Subpar stylus technology on the Dell Venue Pro 8

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Subpar stylus technology on the Dell Venue Pro 8

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Hi, I'm curious to how you guys respond to the criticism of the stylus/clearpad technology on the dell venue pro 8, which is raised in this thread starting on page 32 http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/dell/59202-venue-8-pro-owner-s-lounge-32.html. Are there any ways to fine tune the pen input in regards to hover distance etc? How much of the pen technology is software vs hardware dependent, will we get driver updates/software releases that enable better inking?

It would be great if we could get some information from a dell representative. As it is now, the clearpad stylus input seems to be among the worst active stylus options on the market, far behind wacom and also ntrig.

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  • I just received a call that my replacement stylus dispatch order has been placed on indefinite backorder. My guess is that Dell and Synaptics can't really come up with a fix realize that shipping out another defective stylus is just creating more problems. They certainly don't have the capability to redesign and mass produce a completely different working stylus in a few weeks. This could end up like HP's laughable ATMEL stylus that they could never get working and eventually just stopped selling. This is what happens when manufacturers try to cut costs and don't use proven (Wacom) technology in their products.

    I am not saying that anyone will sue Dell over this but they better be prepared to give a large amount of refunds to customers outside of their return window due to this stylus three--ring circus. I would recommend not purchasing any of the Dell Venue Pro tablets (8 or 11) if you plan using the active digitizer as this is not a good pre-cursor to having a working product in the near or distant future.

  • I feel good now that I returned my Venue Pro 8. I am in the information Technology business and when we push software out, we know there are minor defects that need to be fixed, but you never push a product out with critical defects. And this seems to be one of those instances when decision making powers at Dell would have known that they weren't ready for prime time, but still decided to push the product out. Its unfortunate that they decided to and still are selling that stylus for $30 to people when they know that there are serious issues with the stylus!

  • It's unfortunate that there are so many problems with the pen.  I'll keep my Venue Pro because I like it.  I haven't even gotten around to buying the pen yet and am still using a capacitive stylus.  I'll probably buy the pen eventually because I'd like a little more precision in my writing than I can get with a stylus.  I've seen some videos that show off the issues with the pen, and they really aren't that damning for what I do.  I can see how they might be annoying for people who are looking to keep things neat.

    I wonder how difficult it would be to make the tablet compatible with a wacom stylus.  Is the hardware really that different?  Is it not possible to create some drivers that will allow the tablet to recognize other pens?

  • Its odd how some folks are getting calls one way, I got a call last night letting me know my stylus has shipped and to expect it in 2 days.  I will probably get a call in 2 days telling me it didn't go out lol.  If I get it though I will compare model numbers and let everyone know if it works or not.  I am very skeptical.  Can anyone tell me is the pen on the Surface Wacom?  If so I can say that is definitely what they should have used as that thing is flawless and I have no issues with it on my Surface Pro. dell quit trying to be google or apple tablets, we are pc professionals not watered down tablet users. Like alot on here I would have shelled out $50 bucks for a better stylus experience which is almost needed on a PC tablet of this size

  • Yes, the surface uses a Wacom and so does the Thinkpad Tablet 2. Both those are such a pleasure to use. I read that Lenovo is coming out with an 8 inch Thinkpad tablet. This will be different from the Miix 8. I hope that uses a Wacom. If that sells for $450 -$500 with the stylus, I will pre-order it. And if you report back that your new stylus works like a charm on the Dell, then I will go and get myself a Venue Pro :)

  • You can use a stylus other than Dell's?  I thought not.

    What brand/model capacitive stylus are you using?

