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My thoughts on the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation (2023)

My thoughts on the Apple Pencil 2: Exploring design, performance, integration, and value in this personal review.
Sid Metcalfe

Cartesian Mathematics Foundation


November 28, 2023


I recently picked up the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation and have spent quite a some time the stylus, taking notes, sketching and so on. Below I’ll go over its design, performance, integration with the iPad, and overall value.



Click on photos to enlarge them:

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Design and Ergonomics: The Sleek Digital Quill

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Holding the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation is like clasping a sleek digital quill that magically translates my thoughts into digital form on the iPad. Its minimalist design captivates my sense of aesthetics, while its functionality impresses my practical side. Yet, even within its elegant form and stellar capabilities, it’s not without its complications.

Let’s break down my impressions of the design:


  • Its slim, cylindrical shape is reminiscent of a traditional pencil, making the transition from paper to screen almost seamless.

  • A matte finish not only adds an air of sophistication but also provides a tangible grip, reducing the chances of the Pencil slipping away mid-stroke.

  • The absence of buttons gives it a seamless, uninterrupted surface that looks and feels uncluttered.


  • For those with larger hands or a preference for chunkier writing instruments, it may feel a tad too slender, leading to discomfort over lengthy sessions.

  • The smooth surface, while visually appealing, can become a little too slick, particularly if your hands are prone to sweating.

In everyday use, ergonomics are paramount for a device meant to be an extension of one’s own hand. I’ve noticed subtle nuances in the Apple Pencil’s design that influence user experience. The balance of the Pencil is just right, centered enough to not drag down my hand, yet substantial enough to ensure precision in my movements.

However, when it comes down to extended use, the ultra-slim profile can be a double-edged sword. Although the slim design is a hallmark of Apple’s design philosophy, after hours of note-taking, my hand craves the comfort of a thicker barrel or an ergonomic grip that other traditional styluses might offer. I find myself contemplating third-party sleeves to alleviate the fatigue, which feels a bit like a workaround for a premium product.

As with all things Apple, the magnetic attachment is a stroke of genius, both in utility and as a design element. It’s hard not to appreciate the satisfying ‘snap’ as it latches onto the iPad, doubling as a charging dock and storage solution. It’s so neat that no other stylus with similar features can really compare.

The Apple Pencil reaffirms it’s not just a stylus, but a thoughtfully designed tool that elevates the digital creative process. Despite its lean towards minimalism perhaps erring too far for some, its sleek design holds a universal appeal that balances form and function strikingly well. Yes, there are compromises in terms of pure ergonomics, but the gains in precision and the satisfaction of that magnetic snapback tend to outweigh these gripes in my daily use.

Performance and Precision: A Technological Symphony

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The journey with the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation has been akin to a familiar melody—mostly harmonious with the occasional off-key note. Let me start off with a rundown of its performance, which has largely struck the right chords:

  • Precision: Every stroke on the iPad is captured with jaw-dropping accuracy. It’s like the Pencil knows exactly what I’m trying to do, turning intent into digital ink almost telepathically.

  • Responsiveness: Whether I’m jotting down a quick note or sketching, there’s no discernible lag. It’s immediate, always keeping pace with my train of thought, and there’s something truly satisfying about that.

  • Pressure Sensitivity: This feature sings. Applying different levels of pressure yields varying line thickness and opacity for a natural drawing experience.

  • Palm Rejection: A godsend feature, allowing me to rest my hand on the screen without accidental marks. It keeps the focus on creation, not correction.

But, no technological symphony is without its flaws. Sometimes the double-tap to switch between tools registers when I don’t want it to, which can be jarring. Moreover, the sleek design, while gorgeous, can lead to a feeling of slipperiness, especially in longer sessions without a grip accessory. I also lament the lack of a wider range of programmable gestures that could catapult functionality to the next level.

It’s worth noting, despite these minor drawbacks, the Apple Pencil has become indispensable to me. In the bustling landscape of my creative endeavours and meticulous note-taking, it has carved out a spot as my digital Swiss army knife. While I’ve heard some users express concerns about its compatibility and battery issues, I personally haven’t had any hiccups connecting it to my iPad Pro after a necessary firmware update—which, by the way, is something to keep in mind if you’re facing pairing challenges.

For those skeptical about the investment, consider the savings from a refurb or open-box deal. Not only can you cut costs without sacrificing quality, but these purchases often result in getting a product that feels and performs just as a brand new one would, which was certainly my experience. I snagged mine at a discount, and it turned out to be a pristine Apple-certified refurb—indistinguishable from new. In fact, my experience with the Apple Mac Mini M2 as a refurb was so positive that it validated my decision to go this route.

