Motorola Moto G Stylus review: An A-OK Stylus On A Budget | Digital Trends

Motorola Moto G Stylus evaluation: Gambling on a stylus

“The Moto G Stylus takes a gamble on a niche feature, and can’t turn it into a win.”

  • Attractive 6.4-inch show
  • Solid battery life
  • Well-rounded efficiency
  • Durable, costly really feel
  • Heavy and thick
  • Action digital camera is a miss
  • Stylus is not typically helpful

The smartphone enviornment has turn into a merciless battlefield. Buyers have settled on a set of preferences that don’t supply a lot room for differentiation. Budget telephones, hamstrung by low worth tags, discover it notably laborious to face out. Motorola’s two new telephones, the Moto G Stylus and Moto G Power, deal with this drawback by going to extremes.

While the Moto G Power crams in a large battery, the Moto G Stylus, which is the topic of this evaluation, provides one thing else you received’t discover wherever else. A stylus, clearly.

A stylus isn’t the brand new hotness, after all. The Galaxy Note line has lengthy positioned itself because the go-to model for stylus superfans. However, the Moto G Stylus combines the stylus with an uncommon trait — a low worth. The cellphone sells for $300. That snags you 4GB of RAM and 128GB of inside storage (MicroSD playing cards as much as 512GB can additional improve storage). This is the one model obtainable.

Does the Moto G Stylus make sense, or does it really feel extra like a gimmick? Here’s the news.

Design and show

Motorola used to make some extent of championing its quirky design sensibility, which, with sure telephones, included the choice to customise the look and shade from the manufacturing facility. You received’t discover any proof of that right here, nonetheless. The Moto G Stylus needs passersby to mistake it for a dearer machine. It’s modern and stylish, with a shiny plastic again that does an affordable impression of glass.

The G Stylus weighs in at 6.77 ounces and is .36 inches thick. This makes it heavier, and thicker, than some opponents. The Moto G7 Play is .31 inches thick and weighs solely 5.three ounces. Samsung’s Galaxy A50 is simply .three inches thick and weighs about 5.9 ounces (its substitute, the Galaxy A51, is comparable). The G Stylus is barely lighter and thinner than the G Power, and the distinction is noticeable, however the G Stylus remains to be a hefty machine.

This provides a way of high quality and sturdiness not typically discovered on funds telephones. However, the burden could be a drawback. I seen it most when reclining on my couch or studying articles in mattress. My arm began to tire after a short time, and the cellphone felt prepared to slip onto my chin the second I relaxed my grip.

Moto G Power / Stylus display
Moto G Power (from left) and G Stylus Matthew Smith / Digital Trends

The cellphone’s weight and girth are cut up between the stylus and the battery. While the stylus isn’t huge, it does slip into the cellphone whereas not in use, taking over treasured house. As for the battery, Moto packs in a 4,000mAh unit. That’s on the massive aspect, and will contribute to the cellphone’s weight, although some options characteristic a battery that’s as massive or bigger.

A fingerprint reader is included for safe login. It’s fast and barely fails to learn a fingerprint, as I’ve come to anticipate from comparable readers on different gadgets. As for NFC, it’s not right here. That means the cellphone isn’t appropriate with Google Pay.

Around entrance, the Moto G Stylus serves up a 6.4-inch IPS LCD touchscreen with 2,300 x 1,080 decision. It’s a horny, sharp show with vibrant colours. The backlight is vibrant sufficient to make the cellphone usable on a sunny day. It’s higher than most funds telephones, however Samsung’s OLED shows – obtainable in funds choices just like the Samsung Galaxy A-Series – ship higher distinction.

The display screen is surrounded by fairly skinny bezels. Flagship telephones have slimmer frames, however actually, I’m not satisfied the distinction issues. I believe most consumers will probably be impressed by the Moto G Stylus show. It’s a large improve over what a funds cellphone might supply only a couple years in the past, and really near what you’d see on a flagship cellphone.

Using the stylus

Motorola’s 2020 lineup clearly hopes to outline itself with greater than a low worth level. With the G Stylus, the headline characteristic is correct within the identify. The cellphone comes with a stylus that snaps into the physique of the machine.

It’s an intriguing alternative, as only a few telephones select to supply a stylus. LG’s Stylo sequence is the one actual various, however let’s be actual: Have you ever heard of the LG Stylo? The LG Stylo 5, a 2019 cellphone additionally bought at $300, is inferior by practically ever measure.

The stylus suffers as a result of it’s distinctive. Most Android telephones don’t have a stylus, so the Android ecosystem isn’t actually designed with stylus use in thoughts. It’s uncommon to search out an app that’s actually improved by the stylus.

