Microsoft designed the Surface Pro 3 pen for greater accuracy

The Surface Pro 3 was announced by Microsoft just two days ago. Microsoft has included a pen with the new tablet like the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2. Though it’s quite a bit different from the pens found with the older generation Pro models. Microsoft has just shared an interesting blog post about the Surface Pro 3 pen and how it was designed for accuracy across the entire canvas. Tons of info after the break.

Microsoft focused on three key areas to deliver a great pen experience with the Surface Pro 3. Accuracy, latency and pressure sensitivity are all areas focused on with the pen.

The Surface team had a robot touch the pen to the display every 2mm on a grid across and up/down. They then track the accuracy as the cursor moves all across the screen. The results show that the pen on the Surface Pro 3 is within 0.5mm 98% of the time. This means much higher accuracy and a decrease in the perceived parallax between the pen tip and cursor.

Microsoft has reduced latency in the pen to further blur the line between writing on paper versus writing on the Surface Pro 3. The time it takes for the digital ink to show up on the display from the time your pen touches has been reduced. Though it’ll vary by application, but Microsoft has optimized the inking experience on the Surface Pro 3.

Microsoft hasn’t elaborated on why they moved away from Wacom tech to N-trig with the pen, but they are touting the capabilities of the active pen. With the Surface Pro 3 pen you get 256 different levels of pressure sensitivity, something very useful for painting and drawing. Applications like OneNote, Fresh Paint, Photoshop and Sketchbook Express take advantage of the pressure sensitivity of the pen.

Head to the Surface Blog for more details on the new pen. Have any questions about the pen? Sound off below and we’ll work on getting some unanswered questions answered.

Source: Surface


Reader comments

Microsoft designed the Surface Pro 3 pen for greater accuracy


The so called "s pen" is nothing but a Wacom stylus, don't let the marketing fool you and if anything the cheap toothpicks Samsung supplies as a stylus are the cheap knockoffs.

Actually it is nothing like an S-Pen. That uses Wacom technology and this new pen uses N-Trig technology. They are completely different and the reason why older Surface Pro pens will not work with the SP3.

"They are completely different and the reason why older Surface Pro pens will not work with the SP3."

This is the truth (and vice versa, Wacom won't work on Surface Pro 3)

I'm really not a fan of how it now requires a battery. That was the big WTF moment for me on the Dell Venue 8 Pro

...and AAAA no less. The hell can I even find those?!

Also, they last for months (possibly over a year I've seen people mention) so it's not like you'll have to keep swapping them out.

Also, while N-Trig is cheaper than Wacom, it's still very good (and has gotten much better in the past year in particular) and Microsoft have clearly spent a lot of time making it better for the SP3.

The only issue for some maybe there's only 256 levels of pressure sensitivity vs Wacom's 1024 (or 2048 on their own Cintiq tablets) but honestly I've never really felt the need for more on my 256 level Wacom devices in the past and I draw almost every day for various projects.

Keep an eye on SurfaceProArtist as they just got a review model and will be putting it through it's paces over the next few weeks.

As for the "S-Pen", eh, it is Wacom tech, but it doesn't seem to work anywhere near as well as the Wacom tech implemented in Windows devices (or even as good as last gen N-Trig) the times I've tried out Galaxy Note devices.

N-Trig does not have battery issues like the Dell V8Pro. That uses a brand new digitizer technology from Synaptics. N-Trig has been around for quite some time. I have owned several N-Trig tablets and you won't be running down the battery in a few days. You should get several months or even a year, even with heavy use.

Don't let the battery problem with the Dell keep you from purchasing the SP3.

This is correct. I owned an N-Trig tablet (Dell XT3) and the battery lasted around 6 months easily.

The problem was N-Trig sucked. 

I'd never actually intended on letting it stop me from getting the SP3... just worried the stylus that; before, just did what I needed it to would become bothersome with that added level of micro-management... and honestly, just hearing that from someone who has experience with the technology helps me overcome that (mild) objection.

Simple answer is no - they use different technologies.  One easy way to see is to walk into a Microsoft Store, or any place selling Surface Pro 2, Asus Note 8, and Dell Venue Pro 8.  The Surface Pro 2 pen will work with the Asus product and vice versa since they both use Wacom pens and digitizer technology.  Neither will work with the Dell Venue Pro 8 and the Dell pen will not register on either of those products.  Reenforces the fact this was a stunningly stupid decision from a company that has always emphasized backwards compatibility and that knows better than anyone in the market that Wacom technology is the standard around which the industry has built both hardware and software. 

