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Bamboo Fineline vs. Apple Pencil

Bamboo Fineline vs. Apple Pencil: A Digital Artists Guide

We run through the two best options on the market for iPad drawing tools: Bamboo Fineline vs. Apple Pencil.

Getting the right equipment is essential to creating your best work as an artist.

The stylus’ latest incarnations offer a plethora of features to enhance smartphones and tablets’ user experience.

When it comes to tablet tools and accessories, we will not be surprised if the first brand you mention is the Apple Pencil.

Since it was first introduced into the market, other brands have attempted to create their versions, which can also be used with iPads.

Many of them come at a lower price, but do not be deceived because some are quite good.

There are other pen stylus models and brands out there such as Wacom’s Bamboo Fineline.

Let’s get to know which is better between Bamboo Fineline vs. Apple Pencil.

Finding The Right One

There are a lot of stylus pens that are made to be used for specific gadgets, particularly for IPad.

This is quite understandable because, in recent years, the iPad has emerged to become one of the best gadgets to use for productivity and creativity.

To go along with that, you need the best tools.

Apple offers its designs and product lines for this.

They make their stylus pen (Apple Pencil), keyboard (Smart Keyboard and Keyboard Folio) that work best with the iPad.

Or so they say.

Other companies have jumped on the bandwagon of producing stylus pens, keyboards, and cases that are compatible with the iPad.

In each product category, you will find various product lines and styles in different price ranges.

One quick Google search for product reviews will show you that third party brands offer products that work well.

Wacom and Logitech are some of the most trusted third-party brands that provide top quality products.

Of course, they did put out their product lines for the iPad.

Thanks to product reviews and buyer’s guides, you don’t have to buy a bunch of similar products to determine which one suits your needs.

Some Considerations

The first thing to ask yourself before buying is, what is a stylus, and do you need it?

What gadget will you use it for?

As iPads and smartphones become more ubiquitous, so are the tools and accessories that make the user experience more fun and worthwhile.

Swiping on the touchscreen with a finger was okay for a while.

Still, it was only a matter of time before the engineers and designers from different companies caught on to the opportunity to offer something new.

Using stylus pens for tablets was indeed a revelation because it allowed users to maximize the use of their gadgets.

Brands like Apple, Wacom, Logitech, and generic, lower-priced models from various online sellers will tell you that you do need one to get the most out of your tablet-using experience.

Before you pull out your wallet, think about this: if you are using tablets and phones primarily for media consumption, then maybe the answer is no.

However, if you want to do digital notetaking, illustrations, drawing, and even calligraphy, then you should keep reading.

What To Look Out For

Written below are some key features and functions to look out for and what to ask yourself before making a purchase:

Purpose – what do you need the stylus for?

Are you a student who will use the iPad for digital notetaking?

Or are you a creative director who needs to produce collaterals and other marketing materials in high resolution?

What tool can help me do my job well?

Function – what functions does this particular stylus pen offer?

Make a choice depending on the function that is most important and useful to you.

You don’t need to buy the nicest looking, more expensive model if all you need the stylus for is notetaking.

If you are a graphic artist who does a lot of illustrations and graphic design, then you might want to invest in a stylus that has more advanced features.

Price – who doesn’t love a good deal, right?

We would caution you to consider a different perspective in terms of price.

Although the stylus pen is an essential tool, the iPad and your reason for using it are still more important.

Apple Pencil: The Popular Choice

Although different stylus pen models have been around for a long time, it became even more mainstream when Apple introduced their own.

The Apple Pencil was meant to make writing and drawing on the tablet much more straightforward.

When it was introduced, it was the tool that people didn’t know they needed to enhance the experience of using an iPad.

Despite being a little expensive (at $99 for the Apple Pencil 1 and $129 for the Apple Pencil 2), it was easy to justify the investment because of its functions and overall contribution to the iPad user experience.

The Apple Pencil 1was launched in 2015—in the same year that Apple launched the first iPad Pro.

There was a lot of buzz surrounding the Apple Pencil at the time of its release because of its sleek design and its functionality.

