HP Spectre x360 – What Digitisers (“Active” Stylus / Pen) work with UK models?

Update:

Apologies, I updated the HP forum and not my own post! I bought a Dell Active Stylus (750-AAHC) for £39.71, direct from Dell. Walked into John Lewis and gave it a try on their display model. It worked – very well…

 

I’ve been waiting and waiting on a better alternative ever since I first set eyes on a Lenovo Yoga Pro and I think the HP Spectre x360 is the answer, if there’s a UK version that supports a digitising stylus (pen).

Why don’t I buy the Yoga? Because I’ve been burned by possibly the worst customer service I have ever received from any company –twice! I swore I won’t be back, and even if I have to blast my foot off with a Blunderbuss, I won’t ever buy another Lenovo product.

The Dell Inspiron 13 7000 Series 2-in-1 Laptop uses a passive stylus, which is unfortunate because it has a built in slot for the pen.

I know HP are far from perfect (especially their painfully slow websites), but they honoured their warranty 2 weeks after expiry, unlike Lenovo who charged us £300 to look at a faulty device that was only 7 hours outside warranty! In my opinion, since IBM sold out to Lenovo, HP now manufacture the best (business-class) devices and that is why I am looking into buying the HP Spectre x360.

For me, I have 5 main requirements:

  1. Digitising “Active” Stylus (Pressure sensitive pen),
  2. 360o hinge, screen can fold right back on itself,
  3. Light and small as possible,
  4. Windows OS compatible,
  5. High spec – i7, 8GB RAM, SSD,

 

Now, the reason for the post. It is no accident I put the pen as No. 1 requirement. I do a lot of design sketches, so a digitising pen is crucial. (See here regarding the differences between digitising (Active) and capactive (Passive) pens). The problem I have is that there is a lot of discrepancy over the support of digitiser pens. In the US, based on user reports and reviews, it appears that some models do and others don’t. HP websites are no help and even HP sales are clueless; according to this post – advising customers that products won’t work, when they do. I can’t be bothered to go down the path of getting a US model shipped over to the UK and swapping out the keyboard etc.

On HP.com, I have found no fewer than 7 model variants and all but one, list the digitising pen as an optional extra, whereas on HP.co.uk, not one of the models list a pen.

A little table I put together:

Site Model# Product# CPU Resolution Screen Type Digitizer Pen Accessory listed
US 13t Touch K1M35AV_1 i5-5200U 1920×1080 / 2560×1440 FHD / QHD Active Styli*
US 13t Laptop M6W88AV_1 i5-5200U 1920×1080 FHD None
US 13-4001dx L0Q55UA#ABA i5-5200U 1920×1080 FHD Adonit Jot Pro + Active Styli
US 13-4002dx L0Q56UA#ABA i5-5200U 1920×1080 FHD Adonit Jot Pro + Active Styli
MS US 13-4003dx i7-5500U
US 13-4100dx N5R16UA#ABA i5-5200U 1920×1080 FHD Active Styli
US 13-4101dx N5R93UA#ABA i7-5500U 1920×1080 FHD Active Styli
US 13-4102dx N5R94UA#ABA i7-5500U 2560 x 1440 QHD Active Styli
UK 13-4000na L0B40EA#ABU  i5-5200U 1920×1080 FHD None
UK 13-4007na L0B60EA#ABU  i7-5500U 2560 x 1440 QHD None
UK 13-4009na L6A11EA#ABU  i5-5200U 1920×1080 FHD None
UK Pro x360 G1 H9W41EA#ABU i5-5200U 1920×1080 FHD None
UK Pro x360 G1 H9W43EA#ABU i7-5600U 2560 x 1440 QHD None

I understand the hardware to support the digitiser is built into the screen. As per a poster in the above forum link, I too, thought it might depend on the screen being QHD or FHD, however, making the assumption that HP have the optional extra’s list correct, this appears not to be the case. Note the UK Pro G1 models. They’re listed under business, but apart from a higher price & lesser spec, they are identical.

If you pull up the Maintenance & Service guide for both x360 and x360 Pro, you’ll see two MPNs for the screen:

Description MPN
13.3-in, QHD, WLED, BrightView (2560×1440), UWVA, 2.55-mm display assembly 801496-001
13.3-in, FHD, WLED, BrightView (1920×1080), UWVA, 2.55-mm display assembly 801495-001

The document is the same if accessed via HP.com or HP.co.uk, therefore, based on the optional extra’s list on HP.com, one can make the assumption that both screens and therefore all model variants of the x360 “support” digitizer pens.

When I say “support”, I am assuming the necessary hardware is present in the device, however, there may be other issues like driver support – but that’s much easier to overcome.

As a cross-check (cabin doors closed), using partsurfer, one can see the “list of HP Products that Part Number x us used with”. Again, from my experience, not a definitive list.

When searching for pens on HP.com and HP.co.uk, totally different products results are returned.

Site Description MPN
UK HP Slate Digital Pen QQ677AA
UK HP Duet Pen K3P96AA
UK HP Executive Tablet Pen G2 F3G73AA
UK HP Executive Tablet Pen H4E45AA
US HP Slate 7 Extreme Stylus F5B07AA
US HP Active Pen J4R51AA#ABL
US Adonit Jot Mini VS3480
US Adonit Jot Mini VS3483
US Adonit Jot Pro VS3487
US Adonit Jot Pro VS3488
US Adonit Jot Flip VS3484
US HP Pro Tablet 408 Active Pen K8P73AA
US *Dell 750-AAGN 750-AAGN CUS,STY,PLSTC,ACTIVE,DAO,A03

* Discussed in the HP forum post mentioned above.