Actually, Wacom is not more expensive than N-Trig. The difference is that they could make the SP3 thinner with N-Trig because it doesn't need the extra display layer that Wacom requires. That is why N-Trig pens need a battery to work. Wacom has the electrical features built into their digitizer within the display. That is why Wacom pens don't need a battery. The bottom line is that Microsoft wanted to make a thinner tablet and that is why they went with N-Trig. Also, the custom programming of the cap that launches One Note is not possible with a Wacom pen.

By reducing the distance to the screen they also reduced parallax effect significantly and by having a battery on the pen they were able to design the n buttons function.

This. Plus there is no air gap between the glass and LCD, giving even greater accuracy and lower reflectivity (Apple products have an air gap).

Ah, that makes more sense. I just thought that Wacom was more expensive (due to the extra stuff in the screen) so I figured Microsoft was losing money if they included Wacom. I don't know a lot about these types of things, but I do appreciate thinness more than having Wacom.

The cap function is possible with a Wacom pen. According to what I read on this site, it has its own battery and uses bluetooth. That means it's completely separate from the N-Trig tech in the pen and could be stuck on to the back of a Wacom pen if they wanted to. You'd lose the ability to use the back of the pen as an eraser but that is optional for Wacom. Wacom also suports 2 side buttons. 

You really know alot about tablet digitizer technology. Are you an engineer for Wacom? It is great to have such knowledgeable professionals commenting in this forum. It is a great help for everyone of us. Thanks so much for your insight.

Actually, it could not and has nothing to do with cost. I guarantee that the custom OneNote integration probably cost more than if Microsoft had just used Wacom.

Maybe so but it wouldn't cost more than if they used Wacom and also stuck the little bluetooth button on the Wacom pen.

Couldn't stick the Bluetooth button on the Wacom without a power source and Wacom pens don't use a battery. Bluetooth also requires power to work and Wacom pens don't have it. Do you have alot of experience with tablet digitizers? I am not familiar with just being able to add power and bluetooth to a pen when it doesn't use power to begin with. I could be wrong, but if it was that easy to just convert a Wacom pen to do that there really wouldn't be a market for any other digitizer companies in this industry.

You can stick it and just include a battery for the bluetooth button. The SP3 pen has two separate batteries, one for the button and one for the pen. So the Wacom pen can just use the Wacom tech for the front of the pen and the back of the pen has a little bluetooth button which is a completely separate device in the same housing (just as it is on the SP3 pen).


Now it is THEORETICALLY possible to leach off power from the Wacom electronics to charge a battery or capacitor for the button. The Wacom pen works by magnetically absorbing power from the tablet screen for half the cycle and the other half of the cycle it uses the accumulated power to transmit data back to the screen. I don't know if there is enough extra energy absorbed to store and power the bluetooth button though and I'm guessing there isn't without having Wacom rework their tech.

The custom OneNote integration is a feature of nTrig.  The hotkeys have been implemented in every tablet I've ever owned from the probably 3 year old HP Slate 500 to last years Sony Vaio duo 11, and today's Sony Vaio Tap 11.

Did you forget about the screen size and the screen resolution of the SP3, or you think those don't add to the cost? IMO the SP3 has way too many improvements over the SP1,2 to justify it's price tag

I agree the screen size and resolution are big improvements and should be considered when factoring in costs. That's totally fair. I wouldn't say it has "too many improvements" though. It really comes down to four key features: Size (both screen and thickness improvements), weight reduction (about 4 ounces) screen resolution/aspect ratio, and new kickstand. It has the same processor (unless you buy into the lower end i3 or higher end i7, but in those cases you're paying a serious premium) as Surface Pro 2, same RAM, same storage options, same ports. It's a welcome upgrade, but it's not a tremendous upgrade. Hopefully that'll come when Broadwell releases in the fall. I expect we'll see Surface Pro 4 announced around January for a launch in February/March (hopefully they won't wait that long, though).

Are you saying a SP3 with a different processor would be a SP4? Wouldn't it just be a SP3 with a different processor?

I think it would be tough to do. Even Wacom's own Windows 8 tablet has some issues in the edges and there's a gap between the pen tip and the screen.

Artists live with those issues because it does so many other things well. And there really haven't been good alternatives.

What's with all the Wacom love? They're not the only game in town. You guys sound like Apple fan boys. Snap!

