Logitech has announced a new stylus called Pen, and it aims to be the best option available for classrooms full of Chromebooks. Unlike many rubber-tipped styli, the pen is an active stylus that supports the Universal Stylus Initiative (USI) standard, effectively guaranteeing one thing: it works right out of the box on some recent Chromebooks – no pairing required.
If a Chromebook is mentioned on this list, the Pen will work with it. Logitech says more Chromebook manufacturers have made progress with the USI standard, so expect more models to be added.
The pen can be charged via a USB-C port where you’d find the eraser on a traditional pencil, and Logitech says it will last up to 15 days of normal school use, though that claim assumes your student will charge it for about 2 days. .5 hours a day with its smart sleep and wake function enabled. When it dies, Logitech claims a 30-second charge can get you 30 minutes of use, and it can be used while it’s charging.
Logitech’s Pen isn’t a consumer-oriented device, so don’t expect to find it in stores. Instead, it’s education-only, and IT executives in your districts can inquire about orders through Logitech’s site and other education tech resellers starting today, with shipping beginning April 2022. Logitech said each pen will be $64. Costs .99, but it doesn’t allow small purchases yet. You will need to place a larger order.
It’s true that Logitech isn’t the first company to release a USI-compatible stylus, nor is its pen the most affordable or the most capable. Lenovo’s $34.99 USI Pen on sale here, just to name one of many, offers the same 4,096 pressure levels and support for the USI standard. But Logitech’s take on the pen is to become more of a staple in the classroom with its design. The yellow splashes of color are meant to be reminiscent of a pencil, and there’s even a pen loop that sticks to the lid of a Chromebook screen for easy storage. The pen has a silicone grip to hold it comfortably.
We had the chance to test the pen on an Acer Chromebook Spin 713, an advanced Chromebook compatible with the USI standard. The pen worked in the same way as the Penoval USI Stylus in terms of lag and writing dynamics and the larger, triangular design may be easier for younger hands to grip. It lacks buttons or even an eraser tip on the top, which is compatible with some, but not all, USI Chromebooks. It’s clear that Logitech has prioritized simplicity over a plethora of features here.
Logitech says the pen meets the MIL-STD-810G specification for durability and is able to survive drops from a height of 1.20 meters. It is also spill resistant. Plus, Logitech built its nib so that students fidgeting shouldn’t be able to pull it out easily (although it can be removed with needle-nose pliers). Logitech backs each stylus with a three-year warranty.
Since several other USI-supported styli are widely available to consumers, it would be great if Logitech made these available to more than just educators. The company didn’t even hint at a possible expansion of availability. But maybe that will change once it launches in April 2022.