In 2018, Apple launched the second generation model, called the Apple Pencil 2.

With a heftier price tag came a bunch of new features, which I will discuss the similarities and differences in the following section.

Similarities And Differences: Apple Pencil 1 And Apple Pencil 2

Upon first look, you will notice that the Apple Pencil 1 is longer than the Apple Pencil 2.

The charging port is at the opposite end of the first generation Pencil and is covered by a removable cap.

To charge, you have to remove the cap and connect the charging port to the iPad’s lightning port.

Meanwhile, the Apple Pencil 2 attaches to the side of the iPad for charging.

Another difference between the Apple Pencil 2 and its predecessor is the design of the body.

The second-generation model has a flat side, which allows for better grip when writing or drawing.

You can tap on this flat side to change tools (pen to highlighter to paintbrush, etc.!)

The flat side also prevents it from rolling away.

This flat surface on the Apple Pencil is what you attach to the iPad for charging.

The side of the Pencil and the iPad attach magnetically, so there is no need to worry about damaging either gadget.

Overall, there isn’t much of a difference between the two models, other than its appearance, are few.

Other than the mode of charging, and compatibility to certain iPad models, the functions are mostly the same.

Advantage

The Apple Pencil has become a bit of a revelation to the public since it was launched in 2015.

Before, the iPad was a “supplementary” gadget made for those who wanted to play games and consume media.

The main advantage of having the Apple Pencil opened more doors to use the iPad for creative work and productivity.

People can use it when making drawings, calligraphy, illustrations, and taking notes.

It’s an excellent tool for those who want to transition their notes and work to a digital (i.e. paperless) platform.

The Apple Pencil added value to the iPad because it became an essential gadget on its own.

Students and artists alike clamored for both the iPad and the Apple Pencil because it offered a way to transition into a digital platform.

Disadvantage

One disadvantage of the Apple Pencil 1 that comes to mind is how it is charged.

Attaching the rear end of the pen to the lightning port of an iPad looks awkward and inconvenient.

You have to devote a stable and safe space for charging lest you risk having someone knock it over while setting.

Damaging both the iPad’s lightning port and the Apple Pencil itself becomes a real risk.

Some users have also complained that it’s hard to establish a firm grip on the Apple Pencil when writing.

Others have resorted to buying sleeves and grips to ensure stability and a firm grip.

This is especially important for notetakers.

There is a $30 price jump between the Apple Pencil 1 and the Apple Pencil 2.

Are the added features worth the extra $30?

It depends.  

In terms of performance, both Apple Pencils deliver similar performance when writing, drawing, calligraphy, and even painting.

We think that having either model of the Apple Pencil has more advantages than disadvantages.

The Verdict On Apple Pencil

Choosing which Pencil to buy depends more on which iPad model you will use it with than your budget or the Pencil’s retail price.

The first generation pencil is compatible with iPads with a lightning port: the third-generation iPad Air (2019), the fifth generation of the iPad Mini (2019), and the 2019 and 2020 models of the 10.2 inch iPad.

While the second-generation model is compatible with the third and fourth generation iPad Pro and the fourth-generation iPad Air—all released in 2020.

Both models are excellent tools to have if you want to use your iPad for productivity and creative work.

Bamboo Fineline: The Worthy Alternative

Some were concerned about the price of the Apple Pencil when it first came out.

Many asked if it was worth it to pay $99 so that they can write on the iPad’s surface.

Stylus pens have been around for a while and seemed to do the same job as the Apple Pencil claims.

Wacom, along with other tech companies, attempted to share the piece of the stylus pen pie.

As a brand, Wacom has been popular among graphic artists and illustrators.

They’ve built a reputation for providing cutting edge technology for digital art.

Their products have been used and trusted by many graphic design professionals for many years.

It’s not a surprise that they came out with their iPad-compatible stylus.

The first model of the Bamboo Fineline was released in 2014.

It was well-received for being a lower-cost and effective alternative to those who want to save some money but still experience using a stylus with their iPad.