Well, they kind of are the only game in town when it comes to professional art. Therefore, they get full software support from every major application.

Hopefully N-trig can gain support as time goes on. It's nice for they're to be real competition.

Because Wacom is the best in the business. My fiancee is a professional illustrator, and she uses Surface Pro because of the Wacom digitizer, which, in Pro 1 and Pro 2, has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity. Doesn't make much difference for you and me, taking notes, but makes a HUGE difference for an artist painting or drawing precision line work.

Surface Pro 3 has literally 25% of the pressure accuracy of Pro 2. Put another way, Pro 2 is 400% better at pressure sensitivity. And for an artist, that's a big deal. As a result, my fiancee, who was looking forward to the Pro 3's bigger screen, will not be buying a Pro 3. She'll wait until some other vendor offers a proper digitizer in a 12-13" tablet, or until Microsoft pulls their heads out of their asses with Surface Pro 4 or 5.

Not really. I've watched her work on both her old tablet (Gateway C-140X, Wacom with 256 levels of pressure sensitivity from 2007) and on her Surface Pro with Wacom Bamboo Feel stylus, and the difference is *night and day*. You don't need to be able to differentiate every level of pressure sensitivity in your hand. You can see it in the artwork.

"Surface Pro 3 has literally 25% of the pressure accuracy of Pro 2. Put another way, Pro 2 is 400% better at pressure sensitivity. And for an artist, that's a big deal."

Like processor speeds, I think there's more to digital pens than this number. I'm also dubious of people who "know" it to matter without actually trying a Surface Pro 3.

I'm not an artist. I'm not a big user of either Wacom or N-trig, but I'm also not ready to declare the N-trig worse due to some numbers. Microsoft put a lot of effort into this screen/pen, they know artists are a big market. Let's see how people actually rate this when it hits versus declaring a winner based off of "25% of the pressure accuracy".

I mean, wouldn't the prudent thing be to wait for reviews and actual feedback from people who, you know, have used it? Deciding something on specs a lone just seems shortsighted.

I'm not a professional artists either, but my fiancee is and I trust her judgment. She's owned tablets in the past with N-Trig digitizers and they were unilaterally terrible. Indeed, I've had, since Tuesday, roughly a dozen of her artist friends ask me "What the fuck was Microsoft thinking? No way I'll downgrade to Surface Pro 3!"

Whether the non-artists of us get it or not, this was a HUGE mistake on Microsoft's part, and they're very likely to regret it.

I'd still rather wait until people actually use it than knee jerk reactions to a technology.

Like I said, Microsoft thought this out clearly and I find it hard to believe that it's going to be a huge step down for those who need it. Indeed, the SP3 presentation focused way, way more on the Pen than did the previous two releases. Why would they push an inferior product front and center as a flagship feature if they didn't have confidence in it?

This feels like it was built around the pen. Surface Pro 1/2 feels like an add on.

To put it another way, can you find any negative press on the Pen yet from those who are actually using it? I'm seriously asking, because I haven't but I haven't looked either, so I'm curious.

I was pessimistic at first.

After reading a lot about impressions, I'm cautiously optimistic.

...now to convince work to buy one for me to "test". lol

Sorry, but no. In no way do the pro 1/2 feel like the poem was an add on our afterthought. It was always central to the experience.

You're making the flawed assumption that "newer is always better", and that just isn't true. They choose ntrig because it was cheaper, end of story.

Yeah, I don't think Microsoft would just make a decision like this all willy nilly. There have probably been numerous tests to gauge whether or not the new tech will make the cut. I will have to try it before I buy it, but I think it will most likely do the trick. More than pressure sensitivity I want accuracy. (Photoshoper)

A few years back, Fujitsu had a promotional video where a professional artist drew a beautiful and detailed picture on one of their tablets that used an N-Trig digitizer. The purpose was to show that artists could be just as detailed with their drawings and sketches with an N-Trig digitizer as a Wacom.

The made the point that the 256 levels of sensitivity was more accurate than the 1,024 that you get with Wacom. I agree that most artists are familiar with Wacom and prefer it. I would bet that Microsoft will probably get an artist to do something similar with an SP3 to show its capabilities.

I'm not saying it's terrible, I'm saying it won't be as good, because it can't be. The pressure sensitivity alone guarantees that.

