This Apple Pencil alternative is half the price and twice the fun

Zagg's Pro Stylus 2 is a colourful and much more affordable Apple Pencil alternative

Zagg Pro Stylus 2
(Image credit: Zagg)

If you love the idea of the Apple Pencil but don't love its typically Apple price tag – the list price of the second generation model is $129/£139 – Zagg may have just the pointy thing for you. The new Zagg Pro Stylus 2 has a price tag of £79/$79 and delivers lots of key Apple Pencil functionality without the price. The firm is also currently offering 20% off the price for new newsletter sign-ups.

The stylus is comaptible with iPad and iPad Pros from 2018 onwards, and it has two different charging options: wireless magnetic charging for iPads that support it, and a separate, stand-alone charging cradle for iPads that don't. You can also charge it with any Qi-compatible wireless charger. Zagg reckons you'll get about six hours of standard use between charges.

Of course, the most important part of any stylus isn't how it charges but how it works. 

Is the Zagg Pro Stylus 2 a serious Apple Pencil alternative?

The Pro Stylus 2 has both tilt and palm recognition, two key features you don't tend to find in cheaper styluses. The first enables you to vary the width of your pen or brush strokes, and the second means that when you rest your palm on the screen it doesn't pick that up as an input. 

There are two tips on the Pro Stylus 2. The first is a standard, universal, round capacitive tip for broad-stroke stuff such as scrolling and tapping. And the second is an active tip for precision drawing and handwriting. 

The big negative here is that this isn't a pressure sensitive stylus. If like me you're a note scribbler and document signer rather than a serious artist that's not going to be an issue, but pressure sensitivity is a key feature for illustrators and other detail work that's going to rule this stylus out for pro users. However, there's no point in paying for a feature you don't need, and if you don't need pressure sensing then this is a good way of getting Apple Pencil features for less cash.

I suspect this is more of a rival to the Logitech Crayon, which comes in at the same price, has roughly the same battery life and has the same feature set bar magnetic charging. Of the two I think the Zagg looks like the more comfortable one – the Logitech is quite chunky – but you might want to check out both in your local Apple Store to see which one feels better in your hand. 

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (