ESR Stylus Pen review: a worthy alternative to the Apple Pencil at a low price

ESR Stylus Review: A Stylus Ready to Write and Create

ESR stylus

4.0/5 Buy on Amazon

The ESR stylus hopes to solve the Apple Pencil's cost problem by offering a more affordable option with almost all the same features as and Apple's version.

When the Apple Pencil was first introduced, the public ridiculed it, citing Steve Jobs when he said, “Who needs a stylus?” This was mentioned in 2007 when discussing how people would control the iPhone.

However, as the iPad has evolved over the years, so has the Apple Pencil. It has become a more visible accessory that many cannot exclude when purchasing an iPad.

But while the Apple Pencil has increased in popularity, it has also increased in price. In 2015, the best model cost $99, and now the best model costs $129. And while Apple offers a cheaper option, it sacrifices key features for the lower price.

We only used the ESR stylus last week, and while it's a decent alternative to the Apple Pencil, it's not an ideal replacement for everyone.

ESR stylus review: copied design

Besides the silver color, the ESR stylus is almost identical to the Apple Pencil. It has a flat side, uniform length and a removable tip. However, if you look closely, you will see the differences between them.

Measuring 6.54 by 0.35 by 0.35 inches and weighing 1.45 ounces, the stylus is the same size as the Apple Pencil and is technically twice as heavy. However, we didn't notice much of a difference when holding both devices with both hands.

ESR stylus review: size comparison of stylus and Apple Pencil

Like the second generation Apple Pencil, the flat side allows for stylus placement The pen attaches magnetically to the side iPad. This also allows it to charge while connected.

Since the stylus design is similar to the Apple Pencil, we often forget that we are using a third-party stylus. It's as excellent as the Apple Pencil and is comfortable to hold while writing.

Pairing it magnetically with the iPad was very convenient and natural for us, having used the Apple Pencil beforehand. The magnetic grip was durable and stayed attached no matter how often we shook or dropped the iPad.

ESR Stylus Pen Review: The stylus attaches to the iPad just like the Apple Pencil

Unlike the Apple Pencil, however, double-tap Change Tools in compatible applications are not available when using the stylus. This means that if you double-tap the sidebar, nothing will happen because there are no sensors that support this feature.

It took a day or two to get used to the lack of this feature since we used it a lot. But after a while, we mostly adapted to the changes, but still found ourselves clicking sideways when we wanted to switch between tools.

However, when drawing, we couldn't shake how repetitive it was to constantly click on the tools menu to switch to the eraser and back again after every little drawing mistake. If there was one reason we'd choose the Apple Pencil over a stylus, it would be the ease of switching between tools.

The stylus allows you to use both sides for increased productivity with a replaceable active tip for writing or drawing and a detachable capacitive tip for swiping and selecting. The active pen has a lifespan of up to one year with daily use.

Although the active pen can also be swiped and clicked, using a capacitive tip helps extend the life of the pen because the tip does not flatten with additional use.

ESR stylus review: capacitive tip at the top of the stylus

Although we didn't think we'd be using the capacitive tip much since the Apple Pencil didn't have one, we ended up using it more often than we thought. Using it allowed us to hold the stylus in our hand and also be able to change it from either end if necessary.

The capacitive tip is also great for people with conditions such as carpal tunnel or arthritis. We gave the stylus to a friend of ours in similar circumstances, and he reported that the capacitive tip was easier to control the iPad than using your fingers.

The capacitive tip can also be detached if you want to replace it or remove it from the stylus. The package includes additional active tips and a capacitive tip.

ESR stylus review : multiple charging methods

The ESR stylus charges in the same way as the second generation Apple Pencil, but there is another way if necessary.

The package includes a portable charging station that magnetically attaches to the side of the stylus and charges via the USB-C port. If your iPad is dead, you can use it to charge your digital pencil at the same time.

ESR Stylus Pen Review: A Portable Alternative Charger

It's also great for iPads that don't support magnetic charging. Any entry-level iPad released before 2018 is compatible with the stylus, and since it doesn't currently have magnetic sides, a charging station is necessary.

