The new Surface Pen. Is it worth upgrading?

My kid and I were rough housing, I moved in to tickle him and felt my hand be poked by something sharp. When I looked down, the cap of my Surface Pro 3 stylus was laying on the floor; the batteries had bounced to who knows where. When I picked up the parts I immediately noticed that the cap’s rubber attachment seal that holds it to the battery cover was torn.

It was my fault I should have paid more attention to what was in his hand before I started playing. Oh well, I had been wanting to get the new stylus ever since I’d demoed it at the Microsoft Store and now I had the all important justification for my purchase! Maybe I subconsciously picked the wrong time to wrestle?

My daily driver is a Surface Pro 3. It’s been my favorite mobile computer of all time. I splurged and got the most powerful model that Microsoft offered and I’m nowhere near ready to replace it. That being said, I’ve never loved the stock stylus. Don’t get me wrong it works just fine. It doesn’t fit my hand very well because it is both too short and too thick. I’m not a huge fan of the balance and really wish the top functioned as an eraser. Unfortunately, you can’t just hop on-line and order some other stylus to use with the Surface Pro. The technology is proprietary so unless Microsoft releases a new stylus; you’re stuck.

Lucky for me, MS did exactly that. When they designed the next generation pen for the Surface 4 and Surface Studio line they made it compatible with the previous generations and sold it separately. At $99.00 it’s not exactly cheap. So is it worth the moolah?

The short answer is absolutely! The long anwser is that for me personally, it corrects every issue that I had with the original. It feels like an expensive writing instrument. It’s well-balanced and the dimensions are a much better ratio. Holding it reminds me of a number 2 pencil, the flat edge accentuates the nostalgia and also serves to help you easily find the barrel mounted select button.

Dormant Tree
The first thing I did with my new pen

The stylus tip is made of a softer material than the orignal’s and provides a little more drag as you write or draw on the screen with it. The added drag gives you more control, helping to prevent overshot on connecting planes and tightening handwriting strokes. Speaking of control, the pressure sensitivy is 4 times higher than the original at 4096 points. The device also seems to communicate with the Suface faster and reduces the lag I used to see while drawing in PhotoShop.

The top button can activate up to 3 programable functions (one for click, double -click, and another for press-n-hold); I have mine set to Take a screenshot, open OneNote and launch Cortana
Pen settings Did you make a mistake while drawing? Just flip the device over and erase; no need to go to the tools menu and select the eraser (such a time saver).  The barrel button is the same as right cliking on your mouse; you press the pen on the screen and hold it there to left click.

While we’re on the subject of navigation with your pen. Here’s a tip! Windows has a little known feature in it called flicks. Pen flicks let you perform an action by quickly moving your stylus across the screen in various directions. You can find the settings and enable flicks by opening the control panel (search) and selecting the icon for Pen and Touch, then choose the Flicks tab. Flicks

I am really impressed with the new Surface Pen and will be using it for years to come. Microsoft has been at the forefront of digital input devices and this one will go a long way toward keeping them at the top.



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