Along with the announcement about the new Type Cover for Surface Pro 3, Microsoft also revealed the new premium Surface Pen with pressure sensitivity enables a more natural writing experience. The pen does a lot more than take notes, and Microsoft has worked with some pretty amazing partners to bring this to life in a variety of apps. Today, Microsoft detailed the Surface Pro 3 Pen improvements. Microsoft was focused on Pressure Sensitivity, Accuracy and Latency in offering the best inking experience.
Let’s look at accuracy first – ink needs to flow out of the tip of the pen exactly where it touches the screen. Stevie Bathiche is our Distinguished Engineer on the Applied Sciences team – he’s the man behind many of the innovations in Surface. He and Chris Whitman, our Program Manager for the Surface Pen, perform a simple test to validate their work in this area: a robot touches the display of Surface Pro 3 every 2 mm on a grid across and up/down the glass. They then track the level of accuracy as the cursor moves across the screen.
Let’s look at latency because of those using the Surface Pen for extended amounts of time, especially for drawing and sketching this is the most noticeable of performance metrics. Latency basically describes the distance between where your pen tip drags across the screen and where the rendered line appears. On pen and paper latency is 0 and many of us experience latency for the first time when we use a stylus on a tablet. Because we are digitally rendering the ink on the display, the PC has to interpret a lot of different data in order to display the “ink” in just the right place with the right properties. Depending on the device and the application you are using latency can vary, but our team has optimized our inking experience on Surface Pro 3.
If you have ever made a drawing or sketch with pencil on paper you have probably used varying pressure to create thicker, bolder lines, or very soft and gentle lines. With an active pen like the Surface Pen in Surface Pro 3 we translate the force which you apply to the pen tip on the display into line weight and quality. Surface Pro 3 measures pressure on a spectrum of 256 different levels of pressure sensitivity. This gives you an incredible amount of control in your drawings and sketches. While each application will interpret the pressure curve differently, you can create beautiful strokes with subtle differences in line weight and opacity.
Microsoft Surface Pro team worked with many artists, architects, designers, and illustrators that use Surface Pro for creating this amazing experience. Read about the improvements in detail at Surface blog here.