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Microsoft Shares Technical Details about Its New Surface Pen

Microsoft's Vineet Thuvara showcases the new Surface Pen's features, which puts an emphasis on ergonomics, user experience, and battery life.


As Devices' Director of Program Management, Thuvara explains the primary goal of the new is to deliver the best writing and drawing instrument in the digital domain through a natural, comfortable user experience.

“Getting the comfort right is the focus of shape, weight and balance. The felt-tip pen feels perfect against the screen as you write it,” he says in a Mechanics video demonstration. “[We gave the tail button] material treatment to make it perfectly feel like an eraser on the screen.”

The new Surface Pen now features a flat side to make the pen more comfortable to hold and ensures it is held the right way. It still uses technology for the tail button functions, while active capacity technology is used for inking and erasing.

New Surface Pen official from YouTube 2Design efficiency

The Select Button is accessible just under the index finger but at the same time is in a distance that avoids being pressed accidentally. With 1,024 levels of pressure, its tip offers a high degree of sensitivity and has pre-touch indicators that activate when a user hovers over menu elements.

An improved new tail button serves both as an eraser and a button. Clicking and holding the button launches Cortana, a double-click opens a screenshot of the page on OneNote, and with a single click, you can fire up OneNote or a particular page within the annotation software.

The eraser function of the tail button offers a very delicate 20-micron movement switch to trigger its functionality, while a sufficient amount of force is needed to activate the clickable switch.

“We knew we had the erase function just right when we observed a little girl erasing on the screen and trying to remove the debris by sweeping across the screen,” he said.

New Surface Pen official from YouTube 3

The pens leave the factory in deep sleep mode, users who purchase the Surface Pen will find them ready to use. Clicking and holding the tail button for five seconds will wake them up from factory sleep.

It needs standard AAA batteries that are accessible from the tail-end by a simple twist mechanism. The Surface Pen notifies the user several days before the estimated time it predicts it will run out of power. Updates happen seamlessly in the background via Bluetooth, and pairing is easily done.

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