When Adonit teamed up with Adobe to bring the design software company's stylus to market, Ink and Slide (TMO review) weren't the only pieces of gear to take advantage of the technology because Adonit also released its own Jot Touch with with Pixelpoint pressure sensitive stylus for the iPad. It costs less than Adobe's Ink and Slide, but does that lower price come at a cost? Read on to find out.
Adonit's Jot Touch with Pixelpoint
The Jot Touch with Pixelpoint is the latest generation of the venerable Jot Touch product line, but it doesn't look like its predecessors. Instead, it uses Adonit's Pixelpoint technology, just like the Jot Script, but with a slightly larger tip at 3.17mm -- the same tip the company used for Adobe's Ink stylus.
Adonit's stylus is thicker than Adobe's Ink coming in at 12mm, but it's a couple millimeters shorter. The cosmetic differences don't end there: The Jot Touch body is round instead of triangular, it's available in white or dark slate grey, and it sports an LED indicator light next to its dual buttons on the stylus barrel.
Once you get beyond the physical differences, the Jot Touch with Pixelpoint is very similar to Adobe Ink.
Next up: Jot Touch with Pixelpoint features
Jot Touch with Pixelpoint: Pointing out the Features
The Jot Touch with Pixelpoint offers 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity in supported iPad apps, which includes every one that worked with the previous disk-tip Jot Touch. For the new version's more advanced features, such as palm rejection and Adobe Creative Cloud support, you're limited to Adobe Sketch and Adobe Line.
More apps will add support soon because Adobe has been working with third-party creative app developers to get those features into their products through updates.
The Jot Touch with Pixelpoint uses Bluetooth 4.0 LE to communicate with your iPad, but you'll need an iPad 3, fourth generation iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, or iPad mini with Retina Display. That leaves out only the original iPad and iPad 2, which isn't to shabby considering how advanced the technology in this stylus is.
Adonit's Jot Touch with Pixelpoint and USB charger
Instead of a single round button, like the Adobe Ink, the new Jot Touch sports two long rectangular buttons. The button functions vary by app; in Adobe's apps, for example, the bottom button opens the app menu and the top button invokes the Undo command.
The stylus feels nice in your hand and balances well. It feels sturdy and didn't scratch when it rolled off my desk or the coffee shop table... several times. I wish there was a subtly flat edge, or some other shape variation in the stylus shaft, to keep it from rolling off the sloped tables I routinely deal with when working in coffee shops.
Previous Jot Touch tip (left) and Pixelpoint tip (right)
The dual buttons are handy, but far too easy to accidentally press. So easy, in fact, that I regularly undid whatever I just drew or opened the pop-up menus in Line and Sketch while trying to sketch.
Drawing and writing with the Jot Touch's hard tip felt just like Adobe's Ink, which makes sense considering they're the same. I still haven't found a stylus that feels just like pencil on paper, and hard tips tend to feel like sliding plastic on glass because that's exactly what you're doing. The Jot Touch feels more natural than any other hard tip stylus I've tried, yet still feels less than its real world analog than I'd like.
If you're hoping this will be the stylus that finally gives you that perfect "I'm really drawing on paper" feel, get ready for disappointment. That's not a knock on the stylus or Adonit, it's just a limitation of the technology today.
Next up: Jot Touch Pixelpoint in action
Stylus on Glass: The Jot Touch with Pixelpoint in Action
Style and design get you only so far in life, so I put the Jot Touch with Pixelpoint to the test to see how well it held up under daily use. For the most part I was pleased with the results, but I did run into a couple issues.
Adonit says the new Jot Touch battery will let your work for 11 hours between charges, and will run for a month in sleep mode. I didn't spend 11 hours straight drawing, but I spend several hours a day over a week long period using it a lot and I routinely made it through the day without running out of juice. That's my litmus test for a rechargeable stylus, so I was quite pleased to see the Jot Touch hold up under heavy daily use.
Recharging takes only 90 minutes which means you won't have to wait too long to get up and running again when you accidentally let the battery die.
The charger looks nearly identical to the one that shipped with the previous Jot Touch. It plugs directly into a USB port on your computer or USB hub and uses a magnetic connector to hold your stylus in place while it recharges. A red light means it's still charging, and a green light means it's good to go.
