S-Pen 2.8ms latency on Windows

Figured this deserved its own topic, as it’s potentially huge news for artists. RADER TECH (a surprisingly in-depth channel focused on Galaxy devices) did a comparison of the new Tab S8 Ultra with advertised 2.8ms pen latency, to the old Book 360 Pro, and to the new Book2 360 Pro.

It seems Samsung silently brought over the reduced latency onto Windows! The high-speed camera footage starts @10:44, tested in the Samsung Notes app:

(Before that @6:33, he also does an interesting comparison of the UI differences of the Samsung Notes app in both OSes. Now this is the kind of tablet coverage I like to see! :+1:)

On the Tab S8 Ultra, @desertlap confirmed that apps needed to update their pen API calls to benefit from the latency reduction. But on the Windows side, perhaps this is handled by the pen driver? If so, could anybody could test ClipStudio Paint on the new Book2?

(And if it’s purely driver-based, would it be possible to port this over to other Wacom EMR devices?! Think of the possibilities for all our EMR tablets… :exploding_head:)

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I am curious and would love to try it out. However I will confess that I’m not certain I’ll be able to tell the difference. I had trouble discerning any feelable difference between the 1st gen galaxy book S-Pens and Wacoms Pro Pen 2. This super low latency they are able to achieve now I feel will be almost on me, especially with EMR where the nib itself can have such an impact on the pen feeling.

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Nice find @Marty
The lower latency is both hardware and software based. Fo example on the Tab S7 even using the very latest APIs in the app doesn’t bring the lower latency, even if you use the the S8 pen on the Tab S7.

I can’t see any reason why windows would be different.

@darkmagistric as to if you can tell the difference with the lower latency, even someone like me who is a much less demanding pen user (I struggle to drawstick figures :slight_smile: ) can notice that is just feels smoother and more natural.

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The thing that I’m wondering if it’s a firmware upgrade to the existing digitizer controller, or if Samsung actually went out of its way to implement a new digitizer on the Book2 without telling anyone.

The screen is the exact same size and refresh rate to previous Book1, so upgrading the digitizer would be a large R&D investment without much benefit (especially since they didn’t even market it). If possible, a simple flash of new firmware onto the existing digitizer controller would be far more cost-effective.

The same logic would apply to the Tab S7+ → S8+: nearly identical build, so a drop-in firmware upgrade would be the easiest solution. The other option is Samsung actually swapped in a whole new panel and digitizer combo for the 2022 Galaxy Tab/Book lineup (which I would love them for! :grinning:).

On your test units, are able to see if the panel / digitizer hardware has changed?

@Marty I don’t know for a fact but I suspect that it’s genuinely new hardware, again based on a S8 to S7 comparison, the controller chips appear to be different.

As to changing it, they likely are amortizing the cost over literally thousands of units, and it’s likely more cost effective to just rev it going forward generally in the longer term

Is there a tool you can use for obtaining hardware identifiers on Android (similar to Windows Device Manager)? I can run it on a Tab S7+ to get the panel/digitizer ID, and then compare it to your Tab S8+.

Side note, did you notice any OLED panel difference gen-on-gen?

@Marty The tool we have used in the past to determine things like that as well as stuff like RAM supplier on Android is an app called Device Info HW

Unfortunately there is a recent trend that we’ve seen so far in the new Pixel 6 and Samsung S22 devices where some of the info that that App relates is now obscured unless you root the device. For obvious reasons we can’t do that to a customer device and I’m reluctant to do it even on our own devices as for example the newest Samsungs also disable certain features such as raw support for the camera or loss of C band support in 5G.

So that all being said, a few things.

  1. The only Tab S8 device we have actually run through our certification tests is the Ultra.

  2. At this point since they seem to be for all intents and purposes identical to their S7 predecessors except for the new 8gen 1 chipsets and the lower pen latency. We have no current plans to acquire or certify either the S8 or S8 Plus unless a customer specifically requests it.

  3. Samsung has told multiple sites such as Android Authority and Android Central that the display panels are the same between the S7/S8 and S7+/S8+. And I see no problems with that as both are excellent examples of their respective types.

  4. Of course the both the S8 and S8+ along with the new Ultra support the new lower latency pens, and it’s a reasonable assumption that all three are just size variants of the same touch/pen digitizer.

Perhaps someone over at XDA has or will root their S8 or S8+ and might be able to provide your answer.

But honestly, as much as I think you hope otherwise, I’m reasonably certain that it’s both new software and hardware that is needed to support the lower latency pen input. And anecdotal evidence of that is that while the s8 and s7 pens are both functional with either device, the S8 pen on the S7 operates for all intents and purposes like the S7 pen and vice versa on the S8.

If we do at some point acquire and formally test a S8/S8+ AND we find a new tool that will reveal the digitizer board without resorting to root, I’ll post here.

As a side note, manufacturers obscuring certain device info unless you resort to root seems to be a trend as as well as the S22 and Pixels I mentioned, the newest Sony Experia’s do the same.

I don’t know why but I suspect at least part of that came from a discovery that the S21 units were multi sourcing RAM and storage modules and of course there is performance variation with different models. And we’ve hear anecdotally of some users buying and returning multiple devices until they got the RAM/Storage combo they wanted.

Something that Apple is also very familiar with :frowning:

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Something some other people on the old forum and I also notice: there is a slight delay on the first stroke when inking on Android app which isn’t present on Windows. This delay doesn’t happen when use Super Display to draw on Windows with Android tablet : Use Clip Studio on Android cause delay, but use Super Display to run Clip Studio doesn’t.

There might be some OS specific differences of Pen speed, so it is difficult to compare.