Since the Surface Pro 3  that I and all other tech reviewers received last week is a pre-production unit, there are a lot of minor tweaks and software fixes  that Microsoft intends to publish before the devices begin shipping June 20.

That being the case, anything you read between now and then about compatibility and performance is likely to change.

One thing that won't is the new Surface Pro 3 pen. Thus far, reviewers have talked about the pen in isolation, but I thought it would be helpful to show it in comparison to some of the more popular Wacom-compatible options.

As Microsoft proudly proclaims, the new pen is definitely not a stylus. It has a nice metallic finish, two prominent buttons, a clip and a clickable end that automatically launches OneNote.

As Microsoft proudly proclaims, the new pen is definitely not a stylus. It has a nice metallic finish, two prominent buttons, a clip and a clickable end that automatically launches OneNote.

The new pen is the same length as the current Surface Pro stylus, but it is slightly wider and the required AAAA battery adds nice weight. The Wacom Bamboo Feel Stylus - Carbon is much longer with its cap on. The Bamboo's weight tends to tip toward the cap, whereas the weight of the new Surface pen feels nicely balanced.  

The new pen is the same length as the current Surface Pro stylus, but it is slightly wider and the required AAAA battery adds nice weight. The Wacom Bamboo Feel Stylus - Carbon is much longer with its cap on. The Bamboo's weight tends to tip toward the cap, whereas the weight of the new Surface pen feels nicely balanced.  

The dimensions of the new Surface Pro 3 pen are very similar to the Sony Active Pen (minus click end). The two pens are interchangeable, but neither offers replacement nibs. In response to this issue, Microsoft is considering marketing replacement nibs of different textures. I'll have more information on this as it becomes available. 

The dimensions of the new Surface Pro 3 pen are very similar to the Sony Active Pen (minus click end). The two pens are interchangeable, but neither offers replacement nibs. In response to this issue, Microsoft is considering marketing replacement nibs of different textures. I'll have more information on this as it becomes available. 

If you read the excellent Reddit AMA post by Microsoft's head of the Applied Sciences Group Steven Bathiche that I published yesterday, you'll know that the new Surface Pen takes a very different approach to capturing pen information. The active capacitive technology transfers more the responsibility to the pen and affords a thinner digitizer in the Surface Pro. Besides the AAAA battery, there are two small cells located in the cap to power the pen's remote control function.

If you read the excellent Reddit AMA post by Microsoft's head of the Applied Sciences Group Steven Bathiche that I published yesterday, you'll know that the new Surface Pen takes a very different approach to capturing pen information. The active capacitive technology transfers more the responsibility to the pen and affords a thinner digitizer in the Surface Pro. Besides the AAAA battery, there are two small cells located in the cap to power the pen's remote control function.

Marketing presentation from N-Trig. The main takeaway is that this tech works with the capacitive or touch layer and doesn't require an additional pen digitizer layer.

Marketing presentation from N-Trig. The main takeaway is that this tech works with the capacitive or touch layer and doesn't require an additional pen digitizer layer.

The new type cover ships with a pen loop that attaches to the left side of the keyboard. It's snug, but secures the pen well.

The new type cover ships with a pen loop that attaches to the left side of the keyboard. It's snug, but secures the pen well.

The loop itself is merely a sticker that adheres to the back of the type cover. Microsoft sells these separate if you'd like to add one to your existing Surface Pro. 

The loop itself is merely a sticker that adheres to the back of the type cover. Microsoft sells these separate if you'd like to add one to your existing Surface Pro. 

The type cover has a groove near the connector edge that is a nice alternative to the pen loop.

The type cover has a groove near the connector edge that is a nice alternative to the pen loop.

Just clip your pen along the side and it will be snug and secure.

Just clip your pen along the side and it will be snug and secure.

I've enlisted the aid of the amazing Ray Frenden to develop a brush that will allow us to better evaluate the performance of the pen and the N-Trig digitizer vs. the existing models. I'll have that up as soon as possible.

Posted
AuthorRick Rodriguez
Categoriesreviews