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Pogo Connect: The best pressure-sensitive Bluetooth 4 stylus yet

Pogo Connect The best pressuresensitive Bluetooth 4 stylus yet

Artists using the iPad to create their artworks now have a "brush" that is like no other in terms of its flexibility, sensitivity and similarity to traditional artists tools. TenOne Design is set to ship the Pogo Connect pressure-sensitive Bluetooth stylus (US$79.95) on October 31, and it will truly be a treat for anyone who receives one on Halloween.

Design

The design of the Pogo Connect was constrained by the outer diameter of a AAA battery. Unlike the Adonit Jot Touch ($99.99), which uses a rechargeable internal battery, TenOne chose to use a readily available replaceable battery. The battery allegedly lasts for "months," and when it loses charge, it takes less than a minute to replace -- there's no need to plug it in to recharge and no charging dock or cable to lose.

The Pogo Connect uses the Bluetooth 4 standard to connect to your iPad, so it's primarily designed for the third-generation iPad. To link it to the iPad, TenOne supplies a free app called Pogo Connect that simplifies the process of pairing via Bluetooth. That app also has other uses: there's a "Ping My Pogo" function to help locate a lost stylus, a list of compatible apps and a link to the TenOne Design store to buy other styluses. There's no "off" switch on the Pogo Connect, so the app can also be used to disconnect the stylus from your iPad if you're concerned about battery life on your tablet.

If you want to use the Pogo Connect with an earlier iPad and you have an iPhone 4S or 5, there's an app called Pogo Bridge that can be used to link your iPad 1 or 2 with the stylus.

The Pogo Connect is 0.46 inch (11.7 mm) in diameter and 5.1 inches (130 mm) in length, with a tip that's 0.276 inch (7 mm) wide. It weighs a scant 0.8 oz. (22.7 gm.) with the battery. That tip is the secret to this amazing stylus. It uses a solid-state pressure sensor to support hundreds of levels of pressure sensitivity, everything from a feather touch to a heavy hand.

Functionality

Compared to the Adonit Jot Touch, my experience with the Pogo Connect was a total pleasure. I had no problems getting the Pogo Connect to link with my third-generation iPad and remain connected to it. It was always ready to go when I wanted to pick up the iPad and do some drawing. When I forced the Pogo Connect to disconnect, a squeeze of the one button on the device made a blue light start flashing -- a tap on the Pogo Connect app and I was instantly connected.

The Adonit Jot Touch has an odd plastic disk that fits on the tip of a metal stylus that moves in and out as you apply pressure. During my short testing period with the Jot Touch, I lost one of those disks -- fortunately there was a spare included. With the Pogo Connect, there's no worry about losing the tip. It's held on securely with a magnet so you can replace it, but unless you want to remove the tip, it's not going anywhere.

I found the sensitivity of the Pogo Connect to be light years beyond any other pressure-sensitive iPad stylus I've tried so far. The sole button works as an undo button -- my fingers kept mashing that button on a regular basis until I put my thumb and forefinger on either side of it to prevent touching it. However, the undo feature was quite helpful in Procreate ($4.99), an awesome drawing/painting iPad app that works with many of the pressure-sensitive styluses on the market.

One feature totally blew me away, and it was one that I was not aware of from reading the website. The LED in the undo button changes to approximate the color of the "ink" that you're currently using. It's an amazing way to get the digital equivalent of a glance at the "paint" on your "brush."

As with the Jot Touch, the best way to get a feel for the way that the pressure sensitivity works is to see the stylus in action. I was able to use Reflection to capture the iPad video on my iMac with the Pogo Connect; with the Jot Touch, the stylus interfered with video capture. Take a look at the following video for an example of pressure sensitivity in action, especially with the last brush -- an airbrush.

Conclusion

TenOne Design has a winner on their hands with the Pogo Connect. Not only is the stylus $20 less expensive than its nearest competitor, but it also provides better connectivity through Bluetooth 4, tighter control of pressure sensitivity, and extended features such as the color LED matching your "paint" color. Anyone who is doing art on the iPad needs to drop whatever stylus they're currently using and buy a Pogo Connect -- it's that good.

Pros

  • Less expensive than competing Bluetooth styluses
  • Instant setup and pairing with the third-generation iPad
  • Comfortable size for gripping
  • Ability for apps to display paint color through built-in LED
  • Very sensitive to differences in pressure
  • Excellent battery life, uses commonly available AAA battery
  • Supported by a number of apps -- 16 at the current time
  • Pogo Connect app can be used to find a lost or hidden stylus
  • Tip can be easily replaced if it wears out, but is held tightly in place

Cons

  • Button (which can be used to undo painting/drawing) can be too easily pushed
  • Some users may not like using disposable batteries

Who is it for?

  • iPad artists who want the best possible Bluetooth stylus