Discussion in 'Hardware' started by kvoram, Jan 4, 2017.
Good job Mervin!
well....that was an ordeal. took a half hour and 3 best buy employees to find the pen. I knew it wasn't on the shelves since I looked already.....and I asked them to check their back storage......"oh wait...let me check this shelve......oh wait.....let me ask a co-worker.." sigh....after 20 minutes of them fruitlessly searching....."I'm gonna check the back storage"
So I got the Bobblehead.....I mean the pen
first thing I noticed.....that Bluetooth button is cheaply tacked on....it almost feels like a Bobblehead.....I wouldn't be surprised if the Bluetooth button easily breaks off after a short time. that aside I love the feeling of the pen....its got a Soft-ish faux-plastic feeling....way more comfy to hold over the cold metal of the Surface Pens. And the two side switches are easy to press and use.
However.....I can't use this pen right now. My Surface Pro 3.....is still on Windows 8.1.....despite being able to connect to the pens bluetooth....the pen itself still won't work on my Pro 3...presumably because it lacks Win 10. And my Win 10 devices are all EMR based. So at the moment I can't test how useful the pen is.
You jinxed me @darkmagistric! I was having trouble getting the pen to pair with my Yoga 720 and thought the eraser button might hide a battery compartment as I've seen in other BT pens. I janked the button right off! First time I've ever broken a pen. :-(
Good thing I have another one coming Saturday.
Very first inking impressions:
It turned out that installing the battery was a little more challenging than I am used to. The top fits very tightly onto the pen body, so twisting the cap to the release position, indicated by lining up two dots, must be done firmly. In addition, the "soft feel" surface isn't just a coating, it's an actual outer rubber / silicone sleeve that twists just a bit against the inner metal pen body. This makes it a little bit more difficult to twist the top to the release position. Once there, the top needs to be firmly, but gently, coaxed off. A thin plastic "flag," attached to the top, reminds the user that the battery needs to be installed + end up. Do not remove this handy reminder; the battery will fit with the flag smoothly along its side. Reinstalling the top seems to go best if you take care to line up the two dots as you bring the parts together. It may also help if you are holding the pen upside down so that the battery rests against the top rather than sliding down into the pen body.
Interestingly, the pen body is nonmagnetic.
Next step was pairing the pen with my SP4. It works just like the Surface pen. Get your tablet to the "Add a Device" screen before you press the pen top for 6 seconds to put it into discoverable mode. This leads to my second negative comment about this pen. Rather than a crisp "click" when you press the top, you get... nothing. The top just depresses with no tactile feedback. Engineers call this a "dead flesh" switch, for possibly obvious reasons. However, pairing occurred without incident, and when tested, all the pen Bluetooth functions worked as expected.
So the moment had arrived! I pressed once for InkSpace, put pen to tablet and... nothing. The instructions said that if the pen didn't work, press the two side switches simultaneously to "change modes." And... success! The pen began inking! Note that when you power your pen up, you may not have this problem; electronics sometimes start up in random modes.
My first impression is that this pen inks much like the Surface pen. Roughly the same hover distance above the screen and roughly the same inking lag (did someone say that it was ~45ms?), but the IAF is lower. The Surface pen weighs 20g with battery. If I hold the Surface horizontally and rest the pen nib on the screen with only the pen's weight bearing down on it, the Surface pen won't start inking. You have to press it down a little harder. The Wacom pen weighs 18g. Under the same conditions, the Wacom pen does ink! So that's definitely an improvement. The top button does not appear to function as an eraser (whew), but I rubbed it against my glass screen protector anyway and to my surprise it felt smooth. My concerns about the potential to scratch the screen appear to have been unwarranted. As for the side switches, the lower switch appears to be press-n-hold and the upper switch is eraser. Note that both the Surface pen and the Wacom pen work on my SP4 without any need to re-pair.
Finally, I found the installed black nib, which I thought was hard plastic, to actually be relatively tacky with a bit more friction or "bite" than I preferred. Turning to the nib box, I selected the center (almost white colored) nib at random. Getting the nibs out of the little box is a serious business; after several failed attempts to loosen the nib, I finally had to turn to my ultra sharp, "I'll cut you if you so much as look at me," Exacto knife. I got the nib out, but of course I almost cut myself! There was no obvious nib remover in the Wacom box, but the instructions pointed to a silvery socket on the side of the nib box that I had mistaken for a hinge. You're supposed to stick the pen nib into the socket, tilt the pen to the side and then pull. This leads to my third negative comment: this approach doesn't work very well, at least not for me! Fortunately, I'm so old school that I have several old Wacom nib tools just lying around and the tool made short work of the nib change. The white nib provided less bite and a "slicker" inking feel, which I like much better. Note that the nib must be firmly but gently seated in the pen body to work correctly; I was too gentle the first time and had to press it in more firmly. I'll try the other nibs as time permits, but for now the white colored nib feels pretty good to me.
The bottom line, so far, is that this Wacom pen hovers and inks like a Surface pen but seems to have a noticeably lower IAF. I have said many times that I am not an artist, so we will need to wait for someone like @darkmagistric to weigh in on the artistic value of this new pen. I have a feeling that we will hear from him soon...!
Just want to clarify the quoted 42ms ink lag applies only to the Studio, not SP4 (which @wataru and I suspect to be significantly slower).
Also another note, is that in my testing on the Z Canvas, the SP4 pen weight is enough to trigger the IAF on the "Hard" pressure in the VAIO control panel. (You can test this in CSP by simply resting the pen and noting that the History panel registers a stroke.)
And yet another note, is that in @wataru's tests of the Surface Laptop, the IAF reduced vs the Studio, and very significantly reduced vs the SP4/SB, suggesting that MS tweaks to the digitizer settings depending on the form factor of the device.
Thus we should be careful not to label IAF (or other pen characteristics) like it is a constant thing across N-Trig devices, even with the same pen and digitizer generation.
My instant analysis: Bamboo Ink is a worthy replacement pen. Probably best all-around ergonomics of any AES pen to date. Hover distance, IAF, jitter are all as good as I've encountered with active pens. Not really seeing a performance improvement over Surface Pen or VAIO pen. Don't run out and buy one expecting to notice a difference between 1024, 2048 or 4096 pressure levels.
In this case,why buying it?
A serious curiosity. I mean, if I have a surface pro 4 pen, is there any value in buying the wacom pen?
For the moment, I don't think there is a value to Surface Pen owners, except as a spare. It's a very good option for owners of other NTrig and AES devices with hard to find pens.
<<...if I have a surface pro 4 pen, is there any value in buying the wacom pen?..>>
Pros: Slightly better ergonomics (but really personal preference), two switches, lower IAF
Cons: More expensive, no eraser top
Inking seems the same based on my (early) experience...
No way to program those switches on an MPP device.
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