Adonit Jot Touch pressure-sensitive, Bluetooth stylus review

The Adonit Jot Touch is one of the first of a new generation of stylus pens for the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad that uses Bluetooth technology in addition to traditional capacitance to allow for pressure sensitivity and a wider artistic range.

So, while the Adonit Jot Touch looks like the Adonit Jot Pro, including the removable cap, the smooth, elgantly machined body, and the thin, hard writing tip capped by a plastic, capacitive disk, a lot has changed on the inside.

Firstly, it needs to be charged. Yes, the Adonit Jot Pro has a battery! It also comes with a USB charging dongle that's a lot more interesting than most -- it's magnetic. Just plug it into your MacBook or any other USB port, or into an AC adapter, and drop the base of the Jot Touch down no top of it, and the magnets will snap it into place, and it'll start charging.

There are two obvious buttons on the side of the Jot Touch, similar to the kind you'd find on a Wacom stylus. Between them is the stealthy power and pairing button. Hold down on it for a few seconds to turn the Jot Touch on or off, and hold down on it for a good long while to put the Jot Touch into pairing mode. (You can tell when you've succeeded because the LED indicator on the side will flash between green and red.)

On you iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad, go to Settings > Bluetooth, tap on the Jot Touch, enter 0000 as you PIN, 90s-style, and you're good to go. (It would be even better and faster if the Jot Touch didn't require the PIN...)

I'm not going to review the actual capacitive quality of the Jot Touch here, because in my non-Bluetooth tests it was every bit as good as the Jot Pro, if not even smoother. So if you're interested in how it works as a regular old stylus, check out our Jot Pro review. Now on with the Bluetooth!

Since iOS doesn't official support pressure sensitive stylus pens, Adonit incorporated everything app makers need into their own SDK. That means that, while the Jot Touch will work just like any other stylus with the iOS interface and regular apps, if developers incorporate the SDK, it'll work with pressure sensitive magic. (Adonit assures us it's science, not magic, but it'll seem like magic the first time you use it.)

Over Bluetooth, the Jot Touch relays pressure information to the app, including apps like Procreate, Sketchbook, Clibe, PDF Pen, and more. They translate it into different sizes and opacities of "ink" or "paint" dispersal. So the harder you press, the more you get, from a thin, feint line to a thick, full brush stroke.

I tried it out for both drawing and calligraphy and it worked delightfully well, if not exactly. A light stroke produced a nice, small, light line. A hard stroke produced a big, bold blotch. Where I had some trouble was in between. I couldn't get a smooth, steady gradation from light to heavy. Instead, the Jot Touch seemed to start slow, then burst big. It might take more getting used to, but as someone who spent most of his life with pencils, pens, and paintbrushes in hand, I can't help but hope for finer grain pressure sensitivity in the future.

A future that, thanks to products like the Jot Touch, looks closer at hand than ever before.

The good

  • Excellent stylus in general
  • Provides pressure sensitivity to compatible apps

The bad

  • Pressure sensitivity isn't perfectly smooth yet

The bottom line

If you grew up with writing and drawing tools clutched in your hand like I did, and if you spent years working with a Wacom or similar pressure-sensitive stylus like I did, you've always wanted that type of functionality on your iPhone or iPad.

Now we have our first taste of it. It's bleeding edge, to be sure, and needs more apps to include support for it, but I'm buying one now because, dammit, because I want to be part of the future.

If you don't, hey, check out any of the other stylus pens we've reviewed

$99 - Buy now

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 5 comments. Add yours.

agentmobile says:

That's the most amazing stylus ever ! I love how it charges too

iSRS says:

Here's to hoping a future iOS update (6.5, 7) gets something that allows this natively. Would also like to see when using a BT Stylus, a way, without a 1 finger glove, to rest your hand as you would when taking notes.

carltonarts says:

Thank you so much for this review. I bought mine and had the same trouble with middle range of pressure sensitivity not having a smooth transition of display upon the stroke. I thought it might be defective.
I posted my video review as soon I discovered a problem...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaqXx4xFDH0&list=UUWAvV_xn3ut2qBD9Rr1aWRw...

I was so excited to buy and receive this stylus but I was quickly disappointed…not with the stylus but that the apps simply have not integrated the Jot Touch very well.
Having owned a Wacom for a while, I expected this stylus to do at least two things…adjust opacity and brush size. In Procreate you can only adjust opacity. This doesn’t fit with the digital painting workflow.
ALSO the levels of pressure according to Adonit, the manufacturers of the Jot Touch, claims 256 levels. Well I found within the Procreate only 2 and the unachievable third middle pressure.
Anyways. This is a very well made stylus but it’s like having a race car and no race track to fully utilize the race car on.
The apps simply need to catch up.
I would wait to buy this stylus until then.
I can actually here a clip in the plunger tip when the rapid change in pressure occurs which indicates it a mechanical issue not an app issue. If the app wants to reverse engineer this problem of problem, more power to them but I think this is a stylus issue that needs to be addressed.
I was so excited to buy and receive this stylus but I was quickly disappointed…
The levels of pressure according to Adonit, the manufacturers of the Jot Touch, claims 256 levels. Well I found within the Procreate only 2 and the unachievable third middle pressure.
Anyways. This is a very well made stylus but it’s like having a race car and no race track to fully utilize the race car on.
The apps simply need to catch up.
I would wait to buy this stylus until then.

LocoStrange says:

Will have to check out. I liked the Pro but it wasn't smooth. Maybe due to my Zagg screen protector that Zagg claimed was compatibly but in reality, it was not? I don't want to remove my screen protector yet because that would just be throwing that money down the drain

mulletpilot says:

pretty cool, but I think the only thing that makes the ipad not equal to a note pad yet is the poor wrist angle you need to keep your mits off the screen while the nib is moving. i think this type of technology may be able to over come that at some point - unless there is something else out there that i am unaware of (and im not talkin about that ridiculous pinky speedo!)
the poor ergonomics just arent worth it to me yet.