It’s frustrating being an Adonit stylus fangirl, sometimes. Adonit themselves seem content to ignore new iPad releases. I’ve had an Adonit Pixel stylus since April 2017, and I couldn’t find any information as to whether my stylus would work with an iPad 6th generation, which has been available for more than a year.
But my iPad Air 2 (it’s three years old) was rapidly dying, so last week I replaced it with an iPad 6 and took a chance that I wouldn’t need to buy an Apple Pencil.
My Pixel stylus works fine with my iPad 6. All my drawing apps that supported the Pixel before still support it (except for Astropad, who are abandoning all pressure-sensitive styluses except for Apple Pencil.)
To give a brief recap of the relative merits of Adonit Pixel v. Apple Pencil:
- It has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
- It works with iPhones.
- It has programmable function buttons.
- It’s less expensive than an Apple Pencil.
- Its battery is durable. Mine is still going strong after 2 years.
- It doesn’t work with iPad Pro models.
- It connects with specific apps rather than with the iPad or iPhone as a whole.
- It requires some setup to get the most from the stylus. In particular, a user needs to set his or her handwriting angle in each app that supports Pixel. The little hand position diagrams can be misleading—best practice is to try each angle setting in each app to see which works best.
Apple Pencil Pros
- If Apple says it works with a device, then it does. No experimentation is needed.
- It’s both pressure and angle sensitive.
- Setup is like that of any other Bluetooth device.
- It’s not limited to use only in apps that support it.
Apple Pencil Cons
- The Pencil doesn’t work with any iPhone, and is limited to iPad Pro models, and very recent less-expensive iPad models.
- It’s more expensive than the Adonit Pixel.
- It has no function buttons.
- There are problems with the Pencil battery if you don’t use the Pencil often.
Honestly, if I were buying now, it would be a hard decision. I’m accustomed to my apps that support the Pixel, so the Pencil’s usability in more apps isn’t persuasive. On the other hand, Apple will make sure that the Pencil will work with my iPad 6 through iOS upgrades regardless. There’s no such assurance for the Pixel.
If my Pixel should bite the dust, I’ll probably get an Apple Pencil. But as long as my Pixel holds out, I’ll enjoy pressure-sensitive drawing on my iPhone as well as on my iPad.