Surface Book ships with the new Surface Pen, which provides a number of improvements over preview Pens. Among them is the ability to swap out the Pen tip with your choice of tips courtesy of the new Surface Pen Tip Kit.
The Surface Pen Tip Kit includes four different tips, each of which is modeled after a certain pencil type in the European system for measuring pencil hardness. This system denotes a scale that runs from 9H (the hardest) to 9B (the softest), with HB sitting right in the middle and denoting the standard writing pencil. In this system, “H” stands for “hard” and “B” stands for “black.”
The tips in the Pen Tip Kit include two hard tips (2H and H), one medium tip (HB) and one soft (or black) tip (B). The tip that comes with Surface Pen, perhaps not surprisingly, is HB, the standard writing pencil.
More specifically, you get:
2H. Microsoft says that this tip provides “a very low friction experience,” which is another way of saying that it is modeled after a very hard pencil and is thus best for very thin lines. Physically, the tip has a very triangular head with a small, hard plastic end point.
H. This “low friction” Pen tip is considered “hard” but provides a bit more softness than the 2H version. Like the 2H tip, it is plastic, but with a slightly larger end.
HB. This “medium friction” tip is the tip that comes with Surface Pen, and it provides a soft, medium, rubber-like soft end point. It can create thin and light as well as dark and heavy strokes.
B. This “high friction” tip provides the softest Pen experience is best used for dark, thick strokes. The tip is medium-sized and features a soft, rubber-like end point.
To change the tip, you can use the built-in extractor tool—basically, a plastic tweezer of sorts—that is built into Surface Pen Tip Kit: Just grasp the tip that is currently in the Pen and pull it out. Then, replace the tip by hand with one of the other tips in the Kit, noting that the colored end of the tip goes inside the Pen.
I experimented a bit with the various tips to see how they differed. Honestly, the difference between each is fairly subtle.
The best news, however, is that the Surface Pen Tip Kit is very inexpensive, at just $10. You can purchase this Kit now from the Microsoft Store, or from Amazon.com.