Alternative Apple Pencils

Discussion in 'iPad General Discussions' started by mike2874, Oct 8, 2020.

  1. mike2874

    mike2874
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    Thanks guys for responding!

    @ twerppoet how did your Logitech charging port break is this a fragile design flaw? I actually prefer being able to plug in a lightening cable to the Logitech vs how the Apple Pencil Gen 1 charges plugging directly into an iPad thus sticking out the side... my wife would never go for that nor would I. Also the Apple Pencil Gen 1 if I understand correctly doesn't actually shut off so is always discharging the battery when not in use.

    I do like the idea of having an on/off switch and an auto off after several minutes so that's why the Logitech and Alternatives would be the best fit for my wife. I'm always thinking what will be the easiest for her and a Pencil that can be charged via Lightening or USB C cable fits the bill since she has an iPad Mini 5 and Pixel 3. Myself I'll be getting the Gen 2 for my iPad Pro 2018 so I don't have to mess with any of that.

    I do see some of the Alternatives are now charging with USB C instead of an older connection (Micro USB?) so that's an improvement.

    So would you still recommend the Logitech over the other Clones... I do wonder about the former's short battery life? Also the fact that I don't think the Logitech shows how much time is remaining but maybe none do.

    I didn't notice until I started looking at the lengths of these pencils up to 8" or so... doesn't that fill a little awkward in hand compared to a pen or pencil? Why so long?
     
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  2. twerppoet

    twerppoet
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    I did not break the port on the Logitech Crayon. I broke he tip. Not sure how, but the iPad Mini was in the backpack with other stuff, so not a big mystery either. Also, it lasted through more than a year of this abuse, so not that fragile.

    Charging through a Lighting cabe sounds natural, and desirable. This is how I thought I’d use my first Apple Pencil. I was wrong. I lost the adaptor dongle first, but soon realized that plugging the pencil into the iPad port may look awkward, but it’s crazy convenient. You don’t leave it there for long. A few minutes if you just need to get something done. Maybe half an hour if you want it fully charged.

    The Pencil does shut down after a while if inactivity, but ti turns on when moved. Since it spent a lot of time in my backpack, that means the 1st Gen Pencil was often discharged or nearly so when I took it out.

    The Crayon has a small on/off button. It also turns itself off after some unknown time of inactivity. It still occasionally was out of charge when I needed it, because it’s very easy to forget that it needs charging. But I do carry a spare charger in the backpack, so it was an easy fix most of the time. However, I mostly use the iPad Mini to take hand notes, which means I was not always close to an outlet when I needed a charge. In those cases, I did without the Crayon.

    If you’re wife does her coloring at home, charging will be a non-issue with the Crayon.

    I don’t know of any alternative that uses USB-C, but I have not looked at the offerings for a while. The 1st Gen and Crayon use Lightning, male and female respectively. The 2nd Gen Pencil has no port. It charges inductively on the edge of the 2nd Gen and later iPad Pros. Also the new iPad Air. You can’t charge or pair it with anything else.

    I don’t know how long the Logitech’s battery life is. I’ve never used it until it ran out after a full charge. I don’t use it to draw or color (I use the larger iPad Pro when I do those things). Like the Pencil, it does not take long to charge, and can be used for an hour or so after only a few minutes charge.

    I would still recommend the Logitech Crayon over the alternatives, mostly because it is Apple MFI certified and I’m reasonably certain of it’s quality. I could change my mind if I saw some thorough reviews of the other devices.

    As for the length, and other differences of the third part offerings. I suppose it’s no different than other commodity markets. The manufactures are throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Actually, it was the more visually attractive design of some of them that got me looking in the first place. The stubby orange Logitech (also comes in gray now) looked strange strapped next to my black (fake) leather iPad Mini case. But as I said, the microUSB ports were a turn off.

    I think I caught all your questions. Ask again if I missed something important.
     
    #12 twerppoet, Oct 9, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  3. twerppoet

    twerppoet
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    Well, I was wrong. I do have an app that won’t work without a Pencil or similar stylus. MyScript Nebo, which appears to the successor of MyScript Memo. While you can sketch (to a limited degree) it’s mostly about handwriting recognition. It uses the API’s associated with the Pencil to gather more data about how strokes are made than what is available for touch interaction. Without that it would be far less accurate.

    With iPadiOS 14 the Notes app does some of what Nebo and Memo do. Not sure if all of that is available on your model iPad, or how much of it is dependent on the use of Pencil. A lot of that system level handwriting recognition seems to be coming to the big names in note taking: GoodNotes and Notability. Not sure how far. I only have Notability and only use it a couple times a month. I haven’t taken the time to explore what new features were added.
     
  4. mike2874

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    Thanks for your take on everything and why somethings appeal to you and others don’t. My wife besides using coloring apps would probably only use the Notes app. She’s in a wheelchair in a nursing home so she’ll throw her iPad Mini 5 in a saddlebag and off she’ll go to go sew or whatever. If her iPad case has room for a Pencil that’s where she’d keep it or maybe sometimes just throw in her pouch. Guess I’m trying to say not sure if an Apple Pencil Gen 1 wouldn’t be discharging all the time. I think her best bet is the Logitech or one of the clones. I’m hoping to make a decision before Prime Days start and then if none of these are discounted I may wait for BF.

    Here’s something I haven’t asked you do you find the Apple Pencil style (& clones) more comfortable to use in hand than the Logitech style?

    I don’t know if you would consider this much of a through review but here’s a review on one of the newer clones. Of course there’s always the chance of here today and gone tomorrow.

     
    #14 mike2874, Oct 9, 2020
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2020
  5. twerppoet

    twerppoet
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    Thanks for the video link. I was surprised by the one with the USB-C, but disappointed to see they don’t have tilt. Overall, my opinion is not changed. I’d prefer the Crayon. Not so much because of the tilt, but still for the port. The Mini 5 still has lightning, so even with USB-C you’d need to care another cable to keep it charged.

    Given they are about $50, I might pick one up out of curiosity at some point. Just to see how limited they are when it comes to drawing. It might make a decent backup in case of loss or damage to the Pencil.

    I have a slight preference for the feel of the Apple Pencil, but do not find the Logitech Crayon uncomfortable. It’s not enough for me to factor into the buying decision. At least not for notes. If I did a lot of drawing, I might feel different.

    One thing about the 1st Gen Apple Pencil, if you are going to get one also get a cap retainer for it. Losing the cap is probably the most common and annoying part of owning one.
     
  6. mike2874

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    Thanks twerppoet you’ve answered I think all of my questions and concerns.

    As far as having as needing a USB-C for the Apple Pencil clone in the video my wife already uses one for her Pixel 3 so that’s not an issue. That said I do think tilt might be worthwhile so I’m leaning toward the Logitech.

    My wife just needs something that she doesn’t have to charge all the time because she’ll definitely forget and I’m thinking the Logitech might keep a charge longer than a Apple Pencil Gen 1 only because it has an On/Off switch.

    Then there’s the price difference between the two... I’m hoping to see some discounting on both the Logitech and Apple Pencil Gen 2 (for me) between now and Xmas.
     
  7. twerppoet

    twerppoet
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    You’re welcome. Good luck.
     

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