Zagg Pro Stylus Review: One of the Best Ways to Write on an iPad for Less
Zagg Pro Stylus
The Zagg Pro Stylus writes up a storm on modern iPads and iPad Pros. At $69.99 it costs significantly less than the $120 Apple Pencil 2 but it does swap features like wireless charging and pressure sensitivity for its reduced price.
Apple changed the stylus forever with its tight relationship between screen and pen. Then it upped the ante by integrating charging. Most Apple products reflect a brand premium–and they usually include premium features that not everybody needs. Those looking for good notetaking and adequate drawing experiences should consider the Zagg Pro Stylus as a primary or secondary Stylus in their Apple arsenal. The Zagg Pro Stylus brings basic writing and UI manipulation to iPad users at a lower cost than Apple’s Pencil 2. Professional artists will still want to buy the Pencil 2, but for those focused on jotting notes and working the UI, Zagg’s pen will prove more than adequate.
What we like
Zagg’s solid build and great hand feel make the Zagg Pro Stylus one of the best non-Apple iPad stylus choices.
The most pleasant surprise: no pairing. Simply turn on the Pro Stylus and it just starts working (if you do own an Apple Pencil it needs to be “forgotten” before the Zagg Pro Stylus will work). And while the Pro Stylus does not support pressure-sensitive writing and drawing, it does include tilt recognition. The result: limited shading. Depending on the app, the Pro Stylus can create art as nuanced as Apple Pencil sketches. The Pro Stylus also supports palm rejection, making its use as natural as Apple’s Pencil when taking notes or drawing.
Eye drawn in ProCreate with Zagg Pro Stylus using sketch and tilt mode. Blending accomplished with ProCreate blending tool driven by Pro Stylus.
The pen tip looks exactly like Apple’s, save for its gray color that matches the body of the stylus—both of which would be a cool alternative to Apple’s white.
The Zagg Pro Stylus wears all of its features on the surface, except one. I had to turn to the manual to charge the Stylus. Here’s the trick: push up the capacitive tip to reveal a USB-C charging port. Oh, I did say capacitive tip, which means that the Pro Stylus will also write on non-active surfaces like the iPhone, or a point-of-sale terminal at a restaurant.
A light ring at the top indicates power and charge status. The glowing ring gives the Stylus Pro a bit of a Sci-Fi vibe.
And while the Pro Stylus will not charge on the iPad Pro’s magnetic edge, it will adhere to it—and it fits into the protective sheath of Zagg’s Pro Keys keyboard and case.
Zagg offers a 1-year warranty on the Pro Stylus.
Zagg delivers an overall pleasant performance with the Pro Stylus. Those who want to finease their art will likely stick to Apple’s Pencil, but everyone else can save a few dollars and still eliminate paper in their lives by turning the iPad into a one-stop device for most of the work done without a keyboard.
What could be improved
The removal of competitive features to keep the price down makes sense, but of all the features, it would be good to see wireless charging remain, especially given that the magnetic coupling feature. It just feels like a wasted opportunity. That said, I don’t know how much cost or Apple proprietary tech is involved in wireless charging. USB-C is fine, but it means monitoring charge and perhaps the stylus requiring a charge just when needed.
The close relationship between the iPad and the Apple Pencil 2 means the pencil is always ready…and the built-in Apple battery tracking ensures users will always know the state of their pen. For the Pro Stylus, battery life requires a little attention to make sure it’s always ready when you need it.
I would like to see a fabric capacitive tip rather than Stylus Pro’s rubber one. Having evaluated several passive stylus products over the years, I found the fabric tips to offer higher quality material and that will likely last longer than rubber or rubber-like material. The fabric tips, for instance, can’t be pierced and deflated (though if used in the wrong way, they can snag), and they won’t dry out. Every cheap free stylus comes with a rubber tip. I would love to see a stylus people pay for include a higher quality component.
Zagg Pro Stylus: The Bottom Line
If you live to take notes and want to save about $50 over Apple’s Pencil 2, the Zagg Pro Stylus is the way to go. Unlike Apple’s Pencil, the Zagg Stylus also includes a capacitive tip for writing on other devices, like the iPhone. Zagg’s engineering and quality reputation make the Zagg Pro Stylus a safe buy. And hey, I’ve left my stylus at home on a trip before, so having an extra stylus isn’t a bad thing, and even for artists, Zagg’s Pro Stylus makes a great backup.
Zagg provided the Pro Stylus for review. Images courtesy of Zagg.
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Daniel W. Rasmus
Daniel W. Rasmus, Founder and Principal Analyst of Serious Insights, is an internationally recognized speaker on the future of work and education. He is the author of several books, including Listening to the Future and Management by Design.
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