At the moment I’m testing out the Surface Pro 3 and with it the Surface Pen. Since this is the first time I really get to use the Surface and not just to try it out in a store I’m still in a learning phase in terms of the pen and how I should use it. Of course, I knew before that you can write and draw with it but there are also more use cases. Furthermore, I use the pen for things I did not expect to use it for…
Where to put the pen?
Before I share my opinion on the actual writing and drawing experience with the Surface Pen I’d like to give you some thoughts about the storage of the device. Since Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 3 there has been a lot of discussion about the pen loop which has to be attached to the Type Cover to actually have a place to store the Surface Pen. Most ironically: If you buy just the Surface (yeah, I know: most of the Surface users probably buy a Type Cover as well) you don’t have any “real” place to put it. As for the pen loop itself I have to say that while it isn’t the most attractive solution it definitely holds the pen safely and so far I never had to worry about losing the pen: I just walked around with the Type Cover (attached to the Surface) holding the pen – and I don’t know if I would do the same with the pen magnetically attached to the side of the Surface Pro 4. Nevertheless, I do appreciate that Microsoft now also has created a place to store the pen on the actual device itself. In the end it would probably the best solution to just have both ways of storing the pen…
What I use the Surface Pen for
This is something I did not expect to use the pen for so frequently but I think it’s really convenient to use it as a mouse replacement: If you already have the pen in the hand why should move your hand down to the keyboard to reach the trackpad? Despite the fact that the trackpad is too small for my liking (thankfully Microsoft made it bigger on the new Type Cover), I think you’re just quicker with the pen. Of course not in every situation but still I really like to use it as a mouse/pointer.
I’m not really a talented drawer but I’ve used Fresh Paint multiple time so far on the Surface and have to say it’s just fun to draw with the pen. And always when I showed the Pro 3 to someone I asked whether they want to draw something with the Surface Pen – and the reactions were very positive.
- Taking notes
Unsurprisingly, I use the Surface Pen most of the time for taking notes with OneNote. As a student, I always have to write many things down and therefore the Surface Pro 3 is just the perfect device for me. Of course you can use OneNote also on your regular laptop to take notes but with the pen it feels just more natural and furthermore you can easily sketch something next to you handwriting. Together with OneNote the pen really shines in my opinion. But the experience hasn’t been just positive so far: My handwriting in OneNote once somehow changed the order (e.g. I like the Surface Pro 3 –> Like I Surface 3 Pro) and sometimes also suddenly some numbers just disappeared from my chemistry notes. I have no idea how this happened – though it could be that I accidentally pressed one of the buttons on the pen…. So the changes made to the new pen for the Pro 4 (and Pro 3) could be quite good for me…
But once again taking notes on the Surface Pro 3 is just a pleasure.
The Surface Pen is a really handy tool for every-day use of the Surface Pro 3. For me as a student, note taking is probably the most interesting and useful feature of the pen but I also really like to sketch or draw something using Fresh Paint. Furthermore, I’m surprised by how often I use the pen as a mouse. Overall I’m just very impressed by the experience you get with the Surface Pen and how it takes computing to another – more natural – level. One reason more to get the Surface Pro 4…. #NeedToSaveMoney