Add new comment

Review: Adonit Dash 3 Stylus for Touchscreen Devices

Over the years, I've reviewed many styluses and that includes Adonit Dash (1st generation) and Adonit Dash 2.

The most important thing to understand is the performance of such styluses depends on the type of device and app that you use. Some screen will read the input better, resulting in more accuracy, and some apps will apply their own styles to smooth out the lines. In short, the difference in performance on different touchscreen devices can be significant, as you shall see in this review.

I'm saying this because I made the mistake of only testing out Adonit Dash 2 with the iPad Pro. It turns out that the iPad Pro's screen was able to read the stylus input very well and as a result produced a rather pleasant writing experience. The same cannot be same when I tested Adonit Dash 2 on other tablets recently as I was comparing Dash 2 and Dash 3.

What has changed from Dash 2 to 3?

The main improvement is the change of material used to create the tip. Adonit Dash 3 now uses a tip that has a matte/non-glossy surface compared to the more glossy or semi-gloss version in Dash 2. The increased drag makes writing or drawing with the stylus less slippery. The tapping sound against the screen is slightly dampened. Overall, it feels nicer to write on the screen.

Other than that, the new stylus is pretty much similar to the previous generation in design and functionality.

That's the stylus with the small USB charger.

Writing performance

I've only managed to test the stylus on three devices, namely LG V20 (Android 7.0), Samsung Galaxy Tab S3 (Android 7.0) and iPad Pro (2017).

There is some parallax error with this stylus. There is a gap between the tip and where the stroke appears. The gap is around 1-2mm depending on the angle that the stylus was held at. The more vertical, the less parallax there is. And the parallax always appear on the side where the stylus is tilting towards. E.g. If you're right handed, the gap should appear on the right side.

Inkcredible on LG V20
Writing on such a small screen means you have to write larger. The V20 screen is actually quite good and can read the stylus input quite well.

Wacom Bamboo Paper on LG V20
Connecting lines is difficult when there is parallax. When you put the tip on the line to connect it, the line that appears will be a gap away. The parallax error makes drawing difficult. Slow diagonal lines are relatively straight though.

Inkredible on Samsung Tab S3
The roomier 9.7-inch screen on the Samsung Tab S3 is definitely more comfortable to work with. Note that this stylus does not have palm rejection so it can be a bit awkward when writing especially if you feel like you want to place your palm on the screen.

Writing without palm rejection involves lifting your hand and writing and it's not the most comfortable way to write.

Wacom Bamboo Paper on Tab S3
I've provided a control sample with some text written with the S Pen right at the top. With the S Pen, I was able to write smaller and more accurately.

The handwriting sample of Adonit Dash 2 and 3 look similar to me. They are still legible, but not as accurately captured.

Wacom Bamboo Paper on Tab S3
It's easier for me to writing in uppercase and have the handwriting captured more accurately. Diagonal lines have significant jitter when drawn slowly here. This is strange when consider the Tab S3 is a tablet that's newer compared to the LG V20 phone. So the type of screen used definitely matters. But I'm not sure about which are the specifications that really affect the capture. LG V20 is an LCD screen while Tab S3 is AMOLED.

Squid on Tab S3
The app you use definitely matters. The strokes with Squid appears more angular and looks very different from my actual handwriting.

Samsung Notes on Tab S3
Samsung Note is a very good app when used with S Pen. When used with Dash 3, the handwriting isn't captured that well.

Here are some writing sample on the iPad Pro (2017) with Dash 3.

Slow diagonal lines on the iPad Pro are quite straight when you compare them to the Tab S3. So we have the same stylus but different performance because of the different tablets.

Parallax on the iPad Pro is lesser. I am able to connect lines rather easier.

Notability on the iPad did not capture my handwriting that well.

Good Notes on iPad Pro did not capture my handwriting that well too.

That's Notes Plus.

Of all the note taking apps, I prefer to use Wacom Bamboo Paper. While you certainly can use Adonit Dash 3 for taking notes, whether or not the app can capture your handwriting well is another question. As mentioned in the intro, the accuracy has to depend on the app and device.

Both the LG V20 and iPad Pro are able to draw diagonal lines slowly without jitter, but there's more parallax with LG V20.

People who take notes probably do not require pressure sensitivity in the stylus. But the lack of palm rejection makes writing a bit more awkward. Writing with the hand raised off the surface affects the legibility of your handwriting. That's why most of the handwriting samples above don't look that good -- the app were not able to capture my handwriting accurately because of the way I write, and also because of how the stylus perform.

Another thing to note is Adonit Dash 3 can produce strokes when the tip is very close but not touching the surface. Because of that, sometimes there will be a trailing stroke when you lift the stylus. The best way for handwriting to be capture perfectly is to lift up after each letter, don't write cursive and don't connect the letters.

Overall, this stylus definitely works for taking notes, but it's not the most satisfactory stylus to take notes with. The increased drag on the tip is a nice touch, but it doesn't improve the writing functionality or the accuracy of writing. If you want something more accurate, I would suggest the Adonit Pixel for iOS devices, and on the Android, the S Pen in unparalleled.


You can find the Adonit Dash 3 on Amazon through the links below: | | | | | |