Can an Apple Pencil Alternative Be Just as Good as the Real Thing?

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Styluses have been around for a long time. But like many Apple products, the Apple Pencil changed the whole idea of what a stylus does. Now there are many copycat versions available. In fact, you can get a Digi Pen for a fraction of the price. But is an Apple Pencil alternative just as good as the real thing?

Tip: is your Apple Pencil not working? We can help you get it working again.

I can answer that, having used three Apple Pencil alternatives and the Apple Pencil. Yes. Like most Apple products, what makes them so good is that they work so well together. However, you’ll pay a price for that. It all depends on what you’re looking for, what you want to pay, and if you like the convenience of being sucked into the Apple ecosystem.

They all write and doodle on an iPad. Most work with pressure sensitivity. Some charge through Lightning, some through USB-C, and some via the side of your iPad. Even different generations of the Apple Pencil charge differently. And honestly, all Apple Pencils and alternatives are easy to lose in the couch cushions.

FYI: check out my review of the MKQ Stylus Pen to see how it compares to the Apple Pencil.

I’ll also add that I thought styluses were unnecessary with a touchscreen device like an iPad. You can do it all with your finger. But once I tried an Apple Pencil alternative, I was hooked. I could see how much easier some things worked with an Apple Pencil. It’s so much easier to edit photos, like a “magic eraser” feature to delicately erase parts of an image. You can get so much more precise.

Let’s take a look at current prices. Apple Pencil 2nd Gen retails for $129, 1st Gen for $99, and USB-C for $79.

While those aren’t bad prices, you can get a Digi Pen for 65% off, paying just $34.97 through December 17, 2003.

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The Digi Pen has a 1.2mm fine tip, allowing for precision, as well as sensitivity. Despite having more of a budget price, you still won’t have lags, skips, or scratches. You can use it in all the same ways you would an Apple Pencil: draw, sketch, paint, and write. It has palm rejection technology, unlike some Apple Pencil alternatives that require you to wear a special glove so that your palm doesn’t “write” on the screen.

Like an Apple Pencil, the Digi Pen will connect magnetically to your iPad. However, it won’t charge wirelessly and will only charge through USB-C. A one-hour charge gives you up to 20 hours of use. Unlike an Apple Pencil, the Digi Pen has three power indicator lights that make you aware of the status, and can be turned off and on via a switch.

Digi Pen Apple Alternative Ipad Magnetically Charge

The Digi Pen is compatible with:

  • 2018-2021 iPad & iPad Pro
  • iPad 5th Gen mini 7.9″ (A2124/ A2125/ A2126/ A2133)
  • iPad 6th Gen 9.7″ (A1893/ A1954)
  • iPad 7th/8th Gen 10.2″ (A2197/ A2198/ A2200/ A2270/ A2428/ A2429/ A2430)
  • iPad Pro 2nd/3rd Gen 11″ (A1934/ A1979/ A1980/ A2013/ A2068/ A2228/ A2230/ A2231/A2377 /A2301 /A2459 /A2460)
  • iPad Pro 3rd/4th/5th Gen 12.9″ (A1876/ A1895/ A1983/ A2014/ A2069/ A2229/ A2232/A2233 /A2378 /A2379 /A2461 /A2462)
  • iPad Air 3rd Gen 10.5″/ 4th Gen 10.9″ (A2072/ A2123/ A2152/ A2153/ A2154/ A2316/ A2324/ A2325)

If you’re unsure whether a stylus is for you, the Digi Pen makes a great option, costing less than half of the cheapest Apple Pencil.

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Laura Tucker
Laura Tucker - Contributor

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site's sponsored review program.