In my Mac life, I have spent the last year training myself to use a Wacom tablet instead of a mouse or trackpad for my production work. I haven’t become a masterful artist, but I can tell you my hand-eye coordination with the stylus has greatly improved and I’ve gotten quite good at applying the right amount of pressure to accurately affect the brushes in Photoshop as I draw. It makes me feel a greater connection to what I’m working on than just dragging a brush styled cursor around the screen.
This is exactly the connection that I miss when doodling on my iPad with any of the multitude of styluses available for the device. Making this situation worse is the fact that I find a vast majority of iPad styluses are fat and bulky—even the slim ones. To help get you inside my head, imagine drawing in fine detail with a freshly sharpened pencil and then having the pencil taken from you and replaced with a blunt, rubbery crayon. Sure, you can tell the various painting apps to draw in a fine point regardless of how pudgy your stylus is, but you can’t see what you’re doing with that freakin’ fat thing in the way.
Adonit to the rescue.
And while this review is specifically for the Adonit Jot Touch Pressure Sensitive Stylus for iPad, the whole Jot line of styluses has won me over for simply letting me see what I’m doing. They all come to a fine ball point that is capped with a small clear disk. The point allows me to see what I’m doing and the disk keeps that point from scratching the iPad without getting in the way.
Now, what of the Jot Touch Pressure Sensitive Stylus for iPad?
While the brains of the Wacom are in the tablet, the Jot Touch truly is a pressure sensitive stylus. The tip of the stylus is spring-loaded and rides in and out of the grip. This is how it knows how hard you’re pressing; the iPad isn’t measuring the pressure at all. The iPad is, however, receiving the pressure information over Bluetooth—yes, the Jot Touch is a Bluetooth device that you pair with your iPad. Because it uses Bluetooth the Jot Touch runs on a built-in rechargeable battery and needs to be turned on for use. Adonit has designed the Jot Touch’s battery to be charged via a cool little magnetic USB connector.
How do you use it?
After you pair the stylus with your iPad (an easy process on the iPad 2 or above… a fruitless process on the iPad 1 since it’s not supported), you can enjoy its pressure sensitive magic in a selection of supporting apps. Depending on the app, the buttons on the top of the Jot Touch can adjust various settings like minimum brush size or function as a handy undo key.
You can still use the stylus with apps that don’t support the Jot Touch, you just won’t be able to control your brush size, shape, opacity or flow by adjusting how much pressure you apply. In fact, you don’t need to power the stylus on for non-Jot-touch-supporting apps. Save some battery life.
Adonit keeps a handy up-to-date list of apps that support their fancy new stylus. Most of the best painting apps are on board, but if your favorite isn’t on the list, you might contact the developer and inquire as to whether or not they plan to support the stylus before you shell out the $99US for the Jot Touch. If not, I highly recommend any of Adonit’s other Jot styluses.
Is it any good?
In a word, yes!! It’s amazing. I can’t fully explain the connection to you in text. The best I can do is compare it to the feeling of “rightness” you felt when you first dragged, pinched or tapped on an iPhone or iPad and had the device respond like a natural object instead of an electronic device. When analog and digital work in harmony it is truly a beautiful thing. And that’s what I’ve got when I use the Adonit Jot Touch.