I think the two main pencils are the one from Apple, which uses bluetooth, and said to be the best for drawing, and the S-Pen, used for example in the Galaxy Tab S4, which doesn't need to be recharged and it's probably better for taking notes.
The S-Pen doesn't use bluetooth, as far as I know it relies on magnetic field.
I never used the S-Pen, so I can't comment if it has lag or it's less accurate than the Pencil, which is smooth and very precise. I use the iPAD Pro 10.5 (256 GB wifi+cel).
Samsung also released a S-Pen version which uses bluetooth, for the Galaxy Note 9.
I recorded a video showing the Apple Pencil emits a lot of RF radiation when being used.
It's measured with the Cornet ED88T+ and the Acoustimeter.
Since I want to leave wi-fi, bluetooth and cellular data (all 3) turned off in my iPAD I am thinking in doing one of the two:
- Using a normal pen (this one I'll do some research if there are good choices)
- Investing in the Galaxy Tab S4 with the S-Pen.
I appreciate if someone can comment on this 2nd choice. Unfortunately I never had anything from Samsung, so I have no idea how the two pencils compare. Or how it is the magnetic field from the Tab.
I know that iOS has a good app support, and it's probably better for the Pencil in terms of apps, too. Since I use mostly to take notes (not for drawing) this question is crucial.
I may sell my Apple Pencil just like I did with the Airpods. I don't want unnecessary radiation here.
OK, here's an update:
- I couldn't find the new Galaxy Tab S4 in local stores. It's not available here yet. However I looked into the S3, which uses the S-Pen, that doesn't require bluetooth, so no RF radiation, only I guess magnetic field since it doesn't need to be recharged.
If the S-Pen in the S4 is the same then I'd say at least with the default notes app this is really bad. It can't be compared to the Apple Pencil, in the iPAD Pro 10.5 (the one I have) it's like writing on paper. Here's what I wrote in this Tab S4 thread:
I had the opportunity to check the Tab S3 today. Couldn't find the S4. However I focused on the S-Pen experience, didn't care about the rest, which might even be good, from the looks of it. If this is the same in the S4, then (at least with the Samsung Notes app) it's c.rap compared to what we have with the Apple Pencil and apps such as Notability and GoodNotes. (Note: this isn't the only app for the Samsung, though. I know that... Still the question remains if others are anywhere good as these two).
I'd say it's bad (regardless of the app) because when we try to use the S-Pen there's a very noticeable delay and the whole thing seems fake, while the Apple Pencil writes in a split of a second once it touches the iPAD screen via bluetooth. In the Samsung this seems very unnatural.
If this is a hint to what we may expect in terms of app support for these Samsung tablets then I better stick with Apple and my IPP 10.5.
If you read that Tab S4 thread from Macrumors and do some research like me you'll reach the conclusion while this Samsung tablet is good it can't be compared to what Apple offers, despite all limitations, and the ridiculous prices. I don't intend to buy the new iPADs.
Recently Apple has released (in October 2018) a new Apple Pencil, and at the same time new iPADs (Pro 11 and Pro 12.9 3rd gen). I will call this new Pencil "2nd generation".
1st gen Pencil only works with these iPADs:
- iPAD, 9.7, released in March 2018. It's a cheaper model, a lot more limited.
- iPAD Pro 10.5, released in June 2017 (the one I have and use - still great).
- iPAD Pro 12.9 (2nd gen), released in June 2017.
- iPAD Pro 9.7, released in March 2016. Outdated by now.
- iPAD Pro 12.9 (1st gen), released in September 2015. Outdated by now.
And the 2nd gen Pencil only works with the new iPADs, released Oct 2018:
- iPAD Pro 11
- iPAD Pro 12.9, 3rd gen.
For more information about this new Pencil please read this article:
And search for reviews, including videos like this one:
- I need to draw attention to one thing in terms of EMF:
- The old Pencil (I didn't show that in my camera recording) emits a lot of RF radiation once bluetooth is on and it's paired to the iPAD. However once we turn bluetooth off completely in iOS then this should stop, right?
That's true. But one thing I haven't noticed until recently is that if we connect the Pencil to its adapter and start recharging (this can also be done with a cable) then it will continue to emit RF radiation nearby!
I didn't record a video of this, yet it's very interesting this can happen. I can only assume this is the case because the Pencil may also update the battery stats in iOS, from a distance.
But once the 1st gen Pencil it's not recharging then it's not emitting any RF radiation, of course. The battery also keeps being drained (even if it's a little) while the Pencil is sitting idle in my drawer. I did a test once and after 2 days it wasted 21%. Read my post here for further details:
Maybe it was a temporary glitch, one user said this is too much. I saw a shorter battery decrease over time, perhaps it was still thinking it was paired even while idle?
About the Apple Pencil 2:
- As you can see it automatically charges once we place them above these new iPADs. So that means more exposure in terms of EMF, since with the old 1st gen Pencil we could place the Pencil close to a wall socket and leave it there.
The new way of recharging the Pencil is more practical, however I wonder if it can emit RF radiation even when bluetooth is 100% off (not just temporarily) in iOS internal settings, once we also remove the Pencil from being charged and close to the iPAD device.
This would not make any sense since the battery would waste more quickly, but it's always a possibility since Apple has showed to be against us in terms of EMF pollution. I always wonder if this is the case since the Pencil(s) don't have a button to switch them off.
For example: Airpods (bluetooth headphones from them) apparently emit RF radiation ALL THE TIME once we remove them from their charger case. I saw a video showing this to be the case, and once they were put INSIDE the case they stopped broadcasting. I sold them, BTW, a while ago, and only use wired headphones now.
Currently I am using a normal pen and have also bought a clipboard and normal paper to write my notes. I never used the Apple Pencil for drawing (for that goal this is perhaps the best ever made), and taking notes with it while useful, it's not practical since I never leave bluetooth always on and want to expose myself to RF radiation.
I am now contemplating the idea of selling my 1st gen Pencil, once I do some research on good normal pens, which can satisfy me, in terms of a) price, b) how good the ink can be once it touches the paper, and c) can last long enough.
Using a tablet for this won't be the ultimate solution anyway, since I will also need to look at content such as ebooks at the same time, and I don't want to buy a 2nd tablet just for writing with a digital stylus.
Digital styluses are great, despite the EMF radiation. Still this is something I purchased and don't really have the need to keep it and continue to expose myself. In the coming month(s) I'll decide what to do with mine.
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