Enhanced iPad Productivity
This holiday season, as you look for that perfect stocking stuffer, think about the iPad users in your family. Even though Steve Jobs was anti-stylus, devices like those sold by Adonit become more than a simple means to move a cursor. Instead, students can annotate notes, they can draw, they can document, or they can take notes upon slide-show presentations. I wish that I was in college/graduate school with the current generation of students. When I went through my graduate and specialty science classes, I received large three-ringed binders with scores of pages of notes. I had to sort and remember the location and into which binder they were placed. Modern students do not know how lucky they are to have digital notes that can be quickly sorted, searched, and manipulated. So add on a pencil/writing device, improve your note-taking, and decrease your paper waste.
The Adonit Dash 4 device arrived in a clean, white 2 1/4 inches wide by 7 5/8 inches tall by 3/4 inches thick retail package. The ADONIT name with Pyramid Logo was present along the top of the cover panel within the negative space of a black square. I loved the play on the checkerboard theme and the contrast between the light and dark colors. Along the bottom of the panel, the company provided the bold product name “ADONIT DASH 4.” Toward my left, you will find a QR code linking to the ADONIT ONE APP and information that the pen was made for “All Touchscreens.” Capitalizing on the starkly contrasting dark upon light palette, the main showcase of the cover was the smooth, slightly raised photo-quality image of the Adonit Dash 4. The side panels provided the product name and again detailed that the pen was for all touchscreens. The rear panel provided three multilingual (English, German, French, Spanish, Japanese, Taiwanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, and Arabic) labeled icons: 1. Dual Mode Stylus. 2. Magnetic Charging. 3. Ready To Use. Beneath the icons, you will find small print along the bottom that detailed the 1-year warranty and copyright information. Lastly, the bottom panel provided an SKU barcode sticker and a few product manufacturing labels.
I cut the tape along the top panel and slid the internal tray out from the main packaging. I removed the small 1 7/8 inches square “REPLACEMENT NIBS” envelope, which contained two accessory tips, and the 1 7/8 inches wide by 7 1/16 inches tall instruction sheet from the inner tray. The pamphlet provided two QR codes (adonit.net/support/dash4, adonit.net/support), and icons for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and email. The inner surface provided information about the Class B digital device, a paragraph about interference, and several product manufacturing labels. With the above accessories removed, I found the black-colored 0.52-ounce Adonit Dash 4 pen and 0.1-ounce USB-C magnetic charger resting within a white-foam cutout. The magnetic USB-C charger measured 1/2 inches wide by 1 1/2 inches tall (1 3/16 inches tall when plugged in) by 5/16 inches thick and securely attached to the rear end of the pen. The Dash 4 device felt fantastic in the hand and weighed slightly less than the newest generation Apple Pencil. I liked the feel and the overall weight/balance of the 5 15/16 inches long by 5 /16 inches diameter pen.
To access the user manual, I scanned the adonit.net/support/dash4 QR code. The manual detailed the Dash 4’s four labeled parts (power/switch mode button, LED indicator, USB-Charger area, replaceable nib) and then provided a helpful multilingual packaging list, plus a quick guide. Press the top power button once to activate a green LED. This mode was designed for older iPads/iPhones pre-2018. If you press the power button again, the LED will turn blue, which can be used for the newest generation iPads, 2018 and newer. The blue mode has palm recognition and will only recognize a single point instead of the hand resting on the screen. To turn off the pen, you can press the back power button for 3-seconds. This device does not work via Bluetooth, nor does it require a WiFI signal. Instead, the dual tech stylus works through capacitative touch technology.
To test the pen, I utilized the Notes App, downloaded a coloring App, and used Good Notes to write, draw, and color. I played with the pen for several hours and loved the texture, the weight, and the overall feel of the device. I used the Dash 4 to take notes; I opened up a presentation, added comments, and drew in the margins. Next, I used the Notes App to play with my daughter. I doodled a picture, told her a little funny story, and then colored the picture. I loved that the device had an idle power-off after 15 minutes to preserve the battery life of the pen. It is important to note that the Dash 4 device did not support touch sensitivity, shortcut options, or tilt features. However, I did not really miss them when testing the device as above. The website promised up to 15 hours of use on a 1-hour full charge and after several hours of testing, the device remained at the ready.
Based on the features to price, I believe that the Dash 4 provides an impressive bargain at just over half the price of the Apple Pencil Generation 2. When I compared the two devices together, I did find that the Apple Pencil was a bit more reactive with my iPad Pro 11” than the Adonit Dash 4. The connection was quicker and the Apps seemed to respond more quickly to the Apple-specific device. However, if you are looking to save some money, the Dash 4 device will not disappoint. If you are looking to spice up the new 2021 iPad Mini, or new iPad Pro, definitely look to Adonit for a shiny new accessory.