LG G Stylo (Family Mobile)
A budget phablet with impressive specs and a stylus to boot. Does the LG G Stylo relieve me of the curse of lackluster phones?
- 13 megapixel camera with laser focus
- 2gb of RAM
- 1,2 ghz Snapdragon quadcore processor
- Built-in stylus
Sprint, MetroPCS, T-Mobile, Boost, Cricket
In recent articles, I wrote about how horrible it is to be an amateur artist in the digital age. In a different review, I blasted the non-contract phone industry for making such lackluster and broken devices. But I finally got a chance to sit down and try the LG G Stylo, which might solve both those problems.
The LG G Stylo is considered a budget phone, but with flagship specs. Weighing in at $170, the phone does its best to work like a Nexus, Galaxy S4, or G4. In a world where a good working phone like that will cost you $300 plus, it’s good to know that such quality exists at a more reasonable price. But that’s not all: the phone has a 5.7 inch screen, 1.2ghz quadcore processor, Lollipop 5.1, and a 13 megapixel camera*. There’s even more: It comes with a built-in stylus for writing notes and doodling.
The first refreshing piece of news is that the phone operates on Android Vanilla. All that means is that LG did not use a shortcut user interface to make the phone more affordable (which causes most of the problems). That lets me know that I am getting the phone that Android had intended people to use.
Another refreshing spec is that, under the Walmart Family Mobile plan, the phone has absolutely no shovelware apps. You won’t find ridiculous browser tool bars, Casino apps, or other garbage that would kill the phone. The only extra apps are some T-mobile add-ons that don’t get in the way.
It is smooth and fast like a flagship phone, and it operates like a big contender, but there are still advantages to getting the $400 phones. The 13-megapixel camera still makes images a tad pixely. The camera brags that it has laser auto focus so that photos in motion do not get blurry, but it is not as effective as it sounds. The resolution on the screen is decent, but nowhere near the Galaxy S5. You are not getting a 2ghz octacore processor either, but I still have yet to see why anyone would need that.
Does it Solve My Artist Dilemma?
As mentioned earlier, the phone comes with a built in stylus. The pen is very skinny, so it can fit in the phone. The tip is a hybrid between a rubber stylus and a hard tip. It is not high tech like the Galaxy Note, able to detect your cursor on the screen and reject your palm, but it is more advanced than your regular stylus by far. It can register pressure, be used at different angles, and write notes. LG maximized their Memo app so that the user can write, draw, highlight and scribble. There’s a neat screen-capture feature that lets you draw on the pictures you snap. All this adds up to a very convenient note-taking experience.
But it won’t put the Galaxy Note, The Microsoft Surface, and the Toshiba Encore Write out of business. The pen is more of an afterthought to justify the huge screen. Without palm rejection (the ability to rest your hand on the screen while you write) and a smart tip that can register different strokes on the screen, it is only slightly more than a strong stylus. I find that drawing on a 5.7 inch screen takes a lot of patience and zooming in. I still believe that the pivoting head stylus is the best solution for an amateur artist to draw naturally on the screen without spending $500. But drawing and writing works on the G Stylo. Here are some of my art examples. (Keep in mind I am an amateur artist that is like 3 levels above a finger-painter).
The very first thing you will notice is that Mike does not have a good grasp of human anatomy, but the second thing you will notice is that apps like Sketchbook, Artflow and Infiniti Draw are very effective on the Stylo. Often, my finger would touch the screen while drawing and I would have to undo or readjust the screen, but that is a small setback.
The T-Mobile/Family Share version of the LG Stylo G comes with 16gb of storage, which is plenty for app junkies. The battery has an excellent rating that can keep the phone functional for 2 days with minimal use. The 4G LTE capability is the fastest I have seen on a budget phone.
One feature that took some time was that the volume rocker and the “on” button are on the back of the phone. It just means you have to reach behind the phone to turn it on or adjust the volume. If that is too cumbersome, you can double tap the screen to wake it up.
The LG Stylo G is an impressive phablet that takes all the right things from flagship phones and puts them at a budget price. It is fast and clean, and the drawing, note-taking stylus is functional. I would heavily consider this phone if you want something that works well, impresses you with a few bells and whistles, and won’t need to be replaced for a few years.
* The version I have is from T-Mobile. That increases the storage to 16gb, the camera to 13 megapixels and the RAM to 2GB. Sprint and Cricket have a lighter version of the phone.
+ Fast 4G LTE
+ Very smooth User Interface
+ Stylus is functional for drawing
+ Amazing battery life
+ Wonderful screen size
- Camera takes somewhat pixely pictures
- Stylus pen not as impressive as Galaxy Note