Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Adonit Jot Mini Capacitive Stylus Review

I was tired of not being able to use note-taking apps properly and finger-painting in Draw Something. Hence, I decided to go out and get a stylus to use with my beloved iPad 2. I had heard good things about Adonit's Jot and Jot Pro. Hence, I decided to get one of those. However, due to local availability restrictions (possibly; I'm in Asia), I got a stylus I hadn't heard of at all: the Jot Mini. I wanted to share my experience with it and I have been putting this post off for a while. So here's my review of the said stylus.

First Impressions

The Jot Mini comes in a little box, designed like a typical box small pens or expensive geometrical instruments come in. After a while of frustrating tries to pull off the tiny protective cap from where it was housed in the box, I realized that it had to be unscrewed.

The Jot Mini is tiny; about three or four inches in length. It's smaller than most other styluses out there. It's small enough to put in the tiniest of your pockets. It's made of metal (possibly steel) and it is certainly heavier than you may imagine (not to the point where it is annoying to use). The back of the stylus has a curved cut in it to serve as a clip when you put it into a shirt pocket. It looks rather stylish, with the company logo printed on it. The metal has a brushed feel to it and the stylus comes in several rich colors, including a brilliant purple, a cool blue and a bright green (mine's the green one to match my Smart Cover).

As with other Adonit styluses, the Jot Mini has a clear plastic disc at its tip so that it has the diameter of capacitive touch required by most screens to register a touch and at the same time allow you to use it as a real pen with a pointed tip. And it's good at that. The disc is snapped onto a ball-like tip at the end of the stylus. It is replaceable so that you can clean it or replace it in case it is broken. Unlike the Jot Pro, this stylus does not magnetically attach to the later-generation iPads.

The stylus is comfortable to hold. Without the cap screwed onto its back, it will barely be long enough for you to hold it properly. For people with really really big wrestler-like hands, it may be hard, but it will work for most people out there. In case you are a wrestler, consider getting one of the larger Adonit styluses. That said, the Jot Mini is a little shorter than a regular pen. Think of it as a much-used traditional pencil.

There is a limit to the angle up to which it will register touch, but don't worry about it. It's close to how much you can tilt a real pen while expecting it to work. You only need to worry about this if you have difficulty writing with a real pen.

The Jot Mini is a bit on the thin side, which goes well with its very compact size. If you want a thicker pen, go for another product.

Tip Disc and Scratches Explained

I really like the idea of a clear disc tip. It handles like a real pen and it is amazing for tiny writing, note-taking, technical diagrams, school work and that sort of stuff. However, if you are looking for something to use for sketching, lots of drawing or digital painting, you may get variable mileage with it for several reasons.

Adonit styluses do not have a soft tip like most of the capacitive styluses out there. If you use it to draw, the experience may be a bit unpleasant. Constant picking up and tapping the screen will not only be noisy, it may be bad for the screen. Sure, you can get a screen protector (Adonit's site has info on those which work the best), but the loose tip will be a little annoying to use in this usage scenario.

A soft-tipped stylus will work better. You don't really need a (simulated) fine-tipped instrument for drawing, do you? Moreover, the short length of the Jot Mini may result in loss of comfort. This is because the small pen may not allow you to hold it in a variety of different styles in your fingers. A longer stylus will just feel a lot more comfortable.

Many reviews and angry people on the Internet may scream to you about Adonit products scratching your screen. This may only be true under certain circumstances, and I can explain that to you.

I once went out looking for information about this matter. I found a discussion on Adonit's own forum where some of the guys over at Adonit explained that the scratches are not the result of their products, but rather because of dust particles. After a while of using the stylus, a charge may develop on its tip that attracts dust from the screen, which makes abrasions. To be safe, you need to take care to wipe the tip and the screen on your device to remove any dust and prevent scratches. Of course, you can also use a screen protector that works well with Adonit styluses.

Loss of Precision and Accuracy Explained

After a few weeks of heavy use, I started to notice some loss of accuracy in my Jot Mini. I read others on the web that complained about the same. I was disappointed for a while and figured that I had made a bad decision in purchasing this stylus. Or maybe it was just a bad piece that I had picked up.

However, some heavy research showed that all the skipping and loss of precision could be fixed very easily by some easy (and non-warranty-voiding) dismantling and super-easy cleaning. There was no definitive guide to fix the tip disc, so I wrote my own.

If you do purchase a Jot product and have problems, do come back to my guide to fixing the disc over here:  5 Tips That Will Fix Your Adonit Jot's Skipping Problem.