Pogo Connect is one of the new Bluetooth-powered styluses that doesn’t just let you draw on screen, but has also added pressure sensitivity so you can sketch, draw, doodle, or write more expressively than you ever could before on an iPad.
As much as I love using a stylus with my iPad, there has always one thing missing. Expression. When you’re drawing on real paper, with a real pen, pencil, or brush, the pressure you exert on the page has a real, discernible outcome. A light touch with a pencil, gives you a lighter line than if you bear down on it. If you write with a fountain pen (like I do), you get thicker or thinner lines with the subtle pressure you put on the nib.
Your average capacitive stylus let’s you draw on the screen, and certainly with more precision and control than your finger, but you get the same line regardless if you push hard or barely touch the screen. If the screen reads the touch…the line is there. And while apps like SketchBook Pro and Paper by FiftyThree try to make software give the simulation of drawing on paper—and the expressive, subtle nature of it—it’s just not the same.
Enter the new breed of Bluetooth connected, pressure sensitive styluses.
I was sent a pre-production/prototype Pogo Connect to try out and I have to tell you, that it is a “wow” device. If you like drawing and doodling. If you’re looking for “just another stylus” this is overkill. Especially if you don’t have or plan to get an app that works with the pressure sensitivity.
These new styluses connect wirelessly to your iPad and work some magic with internal sensors to transmit how hard to soft you’re pressing to drawing apps. I’ll note here one key aspect of this magic—the apps much be coded to look for, connect to, and support pressure sensitivity. What this means that if you’re, for example sketching in Penultimate it doesn’t matter if you’re using the Pogo Connect or the Adonit Jot Touch, the stylus will work just like any other stylus. So using Draw Something…no difference. Drawing with SketchBook Pro, Zen Brush, or Paper? Huge difference.
As styluses go, the Pogo Connect is a little thicker than most, owing mostly to the AAA battery that powers it. In contrast Jot Touch uses a built-in rechargeable battery, so is thinner. The Connect has a single button that lets you connect it to your iPad (iPad 3 and 4 only right now, support for the iPad mini is coming I’m told) and if the application supports it other actions like undo (my favorite action, which is what Paper lets the button do).
Pogo supplies a special helper app to help you connect your Connect and can help you find it if it’s lost. In reality, you don’t need the helper app if you have an app that supports the Connect. In fact I found the helper app can interfere with Paper (or other apps) connecting and staying connected to the Pogo Connect.
First, as a stylus for any app. I really like the feel of the Connect. It’s light, maybe a little too light) and comfortable. I found I could sketch and doodle with it for a while with no issues. The Pogo Connect is certainly giving the HAND stylus a run for its money in the “my favorite stylus” race. Light, good size, effortless sketching. Even if it wasn’t touch enhanced it would be a good stylus.
The touch part is what sets it apart from other styluses. Once you connect the stylus with your apps (examples from Paper, SketchBook Pro, Zen Brush, and Noteshelf):
You just…start drawing! Simple as that.
Sure, it takes time to get a feel for how each app handles the pen input, but you pick it up pretty fast. Once you start to get the hang of sketching with a stylus that does sense touch, you won’t want to go back.
Here’s a short video demonstrating the Pogo Connect in action:
This isn’t a perfect device. Getting the hang of getting the Connect to connect has been tricky. I think you need to make sure that the app you’re trying to use with it…is the only app open that can use it. For example having Paper open and the Pogo Connect app open, no connection. Having other writing apps and Zen Brush, no connection. One app at a time folks. When in doubt, force quit all the drawing apps, open the one you want, and ta da! It works.
Also, this isn’t a $40 stylus that you just toss in a bag. The Pogo Connect costs about $80. Do don’t what to just leave it lying around.
As far as app support goes, the Pogo Connect is lagging behind the Adonit Jot Touch. I think that has a lot to do with the fact that the Pogo Connect is new (it’s not even shipping until the end of November) and the Jot Touch is available now. Myself, the Pogo Connect works with a number of the apps I already have. I’d love for Notability and Penultimate to support it, but maybe they will in time.
I think the shipping version, which will also come with the cool magnetic tips for easy changing, might work out connection problems. Maybe we’ll even get a firmware update before too long (though how the update will be pushed to the pen I have no idea).
Bottom line: I love using this stylus. I wish it had a pen/shirt clip, but that’s minor. I think I’ve figured out the problems I’ve had with connecting it to my iPad, so I don’t know if that is a really strong negative point here. Yes, it’s more expensive than a “normal” stylus, but what you get for the price is an expressiveness that you can’t get from any other stylus—at least of the non-Bluetooth variety. Below are some examples I doodled as well as a short video showing the stylus in action on my iPad.