What are good Surface Pen alternatives

Adonit INK and Pro version in the test: Good alternatives to the Surface Pen?

Adonit had its first successful Kickstarter campaign back in 2011. Since then, the company has blossomed into a respectable supplier of stylus pens. There are now numerous pens for tablets and 2-in-1 devices in their product portfolio. Adonit recently launched two input pens that are specially designed for Windows devices and especially for the Surface range.

On the one hand, there is the Adonit INK, which is a cheaper alternative to the Surface Pen at a price of just under 36 euros. The INK Pro is aimed more at business users and is priced at 72 euros. So also significantly cheaper than the original from Microsoft. The Pro version of Adonit in particular offers a broader range of functions, but how do the two pens work?

Function overview

Adonit INKAdonit INK ProSurface Pen 2017
scope9.2 mm10.5 mm9.7 mm
Weight12 g18 g20 g
Power supplyRechargeable via microUSB portRechargeable via magnetic charging dockRequires AAAA battery
running timeabout 80 hoursapprox. 24 hoursRuntime depends on the battery
ConnectivityDoesn't need bluetoothSpecial functions require Bluetooth, basic functions do notBluetooth
KeysTwo buttons for eraser and right clickThree buttons: 1. Laser pointer, 2. Eraser, 3. Right click and CortanaTwo buttons: a push button on the front, an eraser on the back
Free key assignmentNoYesYes
Magnetic surfaceNoYes, in the back (only for charging at the dock)Yes, to be attached to the device
Pen tipInterchangeableInterchangeableInterchangeable
Pressure levels4096 (Surface Pro 5), 1024 (Surface Pro 4)4096 (Surface Pro 5), 1024 (Surface Pro 4)4.096
price36 euros72 euros110 euros


Adonit INK

The Adonit INK is available in black, silver and dark blue. It is very light and evenly round. The pen has a clip at the top so that it can be carried in a shirt pocket, for example. At about the same height as you hold the pen in your fingers, there is a black pushbutton that represents the eraser and the right-click. Above that there is a small slot with an LED that signals the battery level. At the rear end there is a microUSB port that can be used to connect a cable for charging. The pen tip is black and moves easily when you pull on it. It can also be unscrewed like a small screw to replace it.

Adonit INK Pro

The Adonit INK Pro is also available in black, silver and dark blue. Its design is completely round and its shiny surface makes it look very classy. It does not have a clip and the rear part is also constructed differently. This is where the magnet is located, which is used to attach the pen to the charging dock. The front part is adorned with a silver strip in which the three push buttons are located and which ends in the red laser pointer. The pushbuttons are for the laser pointer, the eraser, the right click and the operation of Cortana. There is also an LED slot between them that provides information about the battery level. The microphone is also located at the top. The pen tip is not loose, but can also be unscrewed and changed like a screw.

Get to the pens

Adonit INK

The normal version of the Adonit pen writes harder than I am used to from my Surface Pen. The pen sounds very loud on the display of my Surface Book. But this is mainly due to the material of the pen itself. Even when the tip is replaced, the noise does not change. Due to the hardness and the loud touch, there is no overall fluid writing experience. The written lines also appear thicker than on his brother.

Overall, the Adonit INK lies very comfortably in the hand. Its lightness is unusual at first - but this feeling quickly evaporates. I really like that the eraser is operated with a click of the front push button. Erasing also works very well, in my opinion even better than with the Surface Pen. Because with the original, you have to turn the entire pen over to erase something with the back. I also like that the Adonit INK doesn't need a battery and it doesn't need a Bluetooth connection. This saves time and is practical, although a pen on the USB cable looks very strange. Unfortunately, the pen doesn't have a magnetic strip, so you can't attach it to the side of the Surface Book, for example. I find that very pleasant with the original Surface Pen.

Adonit INK Pro

The Adonit INK Pro is almost a little better in the hand, because it is a tad thicker and a little heavier. In my opinion, it has a much softer tip than the normal version, even if both are completely the same. Since there is no unnatural noise when it is placed on the display, I like the writing experience better with the Pro version.

A nice feature is the built-in laser pointer on the front, which is well suited for presentations. The two buttons behind it can also be configured for switching through a PowerPoint presentation, so that the INK Pro is well suited as a lecture companion. Unfortunately, when writing, you come to the button of the laser pointer far too often because it is so far down. For example, it is harder to get to the button for the eraser.

The magnetic loading dock also has its advantages. It looks very classy, ​​charges the pen quickly and has something special about it. To do this, the dock must be plugged into the PC via a USB port and you can start. Unfortunately, the INK Pro does not have a magnetic strip either, so it cannot be clipped onto the Surface Book.

The Pro version also has a particularly nice function, namely voice input via microphone. Since the pens are specially designed for Surface devices, this feature can of course be used to control Cortana. A double click on the button above activates this function and it works amazingly well.