Because of the popularity of my Youtube channel, I get requests from sellers to review their stylus often. The latest request is from this seller that sells the PAC DOT S Pen. I agreed to review it because I've not reviewed a cheap Surface Pen alternative before. The only two Surface Pen alternatives I've reviewed so far are the Adonit Ink and Adonit ink Pro and both are pricey.
I'm not sure why they call their stylus the S Pen because Samsung has been calling theirs the S Pen for years. So in this review, I shall call this stylus PDSP instead.
Here's what included in the non-discreet white box from China: a nib remover, one extra nib and the pen.
PDSP has almost the same length and volume as the Surface Pen. The build quality is surprisingly solid with the full metal build other than the plastic buttons.
There are two side buttons but only one is working and that's the one further from the tip. There's no eraser button but you get a clip.
PDSP is powered by the same AAAA battery that's used in the Surface pen. Just twist the back and you have access to the battery compartment. Once the battery is in, PDSP is powered on, permanently. I'm not sure about the battery life but I hope it is as long as the months-long battery life of the Surface Pen.
When PDSP is powered on, you can use it straightaway with the compatible Surface Pros. No bluetooth or pairing is required.
Speaking of compatible products, these are the ones:
- Surface Pro (2017)
- Surface Book
- Surface laptop
- Surface Studio
- Surface Pro4
- Surface Pro3
- Surface 3
- Sony VAIO Duo 13, Duo 11
- Asus Transformer3 Series
- HP Spectre x360(2017)
There's a total of two tips with PDSP. One's a tip with some texture on it and it feels like felt tip when used on the glass surface. This provides the additional friction and hence control when drawing. The other tip is the usually slippery hard tip.
The pen feels comfortable enough to hold. Actually, it just feels like the real Surface Pen except with minor design differences.
You can certainly use it for drawing. PDSP is said to support up to 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. The pressure sensitivity works quite well. When I compared PDSP and the Surface Pro while drawing with the same pressure, I got a thinner line with PDSP. With the Surface Pen the line is thicker so I'm not sure if that means the Surface Pen is more sensitive, hence thicker line. Anyway, the pressure sensitivity feels intuitive. There are no weird jumps in stroke thickness. I was actually quite surprised PDSP pressure sensitivity worked so well.
The downside is it suffers from the same slow diagonal line jitter than many styluses suffer from. This means when you draw slowly, the jitter may be a problem affect your drawing. For example, when drawing portraits, you may want to be slower to be more accurate, but that's when the jitter will kick in.
If you're just going to buy a stylus for writing, I would say go ahead and grab PDSP now. At normal writing speed, it was able to capture my handwriting relatively well. Note taking ability is similar to the Surface Pen and PDSP is less than US $40 vs the $99 Surface Pen. If you just want a stylus for general purpose use, a cheap alternative like PDSP can be a good choice.
Other than the few Surface Pen alternatives I've reviewed, I won't say I'm familiar with such alternatives. So I went to Amazon check out other options and oh boy, there are so many competing models out there, and they are all selling around US $35 to $45, which is basically half the price of the Microsoft Surface Pen.
So is the Surface Pen significantly better? Well, only when you're an artist and the primary use is for drawing. If you don't draw, you can save a lot of money going for cheaper models.
Check out Amazon for more reviews. The product page is https://www.amazon.com/Surface-Microsoft-Surface3-Pressure-Sensitivity/d...