I don't really know anything about pens, but if the spectrum of the pressure sensitivity is the same for both, will there really be a situation where 256 pressure levels won't be enough? I mean, for example pressure level 100 is too light, but 101 is too hard? Seems unlikely to me. Just my personal thoughts though.

I feel the same way, but all the artists I know disagree, and they know more about it than I do. All I can say with certainty is that Microsoft has pissed of a bunch of artists.

Yeah. I guess asking someone to take a chance with a $1000 purchase when they are convinced it's inferior is a hard sell. Even with promo vids and the like. Maybe they need to have a 30 day money back guarantee or something to let people really try it out for themselves in the comfort of their own home.

Yeah, but you aren't allowed to use it, and then return it if you aren't happy with it right? As far as I can tell it's just for unused items

For me, I'd buy the Pro 3 in a heartbeat (except that it's too small an upgrade to justify moving from the Pro 2, LOL), because I don't need the extra artistic capabilities. Shame for artists, though I do hope there turns out to be some kind of magic that lets it work as well or better than the existing tech.

What everyone is saying though is there is a heavy bias, because familiarity breeds contempt for outsiders. Tech is always improving, if Microsoft found a way to make substandard experience that much better, I'd like to think many can be pleasantly surprised. All things change. =[

Most people want thin and sexy at this price point. Maybe, if this technology doesnt work as well for artists, MS can release one with wacom, it will be thicker though.

Wacom needs a thicker screen. Plus no hot keys on the pen. Look at it this way, now you don't have to worry about buying a 3.

If you're going to claim Wacom needs a thicker screen, you'd better be ready to prove it with documentation. And yes, they're are buttons on Wacom pens and have been for well over ten years. That's a silly claim to make :)

You're making some good points.  None of us have this tablet in hand (well most of us) so we can't know for sure.   I'm sure in Wacom land.... a Wacom tablet with 256 points of pressure is far inferior to a Waccom tablet with 1024 points of pressure.  I don't think it's fair to compare N-triq specs to the Wacom (at least not yet) as I don't believe there is some entity out there enforcing some standard on this spec.  For all we know, Wacom could really be sporting 256 points of pressure have some voodoo algorithm to make it 1024 - simply - we don't know.  I'm sure some "artist" or "expert" will attempt to refute this statement.

Having used an N-triq on a gateway in 2007/2008, I can say I was actually impressed with its pressure curve in the apps that supported it.  I don't honestly think other "artists" can say the same thing because they smiply have never bothered with N-triq outside of fleeting moments at the most.

I like you, believe Microsoft put a lot of thought and time into the digitizer this go round (I would like to think so at least).  Knowing that artists are a big market, you would think they would make some effort to make sure artists weren't compromising, if at all, when upgrading up from a SP1 or SP2.  But then again, it could all be wishful thinking.

I'm going to keep an open mind.  I'll at least be able to compare to my previous experience with N-triq in addition to my current hp touchsmart convertible (wacom 1024 levels of pressure).

In general, I'd agree, but this isn't like we're dealing with some brand new digitizer and pen technology. N-Trig had been the cheap, low end Wacon knockoff for many years, and has a reputation that's well established for poor quality, bad drivers and a mediocre user experience. Pros do not use ntrig for digital art as a rule, they use Wacom, and for good reason.

It is literally impossible, given the announced specs, for it to be better. It is an undeniable fact that this digitizer supports only 25% the pressure range of the previous surface pros. There's no getting around that.

It'll be great for taking notes, of that I have no doubt. But it will be inferior for digital artists creating artwork with fine details and subtle texturing. It can't be superior.

No it's not impossible.  Your understanding of those specs (and your girlfriends) are quite limited.  It's not as simple as one number (Wacom's 1024) is bigger than another (n-trig's 256) so it must be better.  I'm sure your girlfriend has the experience to evaluate a good digitizer, but not by simply comparing numbers from two different technologies. 


Let me give you one example of how those numbers may not mean much when compared to differing technology.  I work with embedded hardware/sensors quite a bit and I develop software/firmware related to that.  Many sensors (like a pressure sensor) produce digital output as a range of values from 0 to N.  The term for that is "resolution" so higher numbers would mean higher resolution.  However, the other imporant factor for a sensor is accuracy.  Resolution and accuracy go hand in hand.  For example, lets say you have the following two pressure sensors...


Sensor 1 has a scale of 0 to 1024 with accuracy of +/- 4.

Sensor 2 has a scale of 0 to 256 with accuracy of +/- 1.


