A Tale of Two Styluses
I have to admit that writing this post makes me feel a little guilty. After all, Pogo Connect has been my go-to stylus since I first purchased my iPad. Their product is great, their customer service impecable, and their passion for their community nearly unmatched.
I’ve never used another pressure sensitive stylus, and that started to bug me. After all, what if there was a better product out there, and I didn’t know it? The good people at HEX3 were kind enough to send me a review copy of their Jaja stylus, and I’ve been using it for about a week now. So here goes: Pogo Connect vs. the HEX3 Jaja.
The Pogo Connect is easy to use, but it’s not so easy on the hand. A round cylinder is not the most ergonomic shape. The Jaja has a rubberized triangular grip that feels comfortable and won’t cramp up your painting hand. It is also heavier than the Pogo Connect, but this is a point in its favor. The Jaja feels like a normal pen, rather than some new unfamiliar tool. Point: Jaja.
I tried and tried to find a difference between the two styluses in terms of their interpretation of pressure. For the life of me, I couldn’t. Both are very easy to use and there’s not much difference in the results. Here’s a side-by-side comparison I whipped up, showing the different strokes rendered by the two styluses:
Neither “wins” this category, but because they both do their job as expected, I will give them both a point. Jaja: 2, Pogo Connect: 1.
The Pogo Connect’s nib is a soft, rubbery half-sphere. This is great for simulating touch on the iPad and minimizing errors, but is honestly not that great for finding the nuances of pressure sensitivity. Finding the maximum pressure without piercing the tablet can be a challenge. The Jaja, by contrast, uses a narrow nib with a flat Teflon tip. This not only allows for more intuitive strokes, at least for me, but also feels more like plain old sketching. It’s easier to see what strokes your making with the Jaja, and that counts. Point: Jaja. Jaja: 3, Pogo Connect: 1.
When I first saw demos of the Jaja, I took it for granted that it was a bluetooth stylus. Bluetooth seems like the most common connection standard to use for most wireless accessories. However, the Jaja doesn’t use bluetooth: it uses sound. Yep, high-frequency sound is how my iPad knows how hard I’m pressing. Inaudible to humans (and animals as far as my testing shows), the sound comes out of a little slit-speaker situated right above the rubbery grip.
You might think this is a point in favor of the Jaja, but you’re wrong. In noisy environments, the Jaja won’t work as well. You can turn the speaker up at the cost of battery life. This adjustment is kind of hard to make, though. It involves pushing down the rubber grip in a way that would probably terrify the average user.
Using sound allows the Jaja to work when the tablet is in Airplane mode. However, I really can’t imagine that coming in handy near as often as turning up the speaker would become a nuissance for me. I work out of coffee shops, and sometimes they can get pretty noisy.
Also, it’s worth noting that the alternative technology employed by the Jaja, while kind of awesome, doesn’t result in a significant difference in price. It’s still $89, actually $10 more than the Pogo Connect.
To be fair, I didn’t experience any actual failure during the week I sampled the Jaja. But the thought of having to practically disassemble it just because some rowdy teenagers sit at a nearby table annoys me far more than the thought of not being able to use my Pogo Connect on an airplane. Point: Pogo Connect. Jaja: 3, Pogo Connect: 2.
The Jaja came in a box that looked and felt like it could survive a drop from the upper atmosphere. It’s sturdy, closes magnetically, and generally looks like a high-quality store-bought product. The Jaja was nestled comfortably inside, and an extra plastic nib was included.
The Pogo Connect’s packaging wasn’t as fancy, but it was sufficient and still looked professional. It also came with an extra couple of nibs, and therein lies the criteria I decided to use for this last point.
Included in the shipping box was the Jaja in its case as well as a packing slip and a plain white envelope. The packing slip indicated that there were two Teflon replacement nibs inside, but I couldn’t find them. I searched the product box again, still nothing. Then I remembered that plain envelope. The Teflon nibs were in that nondescript envelope, just sort of thrown in there like an afterthought, without anyone taking the trouble to label them.
Here’s the thing: I initially thought the envelope was put in there by accident. I nearly threw it away. Contrast this with the Pogo Connect’s extra nibs, which came in a tiny cardboard box that was clearly labeled.
Though it was a tight race, I have to call this last item for the Pogo Connect. Update: 9/1/13 – I was recently contacted via email by none other than Jon Atherton, the founder of Hex3 and creator of the Jaja. He assured me that anyone purchasing a Jaja from Hex3 would receive their stylus with the Teflon nibs in the box, rather than thrown in an envelope. This improves Jaja’s position in this category, and I’m now awarding both styluses a point. Jaja: 4, Pogo Connect: 3.
I have to give both products equal credit for being well-suited to their task. They are both high-quality and do their job well. Which one you buy, if you’re in the market, will come down to what you want your stylus to be like. While both Styluses are very good, the Jaja ended with a higher score, and is therefore declared the winner.
You can purchase the Jaja Stylus HERE, and the Pogo Connect HERE. These are both “Affiliate” Links, meaning if you click on them to purchase the products I’ve just described, I’ll get a percentage of the sale. I NEVER recommend products I don’t use.
Any other iPad/tablet peripherals you’d like to see me review? Drop me a line: editor[at]iPad4Life[dot]net .