Moto G Stylus with stylus
Matthew Smith / Digital Trends

Microsoft OneNote, which I continuously use, does help it. But one app doesn’t make for a killer characteristic. Like Samsung’s Note sequence, Motorola makes an attempt to compensate with some built-in apps, however I didn’t discover them compelling. Why would I need to use Motorola’s notes app as a substitute of OneNote?

Also, that is simply one other smartphone stylus. While helpful for jotting down a fast notice, the stylus is just too small to be comfy for various minutes. Its awkward, skinny design makes it laborious to carry and it dug into my palm.

I believe the stylus is a miss. After a pair days attempting to suit it into my day-to-day use, I gave up, snapped it again within the cellphone, and largely forgot about it. Die-hard stylus followers may disagree, however I believe most individuals will really feel the identical.


The Moto G Stylus has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 octa-core processor with a Qualcomm Adreno 610 GPU. It’s a brand new chip that can turn into a go-to choice for telephones bought between $200 and $350 in 2020.

Performance is strong. Applications normally launch in moments and run easily whereas lively. The cellphone’s 4GB of RAM doesn’t look gorgeous on paper, however multitasking felt fairly fast. I believe 4GB of RAM is an effective match for the processor’s efficiency.

Here are some benchmarks:

  • Geekbench 5: 311 single-core, 1,392 multi-core
  • 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme (Vulkan): 1,046

The cellphone’s limits are noticeable when quickly scrolling by means of lengthy lists of content material, akin to information feeds or podcasts, or visiting web sites with intrusive parts like pop-up video gamers or in depth animations. Occasional jerks and hitches had been apparent, however even the most effective telephones can wrestle right here. I believe the Moto G Stylus feels much less fluid than a Google Pixel 4, and it’s about the identical as final yr’s funds telephones, just like the Samsung A50 or Moto G7.

In reality, obsessing over this cellphone’s efficiency is foolish. Modern telephones bought above $200 are fast sufficient for most individuals more often than not. I had no drawback utilizing the G Stylus often. Is a Google Pixel Four or iPhone 11 quicker? Absolutely. However, you may simply get by with the G Stylus.

In reality, obsessing over this cellphone’s efficiency is foolish.

Gaming is a combined bag. Mobile video games are sometimes designed for all kinds of {hardware}, and most received’t push the Moto G Stylus laborious. Call of Duty: Mobile and SimCity ConstructedIt ran with out subject. The most demanding video games, like Injustice 2 or Asphalt 9, do push the cellphone previous its limits. These video games had been playable however stuttered and delivered poor body charges. Serious cell avid gamers will want a extra highly effective machine.

Battery life

As talked about, the Moto G Stylus has a 4,000mAh battery. That’s a big battery, exceeding midrange telephones just like the iPhone 11 and Google Pixel 4. On the opposite hand, many telephones supply a battery this bigger or bigger. An apparent instance is the Moto G Power, which drops the stylus for a bigger 5,000mAh battery.

Moto G Stylus Camera
Matthew Smith / Digital Trends

Still, the G Stylus is not any slouch in the case of endurance. I by no means ended a day with lower than 30 p.c left, and the cellphone normally endured two days of use earlier than it needed to be topped up. That’s greater than sufficient for most individuals.

Charging is a bit gradual, nonetheless. The cellphone’s USB-C port is the one option to cost it, and it doesn’t help quick charging.

Audio high quality

Stereo audio system “tuned by Dolby” flank the cellphone when held horizontally. One is above the show, whereas different is on the cellphone’s decrease lip. This asymmetrical design means audio is stronger on one aspect than the opposite. It’s noticeable, however I didn’t discover it too distracting.

Audio is loud and clear, although bass is missing. Maximum quantity is properly wanting flagship telephones, but it surely’s sufficient to maintain your entertained if the cellphone doesn’t should compete with important ambient noise. Audiophiles will need to pack earbuds, headphones, or a Bluetooth speaker.

Camera and video high quality

Motorola made some unusual choices for the G Stylus’ cameras.

A 48MP digital camera (with 12MP output) is paired with a 2MP macro digital camera and a 16MP (4MP output) motion digital camera with a 117-degree area of view.

The fundamental 48MP digital camera boasts “Quad Pixel technology,” which mixes 4 pixels into one. That’s why images output at 12MP, precisely one-fourth the 48MP sensors. This supposedly results in higher low-light efficiency, and I do assume there’s proof of that right here. I used to be shocked by how vivid and sharp images taken in poor indoor lighting appeared.