One idea I had, was to visit (dare I say it) PC World, where they sell one of the i5 models. I could buy a digitiser pen, taking it with me and giving it a go, noting the MPN – that they don’t advertise!

Any owners out there, perhaps you’d be kind enough to reply with your x360 MPN and which pen you chose. I can then build a definitive list.

On the off chance someone from HP read this, perhaps you can update your websites and documentation and explain why there is such a discrepancy and what it is that we need to have a working digitiser pen on an x360.

A little side note. Some of these pens contain a magnet to “attach” the pen to the device. The x360’s case is made from aluminium; a non-ferrous metal, one that does not contain iron. Iron is required for a magnet to “stick”. I won’t even go in to the dangers of a magnet near a computer! I imagine that is why the Yoga has a nice slot for the pen and the Surface has an elastic strap afterthought.

16 thoughts on “HP Spectre x360 – What Digitisers (“Active” Stylus / Pen) work with UK models?

  1. Sasha

    I got the skylake i5 13-4108na 10 days ago, and was keen to know whether I should spend £50 ish on an active pen/stylus – cannot find confirmation on whether it will work or not. I tried the active stylus from an IBM Lenovo – no go. However there is an HID Pen device listed in Device Manager so I am still hopeful… but not enough to drop 50 notes on a gamble… In the next few days I hope to try out the stylus from a Dell Venue 8 pro; will post my results.

    1. woter Post author

      Apologies, I updated the HP forum and not my own post! I bought a Dell Active Stylus (750-AAHC) for £39.71, direct from Dell. Walked into John Lewis and gave it a try on their display model. It worked – very well…

  2. Ben Stirrup

    Hi! Any news as if we can get a spectre x360 with a digitizer in the UK? Thank you.

    1. woter Post author

      Hi, Apologies, I updated the HP forum and not my own post! I bought a Dell Active Stylus (750-AAHC) for £39.71, direct from Dell. Walked into John Lewis and gave it a try on their display model. It worked – very well…

  3. Sasha

    I bought the Dell 750 AAHC as well and it does the job, understandably not as well as the Surface though. Palm rejection in particulars kicks in only when the pen is really (too) close to the screen. But it’s good fun and a bonus on what is a fantastic laptop.

    1. woter Post author

      Thanks for your feedback. I am yet to take delivery, but my experience in the shop was positive. I guess you’d say that about the Surface ;-). If the MS Surface Book was a) comparably priced, b) had a lid that hinged through 180 degrees, the same way as the X360 and c) was actually available in the UK, I might be buying it instead of the HP.

  4. TC

    Are there any other Pens that are suitable. I’m about to purchase an x360 and would like the best pen for taking notes at work.

    1. woter Post author

      Hi,
      Personally, I don’t know as it’s a bit of gamble to go searching. I theory any digitising pen should work. How well, I don’t know. I guess you could do a similar thing to me, taking your x360 into John Lewis (or similar) and use the pens from one of the Lenovo’s and Surface’s. See how you get on.

      A colleague has bought some sort of shiny white thing and a pen (or is it a Pencil). I tried my Dell pen on it and surprise surprise, it didn’t work, so I guess it won’t work the other way around either.

  5. Garrick

    Just bought a new Spectre x360. 13-4195dx in the US, which is the i7/512gb/ash silver variant. I was worried after reading this, but my machine does have the Synaptics digitizer in it. I tried it first with the HP Active Pen (J4R5…) since that was what was available at Best Buy but now that I know it works I’m going to take that back and grab the Dell pen instead.

  6. manigordo

    I never understood why HP/Compaq, in general and since forever, had to made so many submodel variants of the same line. All have the same main model numbering, yet change in a couple minor factors. The point is, before you even realize it, the first ones are almost completely different from the new ones. Which obv introduces subtle incompatibilities amongst them. Only sharing a common name and similar enclosures. Which is even more annoying and confusing in the end to the final user, specially when something as simple as ordering a “should be the same” product replacement part, sadly fails completely..:(

  7. Mike Stallybrass

    Just bought a spectre x360 15-an007na 4k convertible laptop, with an HP pro 408 Active Pen. It took the UK sales adviser two hours to confirm that the two were compatible. No active pens listed in the accessories list for the laptop (but then neither was any USB DVD Drive listed).

    However, on receiving my order, I found that the two work together very well. But I am sure that HP are losing sales because they do not advertise the pen capability of many of their laptops, nor does the list of supported models shown against their active pens on their website include all the models with pen support!

    If you can actually try out any laptop, go to the System About window. If against Pen and Touch, it just says Touch support, then no active pen support is available. If it says Pen and Touch support then an active pen will work.

  8. Martin Rist

    Okay guys. Information from HP Technicians: HP Spectre X360 with Skylake CPUs (6th Gen Intel) support Synaptics pen. But this pen J4R51AA does not support Windows Anniversary Update and Windows Ink. You have to take this pen instead: K8P73AA (which is the better Synaptics pen anyways)

    The new HP Spectre X360 with Kabylake CPUs (7th Gen) don´t support any pen yet.

  9. Mike Stallybrass

    HP pro408 active pen, Spectre X360 15-an007na plus Windows Anniversary Update and Windows Ink all seem to work great together

  10. TazzyUK

    Why couldn’t these companies just use simple letter abbreviations, like T for touch, P for Pen, in their model numbers/names.
    All this research just to find out whether your ‘about to buy’ 2 in 1 supports active stylus is just crazy

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