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Drawing on the Surface Pro 4 is a much improved experience for artists

Artist Brad Colbow has taken some time to give some first impressions of his experience drawing on the new Surface Pro 4. With the new Surface Pen, it shows that Microsoft is paying attention to its customers who are using the tablet for drawing and illustrating, as the new tip makes it much easier to control the level of details. It's easy to forget that people are using these tablets for a wide variety of tasks, and that not everyone is looking for the same set of features.

Microsoft appears to have put a lot of additional thought into this years Surface Pro tablet to ensure that it works well for anyone who may be interested in using it. Be sure to check out the video above, especially if you are into drawing or illustrating.

Source:Brad Colbow (YouTube)

Jared started off writing about mobile phones back when BlackBerry ruled the market, and Windows Mobile was kinda cool. Now, with a family, mortgage and other responsibilities he has no choice but to look for the best deals, and he's here to share them with you.

47 Comments
  • Nice vid
  • Yes, nice video! And I agree, the new pen is A+.
  • The precision of the pen is amazing. Its so satisfying to use that i find myself taking notes in class with it and not typing. Students look at me like.. Wtf mate
  • Lol. Yeah I get the same looks of intrigue when taking notes on my Surface 3.
  • I get asked if its the new iPad Pro and im like no. LOL
  • Hell No, Apple is trying to copy and doing a terrible job at it.
  • Yeah, but very little people will buy surface... People forgot completely about windows phone, and they are starting to move away from windows pc. Its so sad to go into a multimedia store here in spain, and don't see even one microsoft phone. Now, with win10 mobile, microsoft is very close to iphone or android, but its still not better, and I fear, it will eventually die soon. My girlfriend's father just changed his win8.1 phone with an android. If he would have get win10 before, eventually he would have bought another win10 phone
  • Even on my Surface Pro 3, it's a pleasure to draw.
  • That guy is a little bit close minded almost moronic. I mean he complains about the Surface Pro 3 Pen's Button and how it would launch OneNote only, literally saying Microsoft must be FORCING OneNote on him but at the same time forgets that the Surfaces target group at the time were Students, Teachers and Business people.
    Microsoft has only started just now targeting artists with the SP4 and Surface Book. I do artist stuff on my SP3, too.  
  • It won't even launch Desktop OneNote. IMHO, it should allow for someone to pick what they want to use. Even the version of OneNote would be a nice start.
  • I do agree that there should be an option, but if you see the OneNote application is custom designed to work even if the device is locked. These customizations are made specifically to make the pen more usable. It could be difficult to achieve full pen compatibility with other programs.
  • There was an option to launch either the metro version or the desktop version of OneNote on the SP3 on W8.1 (didn't try it on W10). It was done via the Surface app. Have they removed that option?
  • There was bug with it in one of the builds of Windows 10, so they temporarily disabled that. They were supposed to release an update to the Surface App that would restore the options, but it still hasn't shown up yet...  
  • The button can be customized to do whatever you want
  • He has a video where he said he's been using the SP3 for art for months now... He made one complain.
    I think the moron is you.
  • No, that's not what he said, you're focusing on the words without understanding the context behind it. In fact, you're the one that pretty much missed his point completely. He was trying to provide an example of why he felt that Microsoft's marketing team was pushing the design behind the previous Surface Pros and now they're actually paying attention to every details on the newer Surface Pros to make sure it is productive for everyone and not specific to any Microsoft software, rather than what they did with previous Surface by focusing on what they could do with their own software like OneNote and Windows 8.1. He was NOT complaining about Surface Pro 3, it was clear from the beginning to the end that he likes SP3 and thinks MS went further with a bigger improvement on SP4 because of this cultural shift they're in right now by focusing on what the product can do for everyone, instead of what it can do for its own software.
  • You can customize the button to do whatever you want.
