Fingers are great and, if I’m lucky, I’ll always have them with me. But sometimes I want to either have a little more precise interaction with the screen on my iPad or maybe just not have to make such exaggerated motions with my hand. Sometimes I want to lay in bed on Sunday morning reading the newspaper on my iPad and scroll between articles with little more than the most minimal movement.

I started with the New Apple Pencil. Some people call the new Apple Pencil the Apple Pencil 2 because it’s different from the old one that used to have to plug in. But make no mistake, this #2 pencil is #1 in usability. The Apple Pencil feels nice in my hand. It’s pretty light, without being too light. It magnetizes to the side of the iPad to charge and hopefully not get lost.

“With pencil, you can always erase.” –Sue Monk Kidd

It’s GREAT for writing. I use it for journal entries in notes, and to draw precision figures. I find mine to be pretty slippery on the screen, but I borrowed my buddy’s one day when he was over and realized his had a lot more friction against the glass. I’m not sure if that’s just from the way we use our pencils differently, or if there’s some variability in manufacture. The tip is replaceable on the pencils (it unscrews) and can be replaced.

When I’m drawing and writing detail I definitely reach for my Apple Pencil first. The Apple Pencil is great in the context of content, but (you could hear it coming, couldn’t you?), it doesn’t work at all in the OS context. It can’t switch apps, pull up the dock, open the control center, or resize multiple windows (all covered in the multitasking post). These are the things that compromise a lot of my interaction with the iPad when I’m relaxing and reading, surfing the web, or shopping. Even the back/forward gestures in Safari won’t work with the Apple Pencil.

The Apple Pencil is mightier than the sword.

I shopped around and tried several options, but I’m the happiest with the Pencil by 53 in Walnut. I would have linked to their site, but I think it’s been discontinued from their site and is only available on Amazon/eBay/etc.

Of all the Styli I’ve tried in the past two months, the 53 one is heaven. It moves comfortably across my screen with just the right amount of resistance. It works with all of the multitasking gestures I use in my day-to-day workflows. And the carpenter pencil shape is genius. It doesn’t slide out of my hand. It’s also quite a bit longer than some other styli, which I find useful terrifically useful. I almost never use it with the 53 Paper app, and don’t really need the Bluetooth eraser function, but the form factor is so compelling its worth the extra cost. As if my accolades weren’t enough, here’s a video of someone else who loves it a lot too:

People love this pencil!

Anyway, if you feel like dumping a couple hundred dollars on battery operated pieces of plastic, get these two pencils. You’ll get a lot of mileage, that is if you don’t loose them. (They’re very easy to loose.)


About Will Puckett

A 20 year veteran of the San Francisco Bay Area, Will Puckett is an author, artist, and guide. He enjoys styling CSS, and helping friends move furniture. When not parked in front of his iPad, he rescues, restores and rides bikes. Will has been lucky enough to take long rides on both coasts of the United States, and encourages people to explore the world by bike. He tries to lay in his hammock as much as possible reading and planning his future container home, but does enjoy periodically escaping to skate. And of course ice cream.