Apple Pencil 2 review: So good, it makes you want to buy an iPad!


With the new iPad Pro 11" and 12.9" (2018), Apple also launched a new Pencil model (let's call it Pencil 2), that is very different from the original Pencil, and is designed to only be compatible with these new iPad Pros (and probably future models). This new Pencil 2 brings a number of major improvements that make it a desirable investment, but it also comes at a steep price of $129.

The new Apple Pencil 2 features


So, what's new with the Pencil 2? Almost everything! It has a brand new design: while the original Apple Pencil had a fully rounded shape and a polished, glossy finish, the new one is matte and is flat on one side. This is a really interesting design, as it is very functional, but also a reference to a more traditional pencil shape.

As before, the Pencil 2 is fully pressure and tilt sensitive, so it hasn't acquired any new powers in this regard.

But, there is one major improvement!

Remember how that previous Pencil was criticized for not having an eraser functionality, like Microsoft's Surface Pen? Well, it does now, but unlike the Surface Pen, you don't have to rotate the Pencil in your hand to erase with its rear end. Instead, you just double-tap on the Pencil and that gesture toggles between your current tool and the erased (app developers can control this functionality). We find this to be a more convenient method of switching to the erased, as it means you don't have to physically turn the Pencil around in your hand each time you wish to remove something.

Apple Pencil 2 review: So good, it makes you want to buy an iPad!

Aside from this, there is one more very, very big upgrade in the Apple Pencil 2, and it concerns the way you charge it!

So the original Pencil was ridiculed (perhaps rightfully so) because to charge it, you had to stick it into the Lightning port of the iPad, which both looked bad and made it easier to break its charging connector. Apple has taken this feedback to heart and has thus introduced a superb new way to handle all that. Now, the Pencil 2 and the new iPad Pros have a bunch of magnets inside. As you bring the Pencil to the iPad's side, it securely snaps in place and begins to charge wirelessly! It's a really cool new convenience feature which solves two problems: 1) the need to store the Pencil somewhere, and 2) the Pencil's charging.

Apple Pencil 2 performance


Writing with the new Apple Pencil 2 is a great experience. The pen has a very appropriate size and weight, and the feeling of the nib touching the glass surface is nice and reassuring. It's not exactly like writing on paper, but there is some resistance when sliding the Pencil 2 over the screen, so it's not an entirely alien experience.

Probably the best thing is the almost imperceptible lag when writing with the new Pencil. Thanks in part to the 120 Hz screen of the iPad Pro, there's an almost immediate response as you slide the Pencil over the display. If you don't go hunting for the lag, you probably won't notice it at all. This really helps writing with the Pencil to feel natural.

Apple Pencil 2 compatibility


Apple Pencil 2 review: So good, it makes you want to buy an iPad!

The bad news with the Pencil 2 is that you can't use it with older iPads (we tried). It will only work with the iPad Pro 11" and 12.9" (2018), and, we presume, future models.

If you wish to use a Pencil on an older iPad Pro or iPad 6th generation, you'll need to go for the original Apple Pencil, which isn't bad at all. Sure, storing and charging it will be more inconvenient, but at the end of the day, it has the same writing specifications, so what you can draw with the Pencil 2, you can draw with the original Pencil.

Apple Pencil 2 price bump: more expensive than the original


Apple Pencil 2 review: So good, it makes you want to buy an iPad!

The reality of the situation is that the Apple Pencil is a separate purchase – you don't get one when buying a new iPad, although this would have been very cool.

Making matters worse is the fact that the Pencil 2 is debuting at a slightly higher price than its predecessor. While the original could be (and still can be) purchased for $99, the new Pencil 2 costs $129. Oh well, Apple seems to be raising prices across the board these days.

The thing is, if you've already bought a pricey new iPad Pro, adding $130 more probably won't make too much of a difference.

So, should you invest in it?

If you are a designer or do almost any kind of creative, visual work, then the answer would almost always be yes. If you're taking a ton of notes but for some reason find handwriting to be more efficient or convenient than typing on a keyboard, then the Apple Pencil 2 will also cover your needs very well. That is, purchasing one will make sense if you already have and use the iPad Pro for other things, and you're looking to expand the list of things you use it for. However, purchasing a new iPad Pro and a pencil just for digital note taking makes little sense.

