Mini Review of Pencil by 53

The Good

Today I received Pencil by 53. It’s incredibly comfortable to sketch with. Compared to the 10 other styluses I’ve used this one has the best feel. Specifically the glide across the glass. (Meaning: the friction and give of the tip.) Since Pencil is a bluetooth stylus, it also supports palm rejection, but only in the Paper app. Unlike the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus (which is also a great stylus), it doesn’t support pressure sensitivity and it doesn’t have any programmable buttons. Pressure sensitivity might be nice, but the lack of buttons is fine. I think that including buttons would have messed up the simple and great feel of the stylus. Another neat feature is the ability to use your finger to blend (blur/smear) your sketch. This is possible because the application knows the difference between the Pencil stylus and your finger. The last little touch, exclusive to the walnut version, is the inclusion of magnets. This allows the Pencil to securely clings to your iPad’s smart cover.

Pencil by 53
The Pencil feels great in the hand!

Room to Improve

The ability to use your finger to blend is a bit buggy. Sometimes when sketching lightly it will think the Pencil is a finger and blend. (see video below)

Accidental blending happens when you use the Pencil too lightly

The eraser functions a bit odd. It is rectangular, but it erases with a circular shape that is about a fourth of the size of the eraser. (see video below)

The eraser works differently than it looks or feels.

Luckily if you tend to have a really light hand you can disable the “finger to blend” option.

Paper Settings: Change Behavior of Finger
Blend Bug Solution: Change the interpretation of your fingers in Paper’s setings


Overall, it’s a great stylus. It feels great I’m sure software fixes will address the accidentally blending, but I’m not sure about the eraser. It would be great if it was smarter. If you have full contact of eraser on the glass it should erase in wide rectangular strokes and if you use the corner it should be a small rounded shape.

Read a more in-depth review of the pencil at The Verge.

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