Adonit Jot Pro
Aluminium and Steel Construction
Colours: Blue, Silver, Gunmetal
Compatible Devices: Compatible with all capacitive touch screens: iPads, iPhones, MacBook Trackpads, Magic Trackpads, HTC, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, Blackberry
Price: $29.99 USD (BUY NOW)
Tablets are great note taking devices. The ability to type, draw, record, take pictures, and keep all your notes in one place is indispensable. There are tons of great drawing apps such as Sketchbook and Penultimate that all benefit from a stylus. However, styli have ballooned from the little cheap plastic sticks from the Palm era to chunky black balled tipped stylus we find today. This is due to the fact modern high quality tablets and smart phones all use capacitive touch screen. This means a material that can conduct electricity needs to be used for the stylus tip. The down side of the chunky capacitive black ball tips is the fact it covers up a lot of screen space. It isn’t particularly accurate compared to a real pen or pencil. Drawing accurately in a small confined area is a hit or miss game of luck. Thankfully we have Adonit coming to the rescue with an innovative and incredibly brilliant why didn’t I think of that solution.
The Jot Pro is made out of aluminium and steel, giving it a weighty balanced feel in the hand. Picking up the Jot Pro screams high quality. The grip area is covered with rubber to provide a comfortable grip. Unique to the Jot Pro is the magnets embedded in the stylus. This allows the Jot Pro to be attached to Smart Covers or the iPad. You can also use the magnetic stylus as a quick way to put your iPad to sleep by sticking the Jot Pro to the magnets on the upper mid right hand side of the screen. The cap screws on smoothly, reflecting a finely machined tool.
Unscrewing the cap reveals the system that makes the Jot line of styli unique. By using a ball and socket joint to attach a clear plastic disk with a small metal insert inside the plastic disk, the Jot is able to mimic the feel of a ball point pen. The clear plastic disk allows you to see where the exact point of contact is, making your drawing accurate. Because fingers and most styli are not as accurate, Adonit had to create a special app SDK for iOS to allow apps to draw the line exactly where the Adonit Jot is pointing. Apple off sets where it draws lines by default. This is to accommodate the larger fingers and styli often used with iPads. Currently there are only four apps that support Adonit’s SDK, their own Jot Studio, procreate by Savage Interactive, Clibe by Visere, and Note Taker HD by Software Garden.
I tested the Jot Pro on multiple applications, including Notability, Sketchbook, Notes Plus, and Adonit’s own Jot Studio. The Jot Pro is extremely accurate, capable of drawing many fine lines with minimal space between them. Though it sounds easy, this is an impressive feat. The clear disk is extremely helpful when drawing tables or doing fine detail work while drawing. However, if you do hold your pen naturally at an extreme angle, the Jot may have difficulty being picked up. The angle that the Jot works is pretty forgiving, but once you pass the limits, it will cause the disk to either lift up off the screen or pop off. I found the best form when writing on touch screen applications in general is to keep your palm off the iPad similar to how you would use a white board marker. Not only does this stop the iPad from detecting your palm, it also ensures the Jot will always stay at a good angle.
There are a few downsides of using the plastic disk versus the traditional rubber ball tip stylus. First of all, the tip can be fragile. Although the first time or two popping the ball into the disk joint will be fine, do it too often and it will cause a small hair line crack in the socket, making it easier to pop off. Also, care must be taken while using the Jot, I’ve almost lost two disks already simply from accidently catching the disk on a sweater and sending it flying. Good luck trying to find a small clear plastic disk on the floor; it’s nearly an impossible task. And at $8 USD for a set of two replacement disks, it can be quickly become an expensive accident for a clumsy person like me. Also, due to the larger surface area touching the screen, it can be easy to scratch a screen or screen protector by trapping grit underneath the disk. I personally have notes from a math lecture permanently scratched into a screen protector when I learned this lesson the hard way. I strongly recommend giving the screen and the bottom of the disk a quick wipe before using it. The plastic itself should not be enough to scratch screens or screen protectors on its own.
The next issue is the fact the Jot is incompatible with the popular vinyl type screen protectors. As listed on the Jot website, certain Zagg, Ghost Armour, Bodyguardz, and Wrapsol type screen protectors are too sticky for the disk to glide properly. Harder, static cling type protectors and bare screen work perfectly with the with the Jot Pro stylus. Upon suggestion of a Jot owner on Kickstarter, I placed a layer of clear scotch tape on the bottom of the disk, and lo and behold, my Jot Pro works perfectly again. Though I only had a cloudy matte tape at home to use, I can still see clearly enough through it to not hinder my ability to see through the disk. My Jot Pro now slides effortlessly across my Bodyguardz screen protector. Strangely enough, the newer Jot Mini does not carry similar warnings in regards to incompatible screen protectors.
Overall the Jot Pro is a great stylus for serious writers and artists looking to upgrade their tablet experience. At $29.99 USD, the Jot Pro is not cheap, but the build quality reflects the price. The Jot Pro is made of weighty aluminum and steel, with incredibly strong magnets. Though there are some hiccups with the disk system that requires a certain level of care and possibly a bit of end user hacks to use, the precision disk is an absolute joy for writing and drawing. Between my Bluetooth keyboard and my Jot Pro, I have literally ditched paper for writing notes during lecture for my iPad. Unfortunately, the 30 dollar sticker price may be a bit too much to justify for some people. Those who are still interested but unwilling to pay that much may want to look into the regular Jot that forgoes the magnets and rubber grip for $19.99 or the smaller Jot Mini for $21.99. If you write or draw heavily on your tablet, I strongly recommend the Jot Pro.