Since our iPad's battery rarely drains completely, we didn't use the portable charging station, so it mostly stayed in the box. It would be nice to have one in case you need it, but we don't plan on using it anytime soon as we prefer to charge through the iPad.

Three lights next to the capacitive tip will show you what percentage the stylus is at.

  • Three lights on = Battery charge level is between 70% and 100%.
  • Two lights on = Battery charge level is between 30 % and 69%
  • One light on = battery level is between 5% and 29%

If only one light is on and flashing , the stylus battery level is below 5% and should be charged soon.

ESR Stylus Review: Battery Indicators Show It's Fully Charged

Just as the indicators might indicate the battery percentage when using a digital pencil, they can also indicate the current battery percentage. when charging.

  • Three lights on = battery fully charged
  • Two lights on, one blinking = battery between 70% and 99%
  • One lights up and one blinks= Battery charge level is between 30% and 69%
  • One indicator blinks > = Battery charge level is between 0% and 29%

Since the stylus was constantly charging when we were not using it, we did not often check the status of the indicators. But when we really wanted to know the battery percentage, it was easy to determine by the combination of indicators.

Unfortunately, when connected, the iPad will not tell you the digital pencil percentage like the Apple Pencil does. This isn't surprising, but we were hoping it would appear in the battery widget like it does on Bluetooth keyboards.

Fully charging the 125 mAh battery will take 1.5 hours, giving you up to ten hours of use. While this may seem like a painfully long charging time, if you repeatedly place the stylus on the iPad when not in use, it will always be charged when needed.

As with the Apple Pencil, we found ourselves repeatedly attaching the stylus to the iPad when it wasn't in use. And thanks to this, we never encountered a completely dead battery.

In addition, since the stylus will likely be on the charger for a long time, the stylus will automatically go into sleep mode if it is inactive for more than ten minutes. This will protect the battery from constant overcharging.

To activate the stylus, connect it to your iPad or charging station using a magnet.

ESR Stylus review Pen: Almost identical to the Apple Pencil

Using the ESR Stylus Pen felt like we were using the Apple Pencil. The feel and low latency were almost identical, with only minor differences.

The stylus does not require a Bluetooth connection; you attach it to the side of your iPad and start writing with it. It's similar to how you connect your Apple Pencil, except for the animation that appears when you do it for the first time.

When we first tested it, we couldn't connect the stylus to the iPad, but it started working immediately after we forgot the Apple Pencil in the Bluetooth settings. Unlike the Apple Pencil, you don't have to have Bluetooth turned on to use the stylus.

Throughout our time using the Style Pen, it remained connected, and even when it went into standby mode, it was woken up by being disconnected from the iPad. We could put it down, do other tasks, and then come back to it without the inconvenience of reconnecting to Bluetooth.

You can still access the same Apple Pencil features built into iPadOS using the stylus. This includes swiping from the bottom right to open Quick Note, swiping from the bottom left to take a screenshot, and tapping the lock screen to access Notes.

When writing, the stylus has a palm-lock feature so you can rest your palm on the screen without interfering with what you're writing or drawing.

Like the Apple Pencil, the stylus also supports tilt sensitivity when tilted. The stylus can draw at angles from 30 to 90 degrees.

ESR Stylus Review: Tilt Sensitivity Highlighted

We're no artists, but tilting a digital pencil performs as expected when we need to highlight a wider area text . The mark became larger, like a regular pencil, and thinner when standing straight.

Latency between the stylus and our iPad was very low, and we found it to be on par with the Apple Pencil. We write quickly, but thanks to the low latency of a digital pencil, it can keep up with our quick movements without stuttering or running late.

However, when we continuously drew a line or circles to test the connection, the stylus hiccupped and stopped writing. But as soon as we picked him up from the screen and put him back, he started drawing again, just like before. We don't think he passed out at that point, but he needed a break from constantly using one punch.

Furthermore, although the stylus is similar in many ways to the Apple Pencil, it has one drawback: it does not support pressure sensitivity. This feature responds to the pressure you apply to the digital pencil, making the lines darker or lighter, just like using a standard pencil.

