Catalyst Apple Pencil Grip Case REVIEW Tech up your Apple Pencil

The Apple Pencil accessory has been a very useful tool for my iPad Pro 10.5″, but I have a love-hate relationship with the thin round design. If you visit your local Best Buy or navigate the digital Amazon aisles, you can find a variety of grips, cases and sheathes. I have perused the available options and thought about getting at least a grip to enhance the writing experience. The smooth surface of the Apple Pencil and the weighted charging end felt most comfortable resting on the web space between digit 1/2 of my right hand. It was possible to hold the pencil in other positions but this tended to cause some fatigue in my hand. I wanted a grip/sheath to thicken the pencil and to provide a better surface to reduce the need to grip the pencil as tightly. I was incredibly excited when my favorite case company Catalyst announced their new line of gear at the Pepcom Digital Experience in San Francisco, California. Known for their amazing waterproof cases and product packaging, Catalyst has expanded their expertise to the Apple Pencil.

The Catalyst Apple Pencil Grip Case arrived in a 1 5/8 inches wide by 7 1/2 inches tall by 3/4 inches wide attractive retail package. True to Catalyst form, the cover used the same top-down, dark-to-light gradient that I have come to enjoy. Starkly contrasting the dark background color, the bright white Catalyst title/logo and the white/orange sub-title “Apple Pencil Grip Case” actively drew my attention. Just beneath the subtitle, you will find an attractive photo-quality image of the Pencil Grip Case and an icon detailing the anti-roll shape. If you rotate the package 90 degrees clockwise, you will notice that Catalyst included an exploded diagram of the pencil case with carabiner and detailed their #CatalystCase hashtag (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). The back fo the packaging displayed a shadowy hand holding the pencil and then a picture of the carabiner. The opposing side panel and the bottom panel provided all of the extra product labels, SKU/Barcodes, and warranty information. The packaging promised to add an anti-roll feature to the Apple Pencil and to protect it from side impacts (Mil-STD 810G). Made of hypoallergenic silicone, the protective Catalyst Apple Pencil Grip Case should work for just about everyone.

The Grip Case was easily removed from the packaging but I was a little surprised that the device was not resting on a thin plastic tray. Instead, the pencil case was surrounded by a thin clear plastic bag. The seven inches long by 1/2 inches wide triangular grip case felt amazing in hand. Located 3/4 inches from the carabiner hook, you will find the 1 5/8 inches long by 1/4 inch oval pencil insertion point. To install the pencil, simply slide the tip into the cut-out on the side of the case and then continue until you meet resistance. The back of the case will fold over the top edge of the pencil, securely containing it within the grip case. If desired, you can insert the included carabiner into the carabiner hook on the grip case. The aluminum carabiner does not lock and should not be used for load bearing activities. It did provide a convenient method to attach the pencil to a bag, a keyring inside of a bag or to your belt loop. As an added bonus, Catalyst included a 1 1/2 inches long by 1/2 inches wide lightning adapter sheath with carabiner loop. Insert the adaptor into the sheath and insert the carabiner into the loop. The entire system weighed an amazing 1.4 ounces (pencil, grip case, carabiner, and the lightning adaptor with sheath), which was only 0.4 ounces greater than the 1 ounce Apple Pencil.

The grip case proved to be everything that I expected from a Catalyst device. I was able to set the pencil down on a table/surface and the triangular design ensured that it would remain in the same location. I appreciated the carabiner loop, the included lightning adaptor sheath and the option to install the carabiner or to leave it aside. I was able to hold the pencil in various positions and found that the grip case did not interfere with the pencil tip, nor with the interaction with my iPad. I loved the overall feel, I loved the ability to hold the pencil without squeezing it and the ability to clip it to the key hook in my backpack. As noted previously, the Apple Pencil Grip Case did not add much to the weight of the one-ounce pencil. The thicker triangular sides significantly enhanced the grip. The pencil insertion point made adding/retrieving the Apple pencil a snap. To charge your pencil, you can simply fold back the pencil grip case and then reinstall the back of the case when done. The warm packaging was inviting and painted a great picture of the device. Installation was easy and the product simply enhances the comfort/utility of the Apple Pencil.

Learn more about Catalyst Products.
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Originally published at on May 11, 2018.

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