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Alternatives to Apple Pencil (+ video measuring the Pencil's radiation)
August 3, 2018
3:02 am
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Perene
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July 27, 2018
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I uploaded this video today. Here’s what I wrote in the description:

*********
Measured in this video (recorded in August 1st, 2018):

– The Apple Pencil;
– The iPAD Pro 10.5 (256 GB, wifi+cell), using both the 2.4 and 5 Ghz networks.

Note: the Cornet ED88TPlus (EMF meter) is using (for readings) volts per meter (V/m).

Remember the Archer C8 router is separated by a wall (in the other room), and it’s using beacon interval set to 1000 instead of 100, plus Transmit Power in LOW instead of Middle/High.

– When the video starts you can see the wi-fi/bluetooth aren’t enabled in the iPAD, however the radiation levels are high, even though my bedroom wasn’t like that in other videos. This is happening because the Pencil is already emitting RF radiation (with a distinct sound effect in the Cornet), and it’s close.

The proof is that at 02:22 when I move the Pencil away from the bed the levels decrease right after. This indicates the Pencil is still trying to send a signal.

– 06:02 – Bluetooth is enabled in the iPAD Pro 10.5. The Pencil is still not paired, I only do that at 07:28 . 30 seconds later, at 07:58 , you can see how high the levels are when we use this pen.

– 08:25 – And the radiation is very high even when you hold the meter not that close.

– 13:48 – After this moment the Cornet ED88TPlus meter stops working (I had to replace the 9V battery). So all readings from this point should be ignored.

– 16:00 – The video is resumed from here, with the Acoustimeter now being used to measure my bedroom and later these two devices. In 17:05 I get higher readings because the Archer C8 router is located in the other room, in a straight line path, if we point at this wall.

– 17:55 – The Acoustimeter doesn’t pick anything because the Apple Pencil is not paired. This happens at 18:44 – check how the noise made by the meter changes, and the radiation levels suddenly increase.

In the next minutes we see how this Pencil alone (plus the iPAD Pro 10.5) can give so much EMF pollution, so much that at 20:38 it hits the max 6 V/m, and it’s above the Pencil.

– 21:45 – We still get very high levels after the Pencil is moved further away from the iPAD.

– 23:28 – When the bluetooth connection is disabled in the iPAD the Acoustimeter changes A LOT from what we were seeing. Now it’s mostly the wi-fi signal from the router that is being read.

– 24:10 – If I am not mistaken the exact moment bluetooth is turned ON is when the meter changes from 0.16 to 0.46. Readings don’t increase much, yet we get a distinct scratching sound with Acoustimeter, that stops when after 24:42 we turn bluetooth off again.

– 25:17 – Going to iOS 10.3.2 internal wi-fi settings makes the levels increase a lot because this is the moment when the device is boosting its signal to find all nearby networks (including the ones from your neighbors), or to establish a connection with the ones we saved.

– At 25:42 we get a distinct noise when we enter the iOS settings for bluetooth, where we can see all scanned devices that use this technology, including the ones we already paired. This also increases the radiation emitted by the iPAD.

– 26:14 – Now the 5 Ghz network (“ARCHER C8”) is being tested. Note that bluetooth is also ON.

– 27:04 – Bluetooth disabled, now only the 5 Ghz.

– 28:16 – Switching to 2.4 GHz (still with bluetooth disabled).
*********

As you can see the Apple Pencil emits a lot of RF radiation, I used two different meters and in both cases (more with Acoustimeter, which seems more reliable) I noticed very high readings.

I am opening this thread for a discussion about alternatives which don’t use bluetooth. The best one I know it’s the S-Pen, that can be used in the Galaxy Tab. It works differently and doesn’t need to be powered.

Samsung is releasing the Tab S4 this month, I am considering buying and then selling my Pencil, since I don’t want to be exposed to bluetooth anymore.

Both have pros and cons, however for the use I intended, which is taking notes, the S-Pen may be enough. I only have the IPP 10.5 right now, but I want a 2nd tablet, which is not going to be a replacement, instead it will help me even more with my studies.

Here’s a video from the S-Pen being used:

And this link explains how it works:

https://www.androidauthority.com/break-it-down-how-does-the-s-pen-work-154435/

Apparently the Apple Pencil is better for drawing (also in terms of apps, lacking for the Samsung).

November 18, 2018
8:00 pm
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Perene
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OK, here’s an update:

– I couldn’t find the new Galaxy Tab S4 in local stores. It’s not available here yet. However I looked into the S3, which uses the S-Pen, that doesn’t require bluetooth, so no RF radiation, only I guess magnetic field since it doesn’t need to be recharged.

If the S-Pen in the S4 is the same then I’d say at least with the default notes app this is really bad. It can’t be compared to the Apple Pencil, in the iPAD Pro 10.5 (the one I have) it’s like writing on paper. Here’s what I wrote in this Tab S4 thread:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/galaxy-tab-s4.2120905/page-5#post-26802102

*********
I had the opportunity to check the Tab S3 today. Couldn’t find the S4. However I focused on the S-Pen experience, didn’t care about the rest, which might even be good, from the looks of it. If this is the same in the S4, then (at least with the Samsung Notes app) it’s c.rap compared to what we have with the Apple Pencil and apps such as Notability and GoodNotes. (Note: this isn’t the only app for the Samsung, though. I know that… Still the question remains if others are anywhere good as these two).

