iPad Pro 9.7 Pro users, How's the Pencil?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by gobikerider, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. gobikerider Suspended


    Apr 15, 2016
    United States
    I'm curious in relation to the smaller screen size of the iPad how viable the pencil is for serious note taking for school. Also with multitasking is it cumbersome to take notes when the canvas is that small? If I'm doing note taking at all should I just go with a 12.9inch?
  2. Relentless Power macrumors Penryn

    Relentless Power

    Jul 12, 2016
    I really like the Apple Pencil. I think when you compare it to an actual stylus, it's fairly accurate and can be pinpointed to the dot. As far as notetaking goes, the 12.9 inch iPad gives you a larger display and more surface area to take notes based on the application. But overall, I think the Apple Pencil was one the best accessories to the iPad. And it quickly charges directly through the lightning port.
  3. Plips71755 macrumors newbie

    Apr 2, 2017
    Personally I wouldn't use a 12.9" for note taking due to size and carrying around. It weighs 1.59 lb. plus the weight of a good protective case like STM Dux that contains pencil and has wrap around closure is 1.25 lbs. meaning you are holding almost 3 lbs.. Also for school, think about your actual space and what else will be on your desk. You will need to get a decent note taking app and will definitely need a drawing app. As a longtime Apple fan (had one of first macintoshs), I'm telling you the pencil is a waste of money - it doesn't work as advertised. You can find a much less expensive note taking device. The Apple Pencil only works with Pro. So if you decide a 12.9 is too big - you could go with Air ipad which is less expensive and a regular stylus. There are many out there - even your finger works in a pinch but not so much note taking. Not losing the tiny cap when charging every thirty minutes is difficult and at home when doing a full charge which for me doesn't last very long - you will have the tiny adapter to keep up with when not charging. The pencil easily rolls off your desk. I suggest Apple Pencil Cozy Duo but then it doesn't work inside the cases - quite the pain. It doesn't work as a drawing tool with any of their software (pages, keynote, mail) and only very limited super basic use with Notes. Even that you have to press so hard you feel like you will punch through screen when trying to make it do wider darker lines. No variations with touch and only tiny bit with holding angled for shading. I watched the few videos out there and I'm using it correctly. Other than a very expensive stylus to make selections - useless. It works with third party drawing and coloring apps - I use Procreate for drawing/sketching and Pigmentfor coloring pages (free very limited they want you to pay $7.99/month to get unlimited use along with being able to save, share, etc. which is nuts and I won't do). BUT HERE IS THE BIGGIE WITH APPLE PRO PENCIL- to use, you have to have a third party app and they all work with brushes, textures, line width, options to do watercolor, oil, etc type strokes......the new $99 pencil works no differently than my Target $7.99 stylus I have had since 2012 and not much different than my finger which I have used quite often. The hype for this pencil is criminal and fraudulent. Telling us that Pro has a fingerprint resistant coating was bad enough, along with all the issues on case/pencil storage and the silly little parts that you can't keep up with BUT to pay $100 for something that doesn't work much better than my finger is the last straw. I can't believe I was so stupid. Never again. It should have been a clue when I opened the pencil box and there were all these pieces of shaped blank paper to take up space so parts wouldn't fall out and the fact that instructions were tiny and the font was so pale and thin, you can't read it. If you have nothing better to do with your money and you don't mind limited case solutions which won't add 12-14 ozs to the weight of your device and have an intelligent solution for storage of pencil and the tiny little cap and charging adapter - well then go ahead and buy. Check out my review of the ipad pro which discusses the case and pencil issues. As far as the larger device - I can't see it due to weight, size, trying to find cases for it, etc. The Air has thousands of beautiful cases and covers. The Air cases don't quite work for Pro due to camera and button placement and of course no pencil storage. I have loved Apple and been fan since 1980s..but the ipad isn't a substitute for a lap or desktop - and won't be until their software is better though I think the dumbed down versions are here to stay and none of their software works completely correctly and syncs over from one device to the other. But then if you only use an ipad - you won't care about that. Best of luck - due your research before buying. Anither suggestion - get the largest size in storage you can afford. I wouldn't get less than 64 GB. The apps and Apple's software will take up a lot of space. And if you like photos, keeping your drawings handy and your music or movies stored on it (i.e. so you don't have to access your wifi or cell data) - the higher storage is better.
  4. gobikerider thread starter Suspended