The Jot Touch's button placement makes it too easy to accidentally launch menus
The connection point on the charger dongle is wider than its predecessor to account for the larger diameter of the Jot Touch with Pixelpoint. That means you can't use the older charger with the newer stylus, but the newer charger will work with the previous generation Jot Touch.
Drawing in compatible apps gave me the pressure sensitivity I expected, although I often had issues where the lines I drew didn't appear exactly where I was touching the screen wit the stylus. I had this same problem with Adobe's Ink stylus and I found that experimenting with the different hand position settings in the Sketch and Line apps did help.
Since I was able to improve accuracy through settings I'm betting Adonit can roll out a software update that makes it even better.
Linking the Jot Touch to my Adobe Creative Cloud account turned out to be far more useful than I expected because I was able to take advantage of the same online file storage and sharing features I used with the Ink stylus. With both the Ink and Jot Touch linked to my CC account I was able to jump between my iPad Air and iPad mini and continue to work on the same graphics, plus I didn't have to think about whether or not I was using Adobe's stylus.
Using the Jot Touch made the Creative Cloud online storage feel more like a useful feature for average users instead of just something pro designers need. I know thats just a psychological thing, but it made a difference for me so I'm betting it'll matter to other iPad artists, too.
All Jot Touch-compatible apps support Pixelpoint pressure sensitivity
I was hoping for more out of the palm rejection support the Jot Touch offers, but that wasn't to be. Instead, I found the feature to be only somewhat reliable, which is pretty much the same as saying it isn't reliable. Sorting out the difference between my palm and stylus more often than not is great, but unless it's 100 percent, it's a lot like saying my bourbon glass usually holds my drink. If I pick up my glass only to find my drink ran out the bottom onto the table I'll be pretty upset, and if I realize I have a bunch of errant lines in my drawing I won't be happy, either.
In the end, I gave up on palm rejection with the Jot Touch, just as I have done with every other stylus I've tried. My always reliable solution is still the palm pad I made myself several years ago: It never fails, doesn't need batteries, and doesn't make me sad like a leaking bourbon glass -- or poor palm rejection -- does.
Adonit's stylus doesn't include the Slide ruler accessory that comes with Adobe's Ink stylus, and for some people that won't be an issue. The only apps that currently support the Slide are Adobe's own Sketch and Lines apps, and they both offer a software version that lets you substitute your fingers for the little ruler.
I found the Slide to be a must-have accessory for the Ink, and it works equally well with Adonit's stylus, too. That said, it isn't necessary to get the most out of the Jot Touch, and selling the stylus without any accessories does cut down on the cost. If you haven't ever used Slide, you won't miss it with the Jot Touch.
Next up: Is the Jot Touch with Pixelpoint worth it?
The Bottom Line
There still isn't a perfect paper-and-pencil analog for the iPad, but styluses like the Jot Touch with Pixelpoint is getting us much closer. It balances well and feels comfortable in your hand, and with 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity you can simulate more of what you get from an actual pencil, pen, or brush.
Jot Touch battery life is great and its 90 minute recharge time means you can get back to drawing quicker, plus it's small USB charger base is easy to carry around without adding extra weight or bulk to your bag.
The button placement makes sense because they're convenient to tap, although they may a little too convenient. I accidentally tapped the buttons far too often, leading to accidental undos more than I would've liked. I never did get the stylus tip perfectly aligned so the lines I drew didn't match perfectly with my screen taps, but this is something that can most likely be fixed through software.
The Jot Touch with Pixelpoint doesn't include a Slide-like accessory, but that probably won't be a big deal for most users. The price break you get for not have a Slide is a nice bonus, too.
Despite my complaints, I was really pleased with the Jot Touch with Pixelpoint's performance. It looks good, holds up well, and feels good in my hand. It offers better pressure sensitivity than many other styluses, and that's great because anything that helps on-screen drawing feel and look more like pencil and paper is a plus in my book.
If you're looking for Creative Cloud connectivity but don't want to pay $199 for Adobe's Ink and Slide combo, the Jot Touch with Pixelpoint is a great alternative. It works with Adobe's iPad drawing apps and Jot Touch pressure sensitive-compatible apps, too. It's a great addition to Adonit's already strong stylus lineup and earned a place as one of my go-to iPad drawing tools.