Stylus Review Times 2: Adonit Jot Pro and Nomad Brush FLeX

Geek Culture

Using a stylus such as the Adonit Jot Pro or Nomad Brush FLeX can make for a better tablet experienceUsing a stylus such as the Adonit Jot Pro or Nomad Brush FLeX can make for a better tablet experience

The Nomad Brush FLeX and Adonit Jot Pro. Photo by Brad Moon.

Tired of smudging and prints all over the shiny glass of your tablet’s display? Looking for something a little more realistic than your finger for writing, drawing or painting? Here are two good stylus choices for your iPad or other capacitive, touchscreen device: Adonit’s Jot Pro stylus and the Nomad Brush FLeX paintbrush stylus.

Jot Pro Stylus: Quieter, Accurate Note Taking

The Adonit Jot Pro uses a plastic disc to glide over a tablet's display.The Adonit Jot Pro uses a plastic disc to glide over a tablet's display.

The Jot Pro and its trademark, flexible disc. Image copyright Adonit.

The Jot Pro Stylus has gained a solid following for its innovative design. Like we’ve come to expect from a premium quality touchscreen stylus, the Jot Pro is made of machined aluminum, and available in a variety of colors. It has a comfortable rubber grip. It’s even magnetic, so if you’re using an iPad 2 and up (or any Android/Windows tablets with similar capabilities), the stylus magnetically attaches to the tablet. Where the Jot Pro shines is its tiny point, allowing for pinpoint accuracy. The tip is dampened and rather than contacting the device screen directly, it’s mounted on a pivoting, capacitive plastic disc. It looks a little odd, but you quickly get accustomed to this arrangement; the disc smoothly glides on the glass of the tablet and because it’s clear, you can see exactly where the stylus tip is making “contact.”

A screw-off cap protects the stylus tip when not in use and attaches firmly to the rear of the stylus when in use. And if you were wondering, that disc/tip arrangement is more durable than it may look. I wouldn’t recommend doing so, but I accidentally dropped the Jot Pro Stylus from about three feet onto a hard floor, where it struck tip-down. Besides the coating of dust on the black rubber grip, it was no worse for the wear.

Gadget Lab liked the original, Kickstarted Jot Pro Stylus and Adonit has updated the product since then; this current version eliminates the click of plastic to glass through the sound dampening tip (in other words, it’s quieter for taking notes on your iPad), while shrinking the tip even more for improved accuracy. Whether jotting notes, drawing or using a stylus instead of a finger for greater accuracy while playing a game, I found the Jot Pro delivered — with the added bonus of fewer smudgy fingerprints.

The improved Adonit Jot Pro Stylus goes for $29.99.

Nomad Brush FLeX: Get Your iPad Painting On

Nomad Brush FLeX, available in five colors. Nomad Brush FLeX, available in five colors.

Nomad Brush FLeX offers a paintbrush experience for a tablet. Image copyright Nomad Brush.

I still think one of the cooler uses for an iPad or tablet is as a replacement for a brush and canvas. Digital “painting” is great entertainment for kids (with waaay less mess) and is turning into a medium embraced by a generation of digital artists. Besides the tablet itself and the software, the biggest boost to digital painting has been the development of capacitive bristled brushes. Finger painting or using a stylus is one thing, but using an actual bristled brush notches the realism up even more.

I’ve been playing around with another entrant in the field, the Nomad Brush FLeX. There’s a lot to like about this model. The machined aluminum body is the right length (about 6-inches) and weight to give the feeling of holding a paintbrush. The synthetic bristle tip looks and feels “real” and using it is much more satisfying than digitally painting with a regular stylus. Available in five colors, the FLeX doesn’t require batteries and is compatible with any capacitive touch screen device — iPad, Kindle Fire, iPod Touch and the other usual suspects. Thanks to a removable tip, a different brush style is easily added if desired.

One of the challenges with a brush form factor is the potential for damage to those delicate bristles, especially when the stylus is carted around. Other models use a protective cap, but the drawback to that solution is that if you aren’t careful in putting the cap on, doing so can actually damage the brush tip you’re trying to protect. Nomad took the approach of avoiding caps and including a protective plastic case. It’s not a perfect solution — naturally the case adds bulk and it can be a bit fussy to get the stylus in and out — but it does completely protect the Brush FLeX. In the event that the brush tip should be damaged, or wear out from use (it happens), the business end can be removed and replaced instead of buying an entire new stylus.

The Nomad Brush FLeX retails for $29.00.

Disclosure: BiteMyApple and Nomad Brush provided review samples.

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