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Is it a pencil? Is it a pen? Is it Superman? No it’s a stylus. But if Steve Jobs was right when he said ‘If you see the stylus, they blew it’, this new Apple Pencil for iPad Pro has blown it in spectacular style.

 

Precision Drawing

What sets the Apple Pencil apart from its competitors (apart from the higher price) is the “pixel-perfect” precision.

A 1.5GhHz processor and 2GB RAM work together with an interactive nib and two tilt sensors to provide detail and accuracy that can go head-to-head with some of the best drawing styluses on the market. Designed for freehand illustration, Apple Pencil is meant to closely mimic the IRL drawing experience, unlocking the full potential of the Apple iPad Pro 9.7-inch and iPad Pro 12.9-inch. Merely use the Pencil to navigate your device or use one of the many apps and creative packages on offer (and there’s plenty) to create your next masterpiece. Bear in mind though, some apps are going to need a little upgrade to take into consideration the accuracy offered by this new kit. 

 

How Does It Work?

After locating the Apple Pencil as a blue tooth device, simply put the Pencil to the iPad display and away you go.

The pressure sensitive nib creates differing levels of line thickness depending how hard you push, with innumerable choices of medium to use. However, what is really impressive about this active digitiser is its ability to shade. The two individual tilt sensors located in the tip enable truly accurate gradation in shading that others in its class just cannot provide. It’s not something you’re really going to appreciate when taking notes in a meeting. But when it comes to pastel and charcoal drawing, this nifty little gadget can produce exceptionally realistic results.

 

Speed of Response

The Pencil can be used with the 12.9 or 9.7 inch versions if the iPad Pro and has palm and wrist rejection built-in. This means there’s no fear of smudging, even when using very sensitive applications like AutoCAD or ProCreate.

In return for the efforts made by the Pencil itself, the Pro is also programmed to scan for the Apple Pencil signal at a massive 240 times per second. That’s twice as fast as it does for the standard finger. This provides a feel of real time drawing, almost as if there were no screen there at all – almost.

 

Is It The Real Deal?

Apple say that the sensation provided by this pencil makes it feel as if you are drawing directly onto the image with no screen between you. But in reality, it does still feel like you are drawing on glass. The “Pencil” itself is also a little on the large size to feel like a traditional drawing medium – especially for my little tickle sticks.

The slight click when you make contact with the screen isn’t loud enough to bother anyone that is sat doodling. But for someone taking notes in a meeting, it could soon get irritating.

Some of this sterility can be taken away by using a screen protector for a more organic feel. But in doing so, you increase the distance from the pencil to the image, making the entire process seem a little more detached – which takes away from what Apple is trying to achieve here.

Feels like drawing on paper? I think not. But we never really thought it could – did we.

 

The Draw-backs

Ultimately the basic drawback of the Apple Pencil is that it simply is not a pencil.

Though the ceramic casing is very nice to hold, the battery required to maintain the 10 hours usage life does make the entire product a little top heavy. It is also a little over-sized in terms of length for my liking (it’s not like you can shave it down like a real pencil). But it’s not enough to stop me using it every day. And while the exterior is very sleek and Apple-like, a little texture where you need to hold it would make the entire stylus a little more user friendly. But again, it looks great so who’s going to question it.

There is a lightning adapter on the end of the Apple Pencil to charge straight from the iPad Pro. However, the long pencil on the end of a big iPad is an accident waiting to happen. Thankfully, there is an adapter included so you can simply charge it with the usual lightning cable.

The most frustrating part of the Apple Pencil by far is what you’re meant to do with it when you are, well, not using it. There’s no clip to attach it to the iPad Pro or your pocket, and the slippery exterior means it is hard to keep hold of. Add to that, when you do store it too close to the iPad Pro the Bluetooth connectivity carries on working, which means the power drains down even when you are not using it. I really start to question the “clever” thinking behind this Apple product.

But for anyone that wants a drawing stylus for their iPad Pro, none of this is going to matter. It’s definitely the best option by far. It was built specifically for that purpose after-all.

 

To Draw a Conclusion

Ultimately, the benefit of the Apple Pencil is that it exists. Like the Apple Watch and the Air Pods. There’s no desperate need to have what is a very costly pencil. But thankfully the sleek design and exceptional results it offers mean we are justified in wanting one anyway.

What’s in the Box

  • Apple Pencil
  • Lightning Adapter
  • Extra Tip

Apple Pencil
For a first generation, straight out of the box product, the Apple Pencil is exceptionally good at what it does. The question is, do you really want it?
Design75%
Usability70%
Battery Life78%
Fluidity82%
76%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (15 Votes)
38%