Adonit Dash 4 review: Stylus for iPad and iPhone

New Adonit active stylus works with both iPad and iPhone [Review]

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Adonit Dash 4 review
The Adonit Dash 4 looks great and can be used with either iPad or iPhone.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The Adonit Dash 4 is an iPad stylus well suited for writing or drawing. And it offers something the Apple Pencil doesn’t: iPhone compatibility. The stylus flips between Apple’s tablet and handset with the push of a button. Or use it with Android.

I tried the Dash 4 with a variety of devices. Here’s what I found out.

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Adonit Dash 4 review

The Apple Pencil is an outstanding iPad stylus but does exactly nothing on an iPhone. The Adonit Dash 4, by contrast, works with both iPad and iPhone.

Tablet users can take handwritten notes, annotate documents, sketch out ideas. Handset users can replace their fingertip with Adonit’s stylus.

And the Dash 4 has a few bonuses, like port-free wireless charging. And a look that really matches Apple devices.

Hardware and design

At first glance, the Adonit Dash 4 looks like an expensive pen. It even has a pocket clip. The aluminum barrel is very sleek, and blends very well with an iPad, whether you choose matte silver or graphite black. It looks better than an Apple Pencil — though that’s a low bar.

The length is 6 inches and the circumference is 1.1 inches. It’s a mere 0.6 ounces (0.04 lbs.).

Adonit Dash 4 looks like a pen.
Is it a pen, or is it the Adonit Dash 4?
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Adonit designed the stylus to go in your pocket, not attach to the iPad. That means it doesn’t cling to the edge of the tablet, like some styli do, including the Apple Pencil.

The Dash 4 has an easily replaceable nib. The product comes with two replacements, and more are available.

A button on the far end makes it look even more like a pen. But this switches between iPad mode and iPhone/Android mode. The button glows blue or green, respectively, to indicate the mode.

Wireless charging

The Dash 4 doesn’t have a charging port. It instead gets power through a wireless charging dock that plugs into a USB-C port. The stylus and dock cling securely together with magnets.

I have slightly mixed feelings about this. The pen truly looks great without a port, but the charging dock is something else to keep track of. At least the magnets in the dock hold the stylus at any angle so you don’t have to stop using your iPad if it’s providing power. Or you could use a wall charger.

The Adonit Dash 4 wireless charger plugs into any USB-C port
Charge the Adonit Dash 4 by placing it in its holder, with the dock plugged into any USB-C port.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Adonit Dash 4 performance

One of the many, many advantages of the iPad is that it has support for styli built in. As long as a stylus meets some basic requirements, it’s going to work very well. That’s why the Adonit Dash 4 can be about as useful as an Apple Pencil for note taking and sketching.

In my testing, the tablet registered every touch from the stylus nib. There was no skipping. And the designers of the pen didn’t have to worry about palm rejection — Apple took care of that.

Unlike the Apple Pencil, Adonit’s doesn’t need Bluetooth and isn’t paired to the iPad. Press the button on the end of the pen until it glows blue and you’re ready to start.

But the Apple Pencil offers pressure sensitivity, a feature the Dash 4 does not. That makes Apple‘s stylus a far better option for artists than Adonit’s.

iPhone compatibility

Press the Dash 4 button until it glows green and you can use it with your iPhone. You can use the stylus nib for just about anything your fingertip would ordinarily do. It’s very handy for QuickPath: spelling a word by sliding from one letter to the next without lifting your finger. Or use it in games where the fingertip can get tired after a while.

However, there’s a very important caveat. The Dash 4 is not a good option for taking handwritten notes or sketching on an iPhone. I tried it with the Notes application and drawing was very erratic. Apple seems to have written the app to favor a fingertip to the exclusion of everything else.

Android compatibility

I tested Adonit’s stylus with a couple of Androids, too. With the green light on, it’s a fine fingertip replacement. The results vary from device to device, of course.

Adonit Dash 4 final thoughts

Taking notes with Adonit Dash 4 on iPad Pro
Writing with the Adonit Dash 4 on an iPad is completely satisfactory.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Easily switching between iPad and iPhone is the real strength of the Adonit Dash 4. It’s a good option for note taking and sketching on a tablet, and lighter duty on a handset. Plus, the stylus looks great.

Artists should probably pick Apple Pencil for its pressure sensitivity, though. Even though it costs a lot more.

Pricing

The Dash 4 is $59.99 on the Adonit website. It can be found on Amazon too, either in matte silver or graphite black.

Buy from: Amazon

A set of replacement nibs is $14.99.

Comparable products

iPad users have many styli to choose from. Consider the Zagg Pro Stylus ($52.49) that will magnetically cling to the tablet. The same is true of the SwitchEasy EasyPencil Plus ($36.99).

The original Adonit Note doesn’t have all the features of the fourth-generation version, but costs a mere $29.99.

Adonit provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out more in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.