The surprisingly capable new tablet is almost undone by its companion pen.
UPDATE 2 4/1/16 From the Windows Experience blog, posted by Aaron Woodman, Sr. Director of Marketing at Microsoft, comes the company's official take on the Wacom deal:
Another way we’ll deliver that is via a recent partnership with Wacom.
Wacom, a leader in digital pen hardware, has signed an agreement with Microsoft to create and produce Windows Ink capable solutions for the ecosystem. This will help provide customers with the best end-2-end Windows Ink experience. By combining Windows Ink technology, learnings from Surface and Wacom DNA into a high quality writing instrument built for Windows Ink, customers have an easy choice when they need an accessory pen. Customers should expect the pen to be available at retailers like Best Buy this holiday season.
UPDATE 3/31/16 From the official press release, below, Wacom is targeting the 2016 holiday season for the release of the dual protocol pen.
Wacom to broaden digital pen interoperability in the marketplace under Universal Pen Framework (UPF) along with Microsoft
Tokyo, March 31, 2016 ----- Wacom Co., Ltd announced today its Universal Pen Framework (UPF) initiative has entered a new stage with Microsoft Corp. licensing its Microsoft Pen Protocol to Wacom. In the near future Wacom’s digital pen solutions will incorporate both Microsoft Pen and Wacom Active ESTM Pen protocols, helping customers better take advantage of Windows Ink on Windows 10 devices. Wacom is working to build pens that support both protocols, targeting delivery this holiday season at the end of 2016.
“This is truly groundbreaking: now we have two leading pen protocols—by Microsoft and Wacom—that can be tapped on demand with a single pen,” said Masahiko Yamada, President & CEO of Wacom. “Supporting multiple protocols makes our pen incredibly fast and easy for people to write intelligent notes, be creative, and get productive when using Windows Ink on their Windows 10 devices. As well as advocating the digital pen as a primary interface tool for mobile products and services, we also believe in the power of digital ink as a transformational medium. Digital ink can convey people’s creativity by enabling ideas to be captured and shared over the cloud, while sustaining the evolution of those ideas. I’m looking forward to seeing how we can accelerate the emergence of digital stationery in collaboration with valued partners like Microsoft,” he added.
“Windows Ink makes it easy for people to turn their thoughts into actions,” said Kevin Gallo, corporate vice president of Windows Developer Platform, Microsoft, Corp. “People that use pens with their Windows 10 devices are happier, more engaged, more creative, and productive. Today‘s agreement with Wacom will help customers get a great Windows Ink experience on virtually all pen-enabled Windows 10 devices.”
Wacom has been supplying its Active ESTM pen solution to a number of OEM customers since 2014. In order to ensure interoperability of digital pens among multiple platforms, Wacom has been developing the multi-protocol pen technology in collaboration with key IT industry players such touch controller suppliers, display manufacturers and platform developers, under the name of UPF (version 2.0).
As part of the UPF 2.0 initiative, this agreement between the two companies makes it possible for Wacom to manufacture multi-protocol pen solutions including Microsoft Pen and Active ESTM protocols on demand. It is hoped that this will help to bolster broad consumer demand for digital pen and ink as enabling tools for communication, expression, business, education and entertainment, covering various aspects of people’s daily activities.
On January 7, 2016, Wacom introduced the Digital Stationery Consortium, which promotes the digital inking experience across multiple mobile ecosystems and solutions through collaboration with companies across a range of sectors, from IT hardware, software and service providers, through to businesses in stationery, publishing and education fields. The agreement on digital pen protocols is a huge step forward toward the era of simple, high quality digital pen and ink experience, and it will form one of the pillars of the Digital Stationery Consortium.
(*) This is translated to English from a Japanese announcement solely for convenience of non-Japanese readers.
* * *
Moments after I posted the earlier story about Microsoft touting its upcoming Ink API improvements, I came across a tantalizing Tweet from Bryan Roper.
Sounding like hyperbole, I assumed that this would be something similar to Wacom's iPad efforts: a Bluetooth stylus for touch only devices.
Tonight, several tech blogs are reporting that the two companies are indeed working on a much more ambitious collaboration: a dual sensor pen that will work on both Wacom ActiveES and Microsoft N-Trig devices.
This remarkable development will be the first time the pair work together since Microsoft abandoned Wacom's EMR technology used in the Surface Pro 1 and 2 for the thinner N-Trig digitizers found in every tablet released since the Surface Pro 3.
