When it comes to the iPad, you’ve got a few different options when it comes to stylus input. Of course, you’ve got the generic capacitive styli (with the squishy tips). But if you want something more precise, then you want an active stylus like the Apple Pencil. We recently spent some time with a more affordable option, the Zagg Pro Stylus.
Lets get the big detail out of the way up front – the Zagg Pro Stylus retails for $69.99 vs the $129 you’d be paying for the second generation Apple Pencil. So, right out of the gate, the Zagg has the advantage being nearly half the price. Then again, just because something is cheaper doesn’t mean it’s automatically better. For that, I actually needed to use the Zagg Pro Stylus to see how it behaved.
Out of the box, I did like the color scheme of the Zagg Pro Stylus, as the dark grey and black just fit well with the cover I’ve got on my iPad (as well as it’s caseback color). Sure, the white of the Apple Pencil is iconic, but having some choice here is nice. First things first, I needed to charge it up. For this, you’ve got a hidden USB-C port underneath the back end where you plug things in (and then get the small ring lighting up). Sure, this is not nearly as convenient as the automatic charge you can get of the Apple Pencil when you stick it onto the iPad, but you do get more control over the charge cycles.
Once it was charged, I needed to pair the Zagg Pro Stylus. This was an interesting exercise, as it was not immediately clear that I had to unpair my Pencil. Once that was done, it was a matter of turning on the Zagg Pro Stylus and popping it onto the magnetic connector on the side of the iPad. From that point forward, the stylus was connected. Even after it shut itself off after inactivity, turning it on (with the button) got it connected back up quickly. Curiously, though, the Zagg Pro Stylus never appeared in the Bluetooth configuration of the iPad.
Once that was settled, all that was left to do was to actually do some writing with the Zagg Pro Stylus. With the active tip, it makes for a very fine writing implement. It feels comfortable in the hand, and it glides on the screen just fine. The tip does feel a little harder than the Apple Pencil as you’re writing, so you’ve got slightly different tactile feedback. Also worth noting – while the Apple Pencil gives you pressure sensitivity (ie, press harder and get a thicker line), the Zagg Pro Stylus does not have that capability. It’s got a tilt sensitivity, which should adjust line thickness, but I had little success with that (which would be due more to the apps I take notes in).
In actuality, coming into this review the Zagg Pro Stylus had an uphill battle. I’ve been using the Apple Pencil for months now, so there’s a level of comfort (plus the capabilities a device twice the cost can bring to bear). That said, I came away pleased with how it works. I think for someone who does not already have an active stylus – and is looking at it for more of a note-taking stylus, rather than trying to do art (where pressure sensitivity is key) – then the Zagg Pro Stylus could make them quite happy. As I mentioned up front, it retails for $69.99, though it is currently out of stock over at zagg.com
Details from Zagg
- Increase Your Productivity
- Swipe through pages on your tablet with ease. Use the Pro Stylus to make notes, sketch, mark up documents, and increase your speed and productivity. Simply switch the Pro Stylus on when you?re ready to work, and off to save power.
- Dual Tip Stylus with Tilt Recognition
- The universal capacitive backend tip lets you scroll through pages easily, and the active tip on the other end lets you draw smooth, precise lines for notes or sketches. The Pro Stylus has tilt recognition so you can vary the width of your stroke. The Pro Stylus also comes with a spare tip.
- Compatible with Apps that Support Apple Pencil
- The Pro Stylus from ZAGG works with your favorite apps that support Apple Pencil.
- Palm Rejection Technology
- Don?t worry about resting your palm on the tablet. The Pro Stylus has palm rejection technology so that when it?s in use, only the stylus will register on your screen.
- Easy to Use with Automatic Pairing and Magnetic Attachment
- The Pro Stylus automatically pairs with any iPad 2017 or newer. The Pro Stylus attaches magnetically to the iPad Pro 11 & iPad Pro 12.9.
- Long-lasting Battery and Type-C Charging
- The Pro Stylus lasts up to eight hours. Use the included Type-C charging cord to recharge in just one hour and 25 minutes.