The SwitchEasy EasyPencil Plus is an iPad stylus that does most of what Apple Pencil does for a lot less money. It even magnetically clings to the iPad Pro, and works with a broad variety of Apple tablets.
I used the stylus for taking notes, sketching and photo editing. Here’s how it stood up to my everyday life.
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A stylus isn’t required to use an iPad but one can make Apple’s tablet a great deal more useful. Anyone who regularly marks up PDFs or takes handwritten notes will immediately see the benefit. Quickly sketching out ideas on a iPad gets far easier. I mostly use mine to touch up images.
The EasyPencil Plus is ideal for all these purposes. It might even be better suited than the rival Apple Pencil, which offers features typical users might not use.
And it’s dead simple to use. It doesn’t require Bluetooth, so you just activate the stylus and start writing.
Hardware and design
It’s surely not an accident that SwitchEasy’s stylus looks very much like Apple’s. Both are white and the same size, with a rounded end and flat edge to cling to an iPad Pro. From a distance, no one can tell them apart.
To get specific, the EasyPencil Plus is 6.5 inches (167mm) long, and 0.36 inches (9mm) thick. It’s a mere half an ounce (14g). For reference, Apple Pencil 2 has virtually the same dimensions, but is slightly heavier at 0.7 ounces (20g).
I find it comfortable to hold and use. It’s not unusually thick, thin or heavy. The barrel is aluminum, and whatever was used to paint the product doesn’t make it slippery.
One of the edges is flat, and magnets let it cling to the side of an iPad Pro or iPad Air 4. It doesn’t charge this way — this is just an option to transport the stylus. To test how secure it is, I left it continuously connected as I used my tablet for 3 days. The only time it came loose was when I knocked it off picking up the computer. I now feel confident carrying the stylus around this way.
The EasyPencil Plus writing tip is easily removable — just unscrew it. And the stylus comes with a replacement. If you use up both of them, or lose one, a quick experiment found that replacement tips designed for the competing Adonit Note series work just fine.
The opposite end is the power button. Just touch the end to activate the stylus. If you don’t write anything for 20 minutes, the EasyPencil Plus will turn itself off.
Near the end, out of the way of your hand, is the USB-C port. SwitchEasy included the cable needed to connect this to a USB-A charger. Or use the USB-C cable that came with your iPad Pro.The EasyPencil Plus clings magnetically to the side of recent iPad Pro and iPad Air models.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac
The stylus works best with the third- and fourth-generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro, every 11-inch iPad Pro and the iPad Air 4. It can magnetically attach to the edges of any of these, and write on the screen.
In addition, the EasyPencil Plus can be used to write on many other recent iPad models: the third-generation iPad Air, the fifth-generation iPad mini, and the sixth-generation iPad.
Wide compatibility is a real advantage. A family, office or schoolroom could share one, even if they use a variety of iPad models. In contrast, the Apple Pencil 2 works only with recent iPad Pro and iPad Air models. The original Apple Pencil is compatible with a completely different set of tablets.
SwitchEasy EasyPencil Plus performance
In some ways, the EasyPencil Plus doesn’t try to tackle the Apple Pencil 2. SwitchEasy didn’t build in pressure sensitivity or tilt detection. That means this stylus isn’t a tool for artists. But many students and businesspeople will find it useful. I found it well-suited for taking notes, Scribble, sketching and annotating PDFs.
Bluetooth isn’t necessary to use this accessory. It doesn’t need to be paired with an iPad to work. A quick tap on the power button and you are ready to write.
Much of the functionality of the EasyPencil Plus is built into the iPad, not the stylus. No software driver is required, and you can use this third-party stylus anywhere you’d use an Apple Pencil.
And writing text with this stylus is everything you could hope for. There’s no lag and no skipping, no matter how quickly or slowly I write.
Palm rejection is a feature built into iPadOS that the EasyPencil Plus can take advantage of too. You don’t have to hover your hand above the iPad display when writing. Simply treat it like a piece of paper.iPad includes tools to make diagrams easier. The EasyPencil Plus supports all of them.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac
SwitchEasy EasyPencil Plus final thoughts
Anyone with a recent iPad Pro or iPad Air looking to take handwritten notes, sketch or annotate documents should be pleased with the EasyPencil Plus. It doesn’t do everything the Apple Pencil does, but what it does, it does well.
And at a far lower price than Apple’s stylus.
That’s a great price. Consider that the Apple Pencil 2 for the iPad Pro and iPad Air is $129. The original version, which supports other recent iPads, sells for $99. But don’t forget both these offer pressure sensitivity and tilt detection, while the third-party stylus does not.
A top competitor for SwitchEasy’s product is the Zagg Pro Stylus ($69.99). This also can take notes or sketch on a range of Apple tablets, and clings to the side of recent iPad Pro and Air models. And, as a bonus, it also has a capacitive tip for swiping
Another good stylus for taking notes is the Adonit Note ($49.99). It’s designed to look like a pen.