NovaPlus A8 Duo evaluation: Cheap Apple Pencil-like stylus for iPad

NovaPlus A8 Duo evaluation: Cheap Apple Pencil-like stylus for iPad

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The NovaPlus A8 Duo is a light-weight Apple Pencil clone, and is a nearly-flawless possibility for iPad-centric sketchers, note-takers, and extra.

NovaPlus is again with an improved model of its well-received Apple Pencil-like stylus, including a secondary charging methodology and some new options. It’s a reasonable clone that provides customers a second colour possibility, and even manages to often beat Apple at their very own recreation in a couple of locations.

The earlier A7 Professional Pencil, which resembled the precise Apple Pencil 2 in almost each dimension, was the primary really aggressive stylus so as to add the identical magnetic charging that was launched with the 2018 iPad Professional. With out shut examination, most individuals could be unable to tell apart its “traditional white” mannequin from the Apple unique.

There are a couple of tell-tale indicators, after all, for each sensible and authorized causes: the cap portion of the stylus, for instance, can be a button. The earlier mannequin and the A8 use a lightweight ring across the high to supply battery data via colour modifications.

After all it additionally consists of palm rejection, and naturally the tender nibs are absolutely appropriate with Apple’s personal — NovaPlus sells its personal nib packs. Curiously, the A8 weighs noticeably lower than the Apple Pencil 2: 13 grams in comparison with Apple’s 20g.

Along with a lower cost, the A8 presents extra worth. For a begin, a second nib is included within the field, together with a protecting woven cowl for the stylus, and a brief USB-A to USB-C wire to permit for charging by older computer systems.

All in a cardboard field of about the identical dimensions because the Apple Pencil field. We’re simply sayin’.

The packaging for our
The packaging for our “star black” NovaPlus A8 Duo.

The Darkish Pencil

However let’s not child ourselves: the preliminary large attractor for a lot of earlier and future consumers was and would be the “star black” colour possibility. It is not the primary black Pencil-compatible stylus, however it’s the first Pencil lookalike we all know of to go darkish.

In case your artwork is as black as your soul, it is a main promoting level: a black Pencil precisely matching your iPad’s border, your goth wardrobe, and your darkest visions. Naturally, the “traditional white” possibility can be accessible.

The A8 will likely be showing available in the market early within the new yr, and was the topic of a modest however very profitable crowdfunding marketing campaign. We have been utilizing the black model for a month now, and we expect most consumers will get pleasure from it in both colour.

NovaPlus A8 Duo evaluation: Cheap Apple Pencil-like stylus for iPad

Going past Apple’s Pencil

This isn’t simply due to its an identical look to the Apple Pencil, and never simply due to its clever-but-subtle UI variations. It is also as a result of it’s dramatically lower cost: it’s anticipated to retail for $69.

Due to the brand new USB-C charging port, the Duo A8 is ready to work with extra fashions of iPad than simply those that assist the Apple Pencil 2. Along with the iPad Professionals, iPad and iPad mini fashions from 2018 and later can work with it — in addition to 2019 and later fashions of the iPad Air.

As talked about, the button on the cap of the stylus glows inexperienced when charging, blue when in “agile mode,” and pink when the battery is low. When held down for 3 seconds, the button will pair or unpair.

As well as, the cap has nonetheless extra choices: customers can select to make a fast double-click of it to change between telling the tip to vary brushes, or to erase, and again once more. These actions can be triggered by a double-tap on the flat aspect of the system — precisely as you’ll with an Apple Pencil 2.

The A8 Duo is rated for 12 hours of typical-use drawing time, and recharges absolutely in about 40 minutes. Because of its potential to cost magnetically on appropriate iPads, customers are unlikely to ever be inconvenienced in typical use.

An elective further for the A8 is a wear-resistant metallic nib that the corporate says will not scratch the robust Corning glass of the iPad fashions. The NX nib is rated for 30 kilometers of drawing use, and presents an much more pen-like really feel, with a pair of them promoting for $25.

