Surface Slim Pen vs. Renaisser Raphael 520: Which is a better digital stylus?

Surface Slim Pen
Surface Slim Pen (Image credit: Windows Central)

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?

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.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Surface Slim PenRenaisser Raphael 520
ProtocolMPPMPP
Pressure levels4,0964,096
TiltYesYes
EraserYesYes
Magnetic connectionYesYes
Programmable buttonsOne (three functions)No
Always onYesNo
Battery15 hours, wirelessly rechargeable100 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 Pen

Source: Daniel Rubino/Windows Central (Image credit: Source: 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.

Brendan Lowry is a Windows Central writer and Oakland University graduate with a burning passion for video games, of which he's been an avid fan since childhood. You'll find him doing reviews, editorials, and general coverage on everything Xbox and PC. Follow him on Twitter.