A $75 iPad stylus??? Am I nuts?

Some time last month I was listening to a Mac Power Users podcast, and co-host Katie Floyd mentioned that she had pre-ordered a $75 iPad stylus made by Adonit to work with Penultimate and Evernote. I was intrigued by the price: what kind of stylus could possibly justify a $75 price tag? Or did I simply hear that wrong? I’ve been using Penultimate and Evernote more and more lately, so I had to wonder if this stylus would be a good investment or a waste of money. Curious, I went over to the Evernote Marketplace to find out what I could.

Screen Shot 2013-11-13 at 1.23.08 PMThe Adonit Jot Script Evernote Edition indeed bears a $75 price tag. And from what I could tell, the price tag might be appropriate. For one, the stylus resembles a real pen. No squishy rubber tip like the beloved Wacom Bamboo. In addition, the Jot Script doesn’t have the plastic disk found on the Adonit Jot Pro. The disk really helps you feel like you’re using a real pen on your iPad, but I’m always worried I’m going to break the thing off.

The Jot Script features a narrow, almost ballpoint pen like tip, as you can see from the photos at the Adonit web site. The Jot Script also features a very nice width, so it feels like a nice pen in the hand. For fountain pen users, it’s akin to the Lamy Safari or Sheaffer modern Balance pen.

What sets the Jot Script apart, though, is something called PixelPoint Technology. I’m not familiar enough with the inner workings of the technology to understand it, but from what I can tell the Jot Script uses a Bluetooth connection to sense what kind of iOS device you are using, and it adapts itself to the particular touch sense of the device’s screen. For example, an iPad has different screen sensitivity from an iPhone (sensitivity meaning something other than pressure sensitivity).

After reading all of this information, I was somewhat skeptical, but I thought I would take the plunge and see if the high price is truly justified. (Oh the things I do for my few dozen readers.) As I mentioned, I worry that I’m always going to break off the plastic disk on the Adonit Jot Pro. And, while the Wacom Bamboo has been my stylus of choice, the squishy rubber tip lacks precision and sometimes seems to “lose the connection” and not write at all on the iPad.

The Jot Script began shipping right around November 1, so it was waiting for me on Monday of this week when I returned from vacation. I won’t go into the details of unboxing, setting it up, or connecting it with particular apps. You can find that over at Adonit’s Get Connected page.

After just a few days of use, I’m almost a true believer. While I haven’t mastered the art of connecting the Jot Script to Penultimate yet (in terms of turning it on or turning it off), I have to say that the writing is far more accurate than I expected. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty darn good for a stylus. I would say it is slightly more accurate than the Jot Pro I’ve used. It’s definitely more accurate than the Bamboo.

But is it worth $75?

In one sense, no. It’s better than the Jot Pro, but not more than twice the price of the Jot Pro. On the other hand, one could argue, you’re paying a premium price for a higher quality product. No plastic disk to fail/break/lose, higher accuracy in writing or drawing, and it’s a great design. In some ways, it’s like deciding to pick the iPad over an Android tablet. You pay a premium for the higher design aesthetic—and clearly many of us are willing to do that.

The premium price tag is going to prevent some people from trying the Jot Script, which is unfortunate. I think users need to spend more time with it than is possible when borrowing a colleague’s for a few minutes. It’s only after spending that additional time that the stylus starts to grow on you. (At first I was disappointed, but that disappointment faded away after a couple of days of use.) I predict, though, that those who are willing to move past the sticker shock will be pleased with the experience.


5 thoughts on “A $75 iPad stylus??? Am I nuts?

  1. $75 and looks exactly like a pen. I can only imagine how quickly I would lose it. For small expensive objects I believe the potential for loss needs to be factored in. I’ll stick with the one that clearly is a stylus -rubber tip and all

    1. Thanks for your observations, Bill. I have to admit that I have found myself wondering, “Now where is it? Did I leave it on my desk at the office?” At the same time, some of us somehow manage to carry and use Mont Blanc and other expensive pens–and not lose them. This stylus is, though, easy to set down and leave behind.

      I have a few more random thoughts about this stylus:

      The more I work with this stylus, the more I wonder about the whole Bluetooth pixel technology thing. It’s still not as accurate as pen on paper, although it is better than other styluses I’ve used. I’d probably be a lot happier if Penultimate would use a wrist protection method similar to Noteshelf (where it simply blocks off the portion of the page below the writing line and doesn’t depend on your wrist position). I use Penultimate because of the automatic integration with Evernote, but the wrist protection is becoming an issue. I may be better off just using the Evernote iPhone app to take pictures of paper.

      There’s a lot to like about this stylus, but there are some faults as well. My jury is definitely still deliberating on this one.

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