Should you buy a Surface Pen for the Surface Laptop 2?
The Surface Laptop 2 just isn't good for inking
The Surface Laptop 2 is a powerful, sleek, and sexy device, and while it does support inking, its form factor simply doesn't lend itself well to doing so.
The Laptop 2 has a fixed hinge that doesn't allow you to convert the laptop into a flat configuration, not without angling the keyboard up in the air at least. The display does support inking with 4,096 levels of pressure complete with tilt support, but, the fact that you can't lay the device out flat just prevents it from being a pleasant experience. At best, you'll be signing documents or perhaps annotating a picture, but for that, you can purchase a cheap non-digital stylus or simply use your finger.
Unlike the Surface Pro, Surface Book, and Surface Go, the Surface Laptop 2 doesn't even have magnetized edges for storing the Pen, since it just kind of knows its not designed for frequent inking.
Thankfully, literally every other type of Surface not only has some form of flat screen configuration, but also includes magnetic storage for the pen. If you're going to get your ink on, look elsewhere.
If you want a laptop-like form factor with the option of inking, the Surface Book 2 should be your first consideration. Some configurations come with dedicated graphics too, allowing you to enjoy VR, higher-end gaming, and intensive programs such as Adobe Premiere. If you want something portable but powerful, the Surface Pro 6 features quad-core processing, wrapped in a tight form factor ideal for taking to university or work, while still packing enough power to run high-end programs and even 3D games. If you simply want inking without breaking the bank, the cheap and cheerful Surface Go might not be the most powerful device in this piece, but it's small, sleek, and cheap, and is more than capable of running quality inking tools such as Sketchable, Photoshop, and OneNote.
If you're interested in inking on a Surface device, there are a range of great alternatives built from the ground up with inking in mind.
Ink on the go
Get your ink on.
If you want to do some Surface inking, then you're going to need the right tool for the job. The Surface Pen comes with a magnetized strip down one edge, designed to be attached to the display on the Surface Book, Pro 6, and Surface Go. Each device sports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity complete with tilt support, and a range of color options too.
Big Surface power
Microsoft's most powerful laptop.
Microsoft's Surface Book 2 is an artist's powerhouse, with configurations powerful enough to support complex inking projects and even 3D graphics design owing to dedicated GPU options. The display can be detached, reversed and then closed flat, making it a perfect portable canvas.
Surface for professional portability
Powerful and mobile.
If the Surface Book 2 is too large and heavy for you, consider the tablet-like 2-in-1 Surface Pro 6. With powerful quad-core internals, the Pro 6 is a beastly PC in a slim package, and perfect for inking on the move.
Pure fun, pure value
Your digital sketchbook.
Although the Go is the least powerful on this list, it's also the cheapest. But don't be fooled by its price point, this pint-sized PC packs a punch, and sports premium materials and construction too. While you won't be able to edit complex 3D visuals on this fun device, it's perfect for note taking in class, casual art and design work, and sketching on the go.
Jez Corden is a Senior Editor for Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!
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