Apple Pencil 1 Review: Pros and Cons

Apple Pencil 1 Review: Pros and Cons

The first-generation Apple Pencil or the Apple Pencil 1 sits between the second-generation Apple Pencil and the Apple Pencil USB-C. It was the first stylus pen from Apple designed for the iPadOS operating system which was introduced in 2015 along with the launching of the first-generation iPad Pro. This device now supports the entry-level iPad starting from the sixth-generation and the older third-generation iPad Air and fifth-generation iPad Mini. This article reviews the advantages and disadvantages or pros and cons of Apple Pencil 2.

Pros of Apple Pencil 1: Advantages and Notable Features

The Apple Pencil 1 is a stylus-based input that offers a natural and responsive writing and drawing experience on compatible iPad models. It was conceived to elevate the capabilities and differentiation of the iPad Pro line. However, with the introduction of new iPad Pro generations and the Apple Pencil 2, selected iPad generations and models have also been made compatible with this accessory. Below are its specific advantages and notable features:

1. High Precision and Low Latency

One of the notable features and advantages of the Apple Pencil 1 is its pixel-perfect precision and low latency. This makes it a suitable stylus input for accurate and responsive writing, sketching, and drawing on a compatible iPad device. The overall user experience is similar to writing using a pencil on paper and comparable to a desktop-level drawing pad.

2. Palm Rejection and Tilt Sensitive

This first-generation stylus from Apple also has a palm rejection feature. This enables the paired iPad to ignore inputs from the hand or skin if it touches the screen while the stylus is in use. It is also sensitive to tilts to improve further precision and control regardless of the angle it is used. These features provide a more fluid writing or sketching experience.

3. Wide Pressure Sensitivity Levels

Another important feature of this device is pressure sensitivity. It can detect how hard or soft a user presses on the iPad screen. This allows better control and support for creating different effects for drawing purposes. Examples include shading, gentle strokes, and pressure variations. The pressure sensitivity can also be adjusted in some apps.

4. Long-Lasting Battery Life

There is a lithium-ion battery located inside the Apple Pencil 1. The exact specification is unpublished but real-world tests have shown that it can last up to 12 hours of continuous use on a single charge. The battery can be charged either via an adapted Lighting port cable connected to a wall charger or through reverse charging with a compatible iPad.

Cons of Apple Pencil 1: Disadvantages and Limitations

Apple received mixed reactions when this stylus pen was tested by tech reviewers and consumers. It has capabilities that are similar to a professional-grade stylus used for desktop computers. However, when it comes to the overall design and technological implementation, it has some notable limitations and even quirks that have drawn the ire of some users. Below are its specific disadvantages and limitations:

1. Awkward Charging Method

One of the biggest disadvantages of Apple Pencil 1 is its charging implementation. It is intended for reverse charging by sticking the Lighting connector located on its tail-end to a compatible iPad. This connector is hidden via a removable cap. This makes it prone to breakage. The cap can be misplaced too and the user experience is overall awkward.

2. Concerns About the Design

This stylus pen has a rounded design instead. This makes it easier to roll off a surface. There is also no magnetic attachment for better storage or safekeeping. The Apple Pencil 2 and the Apple Pencil USB-C have an ergonomic flat-edge design and they can be magnetically attached to compatible iPad devices. The Apple Pencil 2 also can be wirelessly charged and paired.

3. Absence of Tapping and Hover

The second-generation Apple Pencil has the double-tap and hover features. The double-tap feature is specifically a gesture-based input built into the device that allows a user to readily switch between pen tools or input modes. It also does not support the hover feature exclusively found in newer generations and models of several iPad devices.

4. Compatibility and High Price

Another disadvantage of the Apple Pencil 1 is its limited compatibility. It cannot be used with the third-generation and more recent generations of the iPad Pro, the iPad Mini starting from the sixth-generation, and newer M-powered iPad Air models. It is also expensive at USD 99.00. Closer alternatives such as the Adonit Pixel retails for USD 74.99.

Review Verdict: Pros and Cons of Apple Pencil 1

The aforementioned pros and cons of the Apple Pencil 1 all boil down to the fact that it is still one of the best stylus pen accessories for compatible iPad devices. However, because of its high price tag, the variant with USB-C support might be the most practical for users who need a simple but effective Apple-made stylus for writing and casual sketching. The more affordable alternatives from third-party manufacturers with similar features and capabilities also make a strong case against the Apple Pencil 1.