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The Useful and Life-changing Apple Pencil (2nd Generation)
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- Compatible with iPad mini (6th generation), iPad Air (4th generation), iPad Pro 12.9-inch (3rd, 4th, and 5th generations), iPad Pro 11-inch (1st, 2nd, and 3rd generations)
- Apple Pencil (2nd generation) brings your work to life. With imperceptible lag, pixel-perfect precision, and tilt and pressure sensitivity, it transforms into your favorite creative instrument, your paintbrush, your charcoal, or your pencil.
- It makes painting, sketching, doodling, and even note-taking better than ever.
- It magnetically attaches to iPad mini (6th generation), iPad Pro and iPad Air, charges wirelessly, and lets you change tools with a simple double tap.
Steve Jobs famously hated styluses. “Who wants a stylus?” He scoffed during the reveal of the original iPhone in 2007. Fast-forward 14 years, and, here we are writing an Apple Pencil 2 review. It seems plenty of iPad users want a stylus – and when the official offering is as good as this, who can blame them?
With the advent of the iPad Air 4 and various new iPad Pro models over the last year, the Apple Pencil 2 is compatible with more Apple tablets than ever in 2021 – which, considering the improvements it makes over the Apple Pencil 1, is a very good thing. Magnetic charging and tap controls alone are enough to make this a worthy successor to the original. Check out the best tablets with a stylus pen if you’re looking for more inspiration.
While the Apple Pencil 2 features a somewhat no-frills design, it’s actually a huge improvement over the original. The matte plastic design is easier to grip than its glossy predecessor, and it’s also a tad shorter. Overall, it feels just like a pencil in the hand – which, we’ll hazard a guess based on the name, is exactly what Apple was going for.
Another plus is that, rather than being completely round, the Apple Pencil 2 has one flat side. This is only great for grip, but also enables the tap controls (more on these below). Oh, and there’s no removable cap to lose. As users of the Apple Pencil 1 will know, its tiny top is far too easy to misplace. No such problem here – the Apple Pencil 2 is a single, clean, solid unit, and all the better for it. That said, one removable aspect we wish Apple had included in the box is extra tips. These were included with the original Apple Pencil, and with the company bumping up the price for the second iteration, removing the replacements is a bit of a kick in the teeth.
The Apple Pencil is well established as a fantastic tool for digital drawing, and thanks to regular iPadOS software updates, it keeps getting better. Response time is super-fast, and when drawing on the laminated display of the iPad Air and iPad Pro, it’s almost like drawing directly onto the paper. And with drawing apps like Procreate offering countless brushes and customization tools, the Apple Pencil 2 is suited to almost any drawing or painting style.
The addition of tap functionality on the flat edge of the Pencil makes it an even more compelling option for artists. Rather than having to touch the display, users can simply tap the pencil to swap between tools, which makes for an uninterrupted drawing experience.
But while the Apple Pencil is brilliant for drawing, that doesn’t mean non-artists shouldn’t consider it. New iPadOS tools such as Scribble mean it’s great for handwriting too – and there are plenty of note-taking apps available to take advantage of this. We also found it useful for photo editing apps such as Photoshop, with the narrow tip of the Pencil offering much greater accuracy than the humble finger.
If you’re a digital artist with the cash to spare, and you have the right iPad, the answer is a resounding yes. The Apple Pencil 2 marks a vast improvement on the original, and its usefulness is only increasing with each iPadOS update. The digital drawing experience is second-to-none, and design improvements such as magnetic charging mean it’s more convenient than ever to reach for the Pencil.
And non-artists can certainly get their money’s worth from the Apple Pencil 2. With tools such as Scribble, it’s fantastic for handwriting and note-taking, and any task that requires precision (such as photo or video editing) will certainly benefit from the stylus.