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Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019: Best S Pen Features, Tips & Tricks

You need some tips and tricks for the S Pen of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019? Here are the best stylus features of this tablet.

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If you’re looking for an affordable Android tablet with stylus support, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 with S Pen is the only choice right now. It’s a pretty good choice because it got a great score in my review. Well, if you got it already or are thinking about buying it, you might want to know more about the S Pen and its features. In this article, you learn everything there is to know about the S Pen of the Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 (review).

Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 with S Pen on* Amazon

Air Commands: Most Important S Pen Feature

Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen Air Commands

The so-called Air Commands have been a part of Samsung’s S Pen devices since the first couple of Galaxy Note generations. I think they’re the most important feature you should know about because, with them, you can do almost everything you need a stylus for. They’re your main control center if you want to do something with the pen.

You open the Air Commands by hovering the S Pen over the screen until a pen icon appears on the right side. Once you tap on it, you can scroll through a couple of icons. On the bottom, there’s a “plus” icon. By tapping it, you can add further options. However, on the Galaxy Tab A 2019, those are quite limited.

Create a note

Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen create a note

Let’s go through those Air Commands one by one. The first one is the most important one and lets you take simple and quick notes. Just tap on “Create a note” and you can start to write or draw. These notes are saved in the Samsung Notes app.

View all notes

The Samsung Notes app can be opened by selecting it through the standard app drawer or by tapping on the “View all notes” option of the Air Commands. From there, you can view and edit all your notes.

Smart select

A very powerful feature is called “Smart select”. Once you tap it, you can select a part of your screen and do some smart things with it. For example, you can extract text and save it. Or pin a selection to your screen while you play with other apps. That way you can always see what you have pinned, no matter which apps you open. Or you can select a running video and make a GIF out of it.

Screen write

Once you select “Screen write”, the tablet makes a screenshot of what’s currently open and you can start to annotate it. Just save it to the gallery once you’re done and you can share it with friends or colleagues.

Live message

With “Live message” you can send a cute note to your loved ones, for example. Basically, it records what you’re doing with the pen and saves it as an animated GIF or video.

Penup & Coloring

By tapping the “Penup” icon with your S Pen, you simply open the pre-installed Penup app. We’ll check it out later. The “Coloring” Air Command is a shortcut into the coloring feature of Penup.


Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen Glance feature

“Glance” can be a very useful feature if you do lots of multitasking. It lets you open two apps at the same time. One of them is hidden and the other can be opened by “glancing over it”. For instance, you’re reading something in Chrome and need to write to your colleague about what you’re reading. You hit the “Glance” button while in Chrome and it is saved to the bottom right. Then you open Gmail and start to compose an email. Now, everything you need to reference what you’ve read in Chrome, you just hover over it in the bottom right and Chrome is opened. Chrome gets hidden again, once you move away with the S Pen.

Samsung Notes: A Notes App For The S Pen

Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen Notes app

Alright, let’s check out the Samsung Notes app in more detail. I’m sure you guessed it already, it’s basically a normal notes app. You can create new notes, view old ones, and save them in categories.

Once you start a new note, you can choose whether you want to use standard text input, write something by hand with the S Pen, or whether you want to use it as a blank canvas for your next art piece. Yes, you can use it as a drawing app too.

When using the S Pen, you can decide if you want to use a simple pencil or other kinds of pens. And, yes, you can obviously change the color you’re writing or drawing with.

Read: These Are The Best Tablets For Drawing


A very important feature of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 with S Pen is called Screen-Off-Memo. With this feature, you can start to write down some notes very fast even though your tablet is locked. To do so, if the screen is turned off, simply hold the S Pen button and double tap the screen. You can immediately start to write or draw something without having to unlock it. Once you’re done, you can save it in the Samsung Notes app.

You can do something similar in every app or on the home screen. Hold the S Pen button and double tap anywhere on the screen to start a new note. This feature can be quite useful.

Handwriting Recognition

Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen handwriting recognition

If you get the Galaxy Tab A 8.0 2019 with S Pen, chances are you want to do some handwriting. Maybe even use it as a digital notebook. Well, typical handwritten notes can be hard to share, and you might not want to answer an email using your handwriting. Mine would be way too messy for that.

Luckily, there’s handwriting recognition build into Samsung’s keyboard. When the keyboard is open, you can tip on the “T + pen” button to open its handwriting feature. Once it’s opened, you can start to write by hand, and it gets transformed into standard text. Usually, that works pretty well.

There is a short cut build-in which brings you to the handwriting part faster. If you hover over a text area with your S Pen, a little “T” button appears. Once you tip on it, the handwriting keyboard is opened.


Samsung Galaxy Tab A with S Pen Penup

In addition to Samsung Notes, Penup is an app for the S Pen that comes pre-installed. You can see it as a drawing app on steroids. You can use it as a normal drawing app and it’s decent for that. By using its live drawings, you can also use it to learn how to draw. You’re shown a video of how a drawing is made and you can follow along.

Penup has a social networking feature build in. You can share drawings, look at what others have shared, and comment or like their work.

Another feature that’s probably more interesting for kids is its coloring feature. I’m sure you’ve had coloring books as a kid where you had to color in a dinosaur or something. This is the exact same thing in digital form.

Air View

Let’s end with a useful but not as important feature that is turned on by default. It’s called “Air view” and gives you additional information while using the tablet with your S Pen. Basically, it gives you more information once you hover over something with the S Pen.

For example, if you hover over a certain date with the S Pen in the calendar app, your appointments for that day are shown. When hovering over a link with the stylus, even a preview of that website appears. Oh, and you can scroll through photos in the gallery without having to touch anything just by hovering on the top or bottom with your pen.

Read: These Are The Best Samsung Tablets

Samsung Galaxy Tab A Plus 8.0
The Samsung Galaxy Tab A 8.0 with S Pen is a great choice if you're looking for an affordable tablet with active stylus support. It offers a good performance, a bright screen, up-to-date Android 9.0 Pie, and an fantastic S Pen. Among its few downsides are its plastic body. And the battery life could be longer.
  • Good performance
  • Bright fullHD screen
  • Excellent S Pen stylus
  • Good cameras
  • Android 9.0 Pie
  • Plastic body
  • Just one speaker
  • Battery could last longer
Buy on* Amazon
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