Google Productivity Pad: Hardware Review: Jot Stylus

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Hardware Review: Jot Stylus

Update: The Jot Classic that I refer to in this article is no longer available from Adonit, the other versions of the Jot are still available.

Finding a stylus that works well on a capacitive touch screen has been a challenge since the first iPhone came out. Prior to that time most people's experience with touch screens was in the checkout line at Walmart signing their name, or if they were either an important CEO, or just very nerdy with a palm pilot. I was a nerdy kid who did not buy much so my experience was in the latter. But these two touch screens shared a commonality that has never been present it the iPhone, they used a stylus to write and tap on a resistive touch screen. If you wanted to use your finger you couldn't, the best you could do was your finger nail.

Enter the iPhone, the first widespread device with a capacitive touch screen. Steve Jobs gambled that people actually did not like tapping around with a stylus on a Palm Pilot, or hunting about with a BlackBerry scroll wheel. He thought they would like to just be able to touch the screen with their fingers and have it work. It turns out he was right.

But a problem has remained since then and that is the trouble with hand writing on an iPhone or iPad (or any capacitive touch, rip off phone that has followed). It's not that people haven't tried to create styli for touch screens, but almost all have tried from the same basic concept: lets take something that feels like a finger and put it on the end of a stick for people to write with.

This concept has resulted in many cheap, and even some expensive, rubbery tipped styli. None of which work well. The problem in that they have no precision at all, they are the touch screen equivalent of drawing with a blunted crayon.

Enter Adonit. A creative team of thinkers who looked at the problem in a new way and came up with the Jot stylus:

Their idea was to make a stylus that felt like writing with a ball point pen, something no one had ever done before because even the old resistive touch styli felt more like a pencil.

The Jot uses an innovative concept to accomplish its goal. It is tipped with a metal ball covered with a conductive disk. The ball presses down on the disk to activate the screen with much more precision than either your finger or a rubber tipped disk. The disk is clear so that you can see what you are drawing.

Their are certain apps that have been optimized for the Jot to make it even more precise, but it works well even in apps that haven't been. I have found the Jot to be the most natural writing experience I have ever had on the iPad or iPhone. I have owned two Jots for several months now, both the Jot Classic, and the Jot Flip (which reverses to a normal ink pen).

The main complaint that I have with the Jot and that I have seen other have is that sometimes the disks that come on the Styli become "loose" and loose their precise nature. This has been the case on my Flip almost from the beginning and finally two weeks ago the disk fell off completely making it useless until I get a replacement disk.

Other than that it is one of the best companion products you can have to the iPad. Their is a large selection of Jots available now, including some that use bluetooth to increase accuracy and all for natural writing with the wrist down (I have not tried these).

Since its invention others have made precision styli but I have not yet had the chance to try any of those. If you are looking for a good stylus I highly recommend that you check out the Jot, especially if you were thinking about getting a rubber tipped that cost $10 or more you might as well just spend a little more for the much more precise Jot Classic.

Thanks for reading, that's all for now, but remember, live better.

If you have questions or comments about the jot please leave them below or tweet them to me @halduauthor

You can order a Jot from Amazon here (affiliate link).

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