For the previous few months, I’ve been dishonest on my Apple Pencil. As an alternative of utilizing Apple’s $129 stylus with my iPad Mini for notetaking, I’ve been utilizing another I bought off of Amazon for about $25. It appears almost equivalent, works almost as properly, and even snaps onto and prices out of your iPad. And whereas this $25 stylus doesn’t fairly match the entire Apple Pencil’s options, it comes awfully near offering the same expertise for a fraction of the worth.
The stylus I’ve been utilizing is from a random model known as “StylusHome,” however there are lots of related ones listed on Amazon for across the identical value. It apes the styling of Apple’s second-generation Pencil precisely — if it weren’t for the brand on the first-party one, I wouldn’t be capable of inform them aside visually. It has a flat facet that magnetically snaps to the sting of my iPad Mini (and would to an iPad Professional or iPad Air, as properly), the place it additionally prices its battery. It even comes with a substitute tip within the field if the unique ever wears out.
Amazon lists this Pencil clone for about $30, nevertheless it was about $25 after I purchased it a number of months in the past. On the time of writing, there’s a reduction plus a ten p.c coupon that brings it all the way down to about $24. Evaluate that to the $129 common value of the Apple Pencil and even the $90 to $100 it prices when it goes on sale, and that’s a reasonably huge gulf.
On condition that value distinction and the truth that outdoors of Logitech’s Crayon, the world of third-party Apple Pencil choices doesn’t actually appear to exist, I actually wasn’t anticipating it to work this properly. However the StylusHome Pencil is simply as lag-free and responsive when writing on the display screen because the Apple Pencil. It is extremely barely lighter (15.2 grams vs. 17.9 grams) however in any other case feels precisely the identical. It helps tilt shading however doesn’t have strain sensitivity. That’s not an issue for me since all I take advantage of it for is writing notes, however if you happen to’re an artist, you may miss that function.
The factor I miss extra is the Apple Pencil’s double-tap function, which lets me swap between writing and erasing with only a fast double-tap on the facet of the stylus. The StylusHome doesn’t assist this in any respect — identical to the first-generation Apple Pencil — so it’s a must to use the on-screen controls to change between pen and eraser every time.
The StylusHome additionally, unsurprisingly, doesn’t have as tight integration with iPadOS as Apple’s Pencil. You don’t get just a little pop-up notification telling you battery life if you stick it to the facet of the iPad, for instance. But it surely does assist displaying the battery life in Apple’s battery widget, which you’ll place in your iPad’s homescreen or within the widget tray to the left of the homescreen. This can be a tremendous workaround for me since I by no means use the stylus lengthy sufficient to totally deplete its battery anyhow.
The pretend Pencil makes use of Bluetooth to speak with the iPad, and there’s an preliminary pairing it’s a must to do the primary time you utilize it by the iPad’s Bluetooth settings menu. And if you use the stylus once more after a while away, it received’t write on the display screen as a result of it’s gone to sleep. The treatment right here is to only stick it again on to the facet of the pill for a second or two to wake it again up and check out once more — from there, it’s immediately responsive, identical to Apple’s Pencil.
For Severe iPad Customers, those who maybe create digital artwork for a residing, I’d nonetheless advocate sticking with the first-party Apple Pencil. However if you happen to’ve been curious if an Apple Pencil may add to your iPad expertise, both for informal doodles, navigating the software program, or taking handwritten notes however have been scared away by the hefty price of Apple’s model, a knockoff model like this will give you most of the identical options for a fraction of the worth.
Images by Dan Seifert / The Verge