Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 Pen simplifies the stylus

Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Pen

Check out our full written Micosoft Surface Pro 3 review.

Writing on a glass screen may not be very popular with most current tablets, but Microsoft has designed a beautiful, new stylus for the Surface Pro 3 that aims to make the stylus experience more like simply writing on paper.

To that end, Microsoft designed the new Surface Pro 3 Pen with real, ink-based pens in mind. It has the same weight and thickness of a normal ballpoint pen, so that it feels more natural in your hand. Microsoft claims that the pen can detect 256 points of pressure on the Surface’s display. Not only is the pen more comfortable to hold, but it also writes more naturally. 

When you write with most styli, there is a discrepancy between where the point of the pen touches your tablet and where the writing actually appears, known as parallax. Microsoft gave the Surface Pro 3 a super-thin optical stack so the “ink” appears exactly where the pen tip hits the tablet, which is supposed to make writing on the Surface Pro 3 feel more natural and free.

Microsoft Surface Pro 3

During the event, Microsoft showed off the new stylus using the New York Times crossword puzzle app. Each time you fill in an answer with your natural handwriting, the Surface Pro 3 automatically changes your chicken scratch into easy-to-read text. You can also cross off each clue as soon as you’re done filling in the blanks, just as you would with the actual, paper version of the puzzle. Microsoft also boasted about the pen’s use in drawing, art, and photo-editing apps, such as Photoshop.

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Surface Pro 3 Pen is its ability to turn your tablet on in the exact moment that you want to write a note. Normally, when you use a real pen and real paper, you just grab the paper, click your pen, and write. Microsoft’s new stylus emulates this idea, in hopes of making it as simple to use as a piece of paper and a pen. To write a note, you simply click the pen and the Surface Pro 3 automatically turns on, for jotting down notes at 3 a.m. or whenever inspiration strikes.

The Surface Pro 3 Pen costs $50, while most high-quality styli cost a bit less. Still, its new capabilities may make it worth the price.