Adonit launched their Jot styluses on Kickstarter in 2011, and I have one of the first-generation Jot Pros from backing the project. The company has since gone on to improve the design and create other models, such as the pressure sensitive Jot Touch.
The Jot Pro, though it lacks the bluetooth capabilities of its higher end counterpart, is still a wonderful stylus in its own right. If you're looking for a stylus alternative that doesn't cost you $80+, you might want to give this one a go. The ballpoint pen-like tip with the plastic disk is truly unique among the major stylus competitors and offers better accuracy and experience than the typical rubber nibs out there.
Please note that this review, including the photos, mostly refers to the first generation version of the Jot Pro since that is what I have on hand. Adonit has since released a better model with small but significant upgrades which I will be sure to note in the review.
Version: First generation
Release date: August 2011
Current price: $29.99
In the box:
Jot Touch stylus
Adonit's styluses are immediately noticeable for their unique tips. They look like a ballpoint pen with a plastic disk attached to it. The disk helps the iPad register the finger-like touch, but the point makes the styluses feel more pen like than most other competing styluses with the fat rubber nibs.
But does it work? The Jot Pro went through a few growing pains when it was first released. This first generation model that I own has a little bit of trouble registering on the iPad screen. You have to hold it at just the right angle or press down a little harder for it to read. I often get skipping lines when I'm drawing, or have trouble navigating menus and apps.
The good news is, these flaws have been fixed for the most part in the current models. The Jot Pro now has what Adonit calls a "dampening tip", which means it includes a spring. It not only makes the stylus feel even more like a ballpoint pen, but I think it helps the sensitivity a lot. I have virtually no trouble with my Jot Touch, which has this kind of tip. It also reduces the noise of your pen hitting your iPad screen, which is awesome because the click click click of my first gen Jot Pro is irritating.
As a sidenote, I do not think Adonit's lower end Jot Mini has a dampening tip. If you're considering getting the cheaper Mini over the Pro, I think the dampening tip is worth paying that little extra.
Another improvement is the disk size. The plastic disk on my first gen Jot is about 8 mm. The current models are more like 6 mm. It's a small difference, but it feels significant. The larger disk feels gargantuan now when I go back to using my Jot Pro after using my new Jots.
If you're wondering if the disk is a distraction while writing or drawing, I don't find it a big problem. I barely remember it's there now after using it for a while.
I've never had trouble with the disk popping off myself, but it is possible. In those cases, you should be able to snap it back on. Or if you lose it, you can also get a replacement disk from Adonit. It doesn't come with any spares out of the box.
The body is all metal with rubber around the grip. This thing is sturdy. The metal body also gives it a good weight. This thing does not feel cheap. The construction is very well done.
The Jot Pro is also magnetic. This was designed to hold your stylus onto the iPad's magnets for easy transporting. It's good for quick storage and convenient for not misplacing your stylus if you're walking away for a second, but don't expect it to hold onto your iPad while it is jostling in a bookbag or something.
The Jot Pro is the only Jot, including the higher end models, that is magnetic. I do kinda miss this feature in my Jot Touch. The Jot is completely smooth and cylindrical, so it rolls away super easily. The magnet not only helps me keep the Jot Pro with my iPad, but it keeps it stationary on my metal desk.
There is a cap that screws over either end of the pen. You can protect your tip while the pen is being stored. The cap is pretty slick and fits smoothly. Just remember to screw it on the back on of your pen while in use so you don't lose it. It tends to roll away easily and it's pretty small.
Writing and drawing
Writing is more natural on the Jot styluses than with any rubber tipped ones. It feels like writing with a ballpoint pen. You still have to write carefully and really round out your letters to get the best results though. The pen doesn't read as well for very subtle marks and smaller sizes. The precision and speed still falls just short of normal writing.
And while I like the plastic tip very much most of the time, the downside is that it is very slick on the iPad glass. Although this might help you write faster, it feels funny compared to writing on paper. You might be able to lessen this with a film screen cover, but I have not tried this. (Be careful though - I've heard some screen covers make the surface TOO sticky to use with a Jot stylus.)
I notice the slickness most while I am drawing. It makes me appreciate the design on my Cintiq tablet more, because it uses a glass more suitable for drawing and feels more like paper. The iPad is pretty glossy.
Otherwise, drawing with the Jot is superb. Like I mentioned above, the first gen Jot Pro had a little bit of trouble skipping lines, but if you're getting a current model this should be fixed. The pen is pretty accurate, probably one of the best you'll find in any stylus.
Compared to the other Jot styluses
If you're fine going without pressure sensitivity, the Jot Pro is a strong alternative. I think an artist can get along just fine without a pressure sensitive pen on the iPad. It is a fun feature, but not completely necessary, and not everyone will find it worth the extra money. If you're just looking for a quality pen that will help you with accuracy and drawing, it's a strong stylus. And like I mentioned before, I think the dampening tip and magnetic cling are worthwhile features over the cheaper models.
Compared to other pens
The Jots are consistently some of my favorite styluses I've used so far. They are a hair more accurate, and they feel more like a normal pen than the rubber tipped competition.
I'll admit though that sometimes I grow weary of the slippery Jot. I will occasionally switch to another stylus for a better feel while painting. My favorite non-pressure-sensitive stylus is the Wacom Bamboo iPad Stylus, which is softer and quieter. I usually recommend that artists buy either the Bamboo or the Jot based on their personal preference of tips. Or be like me and buy both.
Compared to regular drawing tablets
The Jot is the most pen-like experience you'll get with an iPad stylus. However, it still falls short. While it's one of the most accurate, it's still inferior to writing on paper, or drawing on a Cintiq tablet.
Overall grade: A-