Don’t anticipate the Moto G Stylus to blow you away, although. Its fundamental shooter is strong for a funds cellphone and might ship engaging leads to many conditions, however images typically lack the colourful shade and breathtaking distinction you’ll discover in the most effective smartphone cameras. This was apparent once I took the G Stylus open air. Photos typically look flat, and the cellphone’s automated white stability struggles in vibrant lighting.

The 2MP Macro digital camera abhors something resembling low mild and, consequently, typically fails to ship a picture that’s sharper than the usual digital camera. In my testing, I virtually all the time discovered the primary digital camera extra usable than the 2MP Macro digital camera. The macro mode does work when very, very near tiny objects, however how typically do you are taking images like that? I’m unsure I ever do.

Then there’s the motion digital camera. In a baffling resolution, Motorola determined to make the ultrawide digital camera obtainable just for video. This is completely different from the Moto G Power, which presents the reverse. Aside from an ultrawide perspective, the motion cam is designed to shoot horizontal video whereas the cellphone is held vertically.

I’ll be blunt. Motorola made the flawed name right here. It’s pointless, as cell video platforms are constructed round vertical video. You can seize vertical video with the motion cam, however you have to maintain the cellphone horizontally, and the ultrawide impact is essentially misplaced. You’re higher off utilizing the usual video digital camera.

The Moto G Stylus can seize 1080p video as much as 60FPS, or 4K video as much as 30FPS. It can also deal with 120FPS slow-motion video at 1080p decision and 240FPS slow-motion at 720p. Video high quality is suitable however not exceptional. It shares the primary digital camera’s points with automated white stability, and whereas 4K recording is supported, picture high quality typically isn’t sharp sufficient to actually recognize what 4K can ship.

Around entrance, there’s one other 16MP digital camera with quad pixel expertise. It’s strong for a funds cellphone, snapping sharp images in nice lighting, and usable images in reasonable to poor lighting.


Motorola delivers a flippantly skinned model of Android 10. It’s not as bare-bones as some earlier Motorola telephones, however the additions and tweaks are largely unobtrusive, and the overall really feel of the cellphone’s interface is very similar to a cellphone operating inventory Android 10.

A pop-up widget presents fast entry to Moto Note when the stylus is faraway from the cellphone. The widget is straightforward to make use of, however Moto Note is extraordinarily primary. Don’t fear – the widget could be custom-made, letting you add no matter notes app you’d desire. I discovered it extra helpful after including OneNote. The widget can be utilized to take screenshots, too.

A pop-up widget presents fast entry to Moto Note when the stylus is faraway from the cellphone.

The digital camera app is Motorola’s one software program misfire. It has as a minimal, monochrome interface with tiny management icons on the prime of the app, and a seize button designed to seem like a digital camera shutter. Bad digital camera apps are hardly new on funds smartphones, or Android telephones typically. But positioned subsequent to a Google Pixel 3a, the distinction is evening and day, and by no means in Motorola’s favor.

Like previous Motorola telephones, the Moto G Stylus presents Moto Actions. These gesture-based shortcuts present fast entry to a couple widespread capabilities. Two fast chopping motions will activate the flashlight, and two fast twists of your wrist will activate the digital camera. I like these shortcuts. They’re enjoyable to make use of and faster than fidgeting with the touchscreen.

Our Take

The Moto G Stylus makes of venture that doesn’t completely repay. The stylus isn’t a killer characteristic, and it appears to inflate the cellphone’s girth. Most folks will desire a thinner, lighter machine.

Is there a greater various?

Most consumers will need to think about Samsung’s Galaxy A51, or maybe even a Moto G7 machine. These telephones are broadly obtainable, have a svelte body, and are bought at comparable costs (or much less). The Moto G7 is an older machine, nonetheless, and presently doesn’t have Android 10 within the U.S.

Here’s my professional tip. Just wait. April is early within the smartphone launch schedule. The Google Pixel 4a and iPhone SE 2020 are scheduled for launch quickly. It’s unclear in the event that they’ll be priced competitively with the Moto G Stylus, however they might push down costs on different gadgets, together with the nonetheless fascinating Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL.

How lengthy will it final?

The G Stylus doesn’t have a waterproof ranking, however it’s fabricated from plastic, so it needs to be barely higher off in a fall than a cellphone fabricated from glass. However, it’s by no mans a “tough” cellphone.

Budget Android telephones have a brief life span as a result of they don’t obtain the newest Android updates rapidly — or in any respect. The Moto G Stylus is promised to obtain on OS improve and frequent safety updates. Better help can be glorious, however that is typical for an Android cellphone on this worth bracket.

Should you purchase one?

No. The Moto G Stylus is nice for stylus followers, but it surely’s too heavy and thick to suggest for most individuals.

Editors’ Recommendations

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