I won't waste too much virtual ink on this review because it's very likely you won't be able to get your hands on this device.  But in the event you ever come across someone selling an Axiotron Studio Pen, my advice is simple: buy it! 

Axiotron was the company that first brought the Modbook to market in 2007. Modbooks are Apple MacBooks modified with Wacom touch screens. They're wonderful devices but very expensive.

Axiotron closed up shop shortly after the release of Apple's iPad. One of its founders Andreas Haas revived the concept and now markets the devices as Modbook, Inc. Unfortunately, the new Modbooks use a very basic tablet pc stylus I reviewed here.

The original Axiotron Studio Pen was much closer to the high end pens Wacom produces for its Cintiqs.

Plain Jane wrapping is nothing to write home about, but I include it here to show the model number of the pen I am writing about. Hopefully it will aid in your future online treasure hunts.

The Studio Pen is signficantly longer (6.2 inches) than other tablet pc pens. The Modbook Pro Digitizer Pen is 5.6 inches, the Motion Computing pen is 5.8 inches and the capped Wacom Bamboo Sylus Feel is 5.95 inches.

The Studio Pen is also flared, so it's approximately .10 inch wider than all the other pens I've tested at its thickest point. It has a dual button rocker with a large, comfortable rubber grip that's at least .25 inch longer than the grip on the Motion Computing pen.  And last but not least, the Studio Pen features nice big eraser tip.

The Axiotron Studio Pen (center) is the largest tablet pc stylus I've tested. Its replacement, the white Modbook tablet pc pen is extremely generic and too light and small for my tastes. The closest pen still in production is the Motion Computing stylus (second from bottom), but its grip and single button are much smaller. The Wacom Bamboo Stylus Feel Carbon is pictured at the top and the standard Surface Pro pen is at the bottom.

I found this pen used, so I'm not sure if the nib assortment was standard, but my pen came with a large array of hard, soft and flex nibs and even a replacement button and grip.

The Studio Pen package I bought used included a large assortment of replacment nibs, two extraction rings, a replacement button and a replacement grip. 

The pen is slightly lighter than the Wacom Feel, but its heft feels almost perfect to me. 

I can't find a reason to complain about the Axiotron. I'm just happy that I get to use it on the Surface Pro and my other Windows 8 tablets. Let's hope Wacom or Modbook see fit to offer something similar in the near future.

UPDATE: Reader Pat pointed out in the comments section below that the Axiotron is slightly less accurate than the Wacom Bamboo Stylus. I hadn't noticed this to be the case until I ran a side-by-side test. The slight offset of the cursor to the nib isn't terribly distracting and I quickly forgot about it as I began to draw. The only time where the accuracy becomes an issue is in targeting very fine points in the UI. As I mentioned in my response below, hitting the ultra-narrow scroll bars in Manga Studio is difficult with any pen, but nearly impossible with Axiotron.

A while back, a reader asked  about replacement nibs for the Surface Pro pen.  I hadn't considered the question until that moment because many months ago I had replaced my standard pen with a Wacom Bamboo Stylus Feel - Carbon (a name only a Japanese company could bring to market).

Unlike the standard stylus, all replacement pens come with extra pen nibs. In addition to the Carbon, I've purchased three other Surface Pro compatible pens and I had assumed all along that  the nibs were interchangeable. That assumption turned out to be incorrect. 

The standard Surface Pro pen's blue nib (center) doesn't match either the older wider nib above or the shorter Stylus Feel nib below.

The older Samsung and Wacom stylii I reviewed here have a wider diameter and don't fit in the Surface Pro pen's barrel.

The nibs for the Bamboo Stylus Feel pens are the correct diameter, but almost imperceptibly shorter in length.  Before realizing this, I put a Feel nib into the Surface Pro pen and had a devil of a time pulling it out again.  I've seen some posts on the TabletPCReview.com forums state that the nibs are compatible. They are not.    Take my word for this, DON'T TRY IT AT HOME!

Searching the Microsoft online store turned up no replacement nibs for sale.

Recently, the official Microsoft Surface blog posted a feature dedicated to the Surface Pro pen that included a new email address for "like-minded pen enthusiasts." I wrote asking for advice about nib replacements. Last night, Microsoft's Markus Weickenmeier, whose title is Manager - Surface wrote back confirming that Microsoft doesn't sell nib replacements.

So when your nib wears down (and it will), the only Microsoft solution is a replacement pen for $30. 

My advice is to pick up one of the available alternative stylii and store the standard pen as a collectible or for when you pass it along on eBay or Gazelle. Although the alternatives cost the same or more, they feel better to write and draw with and come with several replacement nibs. And when you run out of those, additional sets of five nibs cost only $5 - $10 direct from the Wacom Store. 

Wacom Customer Care overview of how and when to change the nib of a Bamboo or Bamboo Fun pen. The tips provided here apply to Surface Pro compatible stylii as well.


ADVERTISEMENT

Purchasing from these links directly supports this blog