Mar 22 AT 2:10 PM Clark Wimberly 29 Comments

Draw Something Shootout – Galaxy Note S Pen vs Jot Pro Stylus vs Finger


To say over the past few weeks that Angie and I have been playing a lot of Draw Something would be an understatement. We’ve played damn near every other letter tile game so the addition of drawing, especially reanimated drawing, has more than captured our fancy. We play it when we’re laying in bed. We play it when we’re waiting in line. I can’t speak of the lady of the house, but I even play it in the bathroom.

All this drawing of things naturally led us down the path of trying to figure out the best input method for our new obsession. We started playing, like most of you, with our trusty fingers. But the artist inside, specifically the anal retentive perfectionist part, quickly demanded a more precise instrument for crafting these magical doodles.

So we got our hands on an Adonit Jot Pro Stylus, available on Amazon for about $30. To really ramp things up, we also tracked down a Samsung Galaxy Note, which of course features the ever-curious S Pen. We’ll talk a bit more about each instrument in just a bit, for now, let’s get to the video!

The Shootout

To test all three inputs, we first had Angie play for a couple days alternating between each. When she was confident she had a feel for them, we shot identical video of her drawing a pirate three times, again, once with each input. Here are the findings:

Our overall winner was the S Pen, as it felt most accurate in hand and seemed to produce the most crisp and detailed drawings. We aren’t totally surprised by this fact, as the Galaxy Note is specifically designed to take advantage of such a fancy input. Draw Something, on the other hand, does not specifically support the S Pen, resulting in an extremely-minor-yet totally-annoying shift from the tip of the S Pen to the actual drawing point. Even with this little shift, the S Pen still felt the most accurate and easy to use. Hopefully OMGPOP Zynga will cook up a fix sometime in the near future.

The Adonit Jot Pro.

A close second was the Adonit Jot Pro, which performed surprisingly well, not just on the Note but on all the other devices we tested it on (like the Galaxy Nexus and the Transformer Prime).

The Jot Pro features a rather pointy metal tip, which is awesome, but it comes cradled in a weird, little, hangy plastic sheath. The plastic disc is clear, so at least you can see through it for accuracy, but sometimes it feels like it gets in the way of a clean tap. Numerous times while playing Draw Something, especially between rounds or when picking colors, taps would fail to register.

Bringing up the rear of the pack was the ol’ not-so-trusty finger, producing the sloppiest (but sometimes most awesome) drawings. If I had to guess, I’d imagine that 99.5% of you are playing with just your finger, so it can’t really be that bad. We’re just picky artist-types who prefer accuracy when we can get it, and we found it in both styli tested.

Side by side by side comparison

In addition to the above video and notes, we wanted to provide a simple point of comparison, so we had Angie attempt to draw the same pirate three times. All three inputs took close to the same amount of time to use, with the S Pen actually taking the longest (probably simply because it lends itself to more detailed work). While the outcome was close, the three drawing show some pretty clear differences, which you can see below:

We think the S Pen provided the best finished drawing, producing the sharpest detail and smoothest strokes. The Adonit Pro performed admirably, only losing a bit of stability, while the finger was a clear last. All three drawings look totally fine and would easily be guessable as a pirate, but it feels like the S Pen drawing is the most high-res.

How do you draw?

We know there’s a huge chance we’re overthinking this, but we wanted to hear what you guys think. Is anyone out there playing with a stylus or pen input? If you are still using your finger, would you like to try it? Answer the poll below then sound off in the comments.

PS: Would you guys be interested playing against Android and Me on Draw Something? We’ve been toying with the idea of making a staff account and collectively battling you guys.

Clark is a developer living in Austin, Texas. He runs ClarkLab, a small web firm with his wife, Angie. He's a big fan of usability, standards, and clean design.

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