A built-in stylus can turn a smartphone into a handy digital notepad. But so far, there haven't been very many stylus-equipped options outside of Samsung's pricey Galaxy Note line.
That's why LG's new midrange, pen-enabled phablet is so interesting. The awkwardly named LG G Stylo looks to be a more affordable alternative to the Galaxy Note 4 for budget-minded business users. The device can now be purchased via T-Mobile for $289 upfront, or $12 a month for two years.
While it looks a lot like LG's new flagship smartphone, the LG G4, the G Stylo doesn't come with the same top-of-the-line specs. For example, LG dropped the phone's RAM from 3GB for the G4, down to 1GB for the G Stylo, which means that apps probably won't launch as quickly and multitasking won't be as snappy. Additionally, instead of getting the G4's 32GB of internal storage, you get just 8GB on the G Stylo. That could be an issue if you want to store a lot of work documents on your smartphone.
Meanwhile, the G Stylo's display has roughly half the resolution of the standard G4, so its picture quality won't be as sharp. On the bright side, LG bumped the G Stylo's screen size up from 5.7 inches (the G4 has a 5.5-inch display), which will give you more room to jot down notes with the included stylus.
The G Stylo's basic hardware should be sufficient for the average business user, but here's the killer: Unlike Samsung's Galaxy Note pen, LG's pen isn't capable of detecting varying levels of pressure. Instead, you get a basic capacitive stylus — the same kind you can buy for any other smartphone. In my experience, those sorts don't offer the level of precision and line control required for comfortable handwriting.
On the bright side, having an internal silo on your smartphone in which to store a stylus is a handy feature. We'll have to wait until we get our hands on the G4 Stylo to see if it's a worthy alternative for business users in the market for a digital notepad.