The Galaxy Fold is crying for a stylus. There’s just one problem: That troubled screen

“You know what this thing needs? A stylus.” It took about five minutes of using the Galaxy Fold to come to that conclusion. Samsung’s foldable phone opens to reveal a 7.3-inch screen. This phone-tablet hybrid has roughly 11.5% more display than the Galaxy Note 9’s 6.4-inch screen, a phone defined by its S Pen stylus. A stylus just makes sense, especially if you’re already paying $1,980 for a “luxury” device.

There’s just one problem with my logic, and that’s the quality of the screen itself. After the Galaxy Fold’s plastic Infinity Flex display on five early production review units suffered breakdown after breakdown, Samsung pushed back the launch of Fold phone preorders until June to find a way to reinforce that delicate screen.

Although my own review unit worked flawlessly until Samsung asked for it back (this was scheduled from the start), I did notice first one screen dent and then another and a third, all accrued during my 10-day review period. While I’ve been known to scratch “regular” glass-topped phones in my purse or — yikes — the pavement, I had been babying the Fold.

A device you worry about marring with your fingernail isn’t one you needle countless times a day with the plastic tip of a digital pen.

And yet, a stylus is the Galaxy Fold’s perfect accessory. Everything you’d do on a Note you’d also want to do on the Fold, from navigating around and annotating items, to drawing or writing on the larger surface. Samsung already has this technology down pat, and extending the S Pen to the Fold could help Samsung further differentiate itself from other brands and win more Note fans.

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There’s also the Apple Pencil and Microsoft Surface Pen to contend with. Samsung sees the Fold as a phone-tablet mashup and not a tablet-laptop hybrid, but both the iPad Pro and Surface Pro come with optional, aftermarket pen accessories aimed at power users. The Fold seems like a natural gateway for Samsung to explore a more grown-up Fold down the line, especially if foldable devices took off.

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Think of how much more you could do with a pen.

Angela Lang/CNET

While an S Pen for the Fold wouldn’t necessarily tip the balance toward the Galaxy Fold or erase buyers’ fears (a rewards program and concierge support would go further there), an extra accessory might give Fold fans more to love. At the very least, it could help make the Galaxy Fold feel more complete.

Until future foldable phones start using bendable glass, or at least harder polymer materials to protect the display, I’m tossing thoughts of another S Pen on ice. Because while a digital stylus for the Fold falls into place, there’s just no place for a stylus on today’s fragile Fold.

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