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What is the Difference Between Lenovo's Pens?


From L to R: ThinkPad Pen Pro 3, ThinkPad Pen Pro 2, ThinkPad Tablet 10 Pen, Lenovo Digitizer Pen, ThinkPad Pen Pro/ Active Pen


Lenovo offers a variety of active and passive pens for many models of notebooks, convertibles, and tablets. These pens offer a variety of experiences, from pens that recharge to pens with mouse click input to passive digitizer pens that offer a premium stylus experience.


Below is a primer on available Lenovo pens and the features they offer:


Digitizer Pen

A passive pen

Usually housed within device cover


ThinkPad Tablet Pen

A passive pen

Housed within device cover

Larger in size than the Digitizer Pen


ThinkPad Helix Pen

A passive pen

Housed within device cover

A variation of the Lenovo Digitizer Pen


ThinkPad Pen Pro  (also known as Active Pen)

An active pen

Requires one AAAA battery

The largest size pen available

Always housed externally of the system

Can be stored with an external holder accessory that attaches to the USB port

Mouse-click input


ThinkPad Pen Pro 2

An active capacitive pen


Housed within device cover

Mouse-click input


ThinkPad Pen Pro 3

An active capacitive pen


Housed within device cover

Mouse-click input


ThinkPad Pen Pro/ Active Pen Holder

A one-piece black plastic holder that connects to a laptop via spare USB 2.0 port



ThinkPad Pen Pro/ Active Pen With USB Holder

Pen Basics 101:


  • A Lenovo pen is a tool designed to provide precise and easy input into an electronic device like a computer, tablet, or phone via the display
  • If the system does not come with a pen at the time of purchase (indicating the system includes the all-important digitizer), a pen will not work afterwards because the digitizer component is missing from the system’s display
  • Lenovo pen models provide a superior writing or drawing experience over a plastic one-piece stylus because Lenovo’s pens have a nib that recedes into the pen housing and connects to a coil to mimic the ink pen writing experience
  • A passive pen, also known as a stylus or digitizer pen, does not contain a battery or electrical components, but it still requires that it be cared for so it doesn't come apart or damage screens
  • When passive pens are pushed against a digitized display, the tip becomes conductive as the power is provided from the screen
  • With active pens, the power is provided from a battery or rechargeable battery within the pen
  • Active pens contains electronic components that together work with a digitizer
  • Rechargeable pens with bent pins, either on the pen itself or inside the housing of the laptop, may have difficulty charging as expected. If the bent pins are on the pen, it may need to be replaced while if the bent pins are within the laptop, the laptop may need to be serviced
  • With the introduction of Skylake-based systems comes the updated pen designs of ThinkPad Pen Pro 2 and 3
  • ThinkPad Pen Pro 2 and 3 are powered by supercapacitors within the pen that charge in minutes but hold a charge for days
  • The exterior of pens can be cleaned by rubbing gently with a dry cloth, or if necessary, spot-cleaned with a cotton swab and a drop or two of 50% isopropyl alcohol
  • In active pens with disposable batteries, remove the battery if the pen is not being used weekly
  • Store the pen either inside the device or in a cool, dry place out of the sun


More Information On Pens


  • To confirm a specific model is configured for use with a pen, and which pen, visit Lenovo's Product Specifications Reference (PSREF) website or visit this blog article to learn how to use the PSREF website
  • Pen physical specifications and product numbers can be found on Lenovo’s Support website
  • This blog article lists ways to order a Lenovo pen
  • A list of Lenovo systems that support pens can be found in this blog article
  • The difference between the types of pen Lenovo sells can be found in this blog article
  • Suggestions on how not to use an active or passive Lenovo pen are summarized in this blog article
  • Lenovo.com is a great resource for finding pen product specifications, ordering pen replacements, and other pen-related information

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