Adonit Note+ Stylus Review #amwriting

Adonit Note+ Stylus image

I finally gave in and bought an “Apple Pencil compatible” stylus, the Adonit Note+. Why this and not a genuine Apple Pencil 1st Generation for my iPad 6th Generation?

  • I’ve been using Adonit products for years now. I’ve chosen graphic and notetaking apps based on their compatibility with Adonit’s pressure sensitivity and programmable function buttons. Why give up that capability?
  • I finally saw a video review of the Note+ that made clear the fact that the Adonit really can work exactly like an Apple Pencil so far as basic drawing and tilt are concerned. This opens new apps to me for Pencil-based handwriting and drawing.
  • I already have accessories (like clips) for Adonit products.
  • The Note+ (USD $69.99) is already less expensive than the Apple Pencil (USD $99-129). Adonit’s Black Friday special made the price irresistible.
  • The Note+ is compatible with any iPad that will use either a Gen 1 or Gen 2 Apple Pencil. If I were to someday switch to an iPad Pro, the Note+ will make the jump with me.

So, how does it perform?

Apple Pencil compatibility: I’ve tried Apple Pencils in the Apple Store. I can’t detect any difference in performance between the Apple Pencil and the Adonit Note+. Both have lag-free response. Both detect stylus tilt & respond identically. The Adonit uses its own Bluetooth-connected pressure sensitivity as opposed to Pencil’s method, but my apps already interface with it.

The major difference I can see is in charging method. The 1st gen Apple Pencil charges off the iPad’s Lightning connector, and the 2nd gen off a magnetic charger on the iPad itself. The Adonit Note+ uses a USB-c charging cable. I’ve never had a problem with an Adonit stylus running out of change during the day no matter how much I use it, so I see this as a non-issue.

I concede that possibly if you’re in meetings or classes all day taking handwritten notes, this might be a problem. But at a minimum of $20 savings over an Apple Pencil, you can afford a cheap external battery charger. If Adonit’s claim of 1 hour of use for a 4 minute charge is close to accurate, you won’t need anything very powerful.

Adonit Pressure Sensitivity: Some Adonit-capable apps (example: Tayasui’s Sketches Pro) force use of Apple Pencil features instead of Adonit features with the Note+. Of those that support the Note+, I found that connection was a bit tricky (Hint: tap the pointwards function button just before you press on the connection circle.) But yes, in general Adonit pressure sensitivity and function buttons work just as I expect in Adonit-capable apps. Here’s a current list: Adonit Recommended Apps.

Recommendations: If you just want an Apple Pencil replacement and don’t use pressure sensitivity or tilt, I’d suggest the Adonit Note. At USD $49.99, it’s half the price of an Apple Pencil 1st generation, and should serve just as well. It you already have an investment in apps that support Adonit pressure sensitivity, the Note+ should get you the Apple Pencil compatibility for line drawing and tilt in addition to your current capabilities—but be sure to check Adonit’s current app list.

iPad 6th Generation v. Adonit Pixel Stylus—Review #amwriting

It’s frustrating being an Adonit stylus fangirl, sometimes. Adonit themselves seem content to ignore new iPad releases. I’ve had an Adonit Pixel stylus since April 2017, and I couldn’t find any information as to whether my stylus would work with an iPad 6th generation, which has been available for more than a year.

My new iPad 6th Gen. and my older Adonit Pixel Bluetooth Stylus get along just fine!

But my iPad Air 2 (it’s three years old) was rapidly dying, so last week I replaced it with an iPad 6 and took a chance that I wouldn’t need to buy an Apple Pencil.

I win!

My Pixel stylus works fine with my iPad 6. All my drawing apps that supported the Pixel before still support it (except for Astropad, who are abandoning all pressure-sensitive styluses except for Apple Pencil.)

To give a brief recap of the relative merits of Adonit Pixel v. Apple Pencil:

Pixel Pros

  • It has 2048 levels of pressure sensitivity.
  • It works with iPhones.
  • It has programmable function buttons.
  • It’s less expensive than an Apple Pencil.
  • Its battery is durable. Mine is still going strong after 2 years.

Pixel Cons

  • It doesn’t work with iPad Pro models.
  • It connects with specific apps rather than with the iPad or iPhone as a whole.
  • It requires some setup to get the most from the stylus. In particular, a user needs to set his or her handwriting angle in each app that supports Pixel. The little hand position diagrams can be misleading—best practice is to try each angle setting in each app to see which works best.

Apple Pencil Pros

  • If Apple says it works with a device, then it does. No experimentation is needed.
  • It’s both pressure and angle sensitive.
  • Setup is like that of any other Bluetooth device.
  • It’s not limited to use only in apps that support it.

Apple Pencil Cons

  • The Pencil doesn’t work with any iPhone, and is limited to iPad Pro models, and very recent less-expensive iPad models.
  • It’s more expensive than the Adonit Pixel.
  • It has no function buttons.
  • There are problems with the Pencil battery if you don’t use the Pencil often.

Honestly, if I were buying now, it would be a hard decision. I’m accustomed to my apps that support the Pixel, so the Pencil’s usability in more apps isn’t persuasive. On the other hand, Apple will make sure that the Pencil will work with my iPad 6 through iOS upgrades regardless. There’s no such assurance for the Pixel.

If my Pixel should bite the dust, I’ll probably get an Apple Pencil. But as long as my Pixel holds out, I’ll enjoy pressure-sensitive drawing on my iPhone as well as on my iPad.

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