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Smart Stylus Roundup: Pressure-Sensitive Electronic Pens for iPad

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Ten One Pogo Connect
Ten One Pogo Connect

The Pogo Connect from Ten One allows for interchangeable pen tips, including two different bristle brush tips.

© Ten One

Ten One Pogo Connect Review

Notable Features:

  • Only compatible with iPad 3/4 - NOT compatible with iPad mini or iPad Air
  • Can work with iPad 1 and 2 but requires an iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 and Pogo Bridge app
  • Supports 'hundreds' of levels of pressure
  • One button
  • Uses one standard AAA disposable battery
  • Provides many months of use on one battery
  • Stylus design is plain; barrel is plastic, quite fat, and has a cheap feeling
  • Additional pen nibs and brush tips are available - 3 sizes of rubber nib, 2 brushes
  • US$79.99 MSRP

As with the Jot Touch stylus, I received the Pogo Connect about one year ago, quickly became frustrated with the nascent technology and only used it occasionally until recent months. After the release of iOS 7, many apps were crashing as soon as they detected the Pogo Connect. I contacted a company representative about this and was told I would need a replacement stylus because the one I had was too old. I didn't receive the replacement stylus until after I had upgraded my iPad to the new iPad Air, and was surprised to discover that Pogo Connect was incompatible with the iPad Air. Fortunately, I still had my iPad 3 and could proceed with my review.

Pogo Connect arrived in an unimpressive blister pack with one standard R3 (7.3mm) rubber nib, one AAA Duracell battery, and a small user guide with instructions for getting started. I also received one R1 (4.5mm) tip pack, and one brush tip pack containing both the straight bristle brush and the angle brush.

After installing the battery in the pen barrel, you install the Pogo Connect app on your device and configure it for your chosen pen tip. The feel of the pen is a bit top-heavy due to the battery, but overall fairly light, and about the thickness of a Sharpie marker. The tips attach by magnets to the pen handle.

Connecting the Pogo Connect is done inside your apps, and is a bit different for each app. Compared to the other electronic pens I tested, Pogo Connect is the fussiest about connecting. It requires pressing a button and waiting, and waiting, and waiting. It tends to lose connection often, especially when switching apps. That said, Pogo Connect has the highest number of compatible apps of the pens I reviewed, with 40 compatible apps listed on the web site at the time of this writing. But be sure to check the details of which features are supported in your favorite apps.

Pressure sensitivity with the Pogo Connect--I'm not going to sugar coat it: It's terrible. I was never impressed with it using the first pen I was sent, and the replacement was even worse. To get any kind of thick line, I have to press with such force that my iPad stand collapses and I have to brace the iPad with my other hand. There's no granularity whatsoever--you either get no line (light pressure), a thin line (medium pressure), or a thick line (heavy pressure). The thickness of the thickest line varies depending on the app and your chosen brush settings. To add to the frustration, not all brushes in some apps are pressure enabled so you are often left wondering if your pen has stopped working when it's actually the brush.

To make matters worse, the default R3 tip was constantly caving in on me, probably due to the fact that I had to press so hard to get any kind of variance in stroke attributes. With the thin R1 tip, there was zero variation in my strokes, as if it was not even detecting pressure. The bristle brush tips were the best as far as responsiveness, but they did not fit snugly into the pen barrel, and made constant clicking noises from rattling against the magnetic attachment base. It felt like the brush tips would fall out at any moment.

When I initially tested the Pogo Connect, I had an anti-glare screen protector installed on my iPad and the rubber nibs made an intolerable squeaking noise against the screen protector. There was no noise using the Pogo Connect on the bare glass iPad screen, but if you like to use a screen protector, it is something to be aware of.

All in all, the deficiencies of the Pogo Connect are just too great for me to recommend it. Even if it were a $30 device, it would be disappointing, but it is more than double that. I love the idea of the swappable nibs and brush tips, but this is not enough to compensate for the flaws in the Pogo Connect. Perhaps it has redeeming qualities in handwriting apps, but as this is a graphics software site, I did not test its note-taking capabilities.

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Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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