Adonit Pixel (I've had it for Five Minutes!) Review

Discussion in 'iPad Accessories' started by bensisko, May 25, 2016.

  1. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    So, as the title says, I haven't had Adonit's Pixel very long, but I thought I would post my initial out-of-the-box thoughts!

    First things first - the Macworld review is... Somewhat accurate.

    My Gear:
    I have three active iPads at the moment: an iPad Pro (12.9), an iPad Mini 4 (my daily carry), and an iPad Air (1st gen which I use for work). I also have a Dell 8" Windows 10 tablet I tend to carry as a mobile sketchbook - it has an active stylus.

    My Dilemma:
    The iPad Mini is great as an all-around, everyday device but it lacks a stylus for drawing and writing notes. The iPad Pro is an amazing device and, paired with the Apple Pencil, is a dream come true... But big and awkward to carry around all the time. The Dell is not as "at the ready" as the iPad Mini (and has poor battery life), but is small, portable, and had an active stylus.

    My Goal:
    With the Adonit Pixel, can I shelve the Dell and still have the ability to draw whenever I want?

    Short answer... Probably not.

    When I read about Adonit's Pixel, and read the Macworld review, I was excited. I knew the experience wouldn't match the Apple Pencil, but could it be "good enough"? After all, I wasn't expecting to have an amazing artist tool - just something I could use to do sketches, not high precision art.

    The Out-of-the-Box Test
    The Apps: Sketchbook (made sure it's up-to-date) and OneNote (I realize it's not on the supported list, but that's my note taking program)

    Parallax Test:
    My BIGGEST complaint against previous iPad Stylii is the Parallex effect - I place the pen on the screen expecting it to draw a line at one point, but the line shows up on the screen in a different place. This was what, for me, made other stylii un-usable and the Apple Pencil so great.

    How is it with the Pixel? Yep. Still an issue. A BIG issue. I tried drawing on both the Air and the Mini 4. Parallax seems to be worse on the Mini 4 than the iPad Air. Parallax seems to be worse the closer you get to the sides (which stands to reason). On the Mini 4, it seems only slightly better than previous models. On the Air, it seemed to be better, but not by enough.

    Tested in Sketchbook
    Rating: 3.5 (out of 10)
    Result: Failed

    Another big complaint for me was lag. The lag was terrible on most of the previous stylii (with the exception of Pencil by 53), especially some of the Adonit stylii (The Wacom stylii didn't seem to have as big of an issue).

    How is it with the Pixel? This is where there's a big difference between the Air and the Mini. The Mini still lagged a bit, but it wasn't too bad - certainly usable. On the Air, the lag was VERY noticeable. Sketching was a big issue. In fact, the lag was almost worse than previous stylii on the Air.

    Tested in Sketchbook
    Rating: 8 (Mini), 4 (Air)
    Result: Passable (mini), Failed (Air)

    Taking Notes:
    Taking Notes never needed to be as accurate as drawing so the writing test has a LOT more leniency. I did my testing in OneNote. I know it's not officially supported, but it's the only note taking app I will ever use (unless MS decides to discontinue the app - then... Apocalypse for me). Also, OneNote supports other stylii without "official" stylii.

    I wasn't expecting much - just to be able to jot some quick notes and to have those notes appear where I expected them to be. As you can guess, my friends Parallax and Lag showed up BIG TIME again! Tried to write on the mini and, despite me writing full characters, my text appeared scrunched and unreadable. Lag was also an issue. On the Air, I was able to write more legibly, but the lag was terrible! I couldn't write slow enough for it to not be an issue.

    Tested in OneNote
    Rating: 5
    Result: Meh... (Leaning toward Failed)

    So, my out-of-the-box experience was fairly poor. Adonit is right - it IS better than previous stylii, but it's NOWHERE NEAR the Apple Pencil - still not even close to being in the same class.

