The last major difference goes against the Logitech Crayon: unlike the Apple Pencil it is not pressure sensitive. That removes one level of control which may be important for artists. It is, however, tilt sensitive. Some apps allow you to make the drawn lines wider by tipping the Crayon over.
I recently purchased an iPad 6th Generation. Although mostly a Windows and Android guy, I need an iPad because some of the stuff I review requires an iPad as a controller. My old (original) iPad Mini has stalled at iOS 9.x has becoming increasingly incompatible with many of these apps. It turns out that a 32GB iPad 6th Gen is the cheapest iPad presently available. It’s fairly snappy in operation, using the same A10 Fusion processor employed by the iPhone 7.
And most importantly for present purposes, it’s the first regular iPad to support Apple Pencil and Logitech Crayon.
The first thing to do with the Logitech Crayon is charge up its internal battery. The rubbery end cap pulls of easily to reveal a socket for a Lightning plug. No cable is provided, so you need to use your iPad’s charge cable. It’ll run up to 7.5 hours on a charge and has a indicators when charge gets down to 10% and 5%. It switches off after half an hour of non-use. A two-minute charge will give 30 minutes of operation.
Once it’s charged, you just hold down the power button for a second and a tiny LED briefly illuminates so that you know that it’s on.
And from then on you can use the Logitech Crayon on the iPad screen in place of your finger for moving things around or selecting them. And, of course, for drawing and writing.
Drawing and writing with what?
Well, you can use the Logitech Crayon to draw or write in any app where you can draw or write with the Apple Pencil, or indeed with your finger. A good starting point is the Notes app, preloaded onto your iPad with iOS. This has the several drawing tools, including one that supports the tilt-widening feature. Notes does not provide handwriting to text conversion. Although I reckon it could. You see, when I handwrote a note, the app read the first few words and used them as that note’s title.
I tried a couple of drawing apps. Not all had drawing implements which supported tilt. Some had limited functionality unless you paid money. But in all cases, the Crayon drew cleanly and well. “Palm rejection” – resting your hand on the screen having no effect – also worked well.
Where the tilt worked, I felt I had to work on using it effectively. You really do need to tilt the pen over a fair way for a substantial widening of the line. Practice should make that easier.
Notetaking with the Logitech Crayon
Another notes app – GoodNotes 5 – is a decent Apple Notes replacement and has the advantage of having built-in handwriting to text conversion. It’s non-destructive, so you can keep your original scribblings handy until you’re double-checked the conversion.
I use Microsoft OneNote to keep myself organised in various things, so I tend to install it on everything. The iPad version also supports pen use, although not handwriting conversion. If you write something in the “Title” section of a new page a miniaturised version appears in the list of pages, remaining as a graphic.
But the Windows version of OneNote does convert handwriting to text. So next time I was at one of my Windows computers I could open up the relevant note and do the conversion. That was then reflected back in the iPad copy.
One last thing: digital pen and stylus makers usually say how it’s just like drawing with pen on paper. Well, no. You have to retrain yourself because the friction and feel of plastic on glass is very different to graphite or brush on paper. If you’re a good drawer already, you should be able to switch over fairly quickly. If you’re not … well, you now have the ideal opportunity for lots of practice.
So, Apple Pencil or Logitech Crayon? If you have an older iPad Pro, you have no choice. If you simply must have pressure sensitivity, you also have no choice. But for the rest of us, I’m inclined to think that the Logitech Crayon is the better choice. It’s a bit cheaper (a lot cheaper than the 2 Gen Pencil) and is ready for use on any supported iPad with no fiddling with settings.
And if you have two or more (supported) iPads, you can use it with any or all of them.