The HEX3 JaJa Stylus promises 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity, which should let users produce better looking drawings and a more natural inking experience over traditional capacitive touch screen styli. And it’s a great idea…
…if it only worked.
The HEX3 JaJa Stylus comes in a gray silo, highlighted in orange accents with a marker-style body and cap. The cap fastens so hard its actually difficult to remove. The writing point uses a thin metal wire with a tip surrounded in a flat clear plastic disk that keeps the metal tip from scratching the iPad screen. It runs using a AAA battery that drops into the end opposite the writing tip.
Here’s the dream HEX3 offers users: A stylus with pressure sensitive abilities, much like one gets when working with a real writing, drawing or painting tool. The two buttons on the side help the user quickly change that pressure sensitivity setting to match the user’s preference. The developer API lets app makers build compatibility into their apps. The apps that promise compatibility include the following as of this writing:
That’s a nice list of drawing, art and inking apps. Too bad two different JaJa Styli failed work very well. The first one HEX3 sent was a preproduction unit, so one could forgive its failure. The second was a production unit that an average consumer will get when they order one for $89.99. It worked only slightly better than the first one, which means not well at all.
The folks at HEX3 suggested testing it with Procreate. The first attempts resulted in no inking at all. Eventually, after following complicated steps to make it “work” due to a bug in the software, the stylus produced ink on the iPad, but there was no pressure sensitivity with the first JaJa and intermittent drawing with the second.
Tests with SketchBook Pro resulted in no inking at all with the first stylus. Using Noteshelf the second stylus worked intermittently as seen below.
The above image shows a screenshot of us trying to use the JaJa with Noteshelf. The sentence should read: “I am trying to make the JaJa Stylus work.”
Finally, I realized something. The device works using sound. The JaJa Stylus emits a high frequency sound that the iPad should pick up and send to apps that support the device. I keep my iPad in a case and wondered if the muted the sound going into the situated around the camera on the front. The case might cover the mic.
After taking it off, the inking became slightly more consistent. But it still didn’t work reliably.
Their website says:
The stylus will work out of the box in Rapid mode with any app on any device. JaJa mode is being integrated with the worlds premium Art, Design and Healthcare Apps to give full pressure and button feedback.
Sorry. Neither units worked out of the box and barely worked after a bunch of attempts to connect.
It’s possible HEX3 sent a second flawed unit, but if a company sends out two flawed units when charging $89.99, then they don’t deserve your hard-earned cash.