Pencil by FiftyThree Review

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Pencil has been created by app developer FiftyThree who created the much loved Paper iOS app. Designed specifically to work with the Paper app, you know it’s a premium product before you even see the Pencil as it comes well packaged in a really nice cylindrical tube and has instructions and a couple of replacement parts (1 replacement nib and 1 replacement eraser).

Rather than a rounded design Pencil takes a flat, carpenters pencil, approach. Aside from being easy to hold this is due to housing the USB charging connection, just pull the tip and Pencil comes apart ready for charging. If it does run out of power it will still work as a stylus, it just means you don’t get all the additional features such as palm rejection.

Setup was very simple, just a matter of letting the Paper app know you’re using Pencil by pressing the nib against a special icon and you’re ready to get creative.  This approach means you don’t need to worry about going into Bluetooth pairing menus, you the app handles everything for you.  The brilliant thing about Pencil is that, like Apples iPad, it’s each to use, you don’t really need to think about it it just does what you expect it to and this makes it a must have purchase if you’ve never really gotten use to using your finger to draw.

It’s this intuitive use that makes this a must have over low cost stylus’s that are just replacements for your finger.  For example the app recognises which end of the Pencil is in use, use the nib and you’ll draw, use the eraser it’ll smudge or erase (depending on the tool). Using Pencil also activates the apps palm rejection, which means you can put your hand on the screen while drawing without causing the app to respond, giving a more natural experience than if you have to watch what you’re doing.

Pencil being heldYou’re finger isn’t made totally useless, it becomes it’s own tool that you can now use to smudge, or blur, your artwork, as you might do if drawing using charcoal. The entire experience feels very natural, you don’t need to keep digging into menus to select tools or features.

If there is one thing that can get a little frustrating it’s the size of the nib, which at times can feel a little too big at times and can cause it to be tricky to see exactly where you are drawing if using a very thin tool.  As the iPad is so portable it also would’ve been nice to have had a case included, but I suppose you could use the tube it comes in.

Now Pencil has been available for some time it’s great to see that other app developers have integrated Pencil into their apps, giving you the flexibility to use this outside of Paper.

Overall this is a really nice product, especially for those who love to use the Paper app.

Available now on Amazon: http://amzn.to/Yz9p4I

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Mark J Draper is a self-confessed gadget lover who forged a career in the telecommunication and utility industry while maintaining a hobby of writing and filming reviews that are published on YouTube and Reviewify.co.uk.

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