  • Didn't Bill Gates a couple of years ago say the next big technology break through is a screen that had very precise input you would be able to write/draw on a laptop/phone and that his company would be pushing to make that happen?
  • 2004 to be exact
  • Really good review by an artist. I am finding it difficult to wait till January 2016(India) to get the Pro 4.
  • After the latest update my surface isn't able to run Krita properly. Hopefully they get the OpenGL issue fixed soon. Anyone else have this issue?
  • I personally prefer the eraser on the pen 3. It seem old fashioned and less efficient to flip the pen around.
  • I'm part of the surface pen user feedback. I've been to the Microsoft campus twice to demonstrate how I use my pen with the pro 3. About six months ago I tested the new pen that just came out (no side eraser button). I told them that the eraser side button was awesome and made writing/drawing so efficient. Out of all the users I was in the minority. I actually went to another one yesterday. 40 MS employees were analyzing what we (5 surface users) thought about the pen. The good thing is Microsoft clearly cares about the quality of the pen.
  • I'm with you. I use the eraser side button all the time, especially with StaffPad music notation app which is extremely pen-dependent.
  • The problem is that there is still about the same latency like with the Surface3. And that's a big nogo for most artist. And there is another flaw: Microsoft is tweaking the graphics drivers and is reducing the colors (and doing some other nasty stuff) for better battery life. That of course causes issues for photo editing etc.
  • Reducing colors? Got a link to back that up?
  • Sure: https://photographylife.com/microsoft-surface-pro-3-banding-and-calibration "There is one issue that can be particularly problematic for photographers: to extend battery life, Microsoft actually modified Intel’s graphics card drivers and reduced the number of colors that can be displayed by the device. For most people this might not be a problem, but for us photo geeks, this “hack” is actually quite a big issue, as it introduces banding / posterization to images. It also makes it hard to distinguish between some shades of colors, which is rather sad, since the high resolution screen is the number one selling point of this device."
  • Um, that article is almost a year old and relates to the Surface Pro 3 and its original drivers.  Can you confirm that this is the same on the Surface Pro 4?
  • Yes.
  • Different screen technology
  • It's about the drivers and not the screen.
  • I have been using the SP3 for a year with large images, almost entirely landscape (thus lots of vibrant colors) and never experienced this.
  • I like to see more facts and examples in a review. There should be stats for review like "35 adjectivs per minute" so we know how serious (pre)review is.  
  • When I hear "artist shares impressions of SP4" I expect to see some kind of drawing.
  • It's there in the video
  • Lol me too, I liked the info in the video, but we barely got a sketch.
  • It's really the pen, not the Pro 4, that makes it so much better. My wife is a professional illustrator, and she's used the Pro 3 for the past year and a half. We upgraded her pen only, because the rest of the Pro 4 didn't really make a difference for what she does. She loves the pen, though!
  • That's not quite true. While the pen is better, you won't get the 1,000+ levels of pressure that you would on the Pro 4. That improvement puts the technology a lot closer to Wacom's, which is the company to beat when it comes to digital inking.
  • This is something I'm glad to hear about. I'm ready to get a surface, but my wallet wont be for a couple months lol, and articles like this just make me want it more.
  • Even as a novice, I can really feel the difference, even using OneNote. Still gotta learn Krita!
  • I actually really like drawing on my SP1 with the Wacom pen, single button for right-click/select and rubber at the top end. Was the SP3's pen that bad? I was thinking about getting a cheap SP3 but if they've now gone back to the original pen setup which I like I'm now thinking I may aswell skip to the 4 when I need/can afford to.
  • Excuse me, can we record voice and taking notes at the same time on Surface / Surface Pro?.
  • That should be possible with the OneNote desktop app.
  • Is the SP4 pen better than that on the SP2?
  • If that Microsoft logo will be in Center then it will look much better !!!
  • Im so sad with my sp4 been having nothing but problems with it and its nuts
  • Have you tried updating it? I've had so much customers that just do not update their computers.