The JaJa by HEX3 is an intriguing member from the small family of styli for our finger oriented capacitive touch devices. The JaJa is my first pressure sensitive pen designed for iPad and Android tablets, and I can say it is a very impressive piece of technology so far. After you get past the price of $115 Aussie Dollars direct from HEX3 (Adding all the extra charges for everything, you know how it is), you get a pretty nice piece of technology that is a bit different to the rest.
What makes this stylus unique is that it does not use any standard wireless technology to communicate with your devices such as Bluetooth. Instead it uses high frequency sounds to achieve its communication with any application enabled for the JaJa on any device, be it an iPad or an Android. Due to the use of the high frequency sound the JaJa is the only pressure sensitive device to work with a first generation iPad.
Starting at the writing end of the stylus the standard kit includes an opaque plastic disk that is removable. You can optionally replace this with a Teflon coated metal tip, but more on that in a moment. Moving along, the pen has a rubberized grip housing two customizable buttons depending on what the application on your device allows. The first button is used to turn the pen on by holding it down for a few seconds until the pen makes a nice audible beep and a light turns on just above the grip. Above this, along the body of the brushed aluminium, is a small gap for the speaker that emits the high frequency sound for the device communication. At the end of the device is a screw off top for the battery compartment, which houses a single AAA battery. Lastly there is a very nice cap that click on to both ends of the stylus for both travelling and working with the pen, protecting the fragile tip.
Ok so with the testing, I used my third generation iPad with Procreate, Scetchbook Pro and Photoshop Touch. While testing this stylus did perform very well. It was highly accurate to my surprise and the short cut buttons directly on the body made moving between features set in the apps a breeze. I did also try the aforementioned Teflon tip. Even though I did feel the performance of this top was by far better than the clear plastic, I personally preferred the plastic version. This is because I felt it provided more viewing capability to your work than the Teflon tip. But that’s a personal preference thing.
Now what do I really think about this Stylus. To be honest it does exactly as it says on the box, nothing more, nothing less. It’s a pressure sensitive stylus that works with my drawing apps on my iPad and Samsung 10.1 Tablet. It just lacks the WOW factor you would expect after spending over a hundred dollars. First of all I will just say the deciding factor for buying the stylus over the Adonit Jot Touch 4 was the fact that it did not have a proprietary charging mechanism that if lost, would be a world of pain to replace, especially when traveling. That was for me its biggest plus. However if you do decide to get one of these and use it very regularly be prepared to have deep pockets for batteries, or have a nice supply of rechargeables, as this thing will happily go through a battery every day. And don’t think just turning it off saves power. It doesn’t. Miraculously this thing still is able to go through a battery whilst off. Mine lasted two days. The next thing, the production quality is just not what you would expect. You can still see and feel the over molding on the rubber grip where they cut away the excess rubber. Another thing on quality control, as you can see in the below picture the internal plastic clip in the cap freely comes out of it metal case. Reading around the web this appears to be a common problem.
Now the last thing. On the JaJa website and other reviews they say that you can not hear this thing. Mean why would you, it only produce high frequency sound. Now if you have a highly strung and neurotic dog that you love to make hide under furniture whenever a loud noise happens, this is the device for you. Ok dogs aside, I have pretty good hearing and I can actually hear the high frequency sound coming from it. I did test it out with some family and friends and I will admit most could not hear it, but those that could not hear it when close enough did also say that they could hear an annoying clicking sound. It does appear to be the older you are the less likely you can hear it but if you are someone that is going to be around young children you might want to avoid using this pen. This probably won’t help with those small annoying children either when it is on and communicating with your tablet. That also goes for airplanes even though it is what they call “air craft friendly”.
At the end of the day this product feels like a cheap knockoff you could get walking around China, and no product like this should feel like that. Would I recommend this, no. My advice: go have a look at the other competitors on the market and only buy this if you are wanting to use it on a device that does not support the Bluetooth options out there, or you are someone who does not notice the problems.