Adonit Star brilliantly merges iPad stylus with fountain pen [Review]


Adonit Star iPhone stylus review★★★★
That's not a fountain pen.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Adonit Star is the stylus for iPad users who love antiques; it’s designed to look like a fountain pen, not the usual plastic pencil. Despite the traditional design, it’s a fully functional stylus that’s ready for handwritten notes or sketching out ideas.

I used it with my iPad Pro, and it works as good as it looks. Even better, it is surprisingly affordable.

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Adonit Star review

We’re surrounded by high-tech gadgets, but sometimes it’s nice to step backward into a simpler time. If you haven’t realized already, iPad makes this far easier than a MacBook.

With Apple’s tablet, you can take notes in longhand without ever having to pull out a keyboard. Add drawings to the notes by sketching directly on the screen, as though it were a sheet of paper.

If that sounds appealing, then Adonit Star might be the stylus for you. It mimics the look of a fountain pen almost perfectly.

An iPad stylus and a fountain pen had a baby

Adonit Star brilliantly merges iPad stylus with fountain pen
You have to look closely at the iPad stylus to tell it’s not a fountain pen.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

This is an accessory any 19th century lawyer would be proud to own. Well, any 19th century lawyer that uses an iPad.

The writing tip on a typical tablet stylus looks like one from a pencil. Not the Adonit Star: its tip mimics the “arrowhead” design of a traditional fountain pen. And the designers did an impressive job. The pictures don’t lie — writing on my iPad with this stylus really looks like I’m using a fountain pen.

There is a drawback, though: Adonit used a one-piece, seamless design that makes the writing tip non-removable. If you use the stylus until the writing tip is worn down, the only option is to buy a whole new unit.

But don’t expect that to happen quickly. After all my testing, I can’t detect the slightest sign of wear on the Adonit Star’s writing tip. And other Adonit styli I’ve used went many months on their first tip. That said, if you’re looking for a stylus to take notes all day every day, this might not be the one for you.

The fountain-pen illusion continues to the body of the writing instrument. It uses the traditional design for a top-quality pen, with a metal barrel and removable cap, both in black with silver accents.

When I first saw Adonit’s price, I was concerned the exterior would look good but be cheaply made plastic. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The product feels solid, and there’s some heft. I also like the size, as the Adonit Star is noticeably thicker than is usual for a stylus, with a 1.5-inch circumference. The cap fits tightly but comes off with a pull — it’s not screwed on and off.

There are a couple of modern touches that are inescapable. There’s an on/off button on the barrel, but it merges smoothly with the design. The status LED next to it glows blue whenever the writing tip is active, but you can easily cover it with the cap.

A USB-C charging port can be found on the end of the device, hidden under secondary cap that needs to be unscrewed.

Adonit Star’s whole design couldn’t be more different from the Apple Pencil, which is a simple white cylinder with a writing tip. And Apple set the tone for most iPad styli. In general, they’re designed to match the modern look of the tablet.

Works as good as it looks

This didn't happen.
Adonit Star is well suited for writing longhand.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

It’s not necessary to pair the Adonit Star with an iPad to begin using it. Just press the power button then start writing.

It works very well because Adonit didn’t need to add functionality to the iPad. It’s all built in and intended for Apple Pencil. All Adonit had to do was make a stylus that mimics Apple’s own to reap the benefits.

That means the Star functions just about flawlessly. It registers every touch immediately and never skips when drawing lines. It offers palm rejection too, so you can rest your hand on the iPad screen when writing.

The writing tip is about 1mm, giving you pin-point accuracy on placement. And it glides smoothly on the tablet display when I’m writing or drawing.

This third-party stylus works as well as an Apple Pencil for writing or sketching, but it doesn’t have all the features of Apple’s. There’s no pressure sensitivity, nor can it sense the angle you’re holding it at. In short, if you’re an artist looking for a digital paintbrush, this probably isn’t it.

Adonit promises the battery lasts for 11 hours on a single charge. That may be pessimistic: I’ve been using my test unit for days on the first charge and it’s still going strong.

Adonit Star final thoughts

Adonit Star works well with iPad
Adonit Star and iPad go together surprisingly well.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

You have to live in the 21st century but you don’t have to embrace everything about it. Wrap your iPad in a leather case and write on it with a faux fountain pen if that’s the look you’re going for.

The non-removable writing tip is the only drawback to the product. And that’s somewhat alleviated by the low price. You can buy two Adonit Stars and still come out less than an Apple Pencil.



Adonit Star is just $49.99. That’s amazing considering the quality. The stylus feels and functions like a much more expensive accessory. When I first read about it, I expected it to cost about 3x what it does. Having used it, I’m still surprised as the price.

Buy from: Amazon

What I’m not surprised about is Adonit is having trouble meeting demand. If you’re interested and it’s in stock, grab one.

Are you looking for a good-quality, affordable Apple stylus that doesn’t look like a fountain pen? Take a look at my review of the Adonit Neo Duo and Adonit Neo.


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