The recent Windows 10 devices event in New York few weeks ago was a truly massive moment for Microsoft. While a lot of attention were given to the event’s main stars such as Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, and Lumia 950 XL, there were still couple of additional new products that we managed to briefly see at the event.
One such product is the new Surface Pen which is included as a standard accessory for Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 right in the box. It offers several improvements over its predecessors including 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity which is quite huge given that the previous Surface Pen only has 256 levels. Furthermore, it also backward compatible with Surface Pro 3 and Surface 3 while the old one doesn’t support Surface Book or Surface Pro 4.
Physically, the new Surface Pen is slightly bigger and heavier than the previous iteration although not by much. It also uses just a single AAAA battery as compared to its predecessor that uses a combination of one AAAA and two 319 coin cell batteries. It is also built with magnets that can be used to mount the pen on Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.
Another big difference that separated the new Surface Pen and its predecessors is that you can actually switch its tip using the Pen Tip Kit. The kit not only houses four types of tips that mimic the tip of pen and pencil but also acts as a tip remover tool.
At the same time, the top button on the new Surface Pen’s functions as an eraser and I found that that it is just as responsive at the pen’s tip. Together with improved latency, the pen felt really natural to use just like a real pen or pencil.
Moving on, Microsoft has also launched the second generation Microsoft Band fitness tracker at the New York event. In general, the improvements over its predecessor mainly comes in the form of physical design as the new Microsoft Band 2 now has a better thanks to its curvy AMOLED display.
Most of the sensors were identical to its predecessor which include optical heart rate monitor, accelerometer, gyrometer, GPS, UV, galvanic skin response, skin temperature, capacitive, ambient light, and microphone. The only new sensor in Band 2 is barometer which allows it to record elevation changes.
Hence, it is not surprising that the features on the second generation Band are rather identical to the original device such as continues activity tracking, sleep tracking, call/email/calendar/text notification, Cortana integration, and guided workout. Built to support Windows Phone, Android, and iPhone just like the original Band, the Band 2 also has specific section for running, biking, golf, and general workout.
The second generation Microsoft Band is certainly comfortable to wear as I feel that it wraps my wrist rather nicely. The device’s latch might look rather odd as compared to normal watches but it does the job well nonetheless. At this moment, there’s no release and pricing information for Malaysia yet. Frankly speaking, we don’t expect Microsoft to release it in our shores anytime soon.
Last but not least, Microsoft HoloLens also made an appearance at the New York event as well. Even though it was used to show off a “mixed reality” first-person shooter called Project X-Ray on stage that was developed in-house by the company, I didn’t actually get the opportunity to experience HoloLens myself and I still didn’t get to test it when we visited Microsoft headquarters in Redmond later in the week (more on that very soon).
With that, it is rather unfortunate that this is the closest that we’ve got to be with the new Windows 10-powered “holographic computing” device for the time being and even then, we were not allowed to held it in our hands. Nevertheless, the device is still a sight to behold, given the fact this is actually how HoloLens really looked like based on this official video where developers at Build were managed to try out the actual device and learn how to develop Windows Universal Apps for it.
From the numerous stage demos that we’ve seen during its unveiling back in January as well as from Build and E3, the HoloLens seems rather impressive and has promising prospect for various types of field from entertainment consumption to scientific research. However, seeing is believing and we have to experience the device first in order to know its true worth.