Review: Adonit Ink Pro for Surface and Windows devices

The Adonit Ink Pro and Ink are two styluses that Adonit are currently selling that support Microsoft Surface and Windows devices. By support, I mean they have pressure sensitivity and palm rejection. I've reviewed Adonit Ink a few months ago and was quite surprised when Adonit Ink Pro was released just a few months after that.

The main differences between Ink Pro and Ink are the features, and, well of course the price. In addition to the features Adonit Ink already offers, the Ink Pro has an inbuilt mic for use with Cortana, laser pointer and a presentation mode that allows you to click through slides.

I'm an artist who uses styluses to create art, so those features don't really benefit me, but I can definitely see who would benefit from the additional features.

The retail price for Ink is USD $44.99 and the Ink Pro is USD $89.99, which is almost double the price.

It's important to note that this stylus only supports selected Surface products and Windows devices. For a full list of supported products, check out Adonit's compatibility list. For this review, I'm using the Surface Pro 2017. This stylus does not work on Android or iOS devices.


Just like Adonit's other styluses, the build quality here is fantastic. The body is cylindrical with a glossy surface finishing. It has a nice weight and feels comfortable to hold in hand. The design looks nice and sleek.


Compared to the Microsoft Surface Pen, Adonit Ink Pro is slightly longer. Diameter is quite similar.


Adonit Ink Pro has a tapered end while Surface Pen has a pointed tip. The hard surface tip on Adonit Ink Pro is quite smooth, to the extent that it's slippery, on glass surfaces. That's the basic characteristics of hard tips so it's not surprising. If you require a bit more control, especially if you want to use the stylus for drawing, it might be good to apply a matte screen protector on your tablet. However, Adonit says that it's best not to use screen protectors, but if you really want to use one, get one that's no thicker than 0.12 mm. Screen protectors are thin. As long as you don't get glass screen protectors, it should be fine.

The price difference between Microsoft Surface Pen and Adonit Ink Pro is not too significant. It's USD $100 vs $90. With the Surface Pen, the main selling point to me is you have the option to swap out the tip to use a felt-like tip instead of the hard tip. The felt tip provides a nice friction and hence more control for drawing more slowly.


There are 3 buttons on the stylus.

The small button that's closest to the tip is for the laser pointer. Note the hollow part just beside the tip. That's the built-in mic. If you want to use Cortana, you have to pair the stylus via Bluetooth with your device first. The full pairing process is available on Adonit's website.

The functionality of the other two side buttons will depend on which app you use. For example, in some drawing apps, one of the buttons will turn into an eraser when pressed while the other button does nothing.

By default, one of the buttons will function as the right click, just like the Surface Pen. And just like the Surface Pen, you have to click the button, tap on something before the contextual menu will show. It does not behave like a normal mouse right click.

If you want to use the buttons to move slides around, you've to use Microsoft Powerpoint from what I've read. I tried Google Slides and it did not work.

There's also another feature which allows you to double click and open up the Screen Sketch and you can start drawing instantly.

To enable software features like Screen Sketch, Cortana, clicking Powerpoint slides, you have to pair the stylus with Bluetooth first. If you just want to use the stylus for writing or drawing, you don't have to do any pairing. But if you don't need to use those features, you can just get the more affordable Adonit Ink instead.


That's the laser pointer. The inclusion of this feature is definitely helpful to people who do presentation.


That's the charging port on the back. The battery life is rated to last for 24 hours non-stop, and it takes 45 minutes for a full charge.

The stylus will switch off automatically after 15 minutes of inactivity.


That's the USB charging dock included.


Adonit Ink Pro is an active stylus. That means when you hover on the screen, a cursor will appear. Because it's an active stylus, it has perfect palm rejection when the cursor appears, and it's very accurate since the line will always appear where the cursor it. There's not much parallax as the cursor is almost always directly beneath the tip, but parallax also depends on which device you're using because some products have glass that's further away from the actual screen.

Apps that support Windows Ink will support Adonit Ink Pro.

Drawing performance

Unfortunately for some reason, my Photoshop and Illustrator is super buggy so I wasn't able to test them with the stylus.

Here are the apps that I was able to test.


This is Medibang Paint Pro desktop app on Windows. It works quite well. You can click for a larger view. Red lines are drawn with Adonit Ink Pro while the blue lines are from the Surface Pen.

Slight initial activation force is required to produce the thinnest of lines. I would say the force is just slightly more than the Surface Pen.

Pressure sensitivity is supported but the line variation is not as varied compared to the Surface Pen. At the same brush size, the Surface Pen can produce wider variations in terms of thickness compared to Adonit Ink Pro. To get wider variation with Adonit Ink Pro, you have to choose a larger than usual brush than you normally would with the Surface Pen. But other than that, the drawing functionality is similar.

To get the eraser, you can click the side button.


Sketchable works well. But again, to get maximum line variation, you have to choose a thicker brush. Red lines are from Adonit Ink Pro.


Pressure works with Mischief.


Pressure works with Leonardo but you have to choose a thicker brush to see the thickness variation.


Wacom Bamboo Paper supports pressure sensitivity as well. It also supports the side button as an eraser.

Note that when drawing diagonal lines slowly, Adonit Ink Pro has slight jitter while the Surface Pen has minimal jitter. The jitter may or may not be a problem depending on your usage. If you draw fast, then it's not a problem. At normal writing speed, the jitter does not appear.


Adonit Ink Pro is comparable to Surface Pen when it comes to taking notes. It was able to capture my handwriting quite well. My only quibble is the tip is quite smooth on the glass, which is perhaps more suitable for writing, but somehow I wished there was just a little more friction.


Here's a sketch I drew on Wacom Bamboo Paper. As mentioned earlier, the stylus is quite accurate. I was able to join the lines easily and there's no misalignment.

Conclusion

Adonit Ink Pro is a Windows stylus that has a lot of features aimed at professionals who do presentations. It also has Cortana should you choose to use it so it can be quite convenient. The marketed features all work quite well. Those features are what sets this stylus apart from the Surface Pen.

The writing performance is quite good, slippery, but good.

Drawing performance, well, I would say the Surface Pen is more sensitive. With Adonit Ink Pro, I often have to increase the brush size so that when my pressure varies slightly, I can get a larger line variation.

Availability

You can get Adonit Ink Pro from Adonit's website.

At the time of this review, Adonit Ink is available on Amazon but Adonit Ink Pro is not. I'm sure it should be available on Amazon soon. You can visit Amazon if you want to get it there.

Tags: 

Add new comment