Of course, with every new iPad release come updates in their operating systems.

This is why Wacom released updated versions of the Bamboo Fineline.

The Verdict on the Bamboo Fineline

The Bamboo Fineline differs from the Apple Pencil in many ways.

First and most obvious difference is its appearance.

The Bamboo Fineline comes in various colors and has a clip.

This is convenient because you can place it securely in your pocket and not have to worry about it falling out.

The clip can also be used to attach the stylus pen to sheets of paper.

Having the clip also prevents the stylus from rolling around on surfaces.

The Bamboo Fineline can be charged through USB.

You may plug it into your computer or into any adaptor with a USB port and leave it to charge.

When you buy a Bamboo Fineline, it comes with a USB cord to be used for charging.

It is a little more challenging to do detail work with the Bamboo Fineline, especially if compared to the Apple Pencil on the iPad.

The Bamboo Fineline connects to the iPad through Bluetooth, but sometimes there’s a lag.

It works well while writing in block letters but doesn’t when writing cursive or doing calligraphy.   

Wacom has attempted to improve on this with each Fineline model that it has come out with.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t hold up well against the Apple Pencil in terms of overall performance.

Price vs. Value

There is a slight difference in the pricing of the Bamboo Fineline and Apple Pencil.

The Apple Pencil is more expensive and works just with the iPad.

The Fineline, however, works with both iPads and iPhones.

Because it works with a broader range of gadgets, the Fineline might be a good option if you want something that is good value for money.

However, if you look at the features and functions that each model offers, then some of you may find that it might be worth paying extra for some more advanced features.

However, if you’re looking for a tool that can help with some notetaking and don’t want to spend the extra bucks, then the Bamboo Fineline might be a good option.

Palm Rejection And Pressure Sensitivity

Palm Rejection refers to the function in which places the focus of the pressure on the stylus’s tip when writing.

When writing or drawing on a tablet, you only want the letters and/or illustrations to be transferred to the iPad.

However, because your palm will most likely rest on the iPad’s surface while you’re writing, the palm print and pressure must be “rejected.”  

Both the Bamboo Fineline and the Apple Pencil offer useful palm rejection features.

Another function that you should keep in mind is Pressure Sensitivity.

This feature is most important to those who do detailed shading, illustrations, and other graphic work.

The Apple Pencil has better pressure sensitivity than the Bamboo Fineline.

Before you write off the Fineline, do consider if you need this function at all.

Suppose you’re not going to do illustrations, painting, and graphic design instead of using the stylus for writing and annotating.

In that case, you don’t need a stylus that has good pressure sensitivity.

Replacement Nibs

The tip or nib of the Apple Pencil and the Bamboo Fineline might get worn out at some point depending on how often you use it and how much pressure you apply when writing.

Fun fact: the Apple Pencil 1 comes with a replacement nib upon purchase.

The good news is, you can buy replacement nibs for both the Bamboo Fineline and the Apple Pencil.

These are available on each of their respective websites.

Of course, some online sellers sell these nibs.

Always remember to be careful.

Read reviews and research before buying from third party sources.

Compatibility With Other Devices

Both the Bamboo Fineline and the Apple Pencil only work on Apple devices.

While the Apple Pencil works only on iPad, the Fineline can work on both iPhone and iPad via Bluetooth technology.

We understand why Android users cannot use the Apple Pencil for Android devices, but we were hoping that the Bamboo Fineline would, since most Android devices have Bluetooth.

However, given the slightly lower price tag compared to the Apple Pencil and considering how well it works on Apple devices, we will be willing to overlook a few complaints.

Final Thoughts

Using a stylus with your iPad opens up more opportunities to explore and make it more useful.

Of course, you can keep using it to play games, browse social media, and watch videos.

But having a stylus can open up the opportunity for notetaking and making digital art.

While the Apple Pencil remains the most popular and in demand, the Bamboo Fineline is also a good alternative.

Hopefully, the information we shared helped you decide which one to get between Bamboo Fineline vs. Apple Pencil.

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