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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  • dpleus

    I actually have two of the regular the Adonit Jots, one each for my wife and I. Ours came out of the Kickstarter launch. Been very happy with my Jot, and those that see it are impressed as well.

  • B2L

    I’ve been playing Draw Something on my Galaxy Note and loving it. This game just wouldn’t be as fun without the S-Pen.

    • Shay D. Life

      I agree. Been playing on he Galaxy Nexus, and using your finger sucks.

  • Lane Chapman

    I usually use my finger (or Webkey if I’m at the computer, still not that great) and I have been looking into getting a fairly cheap stylus for this game. Also, I would love to play this game with you guys, but I’m sure you’d have quite a handful of people to play with! Haha

    • Lane Chapman

      So, I went and got a Targus stylus, and if anyone has use on of these, the tip is about the size of a finger tip, so the advantage isn’t that great…

  • Jesse

    Great this game on Android also. Now my friends will for sure bug me to install it on my phone.

  • amgala

    I need to get me and the wife styluses! Err, umm is it stylii?

  • Hall Lo

    Well I m using my fingers to play, but I would want to try to draw on the Note with the S Pen :)

  • Nick Gray

    I’ve been using my HTC Flyer with my Scribe digital pen for a few days now. The game is so much more enjoyable when you have a pen to draw with!

  • Jason Toering

    You need another option on your poll.

    “You guy’s are ridiculous, but totally geeky-awesome for doing a review on something like this.”

    • Angie Wimberly

      Haha! I like that option :)

  • kwills88

    I am an art major and artist, let’s just say trying to draw with your fingers especially when you got big fingers means my drawing looks like that of a 2 year old, lol… This should be an Ad for the Galaxy note.

  • spazby

    finger was the fastest…

  • zedklind

    while watching the pirate video the music inclined me to choose “you guys are ridiculous” in the poll but i use the jot pro haha

  • classic_hero

    i thought the finger actually looked the best

    • Angie Wimberly

      It definitely had a certain character to it, but it wasn’t really under my control. I guess that’s what they call pleasant surprises.

  • Lucian Armasu

    You should try the Griffin stylus. I hear it’s one of the best capacitive styluses:

    • Angel

      Yeah I use the Griffin stylus and it rocks. Most good programs allow you to set how ‘thick’ the ink is. It feels very natural to use and it’s pretty inexpensive too for a stylus…

  • Clark Wimberly


  • Samar

    Bring on the contest and of-course some cool giveaways.. ;-)

  • Yolly

    Do these stylus pens work with phones like the Galaxy S GT-9000..Im hooked on draw something, but ashamed at how my pics turn out, as I, like Kwills88 am a good artist, but this finger drawing is no better than a childs art piece lol

    • Angie Wimberly

      The Adonit Jot Pen should work with any touch screen device, but of course the S Pen was made specifically for the Note. Maybe I should try it on other devices just for fun haha.

  • megabarstool
  • Cajj

    I use a targus stylus for my gnexus. Its not as accurate as I would like but it definitely beats using my fingers again… that was horrible for me lol

  • ami

    Do you think the S pen would work on the HTC Flyer? The Scribe Digital Pen is so expensive, it would be nice to have the S pen for 1/2 the price, if it works.

  • bromptonista

    S-pen is probably a winner – on the 10.1 note it will be even cooler. Tried iPhone, iPad, capacitative stylus (incl the HTC one with the red dot), but the note feels more natural. No app support means the pen is not accurate at all though for Draw Something….

  • ES

    My favorite brand of stylus isn’t mentioned in this article, but I’d like to point it out anyway… The TruGlide by! It has a really cool and unusual microfiber tip. I’m not too great at Draw Something regardless of whether I use my finger or a stylus, but the stylus definitely helps! I’ve found the TruGlide is by far my favorite because the tip isn’t too squishy and since it’s not rubber, it doesn’t stick to the screen! Win-win!

  • rayan

    In galaxy note i use my finger cuse s pin so bad not accurate