An image of the Apple Pencil USB-C that showcases its USB-C port unhidden from a sliding cap.

Apple Pencil USB-C Review: Pros and Cons

There are now three variations of the Apple Pencil. The first one is the Apple Pencil 1 which was introduced in 2015 alongside the first-generation iPad Pro and the second one is the Apple Pencil 2 was introduced in 2018 together with the third-generation iPad Pro. The third one is somewhat odd. It is called the Apple Pencil USB-C. It is somewhat similar to the first generation but has a toned-down set of features and capabilities. This article reviews the advantages and disadvantages or pros and cons of the Apple Pencil USB-C.

Pros of the Apple Pencil USB-C: Advantages and Notable Features

Apple introduced the Apple Pencil USB-C on 17 October 2023. It is positioned as an entry-level wireless stylus pen for compatible iPad devices. Hence, based on its price point, it is more affordable than the first-generation Apple Pencil. Below are its advantages:

1. Most Affordable Apple Pencil

This stylus pen retails for USD 79.00 from the Apple online store and authorized physical and digital stores. Consumers can also find better deals from other third-party distributors. This is the most affordable Apple Pencil in the market. Take note that the first generation is priced at USD 99.00 and the second generation retails for USD 129.00.

2. USB-C Charging and Pairing

A notable feature of the Apple Pencil USB-C is that it pairs and charges via a port based on the USB Type-C standard. This can be charged via a wall charger or the USB-C port of a compatible iPad. The port is hidden in a sliding cap. This design addresses the most common issue against the first-gen Apple Pencil that charges and pairs via the Lightning port.

3. High Precision and Low Latency

The precision of this stylus pen is comparable to the first-generation and second-generation Apple Pencil. It specifically has pixel-perfect precision and low latency for accurate and responsive writing, sketching, and drawing experience on an iPad. The overall experience from using this device feels as natural as using a pencil on paper.

4. Tilt Sensitive and Hover Support

Another advantage of the Apple Pencil USB-C is its tilt sensitivity. This adds to its precision regardless of the angle the stylus pen is used and enables shading and gentle strokes for better control. It also supports the hover feature of M-powered iPad Pro devices. These two features are also available in the first-generation and second-generation.

5. Attaches Magnetically to an iPad

Furthermore, similar to the Apple Pencil 2, this stylus pen also attaches magnetically on the side of compatible iPads beginning from the third-generation iPad Pro, the ninth-generation iPad Air, and the sixth-generation iPad Mini for better safekeeping. Note that this stylus pen enters into a sleep stage when magnetically attached to preserve battery life.

Cons of the Apple Pencil USB-C: Disadvantages and Limitations

The introduction of this stylus pen from Apple has been met with mixed reactions. Some have noted that the positioning of this device is confusing. Others have highlighted the toned-down features and capabilities of this device. Below are its specific disadvantages:

1. Absence of Pressure Sensitivity

One of the most notable disadvantages or drawbacks of the Apple Pencil USB-C, especially when compared to the first-generation and second-generation variations, is the absence of pressure sensitivity. Hence, because it does not respond to pressure, it is not ideal for creating digital artworks such as detailed sketching and painting.

2. Lacks Double Tapping Feature

The second-generation Apple Pencil stands out from its inexpensive siblings because of its exclusive features such as support for double-tap gestures. This enables switching between tools or modes. This can be convenient for complicated note-taking and creating complex artwork. The newest stylus pen from Apple lacks this simple but practical feature.

3. Wired Charging and Pairing

Remember that this device charges and pairs via USB-C. This makes it more affordable than the second-generation Apple Pencil. Some users might find this as a source of inconvenience. Those who are mobile most of the time would need to bring with them a USB-C cable to recharge their device after extensive use or in case of sudden unpairing.

4. Apple Pencil is Still Expensive

It is true that the Apple Pencil USB-C is the most affordable Apple Pencil but it is still expensive when considering non-Apple alternatives. The Logitech Crayon Pen has been considered one of the best stylus pens for iPad with its price tag of around USD 59.75 while the Adonit Pixel which retails for USD 74.99 has pressure sensitivity.

Review Verdict: Pros and Cons of the Apple Pencil USB-C

The aforementioned pros and cons of the Apple Pencil USB-C put it in a confusing spot. It is still a good stylus pen for individuals who are loyal to Apple and want an affordable input device for note-taking and casual sketching. Those who do not care about branding are better off purchasing an alternative device from third-party manufacturers. However, for those who want to maximize the capabilities of their iPad Air and iPad Pro, especially those who are into digital artwork, the second-generation or Apple Pencil 2 remains the best choice.