Up until last year, digital styluses — ones with electronic parts inside — worked pretty well across multiple iPad models. Developers including Adonit took over two years to develop electronic iPad writing tools that were thinner-tipped than fingers and rubber-domed styluses, but they succeeded, enabling iPads to serve as notepads and sophisticated canvases for artwork. Then the iPad Air 2 came out, subtly changing the touch-sensing technology that digital styluses relied upon, breaking some and reducing the accuracy of others. Stylus developers quietly acknowledged that new hardware would be needed.
Adonit’s new Jot Script 2 ($75, aka Jot Script 2 Evernote Edition) is the first digital stylus I’ve tested with full iPad Air 2 compatibility. As the sequel to Adonit’s 2013-vintage Jot Script Evernote Edition, it borrows a lot of its predecessor’s design and functionality, but also improves upon it in several ways. Beyond adding iPad Air 2 support, it has a thinner body, and a rechargeable battery rather than a disposable one, all at the same price as last year’s model…
Stylus measures 5.5″ long by 0.38″ thick, around 0.1″ thinner than its predecessor
Rechargeable battery lasts ~20 hours, refueled with USB dock
1.9mm tip offers pen-like accuracy and feel
Compatible with the iPad Air 2
Adonit has released many Jot styluses over the past few years. Entry-level Jots are not electronic at all, while the top Jot styluses include Bluetooth 4, 1.9mm pen-like tips, pressure sensitivity, shortcut buttons, and rechargeable batteries. Jot Script 2 sits in the middle of the pack: it uses Bluetooth 4, incorporates the company’s smallest writing tip, and comes with a USB recharging dock, but doesn’t have shortcut buttons or pressure sensitivity. A matte plastic ring in the middle has a silver power on/off button with a multi-colored (red/green/blue) status light; that’s it. Like its gunmetal-colored predecessor, the silver Jot Script 2 is comfortable to write with, mostly thanks to a grippy metal top and smooth-finished bottom.
Jot Script 2’s 0.38″ thickness is now directly comparable to a standard pen, whereas its predecessor was around 0.1″ thicker to accommodate a single AAA battery. Adonit made no promises about the prior model’s run time — it turned out to be between 10-15 hours — but the new model runs for around 20 hours between recharges, accomplished via the included magnetic charging dock. I personally really like Adonit’s docks, and have found them easy to use with MacBooks’ side-mounted USB ports, but they’re a challenge for the rear-mounted ports on desktop Macs. You’ll need to self-supply a USB extension cord, or plug the dock into a USB wall charger like the ones that come with iPads and iPhones.
Pairing and using Jot Script 2 is easy. You load a compatible app, most notably Adonit partner Evernote’s Penultimate (but also GoodNotes 4, Noteshelf, or Notes Plus), and a pairing screen has you touch Jot Script 2’s tip to a dot, bonding the stylus to your iPad. Pairing and de-pairing are handled on an as-needed basis by apps, rather than iOS’s Bluetooth settings menu, reducing battery drain by eliminating the need to maintain a persistent connection with iOS. All Bluetooth 4.0 iPads and iPad minis are supported, as are iPhones starting with the iPhone 5.
Notably, the Bluetooth connection and official app support are only required if an app wants to track the stylus’s tip location and angle for enhanced accuracy; Jot Script 2 can be used with the rest of iOS and unsupported apps as a regular stylus, so long as its power is turned on. To incentivize you to use Evernote’s officially supported software, Adonit includes six months of Evernote Premium access, which adds multi-device access to searchable handwritten notes and other benefits.
I had no problem whatsoever writing or drawing on the iPad Air 2, which had accuracy problems with the prior Jot Script (and other digital styluses) due to the aforementioned touchscreen changes; Jot Script 2 made the difference between rendering my iPad handwriting legible and mostly illegible. While I missed premium stylus features such as pressure sensitivity and context buttons for undoing or changing pen styles, I appreciated the ability to draw and write with far greater accuracy than is possible with basic styluses or fingers.
The one thing that didn’t work 100% perfectly with Jot Script 2 was palm rejection. When the iPad was in portrait mode, I had very few issues once Penultimate was (quickly) taught the side of the screen and angle that I write from. But in landscape mode, where my hand spends much more time hovering over the screen, my writing would routinely get interrupted as my palm inadvertently became an alternate writing implement. The yellow-circled area in the below right screenshot shows marks on a page that were made by my palm rather than Jot Script 2.
If you’re looking for a digital stylus for the iPad Air 2, Jot Script 2 is a good option, improving on its predecessor in both size and recharging capability for the same price. The writing experience with Penultimate is great in portrait mode, less so in landscape, and the list of supported apps will likely grow at least a little now that it’s out. Users looking for more sophisticated features such as pressure sensitivity and shortcut buttons, however, may want to consider the more deluxe Jot Touch with Pixelpoint, which works with all iPad minis and full-sized iPads before the iPad Air 2. If you don’t have the iPad Air 2 and want very similar functionality, the original Jot Script is now selling for a discount, and remains a solid alternative.