    Apr 15, 2016
    United States
    Wow thanks for the long...rant. You do bring up some good points about the Pencil not working in Apples own apps other than notes, but for me that wouldn't be a issue since I don't use Apples iWork suite. I do find it hard to believe the Pencil is no better than your $8 nub stylus as the Pencil has incredible palm and hand rejection were every other stylus seems to fail. For storage I do hope they increase the base model to 64gb at least for the Pro models as 32gb storage is sorta low for something you pay $600 or $800 for. Although if they don't it probably would be okay for me as I use the cloud for most my things, could I make 32gb work sure, do I want to not really.
  5. unibility macrumors 6502a

    Apr 6, 2012
    DAMN. Now that's what I call a novel!
  6. merkinmuffley macrumors 6502a

    Dec 3, 2010
    The pencil is not a good design, the slippery plastic needs a sleeve and it will roll off a table. There is no way it's worth $100.
  7. cap7ainclu7ch, Apr 6, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2017

    cap7ainclu7ch macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2010
    The pencil works well and is different and superior to a basic stylus. Palm rejection is fantastic thing and is a necessity for note taking. The 9.7 is a perfect note taking size for me. The beauty is zooming in and out. You can make perfect diagrams zoomed in and bam, zoom out and you still have the rest of the page. I take pictures of the slides in class and write over them. It's a great tool.
  8. kingkoopakoopa macrumors newbie


    Oct 3, 2016
    Long rant on the pencil indeed but I have to agree, it's just in some context, it's a slightly better stylus. I had hard time buying it for my 9.7 and I'm still contemplating if I really want to keep it.

    I'm trialing it using photo editing in Lightroom, i'm far from being an artist so I'm not even going to bother doing sketches on my iPP.

    So far I can't justify the cost of it but for some reason I'm really trying to convince myself to keep the pencil.
  9. AceFernalld macrumors 68000


    Mar 3, 2008
    The Pencil is fantastic. Personally, I use and love Notability. My note taking experience was definitely superior on the 12.9"; just more real estate to work with, especially if you're taking notes with another app in Split-View.

    That being said, you can definitely take notes on the 9.7". I found the 12.9" to be too large to be comfortable or wieldy as a tablet, so I stuck with the 9.7" as it makes more sense for me overall.
  10. Devyn89 macrumors regular


    Jul 21, 2012
    I haven't had the pencil for long - just a week so take this with a grain of salt.

    I love it, I think it's comfortable, the right legnth (though personally I think it could stand to be a tad shorter but that's my personal preference and not a deal breaker at all). I dunno how folks above are having such issues with it, I've found it's vastly superior to the stylus I used for my Air 2. Is it expensive? Of course it is, it's an Apple product, are we expecting differently?
  11. profets macrumors 601

    Mar 18, 2009
    I use the Pencil for annotating PDFs are work quite often, and while it's excellent on the 9.7 I frequently wish I had a larger screen to do it on. This also arises when I'm doing math work with the kids, I quickly find that the screen is a bit small for what I want to do. This is one of the reasons I think I'm going to go 12.9" for the next iPad.

    Fully agreed with this. A few university students had similar experience as well that I spoke to. They were able to test out a 9.7" with the Pencil using Notability and found it fantastic for note taking, but they went with the 12.9" instead. I always thought part of the reason for the 12.9" is that it's nearly identical to a sheet of 8.5x11 paper.
  12. Kate. macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2009
    I love the Pencil. I use it mostly for drawing but note taking is pretty great too. Not sure where the people comparing it to a regular stylus are coming from. I've yet to hear these things from other digital artists who work with the iPad Pro and Pencil. At least in terms of drawing, hand lettering, and calligraphy, there's no comparison. The Pencil's ability to detect the slightest changes in pressure and tilt are amazing. (If someone's Pencil isn't responding to pressure or tilt, I'd suggest a wayward setting or a defective Pencil.) It's completely changed the way I work. I've been an Apple user since the bondi blue iMac and the iPad Pro and Pencil are my favorite products from them.

