So you decided to upgrade your note-taking game on the iPad and you’re looking to get yourself geared up with a proper stylus? Great. Over the years we had tons of different iPad styluses on our desks here at GoodNotes and tested all of them. Here are our top picks for you:
1. Apple Pencil (1st & 2nd generation)
The unchallenged leader of the category is the ultra-precise Bluetooth-powered stylus with built-in palm rejection and the most natural writing experience.
The stylus has no offset at all and the digital ink flows seamlessly just like on paper. The Apple Pencil uses state of the art technology which allows the ultimate handwriting experience with note-taking apps like our app GoodNotes 5. For a long time, the Apple Pencil was only supported by the iPad Pro models but by now, every iPad currently available for sale on Apple’s website supports the Apple Pencil.
If you own one of the iPads that support the Apple Pencil, we can’t recommend any alternative if you want to take notes or draw frequently. Even if the price seems high in the beginning, you won’t regret it. Apps like GoodNotes allow you to rest your hand on the screen while writing with the Apple Pencil for an even better note-taking experience.
In November 2018, Apple released the 2nd generation of the Apple Pencil, which uses the same technology as the first generation but has otherwise improved in many ways. It is currently only supported on the iPad Pro line but also worth every penny.
2. Logitech Crayon
The Apple Pencil’s smaller brother uses the same technology that makes it seamlessly connect with the iPad. The Logitech Crayon works out of the box with every app that offers Apple Pencil support. Originally introduced in 2018 exclusively for schools, the Crayon is now also available for regular consumers — making it a great choice for people who want to save a bit of money.
While it may be perceived as “childish” or “playful”, the precision and the writing experience of the Logitech Crayon doesn’t fall behind its bigger brother. It is important to note that the main difference besides the optics is that the Logitech Crayon is not pressure-sensitive. The cheaper alternative can’t be charged directly on the iPad and requires a lightning cable but gives you solid 7.5 hours of writing with a single charge (according to Logitech).
While we still recommend the Apple Pencil, there are definitely a few benefits making the Crayon a good choice. With its flat sides, it likely won’t roll off any desk and neither will you lose the cap that covers the charger as it is attached to the body of the stylus. We also like that it shuts itself off after 30 minutes of idle time to save battery. Before you consider the investment, we recommend checking if your iPad is compatible with the Logitech Crayon as only iPads released in 2018 or later can be used with it.
3. Adonit Jot Pro (supported in GoodNotes 5)
The only stylus on our list that does not use Bluetooth, but still is a precision miracle. After quickly getting used to the transparent plastic disc at the tip of the Jot Pro, you will ask yourself how you could ever write on your tablet without it. The disk allows your screen to recognize the touch input even without a Bluetooth connection, but you will still be able to follow your own handwriting easily. The application of a ball-and-socket-joint enables high degrees of freedom for writing and drawing angles. Using the Zoom Window in GoodNotes you can also take beautiful and neat handwritten notes with this rather low-cost stylus. The latest version of the Jot Pro uses a cushion tip to dampen the screen contact for more convenient and silent writing experiences. The disks can be exchanged, which makes this an ever-reliable stylus for occasional note-takers, that don’t want to spend too much money and don’t care about the high precision of Apple Pencil technology.
Our previous recommendations
We updated our recommendations to reflect the latest developments. When we originally wrote this article, the Apple Pencil was only available for the iPad Pro lines and the Logitech Crayon wasn’t even for sale. Apple is fully committed to the use cases of writing with a stylus on the iPad and every iPad in their current line-up supports the Pencil or the Crayon — making these two virtually the only serious recommendations. Other manufacturers struggled to match the precision and performance of first-party technology and have partly even stopped developing the software development kits that used to enable app developers to support the technology required to pair their styluses. This also led us to the decision to only support first-party technology found in the Apple Pencil and the Logitech Crayon for GoodNotes 5, in addition to all non-Bluetooth capacitive styluses.