Down with dongles

4 dongle-free Apple Pencil alternatives for your 10th-gen iPad

Don't want to deal with another dongle for your Apple devices? We hear you, here are some Apple Pencil alternatives for your latest iPad.

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There’s a lot to be excited about with Apple’s 10th-gen iPad. There’s a landscape front-facing camera that’s upsetting M2 iPad Pro buyers and an “all-screen” design that resembles the rest of the iPad family. But there’s one glaring omission with the refreshed entry-level iPad: you can’t use the second-gen Apple Pencil with it.

Instead, you’re stuck with using the first-generation Apple Pencil, and there’s a kicker: it charges via Lightning so you’re going to have to buy a $9 Lightning-to-USB-C adapter to charge it with the new iPad. Decidedly not ideal.

If you don’t want to deal with all that — and who can blame you — here are some dongle-free Apple Pencil alternatives that may prove to be less of a headache.

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Right on time, Logitech released an updated version of its Crayon stylus that features a USB-C charging port instead of the previous Lightning design. Simply put, you can circumvent the whole dongle mess and just use the USB-C cable that comes with the 10th-gen iPad to charge this.

The Zagg Pro Stylus similarly charges via USB-C to keep you dongle-free when using with the latest iPad. It also has a magnetic attachment in case you ever decide to upgrade to an iPad Pro. The Pro Stylus matches the features of the Apple Pencil, it just comes in a gunmetal grey color so it won’t really match the four new colors for the 10th-gen iPad.

There’s a pretty common theme here as the Adonit Note+ also charges with a USB-C port. Like Logitech and Zagg’s options, the Adonit stylus has palm rejection, tilt recognition, and iPad app compatibility. The Note+ separates itself from the crowd with two programmable buttons to improve your workflow. (Note: there’s an older version of the Note+ that requires a little dongle, so be careful when you shop.)

The previous options on the list are certainly cheaper than the $99 first-gen Apple Pencil, but they’re still relatively expensive compared to the JamJake Stylus Pen. This knockoff Apple Pencil doesn’t have the polish like the others, but it’s also less than half the price of the alternatives. It has all the features typical of a stylus, as well as a magnetic attachment for iPad Pros. It’s certainly not a well-known brand, so maybe temper your expectations around quality or durability.

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