If you apply an equal amount of pressure to each sensor this first sensor might give you readings of 40, 41, 42, 39, 38, 36, 37, 44, 43, etc.  The fluctuations are caused by the variations in accuracy even though the pressure never actually changed.  The second sensor might give readings of 10, 9, 10, 11, 10 for the same pressure.  Software might smooth these fluctuations out by averaging the numbers in some way (moving average), or it may just use the numbers as is.  The end result for both sensors is actually the same though.  Lets say the average for sensor 1 is 40 (out of 1024) and the average for sensor 2 is 10 (out of 256).  If you divde those output numbers into each sensors max scale value you'll see that each is outputting an average value that is about 1/50th of it's total range (0.039).   The scales end up being arbitrary numbers in this case since the first sensor's higher resolution is negated by it's lower accuraccy.  Sensor 1 has 4 times the resolution, but only 1/4 of the accuracy. 


The same situation exists in digital image sensors used in cameras.  Everyone has been brainwashed into thinking that more mega pixels is always better.  However, too many megapixels can actually cause image degradation and noise at a certain point because the lack of color accuracy produced by extemely small pixels begins to hurt the image more than the extra pixels help the image.

wow thanks, that actually was really informative.  Cheers!  Sometimes I love the internet, cats and all.

There is a reason that Wacom is used by EVERY artist including myself.   And there is a reason why every artist will turn his nose up at Ntrig.  Non artists telling us that the sensitivity is "good enough"  is as ignorant as it comes.  I will eagerly await a review from an actual artist and get my hands on it myself.  But as of right now, its a no buy situation because of this choice.  Microsoft has just slapped every artist in the face.   Sorry but this is exactly how it seems as of right now.   But maybe miracles do happen,  maybe Ntrig has somehow went from total crap to something usable.  I doubt it but we will see soon enough.    Surface pro 2 or wait for surface pro 4 for artists right now.  


but makes a HUGE difference for an artist painting or drawing precision line work.

I've got to play the contrarian here, because the raw numbers don't tell the whole story, and I've seen a number of people complain about 256 levels without looking at the larger picture, and the more precise your line work, the less relevant the difference is.

While it's true that the SP3 pen is only 256 levels, most of the complaints from artists about the drop in levels have been overly dramatized. It doesn't help that N-Trig has a sketchy history (no pun intended) amongst artists.

All that being said...

The VAST majority of artwork, especially illustration simulating ink, are drawn with brushes that have a maximum diameter of about 30 pixels, making anything more superfluous.

For airbrush style colouring, it's generally done in a multi-stroke approach, much like a real world airbrush, with airbrush opacity and flow set WAY below 100% to achieve a more natural built up look. In situations like this, especially working on 32 bit images as opposed to sRGB 24 bit, 512 would have been a nicer number for the SP3 to be at, but 256 will more than suffice.

The below image (very tall, but should be viewed at 100%), illustrates brush thickness levels when drawing an 11"x17" 300dpi image, and why in those cases, anything over 256 is pointless. 


For truly high resolution images, such images being drawn at multiple feet wide (say a 10ft x 8ft banner at 600dpi - which is a REAL outlier), nobody in their right mind would be drawing that on any tablet for the next few years.

I recently did work on such an image, with over 20 layers, including Smart Objects and txt layers, and the file alone was 12 GIGAbytes in size, and it was sluggish to work on even with my workstation equipped with a Core i7 4770K and 32GB of overclocked RAM.

That doesn't mean I'm sold on the SP3 stylus without laying hands on it, but I'm not dismissing it either.

There are too many other factors that matter besides pressure sensitivity, such as the pressure curve (how it reacts in between 0 and 100% pressure), the 'feel' of the nib on the drawing plane, and a number of more esoteric elements, including using the same pen on two different Wacom tablets with the SAME levels of pressure sensitivity.

I had an older 256 level Wacom tablet at home that I found more enjoyable to draw on than the 2048 level Intuos at work, but in either case, there's no "technical" difference between poster print resolution artwork I produced with either (I now have a Bamboo Touch at home, which is great for a desktop Windows 8 user).

As a Wacom user from the early days (when I had their original Japanese tablet running on the Amiga platform), I feel pretty confident in saying that the biggest jump came with the difference between 128 and 256 levels of sensitivity. After that, there's an increasingly steep "law of diminishing returns" for most artists.

