Compatible: iPads, iPhones, iPod touches
Adonit Jot + Jot Mini
Adonit was the first company to take a totally different approach to iPad styluses with Jot ($20, a.k.a. Jot Classic), a product the company has been selling for a few months after a successful Kickstarter campaign. It's unique in that the tip, rather than being made of foam or soft rubber, is a clear plastic disc attached to a tiny ball, freely pivoting to create a crosshair-like precision writing tool. Jot's pivoting tip is at the almost impossibly thin end of a pen-like silver metal cone, enabling atypically fine drawing or writing; the user can actually see the contact point on the screen and work accordingly. At this year's CES, the company announced new models including Jot Mini ($22), which should be available in the next few weeks.
Both versions of the stylus have aluminum shafts with steel pen tips, and are available in a variety of colors. They also both include caps that screw on to either end, protecting the capacitive side during travel, while storing themselves and adding a little extra length on the back while the tip’s in use. The most pronounced difference between Jot and Jot Mini is their size. Jot is 5.5” long and has the approximate width of a pen, while Jot Mini is an inch shorter and has a slightly smaller circumference. In both versions, the overall quality feels great: they’re nicely weighted and comfortable in the hand, feeling like truly premium products rather than hollow tubes. Jot Mini has the added benefit of a shirt clip machined right into the shaft; it’s a very nice touch that avoids the need for an extra piece and feels incredibly sturdy.
At first, we were concerned that writing with the disc at the end of the stylus might feel uncomfortable or strange. In our testing, however, the pivoting tip proved to be an almost universally superior solution to foam or rubber. The combination of a much finer tip and the ability to see exactly where the writing point is making contact with the screen allows for much more precise input; we were able to write more legibly using smaller lettering, and generally more quickly, too. As compared with a real pen, Jot writing isn’t absolutely perfect, but that’s attributable to the iPad’s display as much as anything; using Jot and Jot Mini produces results that are closer to a pen on paper than any of the alternatives we’ve seen. Our only real concerns stem from the pivoting disc, which has two issues. On Jot Mini, we noticed that it may fall off; on Jot, we occasionally felt the disc touch the screen at the wrong angle. A little extra care when using either stylus will reduce or eliminate these issues, but ideally, Adonit would find a way to make them impossible.
After trying both versions of Jot, we’re confident that Adonit knows what it’s doing when it comes to styluses. The company has stepped outside the boundaries that the industry had set and created two great products, either of which will appeal to users seeking a more precise tool for art or simple note taking. Which is the better of the two is a matter of personal preference. The size difference isn’t so significant as to make one an empirically better or worse option, and neither is the two dollar price gap. If the clip is important and your hands aren’t especially large, Jot Mini’s the wiser pick, but if you don’t need the clip and/or have large hands, go with Jot. We highly recommend both of them.