Alternatives, Digital Art

Rock Paper Pencil vs. Paperlike

Comparing two top matte screen protectors for iPad

Rock Paper Pencil and Paperlike both tackle a big dilemma… How can artists and notetakers replicate the feeling of writing on paper on their iPads?

With the help of modern nano-texture technology, these innovative brands are transporting the resistance, drag, and familiarity of paper to the digital world. 

Rock Paper Pencil is our very own product and, just like our drawing software for iPad, it embodies a user-centric approach to iPad artistry. But how does it stack up to one of the established leaders in the matte screen protector world? 

Rock Paper Pencil ballpoint apple pencil tip hovering over an iPad with a matte screen protector
Rock Paper Pencil

Rock Paper Pencil vs Paperlike: The Main Differences in iPad Screen Protectors

Rock Paper Pencil is the newest screen protector for iPads that emulates the feeling of writing on paper. The magnetic screen protector is reusable, easy to install, and comes with two ballpoint Apple Pencil tips. The screen protector and pencil tips are designed to work together to create the most realistic pen-on-paper feeling.

Paperlike has a similar goal, but the overall product is not as cohesive and comprehensive as Rock Paper Pencil. The matte screen protector is not reusable, and it is difficult to install.

Unlike Rock Paper Pencil, Paperlike does not come with new tips for the Apple pencil, so users have to use the standard Apple Pencil tip. That being said, the integrated Nanodots® technology will give the surface of your iPad a distinct papery feel. 

Let’s take a look at some of the other differences. 


Rock Paper Pencil

Rock Paper Pencil is designed for easy installation. The matte screen protector has integrated magnetic strips on each end. You can simply tap it into place, and rest assured that the screen will stay where you have put it.

If you accidentally place the protector in the wrong spot, just gently remove it and try again. 


Applying a Paperlike screen protector is far more difficult. First, you’ll need to use a number of tools including dust absorbers, sticker guides, wet wipes, and dry wipes. Then you’ll need to watch a step-by-step video that takes you through the installation process.

Installing Paperlike is similar to installing a new phone screen protector. If you install the protector incorrectly, you can trap air bubbles and dust particles underneath. On top of that, you only get one chance to apply the protector.

Winner: Rock Paper Pencil takes the win with a super easy-to-use magnetic installation feature. 

gif apply magnetic screen protector to ipad
Rock Paper Pencil: easy installation with integrated magnetic strips


Rock Paper Pencil

Rock Paper Pencil offers unbeatable pen-on-paper realism. There is no other product that combines a screen protector and Apple Pencil tips that are designed to work together. 

  • The screen protector is made with nano-texture technology that mimics the texture of paper and minimizes glare. 
  • The compatible ballpoint pencil tips allow for controlled and precise lines when drawing and writing. They are built to be wear-resistant so your pencil tip won’t wear down over time, and neither will your screen protector!

When you drag the compatible nib tip over the screen protector, you’ll get the same sort of feeling you get from your favorite smooth ballpoint pen on paper.


Like Rock Paper Pencil, Paperlike benefits from a nano-texture surface. The patented Nanodots® Surface Technology ensures a paper-like feel as well as precision and clarity.

However, Paperlike doesn’t consider the other essential element, the pen. Using the standard Apple Pencil tip with a matte screen protector can cause the tip to wear down over time. 

Winner: Rock Paper Pencil cinches the win because it combines a paper-like surface with nib tips that replicate the feeling of using a smooth ballpoint pen. 

Rock Paper Pencil ballpoint apple pencil tip hovering over an iPad with a matte screen protector with flower art on the screen
Rock Paper Pencil: matte screen protector and ballpoint pencil tip

Removability & Reusability 

Rock Paper Pencil

We know that iPad fans don’t just use their devices for drawing and notetaking. What happens when you want to use your iPad’s crystal-clear display to watch a show? Luckily, Rock Paper Pencil is super easy to remove, and it even comes with a screen protector folder for easy storage. Just gently remove the magnetic strips from the screen and slip the screen protector into the pouch. When you’re ready to write or create art again, just repeat the simple magnetic installation process. 


Paperlike is not reusable. Once it’s on, it’s on. You can take it off, but you won’t be able to reinstall it. The only caveat to this is that the product comes with two screen protectors, so you will have at least one more shot at using the product. 

Winner: Rock Paper Pencil’s magnetic strips make it easily reusable, so it’s no surprise it has won this round. 

Rock Paper Pencil packaging flatlay including the package, the screen protector, the pencil tips, and the storage folder
Rock Paper Pencil packaging with storage folder for screen protector


Rock Paper Pencil is compatible with the following iPads. 

  • iPad Pro 12.9” – 3rd generation and newer
  • iPad Pro 11”
  • iPad Air 11”
  • 👉 Don’t see your iPad size? Let us know what size you’re looking for here.

Paperlike is compatible with the following iPads. 

  • iPad Pro 12.9”
  • iPad Pro 11”
  • iPad Air 10.9”
  • iPad 10.2” – 2019, 2020, and 2021 versions
  • iPad Mini – 2021 version 
  • iPad 10.9” – 2022 version 

Winner: Paperlike is suitable for a much broader range of iPads, making it the top-pick for compatibility. 


Rock Paper Pencil is $39, and it comes with: 

  • 1x reusable screen protector
  • 2x ballpoint tips 
  • 1x storage folder 

Paperlike is $45, and it comes with: 

  • 2x non-reusable screen protectors 
  • Installation essentials:
    • 2x wet wipes
    • 1x dry screen wipe
    • 2x dust absorbers
    • 2x sticker guide sheets

Winner: Rock Paper Pencil is the best option for those who want the best value for their purchase. 

Final Thoughts: Rock Paper Pencil vs Paperlike

Paperlike definitely has a few stand-out features. It’s compatible with a wide range of iPads and its nano-texture surface creates a great paper-like writing experience. However the product has a few major gaps, such as the difficult installation process, the inability to reuse the screen protector, and the lack of pencil tips. Overall, Paperlike does what it says on the tin, but doesn’t provide the same user-friendly experience as Rock Paper Pencil. 

Luckily, Rock Paper Pencil fills all the gaps that Paperlike has left untouched. Instead of just focusing on the screen, Rock Paper Pencil considers every aspect of your iPad experience. The combination of the magnetic nano-texture protector and the ballpoint pencil tips creates an unbeatable overall experience. It offers simple installation, superior texture, and the ability to remove and reuse your screen protector whenever you need. 

Rock Paper Pencil was inspired by a decade of engineering drawing software for artists. For 10 years, we’ve worked closely with hundreds of thousands of digital artists to build products like Astropad Studio and Darkboard.

What have we learned? Precision is everything.

From our time developing drawing software, we know that no two artists work alike — so the ability to precisely control every element of the drawing experience is key. That’s why we built Rock Paper Pencil.