Samsung Galaxy Note 5 S Pen stylus
The Note 5's S Pen stylus can be inserted the wrong way – but doing so permanently breaks the phoneSamsung

The new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 smartphone can be broken by simply inserting its stylus the wrong way around. Users of the $700 (£450) phone found permanent damage is easy to cause because the S Pen stylus' symmetrical design means there is nothing to physically stop it from being inserted upside down.

Taking a leaf out of Apple's book (arguably not for the first time), Samsung has issued a statement telling Note 5 owners to simply use their phone correctly and as the instructions tell them to. "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."

Android Police was the first to notice the flaw when using a Note 5 loaned by Samsung for review. The website noticed how the symmetrical design meant the S Pen could be inserted both ways just as easily, but when pushed too far the wrong way it became stuck. Forcibly removing the stylus caused permanent damage to a sensor used to tell the phone when the stylus is removed. Now, the phone will either permanently think the stylus is inserted or detached, but not know the difference.

You're inserting it wrong

Of course, we would not expect users to consciously insert the S Pen the wrong way, but it's worrying to know that such an easy mistake results in permanent damage. As for the user guide Samsung refers to, the relevant page is almost identical to that of last year's Note 4 (which did not suffer from the same problem), apart from an additional warning that "inserting the S Pen the wrong way can cause it to become stuck and can damage the pen and your phone".

Again, this points a finger at Samsung and questions why the phone and stylus were allowed to go on sale with such a simple flaw – a flaw which Samsung is fully aware of. Perhaps the problem was only noticed late on in the Note 5's development and it was too late to make changes. Remember, this year's Note arrived a few weeks earlier than all previous models, in a move believed to ensure it went on sale before its upcoming rival, the iPhone 6s Plus.

Samsung had already disappointed Note fans by not offering the fifth generation model to the UK and Europe. Instead, the handset is only being sold in the US and its native South Korea. British and European consumers will have to make do with the equally new Galaxy S6 Edge Plus, which we recently tried out for ourselves.