An image of a man drawing on an iPad using the Apple Pencil 2 or the second-generation Apple Pencil.

Apple Pencil 2 Review: Pros and Cons

The introduction of the third-generation iPad Pro on 30 October 2018 came with the launching of the second-generation Apple Pencil or the Apple Pencil 2. This wireless stylus pen from Apple has several notable features and capabilities that differentiate it from the first-generation Apple Pencil. Most of these improvements also take advantage of the various upgrades in the hardware specifications of compatible iPad devices and functionalities of the iPadOS. This article reviews the advantages and disadvantages or pros and cons of Apple Pencil 2.

Pros of Apple Pencil 2: Advantages and Notable Features

Apple received mixed reactions from the previous Apple Pencil 1. It remains one of the best stylus pens for the iPad but its charging and pairing implementation has been deemed awkward because of the Lightning connector located opposite the pen tip that is concealed with a removable cap. The entire process of charging and pairing the first-generation Apple Pencil is tedious. Apple redesigned the second generation and included newer features and better capabilities. Below are its specific advantages and notable features:

1. Wireless Charging and Pairing

One of the biggest advantages of the Apple Pencil 2 is that it connects to the side of a compatible iPad through a magnetic connector for wireless charging and pairing. This mechanism is specifically capable of induction charging and automatic Bluetooth pairing. The same mechanism is also used for storing and keeping it secured.

2. High Precision and Low Latency

This stylus pen also has pixel-perfect precision and industry-leading low latency for accurate and responsive writing, sketching, and drawing on an iPad. The overall user experience of writing down notes is similar to writing using a pencil on paper while creating digital artwork or using it to edit images is similar to a desktop-level drawing pad.

3. Wide Pressure Sensitivity Levels

Apple has not disclosed the pressure sensitivity level of this stylus pen but actual usage would reveal that it has levels that are wider or comparable to the stylus in Microsoft Surface devices and other professional-grade devices. This capability levels up for sketching and drawing on the iPad because it gives the user finer control over his or her pen strokes.

4. Tilt Sensitive, Hover, Double Tap

Another advantage of the Apple Pencil 2 is tilt sensitivity. This same feature is present in the USB-C and first-gen variations 1. It improves precision and control further regardless of the angle the stylus pen is used. Unique to the second-gen Apple Pencil is support for the hover feature and the double-tap gesture for switching tools or modes.

Cons of Apple Pencil 2: Disadvantages and Limitations

The price tag of this wireless stylus pen from Apple is enough to turn off budget-conscious and budget-constraint customers because it further adds to the overall cost of owning an iPad. Alternative tablets such as the Samsung Galaxy S line and the Microsoft Surface line often include a stylus out-of-the-box. Furthermore, for those who still prefer an iPad, there is an option to choose the Apple Pencil USB-C or other more affordable device from third-party manufacturers. Below are its specific disadvantages and limitations:

1. Expensive Pro-Level iPad Accessory

One of the biggest drawbacks of the Apple Pencil 2 is its price tag of USD 129.00. The Apple Pencil 1 is less expensive at USD 99.00 while the Apple Pencil USB-C is cheaper at USD 79.00. There are also alternatives from third-party manufacturers. These include the Logitech Crayon Pen which retails for USD 59.75 and the Adonit Pixel priced at USD 74.99.

2. Limited iPad Device Compatibility

This stylus pen was intended for the iPad Pro sub-line. Apple expanded its compatibility to include the iPad Air beginning from the fourth generation and the iPad Mini beginning from the sixth generation. It is still not compatible with the standard iPad such as the iPad 9th Gen and 10th Gen, and older generations of the iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad Mini.

3. Durability and Lifespan Concerns

Another disadvantage of the Apple Pencil 2 is its higher susceptibility to wear and tear. The tip can wear down after repeated use with a textured screen protector and due to accidental drops. The body of the device can also develop staining from contact with the metallic body of the iPad. There are also concerns about long-term battery degradation.

Review Verdict: Pros and Cons of Apple Pencil 2

The aforementioned pros and cons of the Apple Pencil 2 make it the best stylus pen for the iPad. However, before purchasing one, it is important to note that it is compatible only with selected models and generations of iPad devices. This input device is also intended for creative professionals. It is important for consumers to check first the cheaper Apple Pencil variations and other alternatives from third-party manufacturers, and decide if there is an actual need for purchasing and using the pricier second-generation Apple Pencil.