We're fans of the Surface Pen and the newer Surface Slim Pen. Still, there are plenty of alternative styli out there if you don't fancy Microsoft's official offerings, whether it's because you don't have one of the best Microsoft Surface PCs or just have your own preferences. Here's a list of some of our favorite options for the best Surface Pen and Surface Slim Pen alternatives.
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The Premium Active Pen is Dell's best digital stylus, offering incredible quality and versatility for a high, but fair, price. It supports 4,096 different levels of pressure sensitivity, and is also fully compatible with both Microsoft Surface devices as well as machines using Wacom Active Electrostatic (AES). It also has three programmable buttons and support for tilting, both of which are valuable features for artists who want to quickly swap between settings or ink as precisely as possible.
Wacom is a big name in the land of the stylus. The company has been responsible for some of the best pens out there, and there's even a Surface-compatible pen available, too: the Wacom Bamboo Ink. Notably, it supports Wacom's Universal Pen Framework (UPF), which allows it, like the Dell Premium Active Pen, to seamlessly shift between Microsoft Surface systems and Wacom AES. It's also less expensive, though it doesn't support tilting.
Tesha's Surface Pen is an all-aluminum pen that works with Microsoft's latest Surface products, as well as other OEM portable devices. Sporting 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, it allows you to write, draw, and erase without issue. The pen itself takes a battery, with one included to get you started. Much like other pens on the market, there are two buttons on the side. There is one for erasing and the other for a right-click.
If you want something with tilt support but don't want to pay big bucks for an advanced stylus like the Dell Premium Active Pen, check out the latest generation of the HP Tilt Pen. Featuring full tilt support and two programmable buttons, this mid-range pen is an excellent choice for folks who need something less expensive.
The best of the best Surface Pen alternatives ...
There are numerous alternatives to Microsoft's own stylus, should you wish to try something a little different or need a cheaper replacement. If we had to recommend a single listing in this guide, it would be the Dell Premium Active Pen because it's one of the better styli out there. With its 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, tilt support, trio of programmable buttons, and compatibility with both MPP and Wacom AES, the Dell Premium Active Pen is nothing short of top-notch. It's one of the best pens for drawing, as well as one of the best styli in general.
If you're looking to save some money, though, the Tesha Surface Pen will let you draw and use a tablet more efficiently when not accompanied by a mouse and keyboard. However, don't expect to create incredible works of art with it unless you have patience since it lacks tilt support and only has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity.
The newest HP Tilt Pen offers a great balance between price and quality, as it's less expensive than the Dell Premium Active Pen, but its support for tilting and dual programmable buttons makes it better for advanced use than Tesha's offering. If you're looking for something in the mid-range, you won't find anything better.
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Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.
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