We have had lots of questions about the new Surface Pro 3 pen. Many are wondering if it is better than the Surface Pro 2 pen and if so – how? I thought I’d share with you what I found on the topic.
In this post you will find:
- Details on Surface Pro 2 pen
- Details on Surface Pro 3 pen
- Which is better?
- From Microsoft perspective
- From artist’s perspective
- From my perspective
Surface Pro 2 Pen vs Surface Pro 3 Pen: Details on Surface Pro 2 pen
Pressure levels support: 1024
Needs batteries: No
Buttons: 1 – end button that acts as an eraser.
Cost of replacement: $29.99 (dropped from $49.99)
Experience: Some displacement (parallax) effects between the tip of the pen and the drawing.
Surface Pro 2 Pen vs Surface Pro 3 Pen: Details on Surface Pro 3 pen
Pressure levels support: 256
Buttons: 3 – end button for instant wake/open to OneNote, erase button, and right-click button
Needs batteries: Yes – includes 2
Cost of Replacement: $49.99
Experience: Writes naturally, i.e. provides a very close to paper-and-ink experience. No noticeable parallax effect.
Surface Pro 2 Pen vs Surface Pro 3 Pen: Which is better?
There has been much debate about which pen is better. The point of contention is, of course, the difference in pressure point sensitivity support. Many of the artsy types have much to say about it, vowing not to switch to the new Surface Pro 3. Although, we lack the artistic skills to fully discern the difference in pressure sensitivity, we enlisted the help of our artist friend as well as read up on Microsoft’s statements about the differences. So, here is what we learned:
From Microsoft’s perspective: which is better?
Microsoft says both pens are good but they stress that whichever technology you choose it really is about the application and implementation/execution of the technology. They claim that they did an exceptional job in Surface Pro 3 on precision, and according to them precision is king.
As to the 256 vs 1024 pressure points criticism, Microsoft says that the number doesn’t mean much because even though a system can produce such pressure levels does not mean that it outputs that much useful information. This would be much like some of the over-speced digital cameras in which the sensor is 20Mgp but the resultant image does not have 20Mgp worth of information.
From artist’s perspective: which is better?
Wacom’s stylus tablet technology has been the standard for graphic artists since the 20th century. So, from a digital artist’s prospective, the pressure points support can be a deciding factor in a buying decision.
We let an artist friend of ours try out both the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 2 pens. He much preferred and was more impressed with the Surface Pro 3 pen. He did some of his own research on the technology
Here is what he had to say: “The 256-bit N-trig tech is much more sensitive so it grabs data with much more accuracy, while the other is less accurate and grabs with a much higher margin of error. End result is, it doesn’t matter – the 1024 is just a marketing number.”
From my perspective: which is better?
From my perspective (non-artist), the Surface Pro 3 pen is much better. It gives a more real experience of pen and paper and for taking notes that’s excellent. I also really like the button on the tip that wakes the Surface up straight to OneNote, very cool. The eraser and right-click buttons are also useful.
In general, the Surface Pro 3 pen has much better weight and balance than the Surface Pro 2 pen and the textured plastic body is more pleasant to touch. In my opinion it just feels better in the hand.
Have you had a chance to try both pens? What’s your opinion on the matter?
Joanna is a former IT Director for a major public university, who gave up a high paying career to blog full time. She is proud to be a professional geek. Joanna loves all things technology and Surface tablets are her passion. She and Tim created LoveMySurface.net to help others be more productive using these awesome tablets.