Artist Review: Adonit Pixel Pressure Sensitive iPad Stylus

Another year brings us yet another stylus from Adonit.

Adonit Pixel is the new model that replaces the Jot Touch with Pixelpoint, which is also a pressure sensitive stylus.

Let me give you the bottomline up front first. If you're not using the iPad Pro, the Adonit Pixel is probably the best Bluetooth stylus that supports pressure sensitivity. If you're using the iPad Pro, get the Apple Pencil.

Build quality


Build quality of the Adonit Pixel is great. It has a nice metallic surface finishing, matte grip and a nice weight to it. It's available in black and bronze.


On the grip section are two buttons. These buttons are flushed to the pen's body and would have been better if they protrude more so that you can feel them easily. Functions of those buttons depends on the apps. In some apps, you can customize them, in others, they may be fixed or useless.

Just beneath the buttons and grip is a thin slit with the indicator lights.


Right: Pixel

Right at the back of the stylus is the charging port. Just like many of Adonit's styluses, this one charges through a USB charging port that's shaped like a thumb drive. To charge, you put the pen on it, and it will adhere to it with the strong magnet. Do not lose that small charging port.

Improvements from previous model


Left: PixelPoint, Right: Pixel

Main improvement from the Jot Touch Pixelpoint is the tip. Adonit Pixel uses a textured tip unlike the more common hard plastic tip. The reason why people apply matte screen protector is to get that textured feeling. So you can either give your screen a fake texture or put the texture on the tip which is what Adonit has done here. When drawing, it has a more pen-on-paper kind of feeling rather than the typical plastic-on-glass feeling. Adonit Pixel feels relatively better to draw with. Keyword being relatively.


The other difference is tip wobbles less now. Third party pressure sensitive styluses usually have tips that allows for some movement and hence wobble. When writing with traditional instruments, there's no such wobble so it feels unnatural to when you switch to using such stylus. With the Adonit Pixel, the moving part is now the tip and the conical holder rather than the tip alone like in their other styluses before this. It wobbles less and as a result feels more natural in use. I liken the wobble to using a ballpoint pen.

The tip has also shrunk from 3.18mm to 1.9mm. The tip blocks less of the screen and allows you to see more of your strokes.

Device compatibility

Here's the list of iOS devices that are supported by the Adonit Pixel:
iPhone 5, 5c, 5s, SE, 6, 6 Plus, 6s, 6s Plus, iPad Mini, iPad Mini 2, iPad Mini 3, iPad Mini 4, iPad 4, iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Pro

It probably does not make any sense to buy this stylus if you have the iPad Pro because the Apple Pencil is still the better stylus. Sure the Apple Pencil may cost $20 more, but I recommend you spend that extra $20 to get the better stylus. Adonit Pixel is good. Apple Pencil is great. Some say it's awkward to charge the Apple Pencil, but hey at least can charge it with the tablet you're drawing on, anytime, anywhere.

Adonit, if you're reading this, it's about time to create a stylus for Windows tablet.

App compatibility

This is a new stylus so the number of apps that support it are still increasing. You'll have to check out the list on Adonit's website to see the latest updated list.

Will the drawing app you use be supported by Adonit Pixel? I'm not sure but the previous model is supported by a lot of apps so I guess Adonit Pixel will be too.

So far, the only drawing app that I use that supports Adonit Pixel is Medibang Paint and it works quite well with the exception of palm rejection.

Usability
When looking at usability, I check for pressure sensitivity, palm rejection, accuracy and lag.

I'll be comparing it with Apple Pencil but the comparison is only meaningful to a certain extent because you can only use Apple Pencil on iPad Pros.

I've only tested the stylus with Medibang Paint and pressure sensitivity support is fantastic. The amount of pressure to use is similar to that of a ballpoint pen. You just have to press down slightly and it will give you a stroke. Transition from thin to thick is smooth and it tapers smoothly as you lift up the stylus. Note that with the Apple Pencil, as long as the tip touches the surface even without pressure, you can get a stroke. With Adonit Pixel, you still need to apply that slight amount of pressure.

Palm rejection does not work flawlessly. It also depends on app support. When drawing with Medibang Paint, I often face the problem of suddenly going into the double-finger panning mode because the app registers the stylus tip and my palm as two fingers and respond accordingly. This issue with palm rejection has been there with all of Adonit's earlier styluses. So even after so many models and iteration, this issue of palm rejection still exists. Apple Pencil on their other hand has almost flawless palm rejection implementation.

Accuracy is good enough and it also depends on the app. The cursor always hovers close to the tip. In some apps, you can choose your handwriting position and the app will adjust cursor's position relative to the tip. In works well in most cases but in most cases, I also find that the cursor is never directly under the tip. I've no problems drawing with the stylus though, but I wished that there's a setting for the cursor to be directly beneath the tip. Unfortunately, this setting is often implemented by the app you use. This applies to Adonit's earlier styluses as well.

Lag depends on the app you're using. I sense a tiny bit of lag with Medibang Paint. But overall, lag is not really an issue because it's not those irritating kind of lag.

Conclusion

In essence, the Adonit Pixel's usability is very similar to Adonit Jot Touch with Pixel Point. The main difference to me is the introduction of a textured tip. However, the hard tip Jot Touch drawing on a matte screen protector is similar to Adonit Pixel drawing on glass. Overall, I'm quite satisfied with the drawing experience. The closest analogy I can give is it like like drawing with a heavier ballpoint pen. The 1.9mm tip also contributes that feeling.

If you're buying it to take notes, it feels no different from the other hard tip styluses from Adonit. Put it another way, this stylus is not significantly better than other styluses at taking notes. I'm not sure if you need pressure sensitivity for taking notes so you have the option to save some money.

Overall, it's a good stylus. It works as it should. It's targeted at those who are not using the iPad Pro but still want a good stylus with pressure sensitivity. The only downside is palm rejection is iffy and depends on app support.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Here are the pros and cons at a glance
+ Good build quality
+ Nice weight
+ 1.9mm tip
+ Textured tip provides a more textural drawing experience
+ Good battery life
+ Charges via USB port
+ Pressure sensitivity is excellent
+ Tip wobbles less
+ Overall it feels like using a ballpoint pen with medium tip
+ No lag
- Palm rejection is iffy, depends on app implementation
- Accuracy depends on app support but generally speaking it's satisfactory
- Number of apps that support this stylus is still growing
- I personally feel that it's quite pricey at USD $80 (retail)

Availability

You can check out more reviews on Amazon from the links below.

If you want to buy it, I hope you can do so through my Amazon affiliate links. It gives me some commission that enables me to continue to put out reviews like this. My wallet gets a big hit each time I buy these pricey stylus for reviews, and I don't like to ask for free stuff to review for integrity purposes.

Amazon.com | Amazon.ca | Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.de | Amazon.fr | Amazon.it | Amazon.es | Amazon.co.jp

And you can check out more stylus reviews at http://www.parkablogs.com/category/tags/stylus

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