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Review: adonit Jot Touch Pressure Sensitive Stylus

The Jot Touch stylus from adonit has a transparent disc that enables you to see exactly what you’re drawing, as you draw it. The metal construction and the twist cap make sure the stylus feels great in the hand, and stays nicely in one piece during transport. The charger, which magnetically holds the Jot Touch upright while it juices up, fits neatly into the USB port of my MacBook Pro. Once charged, the Jot Touch pairs with my iPad 2 via Bluetooth, allowing me to enjoy pressure sensitivity in Jot-enabled apps like procreate and Sketchbook Pro.

The Jot

When the Jot is off you can use it as a plain stylus. It’s very comfortable thanks to its heft and the rubber grip near the tip of the device. The flexible disc that functions as the tip of the stylus is versatile and much easier to write and draw with – up to a certain point. If you’re used to writing and drawing at a less than 45-degree angle, the Jot Touch will often lose its contact with the surface of the iPad, resulting in, well, nothing. It has taken a bit of getting used to, but I’m learning to use the Jot Touch in a nearly vertical orientation, which gives me a little more control, and ensures that I don’t have any problems with the screen.

I haven’t had any issues with scratches on my bare iPad screen during this past week of use, but I was a little disappointed to find out that I probably couldn’t use my ZAGG InvisibleShield screen protector with the Jot Touch. Adonit’s own website warns about compatibility with specific skins, and my brief tests against the back of my iPad (which does have a shield on it) show that the surface is simply too friction-prone to draw comfortably on.

Touch

Before any of the Jot’s fancy pressure-sensitive features can come into play, you’ll have to turn the device on by holding down on the hidden power button (located between the two shortcut buttons near the tip of the stylus). Once the Jot Touch is on, it lasts for about 12 hours before needing another charge. In the past week of use, I’ve only needed to charge it once.

I’m no artist, but I do have a fascination with the iPad as a drawing device, and have filled pages upon pages of the Paper app with sketches. Unfortunately, Paper has yet to add any kind of support for the Jot Touch, so I spent time over the past week with the excellent procreate app, and a little tinkering within SketchBook Pro.

Before you can use pressure sensitivity in procreate, you have to activate the Jot Touch within the app (Settings ->; Devices). After that, most of the tools you use will vary in opacity and size, depending on how much pressure you apply to the screen. Sketchbook Pro requires no manual pairing, but doesn’t seem to support sensitivity quite as well.

The thing is, regardless of the app, I’m still trying to get used to applying pressure properly. It can feel too easy to go from a very light stroke to a darker, broader stroke, with what feels like the tiniest change in pressure. You can see distinct pressure changes when you use a paintbrush or a spray can tool, but you have to do so very slowly and deliberately, or you’ll likely spray paint everywhere.

The Jot Touch’s pressure sensitivity is obviously working, but it really needs to have better support on the software end so it doesn’t feel like just a switch between “weak” and “strong” strokes. Part of this has to do with adonit’s own Jot software development kit (SDK), and the rest has to do with third-party developers, like Savage Interactive (the folks behind procreate). Fortunately, Savage Interactive has acknowledged these issues, and is working on v1.7 of procreate, which will better support pressure-sensitive hardware.

No Palm Rejection

One feature that I thought the Jot Touch might enable is palm rejection, which would allow me to put my hand on the iPad screen and draw using only the stylus. Unfortunately, adonit says that this is a limitation of their current SDK, and has nothing to do with the stylus, so I’m still hoping we’ll see some tight palm rejection in the feature.

Extra Touches

  • The Jot Touch comes with an extra tip, just in case you lose or break the first one. If you break both tips, more are available for purchase from adonit.
  • The charger for the Jot Touch is gorgeous, even though it didn’t have to be; the magnet is probably a little too strong for its own good, but that’s really more of a cause for amusement than an annoyance.

Conclusion

There’s no question that the Jot Touch is a quality accessory and a great idea, but because the stylus itself relies so much on third-party apps, it’s feeling more like an early adopter product right now than something that most consumers will want to purchase. For artists who know what they’re doing and want to get some real drawing done on the iPad, the Jot Touch is a worthwhile investment that will likely improve with time and further app updates (featuring better pressure sensitivity and maybe even palm rejection).

I don’t think pressure sensitivity integration on tablets is a gimmick, and I do think it’s heading in a promising direction with the Jot Touch. However, for most tablet users, I’d recommend sticking with a more basic Jot stylus (ranging from $20–40), simply because the performance will be more predictable…at least until more apps adapt themselves to the Jot Touch.


The Jot Touch was provided by adonit for review on iSource. For further information regarding our site’s review policies, please see the “About” page.

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