Samsung’s plans to sunset the Note series phones, followed by splicing their S Pen DNA with the camera chops of the Galaxy S22 Ultra were met with skepticism, but the upgrade has turned out to be the best feature of the flagship. Samsung equipped the S22 Ultra with top-tier hardware worthy of a $1,200 phone and further improved on the S Pen formula to address any fanboy nostalgia that might still linger. In fact, the company equipped the phone with an upgraded S Pen that is three times faster than the one with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Yet, despite all its bells and whistles, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is an overwhelming phone. Yes, it’s blazing fast with terrific cameras, a gorgeous display, and a fantastic design to go with all that flagship goodness. But it’s also undeniably huge, and coughing up that fat asking price isn’t easy. Of course, other phones offer equally compelling hardware and even leave the Samsung flagship far behind in areas like fast charging, but one aspect that helps the Galaxy S22 Ultra stand out is the stylus.

Related: Three S Pen Features To Try On Your New Galaxy S22 Ultra

It’s not just having a stylus that elevates the experience. The small software tricks coupled with the S Pen add an extra layer of unmatched convenience. For example, the ability to jot down a quick note with the stylus right from the lock screen and save it without having to unlock the phone is quite useful. Plus, the option to unlock the Galaxy S22 Ultra with a tap on the S Pen also comes in handy. Another neat trick is the proximity alert feature. Once enabled, it will display an alert if the S Pen is left behind. The alert notification even shows the last time the S Pen was taken out of its garage. It is no match for Apple‘s Find My or a Tile-integrated tracking system, but it makes a real difference.

The S Pen Is The Soul Of Samsung’s Flagship

Smart Select on S22 Ultra

Another neat productivity solution that made shifting between college duties and professional commitments a lot easier was the ability to write on the calendar. Available as a shortcut called Write on Calendar in the S Pen shortcut menu, it can be added to the Air Command menu to doodle calendar entries. Compared to typing away, it adds a dash of joyful personalization that is a pleasure to revisit. Just like Apple‘s Scribble feature on iPads, any text or search field can be scribbled on, with even terrible handwriting translated into text. It’s not the best option for long chats, but for quickly finding an app, sending a short reply, or Googling Elon Musk’s net worth, scribbling with the S Pen actually feels more natural.

One particularly useful feature is Smart Select. It is essentially Windows’ Snipping Tool, but one that works with a stylus on the Samsung flagship. The ability to enter a screenshot cropping mode with multiple selection presets in tow, and then export it to an app or share it elsewhere is a massively underrated feature. An extension of Smart Select is the ability to copy text using the S Pen. Take for example Instagram, an app that doesn’t let users highlight and copy the text on posts. Some other apps only allow the entire text to be copied, and not a selected segment. The S Pen can overcome both these limitations.

There’s also an option to extract text from a selected on-screen area, which proved to be as accurate as Google’s Pixel phones. Air Actions are another neat feature that let users control the camera with hand gestures. The gestures work reliably, but they take more effort to execute than performing a simple on-screen tap or swipe. They’re convenient for taking a group picture with a click on the S Pen button, but that’s about it. But the most important question one needs to ask before splurging on the Galaxy S22 Ultra is whether the phone is worth $1,200 when the Pixel 6 provides a top-notch Android experience for half that price?

It’s a no-brainer for power users who make the most of the S Pen’s abilities. But for folks willing to spend that much on an Android phone, it is worth experiencing the S Pen’s skills at a store to actually understand what all the fuss is about. Of course, it helps that Samsung is offering an industry-leading promise of four Android OS upgrades for the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but the S Pen is what makes the phone truly worth the premium price tag. There is no dearth of power-packed Android flagships, but the sole reason that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra beats the others is the S Pen and all the helpful tricks that come bundled with it.