Microsoft acquired N-Trig's pen technology last year and we all assumed that Wacom fans would have to look at devices from other manufacturers for the foreseeable future.
VAIO is the only other OEM producing devices with N-Trig digitizers. Since the Toshiba Encore 2 Write was released in January, 2014, Wacom has made steady advances, providing digitizers for Lenovo, HP and Dell, to name a few.
While N-Trig pens are interchangeable, Wacom's ActiveES pens have unique IDs and OEMs have chosen to limit compatibility between tablets. Wacom has been promoting a solution with its as-yet-unreleased Bamboo Smart pen for select tablets and 2-in-1 convertible devices.
The active pens from Microsoft and Wacom operate very similarly but they do have some important differences in pressure sensitivity levels, hover distance and button capabilities.
As more details become available, we will make sure to update this post.
Perhaps it's due to the overwhelming volume of gadgets I've got clattering around the SurfaceProArtist labs or just my advancing old age, but it's getting increasingly difficult to remember all the gear that I've reviewed and exactly when I reviewed it. Fortunately, despite the somewhat awkward design of the Squarespace template behind this site, everything I've ever posted here is only a keyword search away.
So as the year draws to a close, I thought it would be fun to revisit my last twelve months of reviews and see if my conclusions then have withstood the test of time.
In many cases, the time I invested while writing the review was about as much as I ended up spending with the device for the entire year, so I'll try to distinguish between the gear that I've really put through its paces and the stuff I only ever skimmed.
N-Trig DuoSensePen2 http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/1/3/n-trig-now-selling-replacement-pens- The first of a couple of products on this list that disappeared shortly after their release, these replacement pens were N-Trig's first foray into standalone consumer products. It was nice to see an option in case your Surface Pro 3 or Sony VAIO pen went missing, but I didn't care for the short body. When Microsoft bought N-Trig's pen technology later in 2015, the pens vanished.
Monoprice 22" HD SmartTouch Drawing Display http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/1/10/review-new-monoprice-pen-display-puts-multi-touch-within-reach - This touch capable drawing display was Monoprice's second attempt to entire the Wacom - Huion - Yiynova fray, but it also disappeared unceremoniously shortly after release. I still use it occasionally, as its attached to my second desktop. It's really not a bad value and I hope that Monoprice and its anonymous Chinese suppliers take another stab at it in 2016. UPDATE 12/24/15: In the comments section below, reader Vachel Shannon informed me that the Smarttouch pen display has resurfaced on Monoprice's website. You can find it here: http://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=12077
Toshiba 8" Encore 2 Write http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/1/31/massive-guest-post-8-toshiba-encore-2-write-impressions - TabletPCReview member Precurve did a great job capturing the virtues of the 8-inch version of what was the best pen computing value of the year.
Lenovo Thinkpad Helix 2 http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2014/11/28/keyboard-hinders-helix-2 -
I expected to love the Helix 2, but I didn't, thanks to its high pricetag and crappy keyboard. Had it been discounted a couple hundred bucks, I might feel otherwise. When the Ultrabook Pro keyboard was ultimately released, it cost a ridiculous $400.
HP Pro x2 612 G1 http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/3/1/hp-pro-x2-612-g1-review - Because I reviewed it so closely to the pricey Helix 2, I probably ended up inflating my rating of this tablet. I admit I grade on a curve for lower cost devices, but there's something about this ugly duckling tablet that reminds me of the Surface Pro 1 that got this blog started. UPDATE 12/24/15 : Vachel Shannon also let me know that refurbished i5/8/256 HP Pro x2 612 G1s are on sale over at Woot! for only $399 until supplies last. This is an exceptional value. http://computers.woot.com/offers/hp-pro-x2-612-12-5-intel-i5-tablet-7?ref=cp_cnt_wp_2_9
Toshiba 10" Encore 2 Write http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/3/1/guest-post-10-toshiba-encore-2-write-review- I never got around to writing my own review of the TE2W, but Eric Merced did the honors here. The TE2W is the first Wacom ActiveES tablet I owned and it's an exceptional value.
Wacom Cintiq Companion 2 http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/2/20/wacom-companion-2 - I'll admit I haven't gotten as much use out of the CC2 has I had imagined/hoped when I first purchased it. I'm spoiled by having so many other options at my disposal and I consider the CC2 too large and loud to use outside of the office. But performance is fantastic and it's still the one to buy if art is your foremost concern.
Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga 14 http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/6/26/thinkpad-yoga-14-sneaks-into-best-buy- My credit cards were able to take a break during April and May, and they were taxed a little more lightly by this Best Buy-exclusive offer. The laptop is my daily driver at the office. I've changed out the slow 1TB HDD for a much more responsive 512 GB SSD. You won't need to make that additional expense if you purchase the latest model, which has been updated several times since I purchased it. The TPY14 offers the best price-performance ratio on the market. It's not a style champion, but the Skylake version is essentially an i5 dGPU Surface Book for half the price.
Lenovo Thinkpad Active Capacitive Pen http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/7/7/lenovos-elusive-thinkpad-active-capacitive-pen-arrives - The pen that accompanies Lenovo's Wacom ActiveES devices has since been rebranded as the Lenovo Thinkpad Pen Pro. But it remains a must-have for anyone buying one of the new penabled devices, as the bundled rechargeable pen is too small for serious artists.
VAIO Z Canvas http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/10/26/vaio-z-canvas-is-windows-tablet-performance-champ - I was a reluctant buyer but the performance of the VAIO Z Canvas really won me over. It's been discounted $500 in recent weeks and is really hard to pass up at that price.
Microsoft Surface Pen http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/11/5/man-sets-out-to-review-surface-book-settles-for-pen-instead - A must-have for any Surface Pro 3 or 4 owner. The new pen and softer nibs are a huge improvement over their predecessors.
Microsoft Surface Pro 4 http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/11/7/entry-level-surface-pro-4-is-the-only-ipad-pro-youll-ever-need - I purposely decided to review the low end m3 SP4 because I was looking for a fanless option. I love it and find I'm using my i5 SP3 less and less often. This is the perfect digital sketchbook Sorry Apple.
Miscrosoft Surface Book http://surfaceproartist.com/blog/2015/12/5/surface-book-is-great-but-artists-should-stay-with-the-surface-pro - Early growing pains have almost been resolved. This is a beautiful prestige device, but I think it's a less than ideal form factor for digital artists.
Apple iPad Pro & Apple Pencil - Coming soon. Trying to take my time so I don't come off like an Apple hater or Microsoft fanboy.
So that's it. Funny doesn't seem like so many gadgets when you put them all on one page. I don't know how many I'll get to review in 2016. You guys were great the first couple of days I began my appeal for donations, but that's all died down now and revenue is no where near where it needs to be to pay for this site. So if you haven't yet, please consider a small contribution or click on as many ads as you can. Also, remember to begin your Amazon shopping sessions with a click on one of our Amazon links and we'll receive a small kickback.
So what was your favorite gadget of 2015? What are you most looking forward to in 2016? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
This blog entry was supposed to be my promised Surface Book review. But fate intervened and I received a device that was highly unstable, suffering from frequent lockups and even a few BSODs.
If you follow my Twitter feed, you’ll know that I tried everything I could think of to correct the freezes, but after three days of utter frustration, I decided to return the Surface Book to my local Microsoft Store.
Ignoring telephone support may have been a mistake because several others who were having similar issues were able to get replacement units after troubleshooting via phone. By the time I decided to try to swap out my machine in person, I was told that the soonest I could expect a replacement was mid-December.
I opted instead to ask for a refund and will sit on the sidelines to see how quickly Microsoft can address the lingering issues with their new flagship product.
There’s much to like about the Surface Book and I’m fairly certain that my review would have been relatively glowing were it not for the hardware issues I encountered. Although all reviews I’ve read have mentioned some niggling problems, no major reviewers have complained about frequent lockups. So I will assume that mine was an isolated, though not entirely unique, case. The "Surface Book is Freezing" thread on Microsoft’s support forums is currently well over 300 posts long. http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfbook-surfperf/surface-book-freezing/9889417d-32ff-46c7-8be5-5ce8b92799b6
So despite my frustration with the Surface Book, I was despondent to let it go. To console myself, I decided to apply a small portion of my refund to a new Surface Pro Type Cover ($130) and Surface Pen ($60).
The new Type Cover is outstanding: a huge step up from the last generation. I’ll have more to say about it during my Surface Pro 4 review.
