Saturday, 2 July 2016

Pencil: Think With Your Hands

The Pencil by Fiftythree is a stylus for the iPad. It is made out of high quality wood, and has two rubber tips. These can be used to erase and draw.



The Pencil by Fiftythree is a stylus for the iPad. The version I got was the wooden version, and you can also get metal versions, gold and graphite. The Pencil has two tips. The larger one is the writing surface, and the smaller one is for erasing. If you connect the Pencil to Paper by Fiftythree, you can use your finger to blur. The Pencil also has pressure sensitivity when you connect it to Paper, but in a really cool way; when you put the Pencil on its side, the stroke gets larger. It’s like when you put a normal pencil on its side, the stroke widens. I love this, and it’s unique to this stylus. And, it also works with the rubber! If you put the rubber on its side, it will erase a smaller portion.

         

The stylus quality is great. The body is made of wood, and the tips of rubber. However, the rubber is not very durable, and after around 10 hours of using the stylus, I found that I had a hole in the tip. You can continue using the tip after this, if you just flip the Pencil over. Luckily, the Pencil comes with a spare tip for both the eraser side and the drawing side. It’s easy and simple to replace them, and you can buy replacements on Amazon or through the Paper site.

The battery life lasts for ages; I’ve been using the stylus for over a month and I have not had to charge it yet (after the first charge when you get it).

I will be using the stylus with three apps; Fiftythree’s very own Paper app, Procreate and Goodnotes.
The Pencil really shines with Paper, as it’s made for the app. I have used Paper for a long time, and found that my experience was made a lot better with the Pencil. You can draw as you usually do, but I love the way you can flip over the Pencil and rub out. This works very well in Paper in my experience, but I do not often rub out, I use the undo feature. My favourite feature of the Pencil is the pressure sensitivity. I love the unique way of leaning the Pencil on the side, and how it creates a thicker line. Another feature the Pencil unlocks in Paper is the smudging feature. If you move your finger quickly over the screen to smudge, it does a slight ‘motion blur’. If you move it your finger at a normal speed, it creates a visible blur. If you move your finger very slowly, it drags the colour on the canvas.

A flowchart with the pros and cons in Paper by 53
I have had no problems with the rubber and the pressure sensitivity in Paper. They have always worked well, and I find them useful to use.

The next app I use a lot is Procreate. It's a very advanced drawing app with tons of different brushes, and layers (which are very useful). The pen tip works great in it, and so does the rubber tip. However, when I lean the Pencil on it’s side, it doesn’t create a thicker line. This is more of a problem with the app though, not the stylus. It’s still great to draw in.

Drawing, rubbing and smudging in Procreate
If your a student, you would probably be interested in how the Pencil works for notetaking. Luckily, the Pencil works in my favourite notetaking app, Goodnotes. I love how the rubber feature still works, and that you can still flip to erase. You can still put the stylus sideways, however the line is only a tiny bit thicker. The Pencil does have a blunt tip, which sometimes blocks out the line. However, whilst I find this does not affect with drawing, it can affect you when you are doing maths equations or writing an essay. The biggest problem I found with it for note taking is that there is quite a lot of drag on the stylus tip. Whilst it’s great for drawing, the drag is a little to much (at least for me) to write with. It also means that the tip wears away really quickly too. However, you could still use it for writing (I would recommend it for drawing though, not notetaking).

Goodnotes
All in all, the Pencil by Fiftythree is a great stylus. I love the pressure sensitivity feature, and the unique way that the stylus does it. The eraser feature also comes in very handy, and I love the way that pressure sensitivity is also available for the eraser. The styluses body is very well made, and feels very luxurious. I would say that the only thing that lets the stylus down is the tips. They wear out very quickly, meaning that you have to replace them every two months or so (I used my stylus for around two hours a day for a month, and it had one hole in the tip. I just flipped it over and kept using it though).

The Pencil is a great stylus; you can buy it off the Fiftythree site here.

Thanks for reading!

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