Outdoors of drawing, the A8 is ready to write textual content in almost any textual content area if desired, from Fb submit enter fields to the URL bar in Safari, to Fast Notes, and so forth. It may be used for textual content or drawing in Notes and Pages, amongst different Apple apps, and is “seen” by them precisely as if it was an Apple Pencil.

NovaPlus makes a degree of mentioning that it’s appropriate with most of the big-name third-party drawing and note-taking apps, like GoodNotes and ProCreate amongst others. We couldn’t discover any app that it did not work with, although the erase mode may fit in another way on some apps — and we solely examined a handful of drawing or writing apps.

One letdown, and a few minor drawbacks

One of many only a few areas the place the Apple Pencil clearly beats this intelligent copycat is in stress sensitivity: the real Pencil has it, the A8 Duo doesn’t. It is sufficient to be a dealbreaker for critical artists, however for individuals for whom drawing is just not the first goal, the lean sensitivity — which might additionally change the stroke getting used — could also be sufficient to get by.

The opposite problematic space is the placement of the USB-C charging port, solely due to its dust-protecting port cowl nubbin. The small rubbery cowl could be very more likely to get misplaced if eliminated for greater than a brief time frame — however that’s not the largest concern.

The opposite drawback with the quilt is that as a result of the USB-C port is on the flat aspect, it raises the again finish of the A8 barely greater than the nib finish. This causes the magnetic bond between the stylus and the iPad Air or Professional to be a bit diluted in comparison with the Pencil’s firmer attachment, that means it’s simpler for the A8 to come back free.

Eradicating the mud cowl fixes the attachment-strength concern, however then you definitely return to the excessive threat of misplacing the quilt. It could have been price it, in our opinion, for the makers to provide the A8 two flat “sides” — one with the USB-C port and canopy, the alternative with the magnetic compatibility.

The A8 dilemma: risk losing the port cover, or keep it on and trigger your OCD.
The A8 dilemma: threat dropping the port cowl, or hold it on and set off your OCD.

The NovaPlus A8 Duo Pencil can substitute the Apple Pencil virtually all over the place

In case your essential use of the Apple Pencil 2 is for normal, professional-level artwork creation, the NovaPlus A8 Duo would possibly cross muster as a secondary-use spare drawing and writing device — but it surely will not be your each day driver. The shortage of stress sensitivity stops it from being a critical artist’s most popular stylus.

As a substitute, the goal marketplace for the A8 is the arguably bigger consumer base of would-be Pencil customers who’re informal artists, and use it equally usually for non-drawing duties like note-taking. The very engaging pricing makes it an actual and albeit superior competitor to the similarly-priced however bulkier Logitech Crayon.

The A8 Duo’s potential to imitate the Apple Pencil 2 in so some ways, mixed with its mostly-excellent extra options, earn it critical consideration. If future fashions ever acquire Pencil-like stress sensitivity, NovaPlus may develop to threaten Apple’s near-monopoly on critical iPad drawing pens.

NovaPlus A8 Duo Pencil execs

  • Low value
  • Apple Pencil 2 feel and look
  • Informative and helpful cap button
  • Twin charging strategies for these with out magnetic charging
  • Optionally available ultra-durable nib
  • Compatibility with Apple and third-party nibs
  • Tilt sensitivity
  • Wider vary of iPad compatibility than Apple Pencil 2

NovaPlus A8 Duo Pencil cons

  • Lack of stress sensivity
  • Simply-misplaced USB-C port cowl
  • Weaker magnetic attraction when mud cowl is on
  • Will not ship till early 2023

Rating: 4 out of 5

The place to purchase the NovaPlus A8 Duo Pencil

The NovaPlus A8 Duo Pencil should be accessible for pre-order from the corporate’s IndieGoGo crowdfunding web page, or immediately from the NovaPlus A8 web site.


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