Lenovo Active Pen 2 vs 1 (Artist Review)

Big thanks to Lenovo Singapore for providing the Active Pen 2 for this review.

In this review, I'll be comparing the Active Pen 2 (AP2) vs the 1st generation Active Pen from the perspective of an artist.


There are some slight design changes. The new pen is slightly longer, the pen clip is gone, and there's a new back button.

Build quality is excellent because it's almost full metal throughout. It's also nice to hold with the matte surface texture.


The pen is still powered by one AAAA battery and battery life is rated to last for months.


The new tip has a more textured surface on it that creates more friction when writing or drawing on the glass screen. This is now much easier to control compared to the slippery hard tip from the first pen.

The new tip also protrudes more slightly. This means the part that holds the tip no longer blocks the view of the tip, which means you can actually see the lines appear beneath the tip more easily as you use the pen.

These two improvements makes it a much more satisfying experience when using the pen.

The new pen now supports 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, up from the 2,048 levels in the previous pen. In actual use, I don't really notice much difference in the pressure sensitivity. Both are very sensitive pens.


If you look closely at the slow diagonal strokes from AP1 in the picture above, you can see some slight jitter. Other than that, the strokes usually come out the way I expect.


The new pen is also more accurate. There's no jitter issue when drawing diagonal lines slowly. Compare the slow diagonal strokes and you can see that the jitter is no longer there. What this means is, if you draw slowly, e.g. when drawing portraits, or detailed illustrations, the jitter will no longer be a problem and affect your work.

Palm rejection works relatively well. The only thing to note is you have to have the pen close to the screen for palm rejection to work flawlessly.


One reason why the pen performs so well is probably because it uses Wacom technology. Wacom driver and settings are already installed. With this, you can adjust pressure sensitivity and configure the functionality of the buttons.

The pen is always on so you don't have to pair it with the tablet to use it. However, if you want to configure the back button, you will need to pair with via Bluetooth. This allows you to set functionality to single and double click actions to the back button.


If you're buying the Lenovo Active Pen 2 separately, it will come with a USB pen holder for storage and three replacement pen tips. Retail price is US $50, significantly cheaper compared to the Microsoft Surface Pen.

This pen is actually bundled with the Lenovo Miix 520 that I've reviewed recently.

Conclusion

The 1st generation Lenovo Active Pen already works quite well and the new pen improves on that to provide an even more satisfying experience. It's definitely worth the money.

Easily 5 out of 5 stars.

But before you buy, make sure your device can support the pen. At the time of this review, these are the compatible devices:

  • ThinkPad X1 Tablet Gen2 (20JB, 20JC)
  • Lenovo MIIX 720
  • Lenovo MIIX 510
  • Lenovo MIIX 520
  • Lenovo Yoga 720
  • Lenovo Yoga 920

Availability

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