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Initial impressions of the Dell Venue Pro 8 Active Stylus

I’ve had my DVP8 for a short while but the Dell Active Stylus was on backorder so I just received it. The allure of the DVP8 for me is the pen. I want to use this as a secondary device – to scribble notes, take to meetings as a paper replacement, and mark up documents. After reading the reviews of the stylus my expectations were really low. I’ve only spent about two hours with it but I’m surprised. It is actually really useful and works well. Here’s the deal – some apps treat input slightly differently and  that hurts it. But using it in Word for notes works as expected (but you need to toggle  inking on and off). I tried an app called Scrble and it’s effectively just an endless piece of lined paper and note taking is spotless.

The stylus is active though. If it hovers above the screen you can see the point it is hovering over on the screen. In fact tapping the button on the stylus activates it even at that height. The trick is that the stylus works well when used naturally. With the pen, palm blocker is enabled. The screen senses the stylus and therefore blocks your hand. If you write naturally it works. If you try to float your hand above the screen the stylus seems to be less accurate. Some people have complained about the pen leaving trail marks. I hear them. This only appears for me in a few apps and I can prevent that by holding the pen straight. A little weird but it worked. But back to what’s important – with a little testing, the right apps work and it works well. I can write at a size similar to what I would use on paper. If you’ve ever used a capacitive pen you’d know they suck. This was actually great.

And no, you can’t use the active stylus on other screens. Neither my Surface or 1020 recognized it.

I’ll keep playing and report back but feel free to ask questions.

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