Logitech Crayon is a more affordable Apple Pencil alternative [Updated Review]

iPad is a great educational tool, no matter the age of the student. But some children are too young for a keyboard. That’s where the Logitech Crayon comes in. It’s a digital pencil designed for students to write and draw on a variety of iPad and iPad Pro models.

Update (May 5, 2019):
 When this review was first published, the Crayon worked with a single iOS tablet. That has since expanded to most of the iPad models released in 2018 and 2019. This review has even updated to reflect this.

We put this educational accessory to the test.

Logitech Crayon review: Affordable Apple Pencil alternative

The Apple Pencil was created to allow artists to draw and paint on the iPad. The Logitech Crayon, in contrast, is for students, and it costs a bit less. It’s slightly less functional, however.

Logitech’s offering is 6.5 inches long, half an inch wide, and 0.3 inches thick.  Those dimensions should make it clear that the Crayon is an oval, not round, so it won’t roll. It actually looks like a carpenter’s pencil, if anyone still knows what that is.

It fits comfortably in an adult hand, and a child just learning to write might find it easier to use because it has some heft to it.

A Logitech Crayon is less slick than an Apple Pencil, and harder for a child to disassemble.
A Logitech Crayon is less slick than an Apple Pencil, and harder for a child to disassemble.
Photo: Logitech

The shaft is all aluminum with a very slight texture. It’s less slick than the Apple Pencil, which is a good thing.

The drawing tip is removable, but doing so requires tools pressing simultaneously on a pair of tiny recessed buttons. The tip and its orange plastic cover aren’t going to just pop off, nor can they be removed by a child just fiddling with them.

Near one end is the orange power button. Press it for a second or so and the Logitech Crayon is ready to be used. It doesn’t have to be paired, as this accessory doesn’t use Bluetooth. Press and hold the power button again to turn off this peripheral.

On that same end of the shaft is a lightning port. Plug a charging cable into here to top off the battery. The orange plastic cap over the Lightning port can be removed fairly easily (and misplaced) but that doesn’t affect the functionality of this stylus.

Replacement caps for the Lightning port are $19.99 for a pack of 10. Writing tips can wear out after lots of use, and a new one is $14.99, but a pack of ten for $39.99 is probably a better deal.  Replacement tip covers are $19.99 for a pack of 10.

Logitech Crayon performance

Since its debut, the Crayon has become a lot more useful because it supports far more tablets As of May 2019, it can be used with 2019’s iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5, both the 11- and 12.9-inch versions of the 2018 iPad Pro (requires iOS 12.2 or newer), and the 9.7-inch iPad introduced in 2018. However, it does not work with any models not listed here. All others ignore this stylus completely.

The Logitech Crayon offers tilt detection, but line width doesn't vary no matter how hard you press on this active pen.
The Logitech Crayon offers tilt detection, but line width doesn’t vary no matter how hard you press on this active pen.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Logitech’s product acts a lot like the Apple Pencil, but it doesn’t do everything. The Crayon has tilt detection, but no pressure sensitivity. This means the user can make lines thicker by tilting the Crayon, but it makes no difference how hard you press down.

If you want an pressure-sensitive stylus, your only choice is the Apple Pencil. That said, we don’t see how this is going to matter to a typical 6-year-old.  Making lines thicker or thinner by tilting the Crayon is familiar t anyone who’s ever used a Magic Marker

Like the Pencil, the Crayon offers palm rejection. This means the user can out their hand on the iPad screen when writing and the tablet will ignore it. 

Another option are those cheap styli you can find in the office supply store or on Amazon. Those don’t offer pressure sensitivity, tilt detection, or palm rejection. They also have very blunt tips, making accuracy difficult.

The Logitech Crayon drawing tip, by contrast, is slender, and it glides smoothly across the iPad screen. We tested it drawing quickly and slowly and there were never any line breaks. Best of all, our marks appeared immediately, with absolutely no latency that we could detect. That’s not always true when using a stylus on Windows tablets.

The built-in battery is good for at least half a day of use. And a quick session with a Lightning cable adds more hours.

Those most familiar with the Apple Pencil might be wondering why there’s no Bluetooth.  The Pencil uses this to communicate to the tablet how hard the user is pressing down. As the Crayon isn’t pressure sensitive, it doesn’t need Bluetooth. This accessory isn’t paired with any iPad. Just turn it on and it will write on any compatible model.

Logitech Crayon conclusion

Because the Logitech Crayon is much harder to tamper with, and less likely to get damaged, it’s a better option than the Apple Pencil for a child. And the lower cost is a bonus.

The Logitech list price is $69.99,  and that price changes to $49.99 when purchased through Apple’s Education channel. Even non-educators can often find a lower price on Amazon.

Buy from: Amazon — $69.99

In comparison, the Apple Pencil 2 for the 2018 iPad Pro models costs $129, almost twice as much. Even the original Apple Pencil for previous iPad Pro tablets and 2018’s 9.7-inch iPad is $99.

Logitech provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more stuff we recommend.