Jot Script Review

The Jot Script is the first major iPad stylus to feature a fine point tip. No squishy rubber. No awkward plastic disks. No kidding.

I honestly didn't think it was possible with current iPad technology to create a stylus with a true pen-like drawing tip. The Jot Script has proven me wrong. The stylus comes from Adonit, known for their Jot Pro and Jot Touch styluses. Those models feature a ballpoint pen-like tip with a plastic disk attached to the end, which made them pretty accurate compared to their competition. The Jot Script takes the innovation even further, ridding of the disk altogether. It uses an electronic signal instead of plastic to communicate the "finger" touch on the iPad screen. But is it too good to be true? Does it perform as advertised?

Misconceptions, misunderstandings, and clarifications

Before I delve into the larger review, I want to clarify a few confusing things about the Jot Script. First, the Script is NOT a pressure sensitive stylus. Yes, the pen is powered, has bluetooth connectivity, and features a hefty price tag, but it does not have this one significant feature.

So why the battery? It powers the technology that allows the stylus to have such a fine tip. Instead of a fat piece of rubber or plastic disk, the Script uses what Adonit calls "Pixelpoint technology" which is some kind of electronic signal (I'm not smart enough to understand the specifics, but that's the gist). If you were to turn the pen off, it would not work at all on your iPad.

The bluetooth connection allows for "extra" features such as palm rejection and better precision. This kind of capability requires the app to use Adonit's SDK in their software.

However, to clarify another common misconception about the Jot Script, let me emphasize that you can use the Jot Script in ANY app. (It doesn't help that this first edition Jot Script is called the "Evernote" edition, but that is just a branding strategy, not an indication of single app compatibility.) Once it's powered on, it works and functions just like your finger would on the touch screen. The SDK is only required for the extra features. When a website says that this-or-that app is "compatible" with the Jot Script, they are referring to the bluetooth capabilities only. It should still work as a normal stylus in that app, compatible or not.

The Details

Manufacturer: Adonit

Website: http://adonit.net/jot/script/

Version: First generation, the "Evernote" edition

Release date: November 2013

Notable features: fine-point tip, palm rejection

Current price: $74.99

In the box:

Jot Script stylus

AAA battery (in the pen)

The tip

The tip on the Jot Script is a 1.9 mm beauty made of metal. For comparison, the smallest tips on other styluses are around 5 mm. It's kinda the same size as a felt tip marker pen. I also noticed it's about the same size as the blunt, unsharpened lead from my drafter's lead holder I like to draw with.

I was afraid at first that the metal tip would be scary to use on the iPad glass. That has not been my experience at all. The slightly rounded tip glides smoothly. It hasn't left any scratches. The Script is noisier than other styluses because it clicks when it hits the screen. But otherwise I've felt completely safe and comfortable using it.

The body

Like the other Jot styluses, the Script is fashioned out of metal. It feels lighter than the other Jots though. The walls seem thinner and the body is hollow to house the battery. It lacks the heft of other Jots, but it still feels sturdy and well-made.

There is one button on the pen, to power it on and off. I've actually had a hard time finding the button from time to time because it blends with the plastic and lays flat against the body. However, I do enjoy that the button is not directly in the grip area where I can't hit it accidentally like I do with other pens.

The back end screws off so you can replace the battery.

The pen is well-balanced and weighted. Despite the battery, the pen is still only slightly thicker than the Jot Touch. It's about the same width around as my Cintiq pen or a Sharpie marker.

Bluetooth and palm rejection

I gave it a go in Penultimate, and unfortunately I didn't find the palm rejection much improved over other styluses that offer the same thing (palm rejection is pretty much junk across the board). I tried writing in the app and kept accidentally turning the page. I couldn't get it to work well at all. As far as accuracy though in Penultimate, it was pretty spot on.

Writing and drawing

I was pleasantly surprised by how accurate the Jot Script is across the board. It didn't matter if the app was "compatible" with the bluetooth connection or not. It is not spot on all the time, but the difference is minimal. If you are used to working with the parallax of a Cintiq tablet, it is not that much worse than that. Much of the time, the tip was pretty close to accurate. If it was off, it was only by a few millimeters and only at certain angles. While sketching and coloring, I didn't notice the space between tip and stroke hardly at all. It was mostly a problem with details and precise linework.