Pros

  • Ergonomic design
  • Convenient charging and storing mechanism
  • Superb writing experience (feels natural)

Cons

  • Only compatible with iPad Pro 2018

Related phones

iPad Pro 11-inch
  • Display 11.0" 1668 x 2388 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12X Bionic, Octa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 1000 GB
  • Battery 7812 mAh
iPad Pro 12.9-inch (2018)
  • Display 12.9" 2048 x 2732 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP / 7 MP front
  • Processor Apple A12X Bionic, Octa-core, 2490 MHz
  • Storage 1000 GB

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19 Comments

1. notfair

Posts: 698; Member since: Jan 30, 2017

Sorry, I can't abstain myself: *hysterical laughs* edit: nobody likes the prices on those ipads so good luck apple with the sales.

2. koioz unregistered

The best we have created ever.. aerospace grade.. state of the art.. surgical precision.. Liquid Retina Display. How can I get rid of it, it's keeps shouting inside my head.

3. ShadowWarrior

Posts: 156; Member since: Aug 08, 2017

"Who needs a stylus" - Steve Jobs

5. bucky

Posts: 3774; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

He was still right. 90% of the population still doesn’t.

19. Zylam

Posts: 1808; Member since: Oct 20, 2010

The perfect example of the Fandroid hypocrisy. 1. It's not used as a primary from of navigation, Steve Jobs clearly referred to that when he talked about resistive touch screens. 2. It's much more precise and has pressure + tilt functionality, much more than a stylus. 3. The iPad is still designed around finger navigation, the Pencil is an accessory that turns it into the best writing/digital creation tool. Talk about how the Note blew up and Fandroids cry about people living in the past, yet at the same time they call up Steve Job quotes from decades ago. What Steve Jobs said was valid at the time and you know it, there have been plenty of "Who needs a xxx in xxx" that changed because the world moved on. People questioned camera phones at first and now look, it's the most used Camera of any kind. Great example of how pointless the Fandroid posts are here, yet ironic how they try to act superior. Truly sad.

4. JCASS889

Posts: 465; Member since: May 18, 2018

lol whats an extra 130$ on an already overpriced device? what kind of mentality is that? 130$ is alot for a stylus.

7. worldpeace

Posts: 3099; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

But it's a white stylus.. With an Apple logo on it.

18. rouyal

Posts: 1567; Member since: Jan 05, 2018

Lemme let you in on a little secret...everything is overpriced....even the cheap gadgets you buy.

6. ARPAKTIKO

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 11, 2016

''Apple Pencil 2 review: So good, it makes you want to buy an iPad!'' Is this a paid advert or a review? That title doesn't help

9. worldpeace

Posts: 3099; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

If you looks closely, you can see a fine print. "Advertorial by Apple: the opinions expressed in this story may not reflect the positions of PhoneArena!"

8. vasra

Posts: 120; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

You can get the old 2017 iPad Pro 512GB Wifi model for about half the price of the 2018 model. Same Screen and c. 30% less performance (in real world, not in Apple's PR BS).

10. Stayfly2407

Posts: 76; Member since: Dec 15, 2011

Absolutely dope. Love the second gen pencil and my 12.9, I use them both everyday and I’m not an artist.

11. darkkjedii

Posts: 30836; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Damn shame, it doesn't work with the gigantic 6.5 inch Max at least.

12. Vokilam

Posts: 1111; Member since: Mar 15, 2018

It is really one thing I’m disappointed at every effing year. Is it so damn hard for Apple? True that Apple is clever at marketing ploy, because here I am considering a new iPad just for the pencil (otherwise my current iPad is just fine) But if they cross the compatibility to iPhones - They’ll sell so many more pencils that way. I like Apple products, but their “politics” irritate me.

13. kucma

Posts: 86; Member since: Feb 01, 2017

Couldn’t agree more!

14. darkkjedii

Posts: 30836; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

One million percent agreed, and the original pencil is now obsolete after just 2 years. They could've at least done an update, to make that one work with the iPhones.

15. syam7863

Posts: 73; Member since: Sep 15, 2016

The title... The content... The summary... all seems to be written by a fanboy rather than tech crew.

16. Wazupmrg

Posts: 141; Member since: Apr 10, 2017

Sad copy of the S Pen. But of course you fall over yourself for the Pencil. Smdh

17. darkkjedii

Posts: 30836; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

The Apple pencil is neither sad, nor is it a copy of the S-Pen. You can't be serious

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