This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl.
The Mate 40 series from Huawei, which was launched in some countries such as Europe and China, is now compatible with the M-Pen 2 stylus pen, which is sold separately. Although Huawei already sells stylus pens for smartphones, tablets, and 2-in-1 PCs, the M-Pen 2 is a new model that is only compatible with the Mate 40 and MatePad Pro. I tried out the writing experience.
The pen performance of the M-Pen 2 has a latency of 11ms and has 4096 pressure sensitivity. It measures 143.87 x 8.9 mm and weighs 17 grams, and has one multi-function button on the body. It also has the Huawei logo on the clip.
The M-Pen 2 has a rechargeable, 82mAh battery built-in. It supports 10 hours of continuous handwriting and 40 days of standby on a full charge. Charging is done by removing the cap on top of the unit. This cap is designed not to come completely off the pen to prevent it from being lost.
The M-Pen 2 is charged directly into the USB Type-C port of a smartphone or tablet, just like the original Apple Pencil. Bluetooth pairing can also be done automatically in this state.
Before using M-Pen 2, you need to turn on the use of the stylus pen in the Mate 40 Pro's settings screen. The Notepad app is also pre-installed.
The functions of the multifunction buttons are the following five
When the screen is off
Click on the button and then touch the screen: Launch Notepad
When the screen is on
Click on the button and then touch the screen: Launch Notepad
Double-click the button and then touch the screen: screen capture
Hold down the button and draw an "O" on the screen: screen selection capture
Hold down the button and draw an "S" on the screen: scrolling capture the screen
The Mate 40 Pro does not have Google Services (GMS) but instead has Huawei Services (HMS), and apps can be downloaded from Huawei's own AppGallery store. An app called "M-Pen Zone" is installed and when you open it, you can download the handwriting apps available for the M-Pen 2. There are about 10 of them, including a notepad, drawing, and PDF handwriting. It is subtly advertised as a smartphone that makes use of the pen.
I actually tried handwriting with the M-Pen 2. The tip of the pen is hard and every time I touch it on the display, it feels like I am "tapping the glass". This is a similar feeling to that of the Mate 20 X + M-Pen, which was the first to support the pen. However, due to the low latency speed, the nibs track well and I can write smoothly and effortlessly.
I am a Galaxy Note user and I think the Galaxy Note has a softer touch at the tip of the pen, so you will not get tired even if you write for a long time. The M-Pen 2 might feel better when touching the display if it had a film-type protective sheet instead of a glass one.
Now, the fact that Huawei has revamped the stylus pen to match the Mate 40 may mean that the company is planning to make the M-Pen 2 available on other smartphones coming out in the future. In other words, the company is planning to promote pen input as an input method other than a fingertip touch.
At the moment, the Galaxy Note series is the only smartphone on the market that heavily advertises stylus pen support, but Huawei's insistence on pen input is probably due to the fact that smartphones have become so large that they can be used in the same way as a paper system organizer. A few years ago, smartphones had a smaller screen size than today, and it was difficult to write with a pen. However, many of today's smartphones have a display size of just under 7 inches, and you can use a stylus pen to write in detail.
LG is also quietly making the stylus pen compatible with its latest smartphones. When the V60 ThinQ (Docomo version) was released in Japan, only a limited number of stylus pens were given away for free on a first-come, first-served basis, but overseas, they are sold separately as a genuine accessory. Subsequent models such as the WING and VELVET are also compatible with the stylus pen, and the pen can be used on these models overseas.
Motorola also announced the "moto g pro" in Japan. This one also has a built-in pen, which allows you to write by hand. The moto g pro's stylus pen is a simple, non-rechargeable pen, but it's targeted at business users.
Apple, on the other hand, does not seem to have any plans to make the iPhone compatible with the Apple Pencil at the moment. If you want to use a pen, you'll have to choose the iPad. However, this is because the display size of the iPhone to date has been small (compared to Android devices) and Apple does not think it can provide the best user experience with the Apple Pencil.
The display of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is 6.7 inches, but there is a notch that takes up the display, so even if the iPhone 12 Pro Max were to support the Apple Pencil, the area where you can actually write will be limited. If notchless or larger screen iPhones are released in the future, Apple Pencil support may be a possibility.
And Samsung, the original pen smartphone company, is rumored to discontinue the Galaxy Note series with the built-in pen from the 2021 model year and make its flagship Galaxy S series, which it introduces every spring, pen-enabled. However, embedding a pen inside the body makes the internal structure more complex, and production and sales costs will also increase. Therefore, lower-end models may be sold separately without a built-in pen, and only the upper-end models may have a built-in pen, similar to the Galaxy Note.
A stylus pen is completely unnecessary for people who don't use it. It is not an accessory for everyone, as it is used for taking notes by hand or drawing illustrations.
However, the fact that LG and Huawei have started to support stylus pens in smartphones in earnest this year suggests that there is a certain demand for them. By the way, I use a pen on a daily basis to the extent that I can only use a smartphone without a stylus pen as my main device. I think there are enough professions where a pen is essential.
The shift to larger smartphone screens will continue, but the number of users who use a stylus pen may increase as a result. Next year there will be more types of pen-enabled smartphones than ever before.
This article is based on an article from the Japanese edition of Engadget and was created using the translation tool Deepl. The Japanese edition of Engadget does not guarantee the accuracy or reliability of this article.