    As far as paying for third party apps, Procreate is an invaluable creation toolbox that costs a mere $6. When you start pumping dozens of hours into it and taking pieces from sketch to finished painting, that's nothing. Especially when compared to the prices you'll pay at the desktop level. (Art supplies, be they digital or traditional, are expensive. They always have been.) And, yeah, the good people who made Pigment expect you to pay to unlock more of their content so they can pay the artists who created all that content. Like you would if you bought a book in a bookstore.

    My only complaint is how slippery it is to hold. I put a squishy silicone pencil grip on it which makes it easier and more comfortable for long drawing sessions.

    The Pencil is expensive but if you know you're getting value from it as a art or writing tool, it's worth every penny.
  13. Abazigal macrumors G4


    Jul 18, 2011
    I have the pencil and a 9.7" iPad pro and the writing experience is just fine for me. As a teacher, I annotate on Pdfs in the classroom all day and it works great. As for storage, I have a poetic quarterback case which comes with 2 clips on top to hold my pencil, though it adds a fair amount of bulk to the iPad.
  14. Appleaker macrumors 68020

    Jun 13, 2016
    The 9.7" is good for notes however it may be worth having the 12.9" because of the size. Obviously it is almost twice the screen space and that makes a difference, whether you want a lot more space for notes or if you want to have 2 apps open side by side when making notes (that is especially a weakness of the 9.7"). But I suppose it depends on your speed/size of writing.
  15. alecgold macrumors 65816


    Oct 11, 2007
    Have you seen the ifixit destruction of their pencil? it's really something.
    Beside the nice electronics inside, it's also nice to use. It does get a bit less slippery when you use it and then it's really perfect.

    I use it with Nebo a lot, but also with GoodNotes and Documents 5/PDF Expert.
    I can't imagine life without it. (Well, oke, I did 40 years without, but you get the idea).
    9,7 is for making notes like you do on a A5 sized notepad. Nice for to-do's, phone notes, jots etc.
    When pressed you hold it horizontal and make longer notes on them, but I do prefer my 12.9 when I'm in college and need to write from 13h00 till 17h00 or 19h00. (Every 50 minutes 10 minutes brake, but around 17h it really gets hard to concentrate).
    Writing that long/much is certainly doable on the 9.7 but enjoyable on the 12.9.
    Hope this helps.

    Just for reference: I've got the 12.9" and 9.7" Pro's. Both with keyboard and pencil. I have three uses:

    First with a Goruck GR1. Study books, 32oz water bottle, lunch, both iPads with keyboards and pencils, Bose QC35, AirPods, IFAK/family & knickknacks.
    This is what I use when I'm on the road as a consultant. When I arrive at a client I have a thin leather folio that barely fits the 12.9 and 9.7. 9.7 is for the client to read proposals, documents etc. In case they haven't prepaid (most of the time :D ). 12.9 is for me, typing, annotating etc.

    Second use case for the GR1 is when I'm all day in the library / having college. Leather folio stays home, obviously, and there will be several law & text books. The GR1 than just feels and looks like it contains the kitchen sink and all.

    Then I've got a small satchel that nicely fits and protects my 9.7" + pencil + keyboard, 16oz water bottle, sweets, Shure se846, if needed a thinner and novels sized study book, small FAIK and some knickknacks.
    This is for when I'm just around, with or without family and don't want to haul around the world but want the need and nice to have little things.
  16. DSTOFEL macrumors 6502a

    Feb 11, 2011
    I use it for note taking with the "Goodnotes" app on my 9.7 pro and I think it works great. I'm sure the 12.9 inch would be better when actually taking notes, but the 9.7 inch is fine and the form factor is really convenient for carrying around. I really like the Logitech create keyboard case too as it has a place to hold the pencil....a really nice feature to have!

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15 April 4, 2017