Again, that doesn't mean I'm NOT skeptical of a N-Trig pen, but I wouldn't write it off until I get my hands on it in a store and take it for a few laps, knowing that ANY new active digitizer takes a bit to warm up to. I still experience that between my home and work digitizers, and I use them both every day.

At least that's my experience.

love it thanks for the great info!  I always go into the microsoft store and educate them on these things haha.  Nerd status.

Have you personally used both? Other than the bad tracking near the edges Wacom is better than N-Trig in every way.

I'm sure there's more to it than that, but yes, typically wacom has 1024. I'll leave it until I get this in my hands before I decide, though.

It's interesting because so far, there I haven't seen many (if any) complaints about this pen yet from all of us who have one. I'm curious as to what illustrators/artists think, but it's not like right now people are griping about N-trig. It's only those without a device going by specs that are thumping their chests loudly.

Yeah, it reminds me of the people who go "well, it has more megapixels, so it must be better". I'm sure I'll have no complaints, but I think it would've been cool if Microsoft had shown off some stuff from artists as, like, samples or something.

I guess we'll find out.

I do notice differences in pressure sensitivity from older Wacoms and newer ones. But maybe it's the WA the sensitivity curve is spread.

Interesting article.  Now if the pen makes it way into the future Mini, I'm in line for one.

The Surface Pro 3 is too big and too expensive for me.  I want a good, small and dependable note taking device.  For me, this ain't it.  YMMV

I completely agree, and I hope Microsoft is taking their time to make the first impression perfect, as well as incorperate that lovely kickstand from the Surface Pro 3. :D

That would be a no-brainer if the price was right.

At current Surface Pro 3 prices, it's partially a practical business decision when choosing to purchase one.

But if it was somewhere around $400 or less? Well, then it can be justified as an expensive toy. So it makes for an easier purchase even if there are some small issues. It doesn't need to help you make any money back from it. It's just for play.

If it was $400 or less it wouldn't be this great. Great hardware is expensive, and as long as it does what they say and looks great while doing it I really don't care about the price. 

Makes sense to change manufacturers to cut costs. This is marketed as a note taking device that can do some mild editing. If you want to do crazy digital design work, than you already have spent over $1000 on a Wacom or similar design tablet + whatever rig you have. 

A $1000 dollar note taking device? Go home you're drunk. Even the cheap model is too expensive for a note taking device. You may be thinking about the mini that wasn't released. But this is marketed as a laptop replacement. 

I wouldn't say that. The 3:2 dimensions were chosen for note taking. The click to launch OneNote is about note taking. Their marketing team is boasting about taking notes.

Of course, it's more than just notes, it's also about work, productivity, Photoshop, architectural apps, medicine and more. Things that people struggle with on a laptop alone.

As a writer and a college student, i can only imagine how cool it would to click on my pen and just begin to write on freaking computer. That is best part to me. Wow.

Posted via the WPC App for Android!

IMO, it would be noce if they would have a rubberized case for these things to make them more durable.

I'm not drunk, the pen is a big part of this device. It's a laptop that you can write on like a piece of paper 

I just don't think it's fair for people to poop on a device just because it doesn't have a Wacom digitizer in it. 

I think it is completely fair to poop on the surface pro3 because it doesnt have a wacom digitizer.

 Lets just asssume all those artists who were loving the surface pro 1 and 2 only because it had wacom were incredibly dissapppinted and had been looking forward to the pro 3 as much as you were.

And lets assume all your wildest dreams of the pro3 came true for you and you have one on preorder now.

Bully for you! Kudos! Congrats! Whats it to you if we poop on it??? Us artists who know the difference between Ntrig and Wacom for drawing purppses are dissapppinted...Deal with it!

If you are so happy with it then you wouldnt notice the difference with the pens, stop arguing that they are as good as each other and just get a pro 3 and use it to jot notes.

Ref: Wag317,
You make a good point regarding costs. The current Wacom Cintiq 13HD is a tablet form factor that is just the flat screen monitor with built-in digitizer and a pen. Pros buy this for $970.00 and then need to connect this "tablet" to a computer "rig" as you say and plug it into AC. They have to buy a computer too and its not likely to be a $900.00 computer.
I can't wait to hear how the Surface Pro 3 compares.

49,99 $

49,99 €

Did they integrate a laser sword? Is it made out of platinum?

People always complain about Apple's prices but what Microsoft does here is ridiculous. Hopefully there are alternatives.

