Adonit has long been one of the best makers of mobile styluses, and so we’re excited to try their new Dash 3 model. The Dash 3 is designed for use with phones and tablets running iOS or Android, and boasts a precise PixelPoint tip, a premium metal build and long battery life. Here’s the review!
Features & specifications
- Anodised aluminium barrel with stainless steel details
- 1.9mm PixelPoint tip
- 8.5mm barrel diameter
- 141mm long
- 12 grams
- Compatible with iOS and Android
- 14 hours of battery life, recharges in 45 minutes
- Available in black, silver and bronze
The Dash 3 is a gorgeous-looking stylus, one of the nicest I’ve ever used in fact. The bronze colour of our review unit is classy and refined, with the aluminium barrel providing a comfortable grip and the clip allowing easy storage. The tip measures just 1.9 millimetres, considerably smaller than your average stylus.
As this is a powered stylus, you’ll need to press the button at the end to turn it on, which will be shown with a small green LED. Without charge, the stylus does nothing, so it’s well worth keeping it topped up.
The way the Dash charges is actually quite nice. You get a little USB dongle in the box, and it has a little magnetic socket that the Dash leaps into when the two get close together. This provides more than enough strength to support the stylus at any orientation, and then you can just plug the USB dongle into your PC, laptop or mains adapter to begin charging. Charging only takes about 45 minutes and the Dash 3 promises 14 hours of battery life, so you don’t have to do this too often.
We used the Dash 3 with a range of items: an iPhone 6 Plus, a Galaxy S7 Edge, an iPad 2 (yes, we need to upgrade) and an XPS 15 9560 Windows laptop.
In general, we found the Dash 3 a cut above traditional unpowered styluses (styli?), but not up to par with Bluetooth-connected styluses from Microsoft, Apple, Samsung and Adonit themselves. It’s possible to write with relatively fine lines due to the narrow tip, but you don’t get the potential for quite as neat handwriting as you would with an Apple Pencil, S Pen or an actual pen.
The above was drawn on the Galaxy S7 Edge
For sketching and drawing, the Dash 3 is better suited — you can do fine detail work with patience, but broader strokes on larger screens will be where you get the best results. We had a good time practising our calligraphy and drawing simplistic illustrations on phones and tablets alike.
The above was drawn on the Galaxy S7 Edge
However, without features like palm rejection and pressure sensitivity, you have to work cautiously — it’s easy to accidentally start rotating your canvas or smudging your work because the side of your hand has touched the screen. This is generally less of a problem on tablets than it is on smartphones. Admittedly, these problems are also intrinsic to this whole class of styluses, rather than the Dash 3 specifically.
The Galaxy S7 Edge threw up a number of issues with the Dash 3 that made it a more frustrating platform to use than the other devices we tried. The stylus stopped working as the screen started to curve, reducing our drawing space considerably, and it was near impossible to add single dots below a certain size — for example, when dotting our i’s and lower-case j’s.
The Dash 3 isn’t advertised for use with Windows devices, and after trying it on a touch-screen enabled XPS laptop we could see why. Writing and drawing were impossible, as the stylus would start off working, stop working midstroke, then begin again. This created a kind of dashed-line effect. I wonder if this is a hardware or a software limitation — in any case, don’t get the Dash 3 if you want to use this with a Windows machine! Instead, you should go for Adonit’s Ink stylus instead.
The Dash 3 is a solid stylus for sketching and drawing, and it’ll work well enough for notes if you’re working on a tablet and your handwriting is clean! You don’t get quite the same level of convenience and precision as an ‘active’ stylus that connects to your device with Bluetooth (e.g. the Apple Pencil, Surface Pen or S Pen), but the Dash is also significantly easier to use than a standard cheap-o stylus, thanks to its fine tip. It’s also good looking in a way that few styluses can match, which helps to justify its reasonable price point.
As with most gadgets these days, the Adonit Dash 3 is available from Amazon. The link below should direct you to Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.ca as appropriate. Let me know if it doesn’t work!