Apple Pencil Review

Apple PencilWith release of iPad Pro in late 2015, Apple made its own stylus – Apple Pencil. It is the first made by Apple stylus for iOS devices. Although former Apple CEO Steve Jobs said “who wants a stylus?” while introducing first iPhone, Apple Pencil is here. For some situations, stylus is better than finger, for example for drawing. Apple Pencil was designed specially for iPad Pro, including both 12.9-inch and 9.7-inch models, so it won’t work on older iPads, because they lack special digitizer layer.

Let’s look what is in package. You will get:

  • Apple Pencil
  • Lightning adapter
  • extra tip

This is how it looks:

Apple Pencil Package

Click here for full-sized screenshot

Pairing with iPad Pro is easy, just connect Pencil to Lightning connector, complete pairing request and you are done. Sometimes may happen, that Apple Pencil won’t response. Solution is simple – just connect Pencil to iPad again. I don’t know why it does it, but it’s pretty rare. Interesting is “connecting” Pencil to Smart Connector. It’s not real connection, but Smart Connector is magnetic so it can hold Pencil. Magnets are not very strong, so when you lift your iPad Pro from desk, Pencil will drop. Pencil is unbalanced in weight, so it won’t roll down from desk when you put it on. With Smart Connector’s magnets it’s a good combo to prevent accidentaly drop from desk.

When using stylus on a tablet, annoying lags may occur. But not with Apple Pencil. Lightning-fast responsiveness of Apple Pencil and iPad’s Pro subsystem scans it’s signal at frequency 240 times per second, giving it twice the data points it normally collects with finger.

Pencil got accurate pressure sensors capable of measuring a range of forces. Wanna to draw thicker lines? Just press harder. Or press more lightly to draw thinner lines.

Tip of Pencil includes two tilt sensors to calculate the exact orientation and angle of your hands. iPad’s Pro Multi-Touch display can detect these sensors, so you can create shadings effects by tilting. How it works, you can look at this screenshot:

1Blocker Screenshot

Click here for full-sized screenshot

iPad Pro features palm rejection technology, so you can have hand on iPad’s Pro screen while using Pencil, so you don’t have to get your hands out of screen.

Pencil can be recharged via computer’s USB port using cable with Lightning adapter (Pencil’s Lightning connector needs to be inserted into side with mark “o”) or directly via iPad’s Lightning port. I don’t know, if it can be recharged by all iPads with Lightning port or only iPads Pro (I don’t have an older iPad, if you know answer, please contact us). 15 seconds of recharging via iPad’s Lightning port = 30 minutes of use, so don’t worry if you are outdoor with iPad Pro and Pencil, you can recharge it fast. Just plug Pencil directly into iPad Pro, no cable needed. It’s possible to recharge Pencil even if iPad is in case, thanks to longer Lightning connector on Apple Pencil. Built-in battery in Pencil should be able to power it for 12 hours.

Pencil can be used to navigate iPad Pro, clicking on software keyboard etc. I personally often use my Pencil to control my iPad Pro. It’s addictive. In some betas of iOS 9.3 was this capability removed, limited for drawing only, but hopefully, in final version was this restriction removed.

On Apple’s e-shop is Apple Pencil available for 99 USD without taxes. In my country (Slovakia) it costs little more – 107 euro at Apple Premium Reseller, but with taxes included and 2 years warranty.

Update 1st – 29. June 2018: while using iPads Pro from 2017, Apple Pencil got significantly lower response time, only 20 ms, thanks to ProMotion technology. Also, Apple Pencil is now supported on entry-level non-Pro iPad called simple “iPad 2018”, but if you rely on Apple Pencil for drawing, consider to get 2017s iPads Pro, because non-Pro iPad 2018 does not feature ProMotion technology and delay for Apple Pencil is still 40 ms.

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