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’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:
Update: ATT says not our problem. Send it to Samsung. Kind of makes me want to buy an iPhone next time. #penghazi
— Leo Laporte (@leolaporte) August 25, 2015
And when Apple was going through the #bendgate issue, Samsung was quick to pile on:
— Samsung Mobile (@SamsungMobile) September 25, 2014
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.