- Doesn't need to pair
- LED shows remaining battery
- Charges quickly in two ways
- Use it to easily take screenshots
- Includes pen cap
- Great price
- Doesn't wirelessly charge
- Battery can run out quickly
- Tilt sensitivity didn't work well
Those tied to the Apple ecosystem know what they’re in for: quality products that cost more than the others. Sometimes, though, it’s worth exploring other options to save a little bit. An Apple Pencil can cost over $100, depending on the version. This review takes a look at the MKQ Stylus Pen for iPad to see how it compares to using an Apple Pencil.
Unboxing the MKQ Stylus Pen for iPad
There isn’t much to unpack when you receive the MKQ Stylus Pen for iPad. It comes with a cap, which is a welcome addition to what Apple provides, but I rarely put the cap back on. Then again, I’m not one to recap a regular ballpoint pen either. The MKQ also has tiny battery port caps, but these are so tiny that they’re difficult to keep track of. I also forget to put them back on after charging.
Included in the box are:
- MKQ Stylus Pen
- User manual
- Charging cord (USB -C)
- Pen cap
- 2 port covers
- 3 replacement tips
Getting to Know the MKQ Stylus Pen
At first glance, the MKQ Stylus Pen looks much like an Apple Pencil: it’s hard to distinguish between the two. But looking closer, the differences are a bit more obvious, the first being the connector. A 1st Gen Apple Pencil has a lightning connector disguised under a silver band, while the 2nd Gen charges wirelessly on the top or side of some iPods.
The MKQ Stylus Pen has a USB-C charging port. Since I regularly use an Apple Pencil, I really miss the wireless charging. However, the MKQ recharges quickly. It recharged from 23% to 100% in 70 minutes.
However, you won’t ever have to worry about the MKQ dying on you. It includes an LED light display under the charging port that keeps the remaining power percentage always visible.
Even though the MKQ Stylus Pen doesn’t wirelessly charge, it does have a flat edge that allows it to attach magnetically to the top/side of an iPad. It’s convenient for easy storage in between uses. The MKQ appears to be slightly larger than the Apple Pencil, however, as it’s not as natural of a fit on the top/side.
Using the MKQ Stylus Pen
The MKQ Stylus Pen is used in much the same way as an Apple Pencil. You can write with it, draw with it, and make edits. I use a stylus to the point that it’s often in my hand, even if I’m not using it. It just feels right, though I spent years using iPads before I tried a stylus. Now I can’t imagine using an iPad without one.
I often handwrite my articles, as I like the creative process better. I’m handwriting this review with the MKQ. Don’t blame it for the lowercase letters and misspelled words. That’s the iPadOS Notes app as it transfers my handwriting to printed words.
Pairing the MKQ is very simple, as there is no pairing. It works right out of the box. It also had a charge out of the box, though not 100%. However, if you’re already using an Apple Pencil, you’ll have to tell your iPad to “forget the device” first, then restart your iPad for it to recognize the MKQ.
Charging the MKQ Stylus Pen can be done in two ways. The first is with the included USB-A to USB-C cable from the stylus to a charging brick or power bank. The second is with a USB-C to USB-C cable from the stylus to your iPad. The problem with the latter is that it runs down your iPad battery.
Discouragingly, the stylus battery doesn’t last long; however, it shuts off after a few minutes of not being in use to conserve battery time. But it’s very helpful that it shows the remaining battery time on the stylus itself.
Tap the stylus once on the end to turn it on. Tap it twice on the end to turn it off.
The tip and tilt are supposed to have a sensitivity to show different thicknesses of what you’re drawing, but I never experienced that. It was always the same thickness. The screenshots above were taken in Evernote.
Speaking of screenshots, an unexpected bonus is that you can take a screenshot by drawing up diagonally from the bottom-left corner. Apple Pencils do that as well, but I didn’t know that until now.
I used the MKQ Stylus Pen for iPad for a week and found it to be useful and a capable replacement for the Apple Pencil. For the price, you can’t ask for much more. If you just can’t see spending $100 to $130, this would be the option for you.
Pick up your own MKQ Stylus Pen, if you have a 2018 iPad or later and iOS 12.2 or higher, for just over $20, after applying the 10% off coupon on Amazon.
Image credit: Amazon, edited in Canva. All other images by Laura Tucker.
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