We mostly used the stylus for writing rather than drawing, similar to what we used the Apple Pencil for, so the lack of pressure sensitivity didn't affect us much. However, this could be a setback for artists using the iPad for drawing, as it eliminates the ability to change the intensity of shades using pressure.

The stylus also doesn't support Apple Pencil pointing, which allows the pencil to point where it lands without touching the screen. As with pressure sensitivity, we didn't use this feature much with the Apple Pencil, so its absence didn't impact us too much.

Ultimately, we didn't encounter any obstacles when using the stylus due to the Apple Pencil's lack of pressure sensitivity or pointing. Since we mostly took notes on the iPad, they were never a feature we needed. But, as they say, this can be a serious problem for artists.

ESR Stylus Review: Digital Art Precision

To evaluate the latency and accuracy of the ESR stylus, we used it with a digital coloring app. This would give us a more strict outline to adhere to, rather than being free to draw without restrictions.

We used the Disney Coloring World+ app in Apple Arcade. In it, you color black and white pictures of several Disney characters using a variety of drawing tools and colors.

Although the app doesn't penalize you for coloring outside the lines, we wanted to be as precise as possible to see if the stylus would follow and stay within them.

For our test, we chose the image of Merida from the Disney movie Brave because it had a number of larger and smaller areas to color. This would allow us to see how accurate the digital pencil is when coloring. in small spaces.

When we drew inside thick black borders, the stylus kept up without consistently stuttering or bleeding into other areas. However, when the color went out of bounds, it was due to the size of the application's coloring, zooming in, and tool limitations.

ESR Stylus Review: Coloring Disney Characters with a Stylus

Staying within the lines, drawing the curls in Merida's hair and the tiny patterns on the bottom of her dress was no problem for the digital pencil. Shading in these areas was also a breeze, as the stylus kept working as we increased stroke width in larger areas and slowed down as we filled in smaller areas.

However, we encountered the same pause when we were continuously coloring without picking up a digital pencil. But just like before, as soon as we lifted the tip of the stylus and put it back, everything worked.

We tested coloring the same image using the Apple Pencil, and the results were almost identical. The only difference was that we didn't experience the occasional pause like we did with the stylus.

ESR Stylus Pen review: Give the Apple Pencil a run for its money

The ESR Stylus Pen is a great alternative to the Apple Pencil, offering most features at a fraction of the cost. However, that's as long as you can live without missing abilities like pressure sensitivity and double tapping.

ESR stylus review: the stylus in a creative setting

Throughout the time we used the stylus, it coped with all the tasks we needed it for needed. Taking notes and sketching when bored worked as expected, and the experience was almost identical to when we used the Apple Pencil.

Our biggest issue was the lack of support for double-tap on a flat edge. We'd like to see double-tapping the capacitive tip trigger the same function, but that's not currently the case. This would be a great alternative to what was missing.

However, it is great for students to write notes with and for people who prefer to use the capacitive tip for tapping and swiping rather than using their fingers.

On the other hand, while a digital pencil is ideal for people taking notes, artists drawing on an iPad may be held back without enabling pressure sensitivity. Lack of this feature results in lines that remain the same regardless of pressure applied, making it difficult to incorporate shading and depth into drawings.

But at a quarter of the price of the second-generation Apple Pencil and almost a third of the price of the USB-C version, it's excellent value for the features it has. And while the Apple Pencil with USB-C is the most affordable version Apple sells, the stylus has the advantage of being able to charge magnetically.

If you take notes on your iPad and want a great stylus for drawing and writing, the ESR stylus is a great choice at a fantastic price. However, if you want a pressure-sensitive stylus, the second-generation Apple Pencil is still a better option.

ESR stylus review: pros

  • Great price.
  • Attaches to iPad and charges magnetically.
  • Automatically connects to iPad.
  • Low latency.

ESR stylus review: cons

  • No pressure sensitivity
  • No double-tap to change tools.
  • Random crashes when drawing continuously.
  • Cannot be used when Apple Pencil is connected.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Where to purchase the ESR stylus

You can purchase the ESR stylus at Walmart for 29.99 US dollars. It is available in silver and white colors.

It is also available on Amazon for $28.99. It is available in white.

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