Although I still have the new Surface Pen that came with the Surface Pro 4, I was eager to try the new nib set bundled with the replacement pen.
On the basis of my in-store testing, I’ve already advised several readers and Surface Pro 3 users to skip an upgrade to the new tablet and opt for a peripheral upgrade instead. Although the new pen won’t give SP3 owners any additional pressure sensitivity, I do believe the new nibs and eraser tip are worth the money if, like me, you like a little more “tooth” or friction from your pen nib.
The replacement nib set (right) includes four nibs of varying hardness, from 2H (very hard) to B (very soft). The standard nib in the Surface Pen is HB. The H nib approximates the hardness of the Surface Pro 3 pen. The replacement pen included in the set is also equipped with its own HB nib.
That standard nib is such an improvement over the slippery "plastic on glass" response of the Surface Pro 3 that I believe most users will be very happy with it. However, I found the B to be even better, approximating the toothiness of the Wacom Stylus Feel nibs I still recommend for the Surface Pro 1 and 2 and other Wacom EMR tablet PCs.
The 2H and H nibs are so hard that I don't see ever using them myself. Perhaps artists doing very fine line drawing may appreciate the hardness. I tested the nibs on one device with a Photodon MXH film screen protector and found the H was acceptable on it, but I still preferred the HB. This is all a matter of personal preference of course. You may reach an entirely different conclusion.
When the Surface Pen is used against a new Surface Pro 4 or Surface Book, it provides naturalistic feedback as pressure is applied. You can feel the sensation of the nib moving slightly into the pen body the harder you press.
This isn't the case when you use the new pen on a Surface Pro 3 or other N-Trig DuoSense2 device. Although the nibs feel great, pressing harder doesn't provide feedback. I don't know how Microsoft achieves this trick with their new hardware, but it's very convincing.
Most reviewers have already mentioned the Surface Pen's eraser tip, which really feels like a rubber eraser on both new and older devices. If you like to erase that way, you should really enjoy the sensation.
Since the only advantage of the new pen for Surface Pro 3 users is the new nib texture, you may wonder if you can just replace your current pen's nibs with the new generation replacements. Unfortunately, they're very differently sculpted (see above) and the new nib would have to be tapered in order to seat properly into the older pen's body.
Swapping nibs is very straight forward. The nib case itself cleverly doubles as an extractor (see below). Make sure to apply a lot of pressure between your index finger and thumb or the nib will slip. I lost my grip as I was pulling out a nib and lost an HB nib against the gray-black patterned carpeting in my office and it hasn't turned up since.
I hope that Microsoft eventually offers sets of same-hardness nibs. I would hate to pay $10 for a new replacement set when I'm only ever going to use one or two of the nibs. If any of you reading this prefer the hard nibs to the soft ones, message me and let's create a nib-swapping club!
The new Surface Pen is slightly longer than the Surface Pro 3 pen and it has a flat edge where the single side switch is located. That button is hidden at the tip end of the raised rubber accent strip. As much as I would have liked Microsoft to have kept a second programmable button, the flat edge and rubber strip really make it comfortable to grip the pen and move it with my index finger. Not trying to be cheeky, but the pen really does feel more like a pencil now.
Unfortunately, the side switch is not programmable; it will only function as a right click.
The eraser tip button has three functions: single-click launches OneNote, double-click triggers a screenshot (a fantastic new feature!) and clicking and holding calls up Cortana.
If any of this functionality is important to you, you'll need to pair your pen via your Bluetooth settings. You won't need to pair the pen in order to just draw with it on your Surface Pro 3 or other N-Trig device.
At the Surface Pen's unveiling, Microsoft indicated that the pen would hold a one year charge. Following that confusing statement, many users who've tested the new pen at a local Microsoft Store or Best Buy have come away convinced that the pen is disposable. That's absolutely not the case. The Surface Pen contains a AAAA battery that should last a year between replacements.
Microsoft has inexplicably changed the the cap design so that the pen is nearly impossible to open unless you know the magic combination. And even doing so, I really worried I was going to break the pen trying to pry off the cap.
As illustrated below, the cap requires an 1/8 of a counter-clockwise turn in order to align a notch in the cap with a contact in the barrel. And it still will require significant force to pull the cap off when it's properly aligned. Putting the cap back on requires carefully aligning the cap notch and contact.