    It's hard for me to reccomend the Pixel to anybody. If you're looking for basic stylus functionality, I think you'll be more frustrated with it's shortcomings than it's ability. I suppose if you liked some of Adonit's other Bluetooth Stylii, this will be a (slight) improvement. I did notice that the drag (the paper-like feeling) has improved, but the Parallax effect makes this such a miserable stylus that I would recommend you stay away from it.

    I will continue to use it for the next week and see what I think, but, even keeping my expectations low, I don't think they will be met.
  2. webwbr macrumors member

    Dec 1, 2011
    Thanks for this review. I have the Pencil 53 working with an iPad Air 2 and like it -- but I don't LOVE it.

    I just want a stylus for THIS iPad (Air 2) that I love, but apparently that is too much to ask. At least you saved me some time.


  3. bensisko thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    For drawing, the 53 Pencil is the best on the Air 2, but for writing the Wacom Fineline is probably the best.

    I really wish I could have given you better news! The initial responses were positive, but after trying it, I don't like it.
  4. masotime macrumors 68020


    Jun 24, 2012
    San Jose, CA
    iPad Pro + Apple Pencil is pretty much the only serious option for using a stylus on iOS IMO....

    I've tried (and wasted a ton of money) on tons of different stylii from Adonit, Pogo and other manufacturers - the iPad aways felt to me like it needed a stylus to make it complete, but I realized unless Apple did it, it would never be right.

    Now they have :)
  5. bensisko thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    Unfortunately I would agree. I really wish I was just being a Pencil Snob. I'm not even looking for anything fancy - just the basic ability to draw and write.
  6. AdonitUSA macrumors newbie


    May 26, 2016
    Hey bensisko,

    I work for Adonit and based on what I'm reading, it doesn't sound like you connected the Pixel to Autodesk. Are you sure it was properly paired?

    There should be minimal lag and offset. Here's a link to a video we just filmed of it working well in Autodesk on an iPad Air. Make sure you've connected it to Sketchbook that you've selected the proper writing posture. It also helps to turn off Multitaksing gestures.

    Testing it in One Note will not give you the results you'd like. If you want to see it taking notes well, we highly recommend trying it in Goodnotes. We do plan on connecting to more notetaking apps in the future.

    --- Post Merged, May 26, 2016 ---
    We can assure you that it does work well on the iPad Air 2. If properly paired with connected apps, you'll have a good experience. We'll post more real-time videos showing off the way it works.
  7. bensisko thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    Yes, I paired it to the app (Sketchbook) - first thing I did AFTER making sure it was charged, Bluetooth was on, and Multitasking Gestures was turned off. Both the Air and the Mini 4 are running iOS 9.3.2. I also tried multiple Writing postures and angles (holding the iPad, having it on the table, etc.).

    I realize OneNote isn't supported (as I mentioned in my review above), but the poor results in Sketchbook ware red disappointment.
  8. bensisko thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    So, just for the sake of it, I decided to try the Pixel on my iPad Pro 12.9" and I encountered the same exact problems.

    I popped open Sketchbook and paired the Pixel. The first thing I notice is the lag - even with the extra RAM, I didn't notice any performance improvement on the lag from the Air to the Pro.

    Next, I noticed the parallax issue is exactly the same (no improvement) on the Pro.

    I guess the one thing to note is that at least it pairs and works on the Pro (other Bluetooth Stylii I've tested refuse to work on the Pro - in sketchbook or any other application).
  9. rubenrp macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2015
    Bensisko, thank you for this review - your use of the iPad Mini 4 is exactly the scenario I was looking to purchase this stylus for. One quick question: how does this stylus perform when drawing diagonals, circles, etc. slowly - does it handle them ok, or does it have the usual "wavy lines" problem?
  10. bensisko thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    Interesting question! Just pulled them both out and tested on e iPad Mini 4 in Sketchbook.

    The "wavy line" issue appears to have been fixed! i didn't get any wavy lines. It was a bit difficult to test because Parallax is worse on the Mini 4 than the Air.

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9 May 25, 2016