  • A quick lesson for those of you not familiar with tablets using "active digitizers". An active digitizer is an extra layer built into a tablet display that allows for the use of a proprietary pen or stylus technology based on the type of "active display". The main two active digitizers are Wacom and N-Trig. They both require their own proprietary stylus or pens for them to work. Most Wacom pens will work with any tablet using a Wacom digitizer but not all. N-Trig digitizers are not as welcoming with other N-Trig stylus or pens. Most, if not all modern tablets are "capacitive" displays. This means you can touch and interact with your fingertip like you would a pen. About 95% of all tablets only have a capacitive layer to their display. This category includes all iPads, Android and Windows tablets like the Surface. These tablets will work with your fingertip or any "capacitive stylus" (they have a big, black soft nib) that simulates a fingertip. These "capacitive stylus" are not even close to as accurate and detailed as an "active digitizer" even though there are several apps for iPads that can make them slightly passable. The Android Samsung Note series phones and tablets utilize their own S-Pen technology which is just a version of Wacom digitizer. You can use a cheap "capacitive" stylus with any capacitive tablet even those that include an "active digitizer like Wacom or N-Trig technology but the results are very poor when  it comes to writing or inking.

    Dell and HP have tried to utilize new active technologies from ATMEL (HP) and Synaptics (Dell). Unfortunately these technologies are not proven and even though Synaptics has had years of experience with touchpads they are just starting out in the active digitizer industry. ATMEL technology has failed miserably to the point that HP does not even sell the ATMEL stylus anymore and it looks like the Dell and Synaptics technology might be meeting the same fate.

    The bottom line is that you can use any capacitive stylus with any tablet that has a capacitive display but it will only simulate a fingertip and not give you the detailed, pen-like control that an "active digitizer" pen or stylus will give you. In the case of this Dell you can only use the Dell Synaptics stylus if you want the added benefit of the "active digitizer" but you can also use any capacitive stylus as well, but you won't get the benefits of the "active digitizer" layer on the Venue Pro. The same goes for the Surface Pro Wacom tablets, Sony N-Trig tablets, Thinkpad Wacom tablets or any other Tablet PC's on the market.

    Hope this clears up the stylus conundrum for those that aren't familiar with Tablet PC technology. 

  • Hahaha...someone has a used stylus in-box on ebay and it's bid up to $46.50 as of this posting. I'm still laughing!

  • Seems to me that its a dell stylus problem. I viewed the demo clips from synaptics themselves with their own pens and they seem to not be having the same problems.

  • Would be great if the synaptics pen was available to buy.

  • Doesn't appear that anyone has linked to it yet in this thread, so I will do so now.

    DIY fix for hardware problems in the stylus.

    http://forum.tabletpcreview.com/dell/59959-dell-venue-8-pro-active-stylus-fix-me-least.html

    Presumably something equivalent is what we can expect from the promised revision.

    As an aside, I just ordered a Venue 11 Pro a few days ago and had the stylus in my online cart, but... somehow it got dropped from my order when I went to checkout. No way for me to know whether it was deliberate, or just a side-effect of my having several tabs for the site in my browser. (Dell's online cart has repeatedly shown itself to be finicky about the latter)

    Regardless, based on the above link, I'm cautiously optimistic and still plan to go back and order one... after I have heard some positive follow-up. OTOH, if this cannot be resolved, I'm going to return everything and instead go with a Tap 11, which seems to be mostly free of all the negative reports. (it narrowly lost out, based on several other criteria) Being in the business myself, I can sympathize with unexpected pains on a newly introduced product, especially right at the end of the year. But as with most everyone, my patience is limited.

    I hope our friendly Dell liaison continues to provide substantive updates on the situation. A wiki page would be nice!

  • Well that's the issue for sure.  Just tore mine apart and tightened it up a bit a reaped it better.  Not having the right tools tape or expertise my fix is lacking but it dramatically made a difference.  So it really is quality of the stylus, hope they will get us our redo styluses with a little more quality control.

  • My replacement stylus just arrived (10 minutes ago) and I think it is improved.

    First off, as far as I can recall, the packaging is identical to the previous version. And the pen looks the same as well. I was secretly hoping they would include an off-switch on this one but that was foolish in retrospect.

    When using it in OneNote, i have zero (0) hover clicking. it was calibrated to only ink when touching the screen. Clicks and inking were both highly accurate. 

    I am curious if the AAAA battery will last more than 24 hours. If that problem is overcome, then I will consider the issue resolved. Also, I wonder if you guys have any luck with your stylus deliveries. I'll be watching the comments. Also, i'll post a report as to the battery life. 

  • Did you get your replacement stylus yet?

  • tchen811

    Did you get your replacement stylus yet?

    Yes. I have it on my desk now.