The bottom line is that this process is so finicky and precise, that I recommend you just bookmark this article now so that you can come back to it in a year's time when you need to replace your pen battery!
In addition to testing the pen on the Surface Pro 3, I also tried it out on the VAIO Z Canvas and the Sony VAIO Flip 15A. In both cases, I vastly preferred the quieter soft nibs of the Surface Pen vs. the hard tapping of the VAIO and Sony pens. As I mentioned earlier, screen protectors will interact with your nib texture, so the softness you prefer on glass may be unacceptably draggy on screen protector film.
I really didn't encounter any meaningful difference in drawing results using the new pen and nibs. On the Surface Pro 3, the added friction provided a bit more confidence in my strokes. Conversely, on the VAIO Z Canvas, the added drag introduced a bit more wobble in slow strokes that I ended up rectifying with brush stabilization.
UPDATE: I was asked by a Twitter follower whether the new nibs are susceptible to the same wear as the SP3 nibs. I'm not sure whether later model Surface Pro 3 pens exhibited this issue, but in the early days, the nib would fray around the edges as an outer coating peeled off. The tip wouldn't continue to deteriorate at that rapid rate but that initial impression was very troubling. After about ten days of use, none of my new nibs show any signs of wear.
Ultimately only you will be able to decide whether you like the new nib textures and whether the pen is worth the steep price. But think of it this way: the Surface Pen costs $40 less than an Apple Pencil and the eraser and flat edge are much closer to the feel of a pencil than any pen on the market!
Pity poor VAIO. For over a year, the Japanese startup that bought up the remains of Sony's computing division has been plotting a splashy debut on the world stage by targeting creative users with an expensive, but high-powered graphics behemoth.
The company's first entry into the U.S. market, the Z Canvas was even selected to be an exclusive Signature PC offering at Microsoft Stores. And Monday, that $2199 tablet PC with 12.3-inch WQXGA+ 2560 x 1704 IPS touchscreen, true quad core Intel Core i7-4770HQ processor, 8GB RAM and 256GB SSD finally went on sale and held its launch event here in the Century City Microsoft Store. With those specs, the Z Canvas was without a doubt the most powerful Windows 10 tablet on the market.
Then, only 24 hours later, Microsoft announced its Surface Pro 4 and Surface Tablet lines. And 24-hours after that, rather than owning the premium shelf space to itself, VAIO sits right next to demonstration units of the new Microsoft products: a little bit more expensive, two generations of processor behind, no longer the only N-Trig tablet offering 1,024 levels of pressure.
So is the Z Canvas still worth considering, especially given its premium price-tag that balloons up to $3099 for the 16GB/1TB model? I decided to check it out for myself and I'm sorry to report I have decidedly mixed feelings.
It's so unfair to base an opinion on a few minutes of scribbling with inappropriate software, but having no other option, I'd say my reaction to the pen performance is lukewarm. It wasn't bad by any means; it just didn't feel special. In fact, it felt familiar, bearing many of the niggling problems of other current generation N-Trig devices.
First the positive: the hardware buttons located at the top of the tablet (pictured below) for disabling touch and calling up on-screen keyboard shortcuts are amazing. The latter especially is an indication that VAIO has worked with and clearly understands the needs of artists. Rather than having to rely on third party artdocks or other hacks, the Z Canvas lets users configure their own shortcut overlays, customizable for each individual program.
Although not as useful as the Surface Pro's variable angle kickstand, I like the attractive Z Canvas mechanism that lets you smoothly adjust its angle with only one hand.
And the flared, rubber pen grip is a huge improvement over the cold aluminum cylinders of most DuoSense2 pens. If the pen is sold separately, I might pick one up to replace my Sony Active Pen, which I purchased for the VAIO Flip 15A.
I'm not a fan of the flat detached keyboard. I like that it covers the closed tablet like a clamshell, but the flat orientation doesn't lend itself to long typing sessions. However, perhaps VAIO was focusing on artists who only need to tap on shortcut keys as they work. The tablet is Bluetooth and continues to work while detached. No need to purchase a standalone keyboard.
The demo units at this store don't have Clip Studio Paint installed, even though I think that software is bundled with each device. I'm not a OneNote guy and Fresh Paint doesn't do anything for me, so I was able to get the helpful Microsoft Store staff to install Sketchable. The free version only includes one brush, but it was good enough to test.
