Best Overall

Renaisser Raphael 520

Best Slim

Surface Slim Pen

The Renaisser Raphael 520 is our top pick because it performs excellently while also being a very affordable stylus. However, it's worth noting that it does lack some of the advanced qualities of the Surface Slim Pen.

$40 at Amazon

Pros

  • 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity
  • Tilt support
  • Eraser functionality
  • Much more affordable
  • Better battery

Cons

  • No programmable buttons
  • Needs to be turned on after inactivity

The Surface Slim Pen will be the ideal option for people who like slimmer styluses or for folks that want a programmable button. Aside from that, though, its expensive pricing makes it a less overall attractive option than the Renassier Raphael 520.

$145 at Microsoft

Pros

  • 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity
  • Tilt support
  • Eraser functionality
  • One programmable button (three inputs)
  • Always on

Cons

  • Much more expensive
  • Much worse battery life

Ultimately, the Renassier Raphael 520 will be the best option for the vast majority of people since it offers identical performance to the Surface Slim Pen in most regards, while also being significantly less expensive. The only reason you should opt for the Surface Slim Pen is if you really want a slim stylus, or if you want to take advantage of the programmable button it has.

Surface Slim Pen vs. Raphael 520: Form factor or affordability?

Surface Slim Pen Source: Windows Central

When it comes down to performance basics, the Surface Slim Pen and the Raphael 520 are virtually identical. Both pens have 4,096 pressure levels of sensitivity, and they both have support for tilting, too, which allows artists and notetakers alike to use the stylus at sharper angles. Both styluses also have an eraser function; for the Surface Slim Pen, you flip the pen around and rub the back of it on your Surface's screen to erase, while with the Raphael 520, you press and hold the topmost button on the side to activate eraser mode.

Surface Slim Pen Renaisser Raphael 520
Protocol MPP MPP
Pressure levels 4,096 4,096
Tilt Yes Yes
Eraser Yes Yes
Magnetic connection Yes Yes
Programmable buttons One (three functions) No
Always on Yes No
Battery 15 hours, wirelessly rechargeable 100 hours, micro-USB rechargeable
Price $145 $40

The main difference between the two pens is the form factor. The Surface Slim Pen uses a thinner, drafting pencil-style shape while the Raphael 520 has a traditional cylindrical design. Neither shape is better than the other; it simply will come down to preference. The Surface Slim Pen also has a few features that the Raphael 520 does not, such as a button that can be programmed to execute three different functions depending on how it's pressed. This button can be used to open programs or switch tools in art programs, providing the user with a convenient way to save time. Another feature the Surface Slim Pen has is always-on functionality, which means that you never have to wake the device from sleep mode. This is not the case with the Raphael 520. One area the Raphael 520 does have an edge in, though, is with the battery. Both pens use rechargeable batteries, but the Raphael 520's lasts a full 100 hours while the Surface Slim Pen can only go 15 hours before needing a recharge.

Ultimately, though, the factor that makes the Raphael 520, the better pen is its incredible price. It's three times less expensive than the Surface Slim Pen, and aside from the convenient button shortcuts and always on function, it has the exact same level of performance. This solidifies it as the overall better option.

Surface Slim Pen vs. Raphael 520: Which should you buy?

Surface Pro X Slim PenSource: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central

When choosing a stylus to get with your Surface, it's challenging to make an argument against the Renaisser Raphael 520. With its excellent price and excellent performance, it's a fantastic and affordable stylus that will serve the needs of most people perfectly.

That being said, the Surface Slim Pen may be better for you if you really want to have that programmable button and always-on functionality, or if you simply prefer a slimmer stylus to traditionally-shaped ones. Be prepared to shell out some serious cash for one, though.

Best Overall

Renaisser Raphael 520

A new challenger has arrived

The Renaisser Raphael 520 is our top pick because it performs excellently while also being a very affordable stylus. However, it's worth noting that it does lack some of the advanced qualities of the Surface Slim Pen.

Best Slim

Surface Slim Pen

A unique form factor

The Surface Slim Pen will be the ideal option for people who like slimmer styluses or for folks that want a programmable button. Aside from that, though, its expensive pricing makes it a less overall attractive option than the Renassier Raphael 520.

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