Best smart pens for paperless notes and sketches
Save on paper, and let your creativity run wild, with the help of a smart pen.
Our fingers do a grand job of controlling our touch screen devices - minus the odd embarrassing typo - but sometimes we're after a bit more precision and control, particularly when it comes to note taking and sketching. Cue the smart pen.
The handy device lets us draw and write on our touch screens like we would pen to paper. Smart pens are ideal for creative tasks, as you have the freedom to scribble and sketch with no restrictions, whether you're creating a new logo for work, or doodling on your commute home. And of course, smart pens are an easy way to save on paper so we can take greener notes.
We've rounded up six of the best smart pens including models that work on a range of devices, handy for large households, as well as Apple and Microsoft specific designs. So take a browse, and find a model to suit your scribbling needs, and budget.
Read our review of the reMarkable 2 tablet, a smart paperlike notebook that wants to replace pen and paper.
Best smart pens for 2023
Aniyoo stylus pen
A sleek matte smart pen for iPad users, great for drawing and spontaneous note taking thanks to the 1.5mm tip. Easy to use, just double tap the top of the pen, and start scribbling. A real bonus is the palm rejection tech which lets you rest your palm on the screen without causing interference.
This iPad pencil is compatible with mini, Air and Pro models released after 2018, including iPad 6th to 9th generation and iPad Air 3rd to 5th generation. So even if there are a couple of models in your household, you're likely to all benefit.
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There's a convenient light system which indicates how much battery your smart pen has, so you can easily keep on top of your pen's charge. And if you misplace a pen tip, the set comes with two back ups.
Oaso smart pen
This smart pen works without Bluetooth and charge, so it's an effortless, low-maintenance option. It essentially works as your fingers would on the screen, and is compatible with a number of brands including Apple, Samsung and Microsoft, so even if you replace your tablet, you'll not need to update your smart pen.
The magnetic lid helps to keep your stylus in good condition, and the smart pen's tip has been designed to work from all angles for easy, faff-free use. Great for kids' homework, art work and photo editing apps, this handy smart pen is a straightforward, budget-friendly choice.
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Microsoft Surface slim pen 2
One for the Microsoft Surface enthusiasts, this is the brand's second smart pen, so expect real-time writing and impressive accuracy thanks to the improved sharper pen tip. It's an ideal choice for shading too, so one to think about if you're an artist or work in graphic design.
Unlike the previous models listed, this smart pen works through Bluetooth connection, and works alongside a number of Surface models including Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Pro X and Surface Hub 2S. You'll need a charger for this device, or you can just use other Microsoft products including the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard to power up your smart pen.
We love the look of this smart pen too - a particularly stylish stylus.
Apple smart pencil, 2nd generation
It's no surprise Apple has its own smart pen, designed to be used with iPads. The pen magnetically attaches to your iPad Pro, and charges wirelessly, so you won't need to add extra cables to your workspace. Boasting pixel-perfect precision, the Apple pencil lets you draw with a range of thicknesses, so you can nail tricky aspects such as wispy hair. Just tilt the pencil for shading effects and double tap to swap tools.
And in terms of the design itself, expect the brand's classic sleek and understated look.
Logitech crayon smart pencil
Another option for Apple fans, for a much more affordable price, this Logitech crayon smart pencil has been designed to be used with 5th and 6th generation iPads.
With palm rejection technology and over seven hours of battery life on a single charge, pop this smart pen in your bag for a day of creativity when you're out and about. Simply click the power button to get going, no need to pair with your tablet, and tilt the pen to adjust the thickness of your lines.
Moleskine smart writing notebook and pen set
There's also the option to invest in a smart notebook and smart pen. The clever devices allow you to digitise your handwritten notes, so they're is a solid option if you enjoy the physical feel of pen and paper, a preferred option perhaps if you're writing lots of notes in one go rather than sketching.
This Moleskine design appears fairly traditional with its ivory-coloured pages, but as you draw, you can watch your work appear in real time on your tablet. You can then view and edit your handwritten notes on your tablet. Add colour, shading, whatever digital magic you fancy. Or why not handwrite an email for a personalised touch?
- Buy now from Selfridges (£229.00)
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Rachel Howatson is a digital writer who works across a range of Our Media’s special interest brands. Whatever your passion, whether it’s hillwalking, cooking, gardening, running, socialising or even sleeping, she'll likely have written about it.
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