I created an A4, 300 dpi canvas and started scribbling away. Response is good, but the cursor didn't ever line up with the pen tip. It always was behind and to the right of the tip until I physically came in contact with the screen. It's possible that my pen was setup for a left-handed user, but I never dug into the pen control panel to see if I could set the orientation.
Diagonal jitter is present in slowly drawn strokes. I think we just have to accept that this is a fact of life with all N-Trig devices. Speed up your strokes or use brush stabilization.
More of an issue is that when I drew a bunch of half circles, random ones would end up quantized (with straight line segments instead of a smooth curve). In the image below, notice how the third curve from the right is segmented. Also notice the very thin end to that curve, which is a typical N-Trig artifact.
Could it be a problem with the Sketchable app? Perhaps. I contacted the developers and let them know. But until someone here can test with more software, my recommendation is to proceed with caution.
The biggest advantage of the VAIO Z Canvas is its quad core processor. Although it's a Haswell generation CPU, it should still beat the dual core Skylake processors in the new Surfaces. Running real world tests with more than sketching programs is the only way to determine whether the speed difference is noticeable.
With its serious venting along the top and back of the tablet, the Z Canvas is probably loud too. Unfortunately, it was impossible to tell in the noisy mall setting of the Microsoft Store.
I don't know if I'll be able to do any further testing with the device. A couple of TabletPCReview members have purchased Canvases and I'll be scouring that site for their reviews. In the meantime, if any of you get hands on with the tablet, please leave your impressions below.
I want the new VAIO to succeed. They're clearly interested in catering almost exclusively to digital artists and that's worth a lot in a tech world where other OEMs don't even bother publicizing whether or not they are penabled.
UPDATE 8/3/15: With the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has once again moved the location of the Wintab driver. It is now found within a collection of other Surface drivers and utilities here.
You won't need to download the entire set. Just click download, then scroll down the list of available downloads and select Wintab-220.127.116.11-64-bit.zip .
Reader Dawn Griffin recently bought herself a shiny new Surface Pro 3. But when she tried to download the N-Trig Wintab driver to enable pen pressure in her Adobe CS 5.5 software, she was greeted by a rude error message.
Although the N-Trig site has been flaky before, this error appears to be different. Microsoft recently completed the purchase of the Israeli company's digital pen technology featured in the Surface Pro 3 and the Surface 3. The blog post announcement here is unclear whether N-Trig, Ltd. would continue as a separate company.
Judging by the disappearance of its website, it appears that N-Trig is no longer a consumer-facing operation.
When Griffin alerted me that the site and Wintab link were gone, I reached out to Surface Brand Marketer and Community Evangelist Markus Weickenmeier, who scrambled to find a new home for the Wintab download.
According to Weickenmeier, the Wintab driver will be available in the Microsoft download center from now on. "The URL will change with each update, but searching for Wintab will always get you to the latest version." Look for further information soon on the Surface blog.
As more and more software adopts Microsoft's RealTimeStylus model for pen pressure sensitivity, you may never need to install this legacy driver. But if you use older applications, it's comforting to know that Wintab support is still available.
And even if you don't install it, you may want to download it now and put it away for safe keeping. http://download.microsoft.com/download/2/0/7/2073C22F-2F31-4F4A-8059-E54C91C564A9/Wintab-18.104.22.168-64-bit.zip
EDITOR'S NOTE: I can't believe I haven't updated this post since September 2014. Spring 2015 brings the regular round of 3d application updates!
Many of you have asked, so I have noted where programs support multitouch gestures.