Writing is more natural with the Jot Script compared to other styluses. It just FEELS like a pen. The problems I did have, however, was that the pen continued to read even when the tip was lifted up slightly, which meant more stray marks than I would have wanted. Writing in Penultimate is still pretty laggy too, so I can't imagine myself taking extensive notes with this thing like I can with pen and paper. Still, an improvement over all other styluses on the market.

The stylus was pretty nice to draw with as well. My biggest problem was that sometimes the stylus wouldn't read 100% from beginning to end of my stroke, so the line is cut short. That is annoying when you are trying to draw a line from one point to another.

App compatibility

As of this review, the Jot Script is only compatible with Penultimate. Like I mentioned earlier, this only refers to the extra features - you can still use the Script in any other app just like any "dumb" stylus. Since this stylus has no pressure sensitivity, and palm rejection is junk anyway, there really isn't a huge difference thus far between apps that are compatible or not.

Hardware compatibility

Adonit says the Jot Script works on any iOS screen. I have successfully tried it out on my iPad Air, my sister's iPad 2, and an iPhone 5.

I have no idea exactly what the range of this stylus is in terms of other touch screens. Adonit does not specifically say if you can use it outside of iOS, but I tried it briefly on a Kindle Fire and it worked just fine, so it seems adaptable to different finger-friendly tablets as well. The extra bluetooth compatibilities in the SDK seem to be concentrated to iOS only though.

One concern I have is that in order for the Pixelpoint technology to work, it has to be tailored to the device's screen for best results (I think). This means the pen may work better on one touch screen over another. It might not work on some screens at all. Theoretically, this is true even between iPad models. My Script works fine on my iPad Air, but there's no guarantee that it will work on future iPad models depending on how Apple changes their technology.

HOWEVER, let me emphasize that this is speculation on my part. I don't know the technology well enough to know the specifics of how it works or how adaptable it is. I've had no actual problems with the stylus thus far. It was just a thought I had, and I thought it worth noting.

Power

The Jot Script requires one AAA battery. I like that - easily and quickly replaceable. I couldn't find any specific time estimates for battery life, but one battery should last you a fairly long while. The small signal and Bluetooth 4 tech means it's pretty efficient.

Other battery-powered styluses have indicators in the app that tell you how much power is left. I haven't seen that with the Jot Script or Penultimate. A minor complaint, but I hope they add this feature at some point.

Compared to other styluses

For those of you who have been waiting for an iPad stylus with a fine point tip, the Jot Script does not disappoint. For a first-generation product with such an innovative technology, I was surprised by how well it performed right out of the gate. It is a lot less awkward to work with than all other styluses on the market. It naturally feels like a pen.

Compared to pressure-sensitive pens

It is really quite a shame that there's no pressure sensitivity in the Jot Script, but in my opinion this is a minor issue. I've always maintained that pressure sensitivity is not required to make art on the iPad. I switch between smart and dumb styluses all the time. The difference is more "that's nice" than mind-blowing. Still, it is hard to justify spending the cash on a what is ultimately the same functionality of a dumb stylus. The Jot Touch seems more fair for the money, and it is still a pretty good pen experience.

If you want to use your stylus for taking notes, I'd say it was a no-brainer; the Jot Script is the way to go. However, this blog isn't called "iPad for Writers" so I am giving the edge to the Jot Touch if you are an artist trying to decide where to put your $80. However, if you've tried several iPad styluses and you just don't like how they feel, give the Jot Script a try. It might be exactly what you're looking for.

If and when the Jot Script adopts pressure sensitive capabilities, this thing is going to be hard to beat.

Compared to regular drawing tablets

The Jot Script is the closest thing to an Cintiq pen experience I've had yet on the iPad. I would not say it is 100%. Besides the fact that it has no pressure sensitivity, there is some minor connectivity and accuracy issues that could still improve. I would put it at a good 85-90% as good though.


Overall grade: B+


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