Do you want an Apple Pencil but have a limited budget? Are you looking for a stylus for taking notes on your iPad?
You want a stylus and you know what you want to use it for, but you don’t know which one to buy, an Apple Pencil or a cheaper alternative. Read this review to find which stylus is for you.
What will you use your stylus for?
The first thing to do is to identify which features you need when using a stylus:
- Option one: You need functionality that will support pressure sensitivity or shading. You are an artist using apps like Procreate. Or perhaps you want the convenience to connect and charge your stylus with your iPad like an Apple Pencil can.
- Option Two: You’re looking for a stylus to use for simple note-taking using apps including Notability, GoodNotes 5 or Noteshelf.
If you need one or more of the features from Option One, I highly recommend investing in an Apple Pencil, it is the stylus that will give you the best user experience and control on your iPad, particularly when drawing. Compared to all the alternatives, only the Apple Pencil provides tilt functionality and pressure sensitivity. It integrates most seamlessly.
Apple Pencils 1 & 2
If you need the functionality that only an Apple Pencil provides which one should you choose?
Apple Pencil 1 is compatible with:
- iPad (6th, 7th, and 8th generation)
- iPad Air (3rd generation)
- iPad mini (5th generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (1st and 2nd generation)
- iPad Pro 10.5-inch
- iPad Pro 9.7-inch
The Apple pencil one has pixel-perfect precision and tilt and pressure sensitivity. It also has imperceptible lag. However, the biggest downside of the Apple Pencil 1 is charging and pairing is via Lightning on the iPad. This means it is not compatible with any iPad Pro that has a USB-C connector.
Apple Pencil 2 is compatible with:
- iPad Air (4th generation)
- iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd and 4th generation)
- iPad Pro 11-inch (1st and 2nd generation)
Like the Apple Pencil 1, the Apple Pencil 2 has pixel-perfect precision and tilt and pressure sensitivity and imperceptible lag. BUT in addition to this, it also has wireless pairing and charging, double-tap function to change tools and it attaches magnetically to the iPad. This magnetic attachment isn’t as robust as I would like it to be. It sits more securely when used with an iPad cover like the Zugu case – I still think it is the best case for iPad Pro and Apple Pencil in 2020.
Watch my full review of Zugu cases:
However, if you only want to use a stylus for simple note-taking tasks, then read on to find out about Apple Pencil alternatives that could save you one-hundred dollars!
Features of alternative styluses
Key features of other styluses on the market include:
- Compatible with the latest iPads.
- No latency issues.
- Great for you to handwrite.
Whichever stylus you decide to purchase, make sure the stylus has palm rejection, if it doesn’t then don’t waste your money – You won’t be happy using it. Palm rejection technology allows your iPad to ignore palm touches whilst allowing you to rest your palm whilst writing on the screen as you would with pen and paper.
What are the alternatives?
The Adonit Note-M has all the features of other styluses on the market, it can also be attached to your iPad by magnets like an Apple Pen but it cannot charge this way, charging is done using USB-C. This stylus is great to use, with no latency at all, it also has excellent support for palm rejection. The magic happens when you flip the stylus and you have a fully functioning mouse with left and right-click buttons, you can even scroll! Interested?
Watch my recent video review of the Adonit Note-M:
I use an Adonit Note with my iPad Mini 5 to take handwritten notes when attending conferences or meetings. This is a great notetaking stylus; it is smaller than the Apple Pencil 1, the black colour, it feels more compact and lighter. The tip is more like rubber than the Apple Pens and when used with a Paperlike screen cover it feels to me even more like writing on paper.
Find out how I use this stylus with my iPad Mini:
I reviewed the Logitech Crayon, another alternative to the Apple Pencil. If you are looking for one stylus to use on multiple iPads then the Logitech Crayon may be the perfect stylus solution as it is a versatile, pixel-precise digital pencil for all iPads (2018 and later). It is also compatible with apps that support Apple Pencil. It is charged using a lightning cable so if you use an iPad Pro 2018 you will also need a different charger.
Watch my full review of the Logitech Crayon:
Looking for a stylus on Amazon?
If you search for a stylus on Amazon and the result shows thousands of them, that all look the same, chances are they are the same product! These are white label products that are the same styluses regardless of who you buy them from.
I have recently been sent two styluses from TiMOVO (They sent them over to me for free, however, this is not a paid review, be assured that I won’t be any less critical. Why? Well, because I have no connection to this company). This stylus is a white label product so I was interested to try them out! First impressions of the TiMOVO weren’t great as there is a spelling mistake on the packaging.
- The stylus works without any Bluetooth, so all you need to do is switch it on and it’s ready to go. Just ensure that you disconnect your Apple Pen before using it. “Otherwise, it won’t work.”
- The TiMOVO works very well in note-taking apps like Procreate. It has the same form effect as the Apple Pencil, so I can snap it to my iPad pro the same way.
- Option of a smooth fiber tip which could be used for browsing the website, or playing games.
The TiMOVO stylus is suitable for most people using their iPad solely for note-taking. However, it is not enough if you want to do professional drawings or if you prefer the convenience of charging your stylus by simply attaching it to your iPad.
Still unsure which stylus is for you?
There is no one stylus that fits all, identify what you need to use the stylus for and then use this list to pick the best fit for your needs.
Watch my latest blog, Apple Pencil Alternatives – What you NEED to know!