What begins as a simple tool quickly becomes an extension of yourself as an iPad user. The Apple Pencil 2 elevates the tablet from a media consumption device to an interactive canvas that responds to your every whim. Sure, it might not be for everyone—especially if note-taking or art isn’t your jam—but for those who will use its features, it’s a winner, hands-down. Its downsides, while present, are merely hiccups in what is otherwise a product that’s tough to beat on its own playground.

Integration and Battery Life: Seamless and Enduring

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When I first got my hands on the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation, the integration aspect blew my mind. It paired with my iPad instantly, like two pieces of a puzzle effortlessly clicking together. Here’s a quick rundown of my experience:

  • Seamless pairing: Simply attach it to the side of the iPad and you’re connected.

  • No fiddling with settings: It’s ready to use straight out of the box, no need to dig through menus.

  • Palm rejection tech: This means I can rest my hand on the screen without accidental marks – a godsend for digital artists and note-takers.

However, integration isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. Losing the Apple Pencil can be a bit of a chore. You’d better have a designated spot for it because if it slips behind the couch, you’re in for a fun search party. Plus, with the shiny finish, it tends to comfortably slide out of my grip occasionally.

The battery life of the Apple Pencil is one of its standout features, lasting hours on end. Days of note-taking, drawing, and switching between apps — and it still keeps going strong. And the best part? It charges ludicrously fast. Clinging magnetically to the iPad, it tops off the charge without me having to babysit it or mess with any cables. It’s one area where I’ve never had to worry about longevity or durability. I’ve even tried sketching with it from a near-dead battery, and within minutes of charging, it’s back to full capacity.

But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There are moments when I wish the battery indicator was a bit more prominent – having to swipe down to check the widget isn’t always intuitive. And while the magnetic attachment is great for charging and storing, sometimes I’m paranoid it’ll get knocked off in my bag.

Overall, the integration and battery life of the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation provide a glimpse into the future — where tech works smoothly and reliably, enhancing the creative process rather than hindering it. For those who are curious about integrating such technology into their workflow, traveling with just an iPad Pro in 2023 can offer some perspective on the mobility and convenience of modern technology. Sure, there’s room for improvement — isn’t there always? But at the end of the day, the pros significantly outweigh the cons, especially when you’re in the flow and your tool keeps pace without skipping a beat.

Value and Versatility: Reflecting on the Price Tag

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When grappling with whether the Apple Pencil (2nd Generation) justifies its price tag, I find myself weighing its value and versatility carefully. Here’s a breakdown that captures my musings on the topic:


  • Unmatched precision that feels fluid and intuitive, which is a real game-changer for digital art and note-taking.

  • The double-tap feature is incredibly handy for switching between tools in apps, streamlining the creative process.

  • Magnetic pairing and charging with iPad Pro or iPad Air omit the need for cables, which is a major plus in my book for the convenience factor.

  • The pencil’s design is minimalistic, yet it’s comfortable to grip and doesn’t tire your hand easily even after hours of use.


  • It’s on the pricier side, particularly if you’re not a professional artist or don’t often use the iPad for drawing or handwriting.

  • The pencil’s smooth finish can make it somewhat slippery, potentially needing an additional grip purchase for comfort.

In my personal experience, the Apple Pencil stands out for its precision and seamless integration with the iPad. It’s remarkably user-friendly and is designed with the kind of attention to detail that Apple is renowned for. This makes tasks like markups, illustrations, and digital note-taking not just easier, but enjoyable.

But let’s talk about the drawbacks for a second. The Apple Pencil isn’t immune to the high pricing common with Apple products, which can be a challenging pill to swallow if you’re on a budget. And while it is a stellar piece of technology, it assumes that its userbase will frequently utilize its advanced features to make the purchase worthwhile.

So, is the Apple Pencil worth the investment? From my vantage point, if you’re an avid note-taker, artist, or someone who genuinely benefits from the precision an actual stylus provides over your finger or a basic capacitive pen, then yes, the Apple Pencil can be worth every penny. The experience is leagues ahead of cheaper alternatives, and its integration with iPadOS is seamless, which can’t be said for all third-party options.

As someone who leans heavily into the Apple ecosystem, especially for productivity and creative output, I’ve found that the splurge on the Apple Pencil has ultimately paid off, especially when considering how much I use it on a daily basis. If you’re curious about other Apple products that enhance productivity, my thoughts on the 15-inch Macbook Air M2 might provide some useful insights. However, I’d encourage potential buyers to consider how often they’ll use the Pencil’s specialized features before making the leap. If your workflow aligns with what this tool offers, it can enhance your iPad usage to a whole new level of efficiency and pleasure.