Apple Pencil reviews: Is it worth buying?

Read reviews of the Apple Pencil for the iPad Pro and find out if it's worth your hard earned money

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The Apple Pencil is one of the coolest things about the iPad Pro. It's a whole different way of interacting with and using your iPad. But is it really worth buying? Many people are unfamiliar with what the Apple Pencil has to offer and might not be sure if it's right for them if they buy an iPad Pro.

I've compiled some helpful reviews of the Apple Pencil [ Find it on Amazon *What’s this?* ] that will shed some light on its features and its faults, and they will hopefully help you decide if the Apple Pencil is worth buying for the iPad Pro.

The MacStories review of the Apple Pencil

Federico Viticci at MacStories noted that the Apple Pencil felt great in his hand:

First, allow me to get this out of my system: the Apple Pencil is not the iPad Pro's primary input system. It's an accessory, and it's not a replacement for multitouch. If you see someone tweeting sarcastically about the famous Steve Jobs video on the iPhone and the stylus, they blew it. The Pencil is an optional accessory that gives you additional precision when you need it for specific tasks, such as drawing, annotating, or manipulating fine lines and points on the screen.

The Apple Pencil feels great in the hand, it's taller than I expected it to be (it's really the size of a pencil), and its performance on screen is phenomenal. The Pencil connects to the iPad Pro via Bluetooth and it takes advantage of the Coalesced and Predictive Touches APIs introduced with iOS 91, but the iPad Pro's screen has also been engineered to double the refresh rate and scan for input at 240Hz to further minimize latency (I covered this topic in depth in my iOS 9 review here).

On top of this, the Pencil has pressure sensitivity built-in and it can detect the angle you're holding it, so apps can switch from pencil or brush rendering to, say, lighter strokes, subtle shading2, or thicker lines – like when you tilt a real pencil or press it firmly against paper. You can pair a Pencil with the iPad Pro simply by removing the cap, plugging its Lightning connector into the device, and accepting the pairing request. The cap itself snaps magnetically onto the Pencil, which is a nice detail, and you can also remove the tip and replace it with a new one if it's worn down too much. Apple includes a replacement tip in the box, and I'm a fan of the small tip that allows for fine strokes and small handwriting.

I'm not an artist and I can barely draw a stick figure, but the Pencil had me smiling the first time I tried it and the feeling has stuck with me for the past week. As you draw in the Notes app, lines follow the tip of the Pencil closely, and if there's any latency, it's small enough not to be a problem. The Pencil's rendering on screen is far superior to any other iPad stylus I've tried before, and, as others have said, palm rejection is nearly perfect. In testing Pencil with my girlfriend (who can make some pretty sweet drawings), I noticed that iOS would have the occasional line accidentally drawn by the back of her hand; I'd say that Apple has managed to achieve a solid 90% palm rejection with the Pencil, which is impressive.3

Drawing and writing with the Pencil on the iPad Pro's screen feels delightfully natural and smooth. Unlike other iPad styli, the Pencil is not chunky or cheap – it feels just right, like a real pencil does. Applying pressure to get thicker lines and stronger shading works as advertised, and while I won't be using it much because my work doesn't require handwriting or drawings, I can imagine how this will be a big deal for lots of users who have been struggling to find a good iPad stylus and apps with great palm rejection in the past.

If you're a creative person or someone who needs to annotate documents on a regular basis on the iPad, the Pencil is a must-have.

More at MacStories

The iMore review of the Apple Pencil

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