N-Trig, the Israeli company behind the digitizer tech in the Surface Pro 3 and many other top Windows tablets and convertibles, has updated its website and now offers a link to a line of replacement pens available via Amazon.

Currently discounted to $40 from their $50 list price, the DuoSensePen2 models are not compatible with all N-Trig digitizers. The new pens can only be used with the following devices: Microsoft® Surface Pro 3, Sony VAIO® Duo 11/13, VAIO Tap 11, VAIO® FIT Family, Acer® Aspire ® R7 572, ASUS Taichi 21/31 and Fujitsu Stylistic Q702.

The pens come in an assortment of five colors.

pens.jpg

I recently had a chance to compare the DuoSensePen2 (above, green) with other N-Trig pens from (top to bottom) Sony, Microsoft and Acer. The new model is a full inch shorter than the Surface Pro 3 pen, although it surprisingly doesn't feel much lighter.

A clip cap would be a welcomed addition and help to better balance the pen in the hand.  

The DuoSensePen2's nib is about the same consistency as the SP3 pen, slightly softer than the Sony's. Unfortunately, the pen does not ship with any spares.

Of the four N-Trig pens I've tried, I most like the feedback from the Acer Active Pen from my Aspire R7-572 convertible. Be aware that Acer's latest models use Synaptics digitizers and are not compatible. 

With the Surface Pro 3 pen selling for $50, these new N-Trig pens are a nice option if you'd like to save a few bucks on a replacement or spare. Hopefully for the next generation, N-Trig will lengthen the pen to a standard size and perhaps design a flared barrel that's closer to a traditional paintbrush.


ADVERTISEMENT

N-trig Active Pen (Blue)
$39.99 $49.99
N-trig
N-trig Active Pen (Black)
$39.99 $49.99
N-trig
N-trig Active Pen (Green)
$39.99 $49.99
N-trig

EDITOR'S NOTE: Ron2k_1 of Belize City, Belize posted this very detailed review of the Wacom UP-911E pen over at the TabletPCReview forum and his post inspired me to order it so I could compare it head to head with the discontinued Axiotron Studio Pen (see my review "I have a new favorite tablet pc pen and you can't have it" Don't know why I'm really proud of that bitchy headline).

My pen should arrive within a week or two and I'll post my findings as soon as I can.

In the meantime, I asked Ron's permission to reprint his article and amazingly detailed photos here. The UP-911E is expensive at $90-and-up from third party Japanese sellers on ebay, but I am fond of bigger pens and you may like its size better than the only other two-button pen currently available, the Fujitsu T5000. 

The Wacom UP-911E

The Wacom UP-911E

GUEST POST by Ron2k_1, reprinted by permission from this TabletPCReview forums thread.

So I finally got a chance to go to the post office to clear my UP-911E Pen.

It all started after searching and searching for the ever-elusive Axiotron Studio Pen every digital artist out there venerated. I found the following website for reference and started looking for its closest match: Wacom Asia Pacific | Pen Compatibility

So, if you're still reading, here are my observations.

First, my lot of pens for visual reference if anybody else have any of my other pens:

Left to right: UP-911E, Bamboo Feel IT Carbon, Motion Computing, Surface Pro, Fujitsu Lifebook 5010, Lenovo x230t, Galaxy Note 2 pen

Left to right: UP-911E, Bamboo Feel IT Carbon, Motion Computing, Surface Pro, Fujitsu Lifebook 5010, Lenovo x230t, Galaxy Note 2 pen

And here are the specs of the above pens (Profile measurements):

First, the UP-911E as it is a very irregular shaped pen:

And for the others (Tried to keep in 16ths of an inch; 8/16 is 1/2 and 4/16 is 1/4 and so forth):
Pen-------------------------------Length------------Width (Profile)
Motion Computing-------5 12/16----------------7/16
Bamboo Feel Carbon--5 15/16--------------13/32
Surface Pro-------------------5 8/16----------------5/16
Fujitsu Lifebook-------------5 4/16----------------6/16
Lenovo x230t----------------5 2/16----------------6/16
Galaxy Note 2----------------4 7/16----------------4/16

I'm really not sure if the nibs used by the UP-911E are standard or not. I guess the only way to know is to buy a few and try them. But at least I can notice that the nibs used by Fujitsu, x230t, motion computing and UP-911E are all interchangeable and at the same length of 1 1/16" and same standard circumference. So if anybody can confirm that any of these pens use Standard nibs, then we can say that the UP-911E uses Standard Nibs as well, which would be great.

Still reading? Artists, this may be of interest to you:
On Photoshop on my Win 7 HP, i7 x230t, the UP-911E is almost as accurate (with very small nib offset) as the most accurate pen I've ever tried - my Bamboo Feel IT Carbon pen.

Here are some screen shots. First, the UP-911E (notice the cursor, not that off from the tip of nib):

Then, the Motion Computing (this one felt pretty bad..):

And finally, the dead-on-center Bamboo Feel IT:

Next, my pressure buildup test done on sketchbook pro. I tried to build pressure consistently with same amount of press with all three pens. The Bamboo Feel seems a bit thicker as it is heavier:

EDIT May 7, 2014: At the request of forum member dream3 in post # 5, I tested the three pens on light stroke mode. I tried several brushes (knife, pencil, air brush) and I had a hard time noticing any difference between the UP-911E and the Bamboo Feel IT pen. I believe that the Bamboo Feel IT is probably infinitesimally more responsive to very VERY light strokes but the weight of the pen may have something to do with it. On the other hand my Fuiji pen and Motion Computing pen require significantly more force to register the same pressure level

Now, here is where the UP-911E scored high marks. This pen is so comfortable to grip and make long strokes with. It is not as heavy as my Carbon pen (28g), or as light as my Fujitsu pen, but it weighs maybe a gram or two more than the motion computing pen, which according to surfaceproartist blog weighs 15g. So this pen weighs IMO around 16g or 17g.

Here are some screen shots of how it looks in your hand. Note that I'm not a leftie, but was forced to awkwardly hold it that way as I needed my right hand to take pictures:

Now for note-taking, I gotta say that my Carbon pen still reigns supreme. I can make short strokes and draw letters better and more comfortable and fluidly with my Bamboo Feel Carbon than any other pen I've tried; even my newest addition UP-911E. Here are the results:

On my Galaxy Note 2, nothing beats the stock 4.5" pen. I remember reading that the digitizer on the Galaxy Note 2 were slightly different than the standard Wacom digitizer.

To wrap up, this pen cost US$90 from a Japanese supplier (which reminds me, I need to leave him some feedback) on ebay. It arrived super fast and in a very secured outer package. I didn't take pics of that package but I took pics of the inner package which is the UP-911E box that is labeled Cintiq on the outside:

Contents: Regular hard white nibs, rubber grip with no aperture for side button, Pen Stand, spare side button. That's it, no nib removal ring or additional nibs...

Contents: Regular hard white nibs, rubber grip with no aperture for side button, Pen Stand, spare side button. That's it, no nib removal ring or additional nibs...

If you notice from above it even came with a little stand:

If you were brave enough to read all that and still have questions, just shoot them up (at the original TabletPCReview forum thread located here).

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.