Friday, December 13, 2013

Pencil from FiftyThree

I just received my Pencil from FiftyThree today, and here’s how it looks like and how it feels like.

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It comes within a nice paper tube. When you open it, you will notice the packaging is really nice. You would first pull out the Pencil, and then you would see the quick start manual. The plastic wrapper around the Pencil says you have to charge it first, so I pulled out the battery and plug it into an USB port.

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It took maybe an hour to charge, and then the light turned from yellow to green. I don’t know how long the battery will last, but I think Bluetooth LE shouldn’t use a lot of energy. Now let’s start the Paper app.

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I picked the walnut version. My piece of walnut wood doesn’t look as good as advertised, with less wooden color strips but more of those small cracks on the surface. I wouldn’t say it’s ugly, but just not as polished as I imagined. I tried to smell it. It was a silly idea because it doesn’t smell like wood at all.

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Establishing connection with the app is much easier than Pogo Connect. You don’t need to install another app (of course), and you don’t need to click a button on the stylus to initiate the connection. Just use the Pencil to touch the pencil icon in Paper for a few seconds and it’s connected. Then you can start drawing without worrying about how it recognizes the Pencil (including the eraser), your fingers and your palm.

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During my drawing, I noticed that Paper might recognize the Pencil (including eraser) as my finger. I guess it’s because I was not pressing the Pencil hard enough, so Paper received a touch without receiving Pencil down through Bluetooth. I tried to press harder when I use the Pencil and it seems that fixed the issue.

Drawing with Pencil is quite comfortable to me. It’s easier to control where the tip goes compared to Pogo Connect (or maybe my control over stylus has improved). The erasing area is not as big as the eraser, so I’d rather use undo if possible, because erasing a large area needs a lot of movement. Overall, I like drawing with Pencil more than with my previous styli, and $60 seems like a reasonable price to me.