Adonit Jot Pro and Jot Mini Review

One of the drawbacks of the capacitive screens we find on so many new devices is that a traditional stylus will not work. There are styli that work on these new screens but I haven’t found many that work well. Here are two of the offerings from Adonit – The Pro and Mini.

Most styli use a conductive rubber material to trick capacitive screens into thinking its your finger. They are generally pretty bad.  The only way to describe them is they are like you stuck your finger on the end of a pencil.  Some glide on the screen ok, but most have a little bit of resistance, and the tips cover where you are drawing.  Accuracy is generally poor as well.

The key feature on Adonit Jot series styli is a clear conductive disk instead of the traditional rubber tip. It is mounted on a ball that lets the disk rotate any way you turn it, and you can lean it up to a 45 degree angle. I have found that this is more than adequate for most types of drawings, and excellent for writing notes.

The tip glides, and feels much like an actual pen when you draw or write with it.  Since it is clear, you can see where you are drawing, too.  This is a huge advantage over the other styli with black rubber tips.  I have also been impressed with how accurate it is.  After using it for just a short period of time, you will be able to lay down virtual ink exactly where I want to.  Adonit also has a SDK for software developers to use their code that makes their stylus work even better.  Many apps, including my favorite drawing app, Procreate, use this in their apps.

I have two versions in Adonit’s line up.  The Pro is almost the length of a regular pen, and a little bit bigger around than your normal pens.  It has a rubber grip area and comes in four colors – red, blue, gray, and silver. I actually bought the pro to get the gray color as you can’t get silver or gray until you spring for the higher price pro version. It has a cap on the end that keeps the tip protected when you aren’t using it, and the cap will screw to the other end of the pen so you don’t lose it when you are using it. There are magnets in it that keep it from rolling off your ipad screen, but that’s all they do. They are not secure enough for a method of transport. I have noticed Adonit has updated this version with a spring loaded tip to simulate the feel of an actual ball point pen and quiet down taps. I will put one of these on my Christmas list.

The Mini is much smaller.  Its just barely long enough to where you can hold it like a regular pen, and its about the same size around as a regular bic pen.  It also has a protective cap that screws on either end.  The disk is a fraction smaller than the pro, but I have not noticed a difference in performance. The mini comes in four colors as well, but only fruity ones. The mini also has a cut out on the end that supposed to be used to clip it to something, but I have not found it very useful.  The clip just does not work that well and when you clip it on things it won’t really lay down flat.

I have been very happy with both of these units, but I have encountered a few problems with them over time.  After lots of use,  the disks will get loose. Since these styli work by connecting you to the screen,  the solid connection is lost and the performance suffers.  You can put a bandaid on it like this, but it is only temporary. Adonit sells new disks, but at $6 bucks a pop, plus shipping, it can be expensive to replace. There is also not a model with a decent clip on it.  I got the mini because it appears to have a clip, but I didn’t find it very practical in most situations. The mini will fit in quite nicely in your pocket though. I also lost the cap to my pro, but that is no fault of Adonit.  It’s another $8 to replace it.  :(

All in all, this is by far the best stylus I have used. Yes, the disk wearing out, the clip not working that well, and the cost of replacement parts are a bummer. The performance however, is still worth the cost. Its the difference between finger painting and drawing with a fine pen. Finding a proper drawing utensil for capacitive screens can leave you with a fuzzy dilemma, but the Jots from Adonit are clearly the best.

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