I’d say it’s bad (regardless of the app) because when we try to use the S-Pen there’s a very noticeable delay and the whole thing seems fake, while the Apple Pencil writes in a split of a second once it touches the iPAD screen via bluetooth. In the Samsung this seems very unnatural.

If this is a hint to what we may expect in terms of app support for these Samsung tablets then I better stick with Apple and my IPP 10.5.
*********

If you read that Tab S4 thread from Macrumors and do some research like me you’ll reach the conclusion while this Samsung tablet is good it can’t be compared to what Apple offers, despite all limitations, and the ridiculous prices. I don’t intend to buy the new iPADs.

Recently Apple has released (in October 2018) a new Apple Pencil, and at the same time new iPADs (Pro 11 and Pro 12.9 3rd gen). I will call this new Pencil “2nd generation”.

1st gen Pencil only works with these iPADs:

– iPAD, 9.7, released in March 2018. It’s a cheaper model, a lot more limited.

– iPAD Pro 10.5, released in June 2017 (the one I have and use – still great).

– iPAD Pro 12.9 (2nd gen), released in June 2017.

– iPAD Pro 9.7, released in March 2016. Outdated by now.
– iPAD Pro 12.9 (1st gen), released in September 2015. Outdated by now.

And the 2nd gen Pencil only works with the new iPADs, released Oct 2018:

– iPAD Pro 11
– iPAD Pro 12.9, 3rd gen.

For more information about this new Pencil please read this article:

https://www.macrumors.com/2018/11/16/apple-pencil-comparison/

And search for reviews, including videos like this one:

– I need to draw attention to one thing in terms of EMF:

– The old Pencil (I didn’t show that in my camera recording) emits a lot of RF radiation once bluetooth is on and it’s paired to the iPAD. However once we turn bluetooth off completely in iOS then this should stop, right?

That’s true. But one thing I haven’t noticed until recently is that if we connect the Pencil to its adapter and start recharging (this can also be done with a cable) then it will continue to emit RF radiation nearby!

I didn’t record a video of this, yet it’s very interesting this can happen. I can only assume this is the case because the Pencil may also update the battery stats in iOS, from a distance.

But once the 1st gen Pencil it’s not recharging then it’s not emitting any RF radiation, of course. The battery also keeps being drained (even if it’s a little) while the Pencil is sitting idle in my drawer. I did a test once and after 2 days it wasted 21%. Read my post here for further details:

https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/apple-pencil-2-battery-life.2153502/page-3#post-26792979

Maybe it was a temporary glitch, one user said this is too much. I saw a shorter battery decrease over time, perhaps it was still thinking it was paired even while idle?

About the Apple Pencil 2:

– As you can see it automatically charges once we place them above these new iPADs. So that means more exposure in terms of EMF, since with the old 1st gen Pencil we could place the Pencil close to a wall socket and leave it there.

The new way of recharging the Pencil is more practical, however I wonder if it can emit RF radiation even when bluetooth is 100% off (not just temporarily) in iOS internal settings, once we also remove the Pencil from being charged and close to the iPAD device.

This would not make any sense since the battery would waste more quickly, but it’s always a possibility since Apple has showed to be against us in terms of EMF pollution. I always wonder if this is the case since the Pencil(s) don’t have a button to switch them off.

For example: Airpods (bluetooth headphones from them) apparently emit RF radiation ALL THE TIME once we remove them from their charger case. I saw a video showing this to be the case, and once they were put INSIDE the case they stopped broadcasting. I sold them, BTW, a while ago, and only use wired headphones now.

Currently I am using a normal pen and have also bought a clipboard and normal paper to write my notes. I never used the Apple Pencil for drawing (for that goal this is perhaps the best ever made), and taking notes with it while useful, it’s not practical since I never leave bluetooth always on and want to expose myself to RF radiation.

I am now contemplating the idea of selling my 1st gen Pencil, once I do some research on good normal pens, which can satisfy me, in terms of a) price, b) how good the ink can be once it touches the paper, and c) can last long enough.

Using a tablet for this won’t be the ultimate solution anyway, since I will also need to look at content such as ebooks at the same time, and I don’t want to buy a 2nd tablet just for writing with a digital stylus.

Digital styluses are great, despite the EMF radiation. Still this is something I purchased and don’t really have the need to keep it and continue to expose myself. In the coming month(s) I’ll decide what to do with mine.

December 11, 2018
5:54 am
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Havock
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December 11, 2018
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Hi,

I understand that the S pen itself does not emit radiation, but in order to enable the S pen to work the Samsung tablet has a Wacom digitizer in it which emits a magnetic field.

Have you, or anyone else, compared the EMF levels coming from the Samsung Tab S2 (no Wacom digitizer) to that of the Samsung S3 or S4 (they both have a Wacom digitizer since they are S pen enabled)?

I am thinking about buying a Samsung tablet but want to limit the level of EMF I am exposed to.

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