Logitech Crayon makes iPad learning more fun [Review]


Logitech Crayon
The Logitech Crayon was designed for the classroom but now it's available to the public, too.
Photo: Logitech

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 the 9.7-inch iPad released this spring.

Update (March 18, 2019): Apple introduced the iPad Air 3 and iPad mini 5, new tablets that also support the Crayon. This significantly expands the reach of this accessory.

We put this educational accessory to the test.

Logitech Crayon review

The Apple Pencil was created to allow artists to draw and paint on the iPad Pro series. The Logitech Crayon, in contrast, is for students to write and draw on the latest 9.7-inch iPad. The Crayon is much more limited and it costs a bit less.

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 any of you know 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 with any iPad… as long as it’s the sixth-generation model Apple released in the spring of 2018.

On that same end of the shaft is a lightning port. Plug the iPad’s 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.

If you decide you need a replacement cap, it’s $19.99 for a pack of 10. Writing tips can wear out after lots of use, and one is $14.99 but you’d be better off getting a pack of ten for $39.99.  A pack of 10 replacement tip covers is $19.99.

The Crayon is definitely more rugged and easy to set up than an Apple Pencil.

Logitech Crayon performance

The most important thing to know about the Logitech Crayon is that it only works with the 9.7-inch iPad that Apple released in the spring of 2018. We tested, and every other iOS device ignores it completely. If you want an pressure-sensitive stylus for your iPad Pro, your only choice is the Apple Pencil.

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

Even with that one iPad model,  the Crayon doesn’t do everything the Pencil does. Logitech’s stylus has tilt detection, but no pressure sensitivity. This means you can make lines thicker by tilting the Crayon, but it makes no difference how hard you press down. That said, we don’t see how this is going to matter to a typical 6-year-old. 

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 been no mention yet of Bluetooth.  That’s because the Crayon doesn’t use it. This accessory isn’t paired with any iPad. Just turn it on and it will write on any compatible iPad.

Logitech Crayon conclusion

At $69.99, the Logitech Crayon is less expensive than the $99 Apple Pencil, but it doesn’t do quite as much. It’s most significant drawback is that it works only with a single iPad model.

Update (March 18, 2019): As of spring 2019, Logitech’s stylus can be used with three tablets: the iPad 6, the iPad Air 3 and the iPad mini 5.

The sixth-generation iPad is only $329, making it Apple’s most affordable tablet by a wide margin.  It’s intended for students, just as the Crayon is. The two make a good combination.

The Logitech Crayon is certainly a better option than the Apple Pencil for a child. It’s less likely to get damaged, and the lower cost is a bonus.

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