Pencil Sleeve enhances a user’s experience with the Apple Pencil.

I’ve always enjoyed handwriting, but I was always one of those kids who pressed way too hard with their pens and pencils. This ended up causing my hand to get tired much sooner than it should have and I always ended up with sores built up on my middle finger (where the writing utensil would rest). I remember when I was in about third grade how pencil cushions became all the rage. They were a soft rubbery accessory for your pencil that was supposed to help with that sore on the middle finger. For me, they only caused my handwriting to become illegible. So, I went back to a naked pencil. When Apple announced their Pencil accessory for the iPad Pro, I was ecstatic and somewhat nervous. What if I fell victim to the same problem I had when I was younger? Fortunately, Griffin Technologies knew this might a problem for some people and they created the Pencil Sleeve.

Griffin designed this accessory to be a combination of comfort and function for Apple Pencil users. Meant for all-day use, the Pencil Sleeve is molded from non-slip silicone and shaped like a rounded triangle. This triangular shape also prevents the pencil from rolling off a flat surface. Knowing that people’s hands are not all the same size, Griffin made the Pencil Sleeve taper gently in the cross section so that it’s comfortable to hold no matter what size of the hand holding it. The Pencil Sleeve provides an easy grip for many styles of use such as sketching, shading, coloring, detail work, and stippling so that it’s a much easier task.

Griffin Pencil Sleeve REVIEW

One of the potential problems I saw with the Apple Pencil when it was announced was the potential loss of the pencil cap. There are accessories being designed now to combat that very specific problem, but Griffin has also created a solution with the spiral wrapping ‘leash’ on the Pencil Sleeve. The end of the sleeve has includes a cap for the Lightning plug. This end is also equipped with a capacitive stylus. With it, you can flip the pencil over and use the stylus to do basic tough functions like tap, drag, and opening menus.  This end is also compatible with Procreate. If you make a mistake while you are creating in that app, you can simply flip the pencil over and the capacitive stylus will act as an eraser. I was not able to test out this particular function because I don’t currently have a copy of Procreate.

When I pulled the Pencil Sleeve out of the package, I had a few looming questions.

  1. How easy would it be to put the Pencil Sleeve on the Apple Pencil?
  2. Would the sleeve add a lot of weight?
  3. Would the stylus end work with other non-Pro versions of the iPad?
  4. Would the sleeve actually make my use of the pencil more comfortable?

Within just a few minutes, I was able to successfully answer all of these questions. The installation came first. Griffin actually did a very nice job of providing accurate, descriptive instructions. This is actually a complaint I have of most modern accessories – they lack good instructions. The Pencil Sleeve does not. It has an illustrated guide with very easy to follow written instructions. That said, the sleeve was a little bit of a pain to slide onto the Apple Pencil. I don’t think it’s a fault of the design — it’s just that the sleeve is silicone and the pencil is smooth. It was bound to happen. I did find though that the more you mess with it or try to force it, the more there is air trapped and creating a vacuum effect. I would advise setting the pencil down for a moment and then trying again. This worked for me and I was able to finish the installation within just a few seconds.

Griffin Pencil Sleeve REVIEW

The sleeve along weighs less than half an ounce and I really didn’t know its weight making a huge difference in the balance of the pencil. I tend to grip my writing utensils a bit lower on the product than some people. So, I wish that the sleeve was just a bit longer for my personal comfort, but other than that, the balance remained good. Next, the stylus end does indeed work with other iPads. I tested it out on my iPad Air 2 and was able to write normally as I would with any stylus.

As for comfort, as I already mentioned, I’d love to see the sleeve be a just a bit longer, but in general, I thought it was very easy to write with. I didn’t end up using the Apple Pencil with Pencil Sleeve for an extended period of time while testing, but notice that just after a few minutes, my hand wasn’t cramping up or feeling sore in any way. I love the softer feel of the silicone sleeve. It’s a nice change from the hard plastic exterior of the pencil. The only downside I really see with using the Pencil Sleeve is that some of the Apple Pencil’s accessories are not useable along with it. For example, I have a nice wooden box for the pencil to rest in. When the sleeve is on it, the pencil will no longer fit inside.

Griffin Pencil Sleeve REVIEW

If you are a heavy user of the Apple Pencil, I would recommend investing in the sleeve. Light users may not see a huge benefit from it — especially if it keeps you from using other accessories you enjoy — but I think it’s a nice option for enhancing the user experience of the Apple Pencil.

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