What do you mean?  The Apple "smart" case for iPads runs $79.00.  It's a cover with a magnet..... for $80!  No electronics inside! Just a cover and magnet... no keyboard, no nothing.

This. Im of the opinion this will be a hit and every Surface released here on will have the 3:2 screen ratio. I wonder how thin they could get the Surface 3, non pro, at 10.6 inch screen size?

Everyone on the internet is a professional artist I guess. I'm cool with N-Trig. All I want is an accurate note taking experience which it will deliver on. I hate the distance below the screen the pointer is on a wacom panel. Also edges and corners are a total nightmare with wacom. Good riddance I say.

- not a professional artist

Wacom note taking experience is better than N-Trig. Unless they're using a whole new generation of N-Trig (which is possible) the stylus on the SP3 will be worse. Not only is the pressure sensitivitiy lower (which doesn't matter much for note taking) but the resolution of the pen on the N-Trig tablet I've owned and others I've tested has always been much lower. The refresh rate on the N-Trig was ALSO a lot lower resulting in far less smooth curves. 

The corner issue largely exists because Microsoft shipped surface pro and pro 2 with a cheap piece of junk stylus. I'm told by my fiancee, who upgraded to a Wacom Bamboo Feel Carbon stylus, that every complaint she had about the pro's drawing experience immediately disappeared when she got the new stylus. $60 well spent :)

I have a question for Sam, Daniel, or anyone who has had a chance to actually use the Pro 3 Pen:

Does it support "hover" like the Wacom pen on the the Pro 1/2 did?  For example, do you get a mouse cursor on the desktop and desktop apps when floating the pen tip just above the screen?

All of the videos I've seen so far don't answer the question definitively.  I will admit to being a Wacom pen snob.  But I am warming up to the parallax reduction and device thickness benefits of the N-Trig choice here.

Bonus question:

How does the boasted accuracy of 0.5mm compare to the Wacom on the Pro 1/2?  Granted that edge accuracy was an issue... I am curious what the accuracy was in the happy zone.

Yes, N-Trig supports hovering and pretty much everything else Wacom supports. The N-Trig devices I've used have always had lower resolution and refresh rate though.

I shall see. the SP2 accuracy is really bad at the corners. even after calibration, you have to browse the surface forums to find a utility which allows for a higher calibration point setting. I would often miss buttons and tools on the corners because the precision was so bad....couldn't even close photoshop sometimes.

Ok base on all the comments that I have read I think we should wait for some experts in wacom to test sp3, I am a illustrator but I do everything by hand and some time use my surface pro to draw with sketch book pro but besides that I don't consider my self an expert in wacom so I will wait for an expert to test the sp3

I'm well aware of the intricacy of the issue, especially in photography and processors (as I have to point out to people constantly, no, a 4ghz Pentium 4 will never outperform a 1.6ghz core i5, LOL). But it sounds like we need to understand the accuracy of the Wacom versus the ntrig. Your hypothetical makes it an equal, but it's just that--a hypothetical. Any idea where we might see details?

Get the Wacom bamboo feel stylus. The one Microsoft ships with the pro and pro 2 is cheap junk :)

On the subject of pens, could someone suggest one for a Surface RT device that has an actual pen style tip that this one has? The only ones i can find are the ones with the little nubs which are fine for general purposes but terrible for office. I obviously don’t need a Wacom pen, but does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!


This is the marketing version of CYA.  They have been called out for using an inferior technology and are going out of their way to show how under "test conditions" that it is more accurate.  First, they are just spewing marketing BS. More importantly, even if it is "more accurate" which is not likely, technology not embraced by the drafting, cartographic, desigm, and GIS industries will be no better than a Samsung S pen.  It will have only basic capabilities and for some software will probably be non-functional.  The applications have to suppoirt the technology for people to take advantage of it and NO ONE is running from Wacom. This is a stupid (probable cost cutting) decison on Microsoft's part that undercuts the device's potential in industries that would otherwise use it.  

Anyone know where to buy a Ntrig pen? I need one desperately after the packaged one got lost, and I can't find any accessory store (even official one) that sell any ( I live in Indonesia) is astonishing about the lack of support from Sony.

Windows tablets will hike up amdroid and apple only if the microsoft give importance to the apps. They have to treat the tablets as phones. So that they have ro make 100 of games for tablets too. In india mostly south part. Housemaids use tablets. Their main usage is spcial networking and games. Dude its games games games. U have to make plenty of games in order to compete with other platform tablets