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N-Trig DuoSense Pen 2 Beats iPad Note Taking Experience



The new N-Trig DuoSense Pen 2 is an active stylus that delivers an on-screen note taking experience close to using a pen and paper and better than the typical iPad note taking experience.

N-Trig sent over a sample of the DuoSense Pen 2 and an HTC Flyer, which we used to test the pen over the last few weeks. The Pen includes multiple tips, which offer a ballpoint or a rollerball like feel while taking notes on a screen.

Even when paired with a nearly two-year-old HTC flyer, the N-Trig DuoSense Pen 2 makes it easier to take notes than on the iPad. This is thanks to palm rejection technology that prevents a user’s palm from activating the screen. This means it is possible to set your hand down on the screen like you would on a piece of paper, something that’s not possible or not reliable on the iPad.

The N-Trig DuoSense Pen 2 is a great note taking companion.

The N-Trig DuoSense Pen 2 is a great note taking companion.

In addition to the HTC Flyer, the DuoSense Pen 2 is also compatible with many new devices. Specifically the N-Trig DuoSense Pen 2 works with two popular Ultrabook Convertibles, the ASUS TAICHI and the Sony VAIO Duo 11. N-Trig teases support for many more systems which will launch in April.

The new DuoSense Pen 2 family of pens includes smaller models which can fit in a tablet or smartphone, much like the Galaxy Note 2 offers a stylus garage. The DuoSense Pen 2 is not compatible with the Galaxy Note 2.

The system supports touch and pen input, and some apps like Papyrus allow users to write with a pen and erase with a finger.

Use the DuoSense Pen 2 to draw and solve equations.

Use the DuoSense Pen 2 to draw and solve equations.

The DuoSense Pen 2 offers a high degree of pressure sensitivity, which really shine in apps like SketchBook Pro and Papyrus. While I am not enough of an artist to make great looking drawings in SketchBook Pro, I do enjoy the varying pressure levels in Papyrus.

Included on our demo unit are apps that can detect and solve equations, detect and correct squares and much more.

This video uses the older pen, but offers an idea of how helpful this type of solution can be for students and workers.

In the short time I’ve used the DuoSense Pen 2 I’ve taken more digital notes. After giving up on taking notes on the iPad late last year I had been using paper and importin the notes to Evernote. With the DuoSense Pen 2 I am able to take notes digitally almost as fast as on paper, and without thinking where my palm is. I am looking forward to seeing this type of technology on more devices in the coming months.

The DuoSense Pen 2 supports pressure sensitivity, as shown in this photo.

The DuoSense Pen 2 supports pressure sensitivity, as shown in this photo.

The N-Trig DuoSense Pen 2 is available in three sizes, the largest of which is in volume production now. We expect it will be available soon. The smaller 8mm and 5.5mm diameter versions are coming later this year.



  1. student

    03/08/2013 at 9:13 pm

    N-Trig technology sucks !
    try to write near a florescent light and see what happens, also near power adapters etc, its very sensitive to electric interference.
    in addition it doesn’t work near the edges of the screen, many times it loose the pen trail and start drawing its own lines ….

    Wacom technology is much more mature and stable for digital pens

    • jorjxmckie

      03/14/2013 at 6:19 pm

      I find little difference in the actual digital inking experience from N-Trig to Wacom (I don’t have a Cintiq to compare however). On programs that *do* support N-Trig (ArtRage & SBP6) I get fabulous control with my N-Trig… noticeably better than what I get with the Wacom on my Samsung Note 10.1. The problem with N-Trig… I’d say it’s a critical, on-life-support level problem is that they have be completely out to lunch on getting their drivers to work with industry standard gfx programs like Photoshop, Painter, SAI, Illustrator and many more. It’s almost amusing how inept N-Trig has been in this regard. I would laugh my ass off if not for the fact that I have two devices with their stupid pens. Never again!

  2. Bigmouth

    03/10/2013 at 11:55 pm

    Of course a pen and active digitizer are going to beat a passive digitizer and sausage stylus. The more meaningful comparison would be with the G-Note’s WACOM technology, which is vastly superior imo.

  3. jorjxmckie

    03/14/2013 at 6:12 pm

    I can’t figure out if Duo Sense is any different from the N-Trig pen I have already on my Sony Duo 11. I get so-so palm rejection… the tip has to get very close to the screen before you can rest your palm. Not a very good solution… better to have apps that allow you to disable touch, at least in the drawing area. So will a new Duo Sense pen fix this? I suppose new drivers too? None of the apps on my Win8 machine have that ‘disable touch’ option, nor do I have pressure compatibility with *any* of the major graphics arts apps (ArtRage & SBP6 are nice but no comparison to Photoshop) because of N-Trigs inability to play nice with the Wintab API. I would rather see them fix their known issues before messing around with Duo Sense, whatever the hell that is.

  4. CR

    06/04/2013 at 5:37 pm

    N-trig is garbage. No support. One OS upgrade, and it will never work correctly again, no working driver upgrade and zero response from support. Avoid N-trig, look for Wacom.

    • Ivor Thomas (@Jorj_X_McKie)

      06/04/2013 at 5:51 pm

      I can’t argue with any of that. The hardware works, but the software is woefully under developed, and the support non-existent.

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