Adonit's Jot styluses are consistently among my favorite pens for the iPad. The great design, solid construction, and innovative pen tips make them a pleasure to use.
The Jot Touch 4 is their current high-end model with all the latest tricks (pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, Bluetooth 4). It is my current favorite on the market and here's why.
Version: Second generation
Release date: May 2013
Notable features: pressure-sensitivity, palm rejection
Current price: $89.99
In the box:
Jot Touch 4 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? Yes! Very well in fact. I've been using the Jot styluses since they were first released, and while I had trouble with earlier models not registering or skipping lines, Adonit has improved the technology greatly. I have virtually no problems with the latest Jot Touch. The tip is super sensitive, and the added spring in the tip makes it feel soft on the screen. Previous models felt like I was attacking the screen over and over with a metal rod. The Jot Touch 4 is smooth to the touch.
The plastic disk is also smaller in diameter than the first-gen Jot Touch. It is about 6 mm wide. 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. There are two programmable buttons. 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 pen comes with a tiny USB charger. The stylus connects very strongly via a magnet.
There is also 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.
Pressure sensitivity, bluetooth, and palm rejection
There are 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity, which is a huge improvement over the first Jot Touch model which had 256. It uses Bluetooth 4 technology, which connects fast and easily within whatever app you're using. This means however that you must have an iPad 3 or newer or an iPad Mini in order to use the bluetooth capabilities.
The pressure sensitivity works like a breeze. I have little trouble going from really light to really dark, and the transitions between are smooth.
Palm rejection is sketchy, but this is true for all palm rejection capabilities across all styluses and apps I've tried so far. It tends to make apps run slowly or crash. You can get it to run ok sometimes, but you still get occasional disconnections, which causes stray marks and accidental zooming. It is pretty annoying. Rest your hand on a book instead and keep palm rejection capabilities turned off.
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 Touch is superb. The pressure sensitivity reads well and is very smooth. The pen is pretty accurate, probably one of the best you'll find in any stylus.
This is a list of what I think are the most notable art apps currently available. Crossed out items are not compatible with the advanced features of this stylus. This is not an exhaustive list of the device’s compatible apps (check out the manufacturer’s website for detailed specs), but it should give you a good idea of its range.
The Jot Touch 4 uses a rechargeable internal battery. You charge it over USB with the included charger. This is slightly inconvenient because if the battery goes dead, you have to wait a few hours for it to recharge before you can use it again. Other styluses that use AAA or AAAA batteries need only to pop in a new one.
Adonit claims 1 month of normal use with one charge. I've found that to be pretty accurate.
Compared to the other Jot styluses
Without the pressure-sensitivity and bluetooth, the Jot Touch is pretty much identical in quality and experience to all their other styluses. It operates just like a Jot when it's turned off, which means it's still usable even when the battery is dead.
If you can afford it, get the Touch because the pressure sensitivity is a great feature. However, if you want to get the cheaper Jot Pro, you still won't go wrong.
Compared to other pressure-sensitive pens
I think the Jot Touch has an edge over the competition so far. The pressure-sensitivity works great. The rubber-tipped varieties have a hard time replicating the sensitivity of the Jot's ballpoint tip, in my opinion.
I'll admit though that sometimes I grow weary of the feel of the slippery Jot. If you want to buy the rubber-tipped Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus instead, I think it is a toss-up in terms of quality and performance. Though I give the edge to the Jot, they are both great styluses. I personally switch between the two often.
Compared to regular drawing tablets
The Jot Touch is probably one of the closest experiences you'll get on the iPad that's comparable to drawing on a drawing tablet like a Cintiq. However, it still falls short. It's still a hair less accurate, and without good palm rejection is still awkward in comparison. You CAN get comparable results; it just takes a little extra work and concentration to get there, and so is not quite the same.
Overall grade: A