tech blogs continue to point this non-issue out. No offense, but if you are stupid enough to insert the stylus in the wrong way, well then…..This is not a “design flaw”. The thing was made for the s-pen to go in one way. WTH. My iphone 6 plus on the other hand, has achieved a nice slight curve to it over the year just from putting it in my front pocket to carry the thing around. (And I wear normal loose pants) Now that is a design flaw. (And apparently Apple will be rectifying it with the 6S).