- Illustrator 18.0.0 x64 (CC 2014) - runs (intermittent pen with N-Trig Wintab R16, R17)
- Illustrator CC 17.1.0 x64 - runs (intermittent pen with N-Trig Wintab driver 14-17)
- Illustrator CS5 - runs
- Photoshop 15 (CC 2014) - runs, no Wintab driver required
- Photoshop 14.2.1 x64, CS6 Extended 13.0 x64, CS5 x64 - runs (requires N-Trig Wintab driver 14 or higher)
- Premiere Pro 8.0.0 (169) Build aka CC 2014.0, 7.2.2 (33) - runs
- After Effects 22.214.171.124 (CC 2014), 126.96.36.199 - runs
- Flash Professional 188.8.131.52 (CC 2014), CC 184.108.40.206 - runs
- Substance Painter 0.7.1, 0.5.0 - runs (UI does not scale)
- Substance Designer 4.3.1 - runs (UI does not scale)
- ArtRage 4.0.6, 4.0.5 - runs
- 3DS Max 2016, 2015 SP1 - runs (supports multi-touch)
- Sketchbook Pro 7, 6.2.5 - runs (recommended)
- Maya 2016, 2015 SP2 - runs (2016 supports multi-touch)
- Maya LT 2016 - runs, supports multi-touch
- Mudbox 2016, 2015 SP1 - runs (2016 supports multi-touch), (no multi-touch in 2015)
- Mudbox 2015- no pen or touch, works with mouse or touchpad
- Softimage 2015 - runs
- AZDrawing 1.13 - runs
- Blender 2.71, 2.70 - runs
- CorelDraw X7 220.127.116.117 - RealTimeStylus support added, all prior versions - no pressure
- Painter 15 18.104.22.1685 - runs
- Painter X3 22.214.171.1240 - runs
- Photo-Paint X7 126.96.36.1991 - no pressure
- Modo 801 SP4, SP3, SP2, SP1, 801 - runs
- FireAlpaca 1.0.51 - runs
- GIMP 2.8.10 - runs
- Sketchtime - runs, software not pressure sensitive
- Krita 2.8.3 x64 - runs
Krogh Mortensen Animation
- Plastic Animation Paper 4.0 - runs (can't configure pen buttons)
- Cinema 4D R15.057 - runs
- Fresh Paint - runs
- MyPaint 1.0.0 - runs
- Silo 2.3 - runs
- Chronosculpt 1.0.1 x64 - runs
- Lightwave 3D 11.6.3 x64 - runs
- openCanvas 6.0.02 (64bit) - runs
- 3D-Coat 4.1.04A - runs (DX64 only)
- Sculptris - runs
- ZBrush 4R6 - runs
- Howler 9 4.00.9.2 - runs
- DrawPlus X6 188.8.131.52 x64 - runs
- Houdini FX 14.0.291 - does not run. Program loads, but objects do not display. Touch not supported.
- Sketchable - runs
- Mischief 1.12 - runs
Smith Micro (Celsys)
- Manga Studio 5.0.4 (Clip Studio Paint 1.3.1) - runs
- Paint Tool SAI 1.2.0 - runs
- Verve Painter v0.99u.11 -runs
- Toon Boom Animate Pro 3 PLE - runs
Triple Squid Software
- Moment of Inspiration (MoI3D) 3.0 beta (June 27, March 24, 2014) - runs
- TVPaint 10.5.7 x64 - runs
- Unity 5.0.0f4 - runs
- Unity 4.60b9, 4.5 - runs (requires mouse or touchpad, no pen or touch response)
Microsoft observer and tech blogger Barb Bowman spotted a very interesting exchange in this morning's Surface Reddit AMA session.
Reddit user JonBensonDesigns asked about the notorious pen jitter issue while drawing slow diagonal lines that plagues most penabled devices, but can be especially troublesome on N-Trig tablets like the Surface Pro 3. The response from the Surface team is by Steven Bathiche, a Distinguished Scientist in Microsoft Corp.'s Applied Sciences Group.
So if we're to take Bathiche at his word, then Microsoft is working on a fix that may be applicable not only to future devices but also to current Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 tablets. This is extremely encouraging news and I'll make sure to inform you here if and when that fix is issued!
Perhaps to avoid confusion with the soon-to-be-released Surface Hub displays, Microsoft has renamed its Surface Pro 3 app and added some new pressure increments.
You can now choose 12 steps of pressure for the SP3's N-Trig pen.
To achieve the broadest range of strokes (the equivalent of Wacom's firm setting), select the leftmost position, shown above. The curve slope at this setting is not as gradual as you can set in Manga Studio. In fact, a linear curve is only three steps away.
The majority of the new increments seem geared to note-takers who will want to minimize stroke variability and apply the least force while writing. Setting the pressure slider all the way to the right (see above, what Wacom calls soft) provides a very dark stroke with minimal effort.
In addition to the pressure settings, the app allows users to choose between the Modern or desktop versions of OneNote for the Pen Top Button action. And the physical Windows button can be disabled if you find it gets in the way as you draw or ink.
Unfortunately, the app does not address side switch addressability. For that you'll need to use a third party utility like Radial Menu.
The updated Surface app is now available in the Windows Store.