Logitech has announced a new stylus called Pen, and it’s aimed at being 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’ll work out of the box on a number of recent Chromebooks — no pairing required.
If a Chromebook is mentioned on this list, the Pen will work with it. Logitech says that more Chromebook manufacturers have been moving forward with the USI standard, so expect to see more models added to it.
The Pen can recharge via a USB-C port located where you’d find the eraser on a traditional pencil, and Logitech says it can last for up to 15 days of regular school use, though that claim assumes your student is using it for about 2.5 hours a day with its smart sleep and wake feature enabled. If it dies, Logitech claims that a 30-second charge can yield 30 minutes of use, and it can be used while recharging.
Logitech’s Pen isn’t a consumer-facing device, so don’t expect to find it in stores. Instead, it’s just for education, and IT managers in your districts will be able to inquire through Logitech’s site and other education tech resellers about orders starting today, with shipping kicking off in April 2022. Logitech shared that each Pen costs $64.99, but it isn’t allowing piecemeal purchases yet. You’ll have 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 that’s available for purchase here, just to name one example of many, offers the same 4,096 levels of pressure and support for the USI standard. But Logitech’s angle for the Pen is to be more of a staple for the classroom with its design. Its yellow splashes of color are meant to be reminiscent of a pencil, and there’s even a Pen loop that can be adhered to the lid of a Chromebook display for easy storage. The Pen features a silicon grip to make holding it feel comfortable.
We had a chance to test the Pen on an Acer Chromebook Spin 713, a higher-end Chromebook that’s compatible with the USI standard. The Pen worked very similarly to the Penoval USI stylus in terms of lag and writing dynamics and its larger, triangle-shaped design might be easier for younger hands to grip. It lacks any buttons or even an eraser tip on the top, which is compatible with some, but not all, USI Chromebooks. It’s clear Logitech prioritized simplicity over an abundance of features here.
Logitech says the Pen meets the MIL-STD-810G spec for durability and is able to survive up to four-foot drops. It’s also spill-resistant. Additionally, Logitech built its Pen tip in such a way that students who fidget shouldn’t easily be able to pull it out (though it can be removed with needle-nosed pliers). Logitech is backing each stylus with a three-year warranty.
Given that several other USI-supporting styli are widely available to consumers, it’d be great if Logitech made this one available to more than just educators. The company didn’t even hint at an eventual widening of its availability. Though, perhaps that might change once it launches in April 2022.