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New Surface Pro Offers a Faster Inking Experience

Posted May 24, 2017 | Microsoft Surface | Surface Pro (2017) | Windows | Windows 10

It’s not clear to me why Microsoft isn’t highlighting this more, but the new Surface Pro provides an important performance advantage related to Windows Ink and the new Surface Pen. And this change neatly explains why Microsoft making its own hardware is so important.

Put simply, using the new Surface Pro with the new Surface Pen and the latest version of Windows 10—which, yes, comes with the device—users will see superior Windows Ink performance, with lower writing latency, than will users of any other PC. And the key to this advantage is a combination of hardware and software.

The hardware requirements are two-fold: You need the new Surface Pro and the new Surface Pen.

The new Surface Pro is the first Surface device to include a “Pixelsense Accelerator chip” that “runs Windows Ink acceleration code natively on hardware.” Yes, the new Surface Pro actually includes hardware-accelerated Windows Ink capabilities.

But you’ll also need the new Surface Pen, which offers double the performance of the outgoing model. This new Surface Pen also provides other advantages, like tilt support, 4096 levels of pressure sensitivity, and half the required activation force.

And then there’s Windows 10. With the Creators Update, Windows 10 has been updated to support “low latency Ink that virtually eliminates lag when you write” … Assuming you have the right hardware. Which right now is the new Surface Pro with the new Surface Pen. Only.

“This [combination of hardware and software] is how we achieve a new milestone in inking, virtually eliminating lag between the pen tip and the ink that flows out of it, creating the most natural writing experience with Windows Ink,” Microsoft’s Jerry Koh explains. “It is the result of a close partnership between hardware and software.”

So if you’re a digital artist, note-taker, or someone else who really needs pen-based capabilities, there’s your reason to upgrade to the new Surface Pro and new Surface Pen. You can’t get this level of performance on any other Surface device or non-Surface PC, and you never will be able to on existing models. Presumably, future Surface devices will add support for the Pixelsense Accelerator chip down the road. But for now, the new Surface Pro is the only game in town.


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