The Motorola Moto G Stylus 5G, as you may have put together, is a phone with a built-in stylus and 5G. It’s a slightly upgraded version of the 2021 edition Moto G Stylus for 4G only (sorry, that’s what these phones are called).
The Stylus 5G includes a few more hardware updates in addition to 5G connectivity, including a larger battery, more storage and RAM (256GB and 6GB in the version I tested, respectively), and a newer Snapdragon 480 processor. There’s a new stylus-compatible GIF maker mode, which is fun. Fun is good! But it feels more or less like the same phone: the rear camera matrix is identical with the exception of a different macro sensor, its 6.8-inch screen is the same, and the overall dimensions are similar.
This puts the G Stylus 5G in something of an awkward place. At $ 399, it falls between the $ 279 G Stylus and the $ 1,000 Galaxy Note 20 (the next step if you want a stylus with your phone), but it doesn’t go far enough to clearly offer more than budget. friendlier version. Performance and battery life are slightly better, but these are not weak points for the 4G version.
Having 5G is good too, but the value drops when you consider that the G Stylus 5G is only guaranteed two years of security updates. That’s when 5G in the US will start to get good, so most of us can get away with a 4G device for years to come.
It all adds up to a good phone without a compelling case to recommend it.
Moto G Stylus 5G display and performance
The G Stylus 5G is a big, big phone with a capital B. Its 6.8-inch screen is about as big as it looks, at least until all of our phones start to fold and expand into strange little Transformer-style tablets. It’s a 1080p LCD panel that’s fine – it lacks the nice contrast of OLEDs, but it can still be used in bright daylight conditions.
Battery life is very good thanks to a large 5000 mAh cell. Using it on Wi-Fi, I have four hours of screen time on and it’s only down to 36 percent. You could certainly get two days of use, including relatively heavy use of mobile data, and even a full day of very demanding use seems reasonable.
Performance is good too; Jumping from one app to another is fast and smooth, and heavier tasks like zooming in and out of the Google Maps image only show a bit of stuttering. There’s minimal but noticeable shutter lag in the camera app, which seems like a problem this phone shouldn’t have, but not enough to ruin anyone’s day.
The G Stylus 5G ships with Android 11 and will only support a major OS platform update and two years of security updates. Unfortunately, that’s a short lifespan, especially considering that Samsung’s Galaxy A series phones are now guaranteed four years of security updates. For $ 400, you really should get more than a couple of years of support for your device.
A couple of side notes on the 5G connectivity of the Stylus 5G: At launch, it will work on Verizon and T-Mobile’s 5G networks, but it will work only as 4G on AT&T. Motorola says AT&T 5G support will be available “in the coming months.” It doesn’t support any of the mmWave 5G networks (the hard-to-find, super-fast variety), but that’s not a huge loss. Even more importart, want work with the C-band 5G frequencies that Verizon and AT&T will begin using by the end of the year.
The stylus features of the Stylus 5G are basic but adequate. The stylus is spring loaded in the lower right corner of the phone and automatically opens a quick menu of options when you remove it. If you’re on the lock screen, you can jot down a note without having to unlock the device, which is helpful. You won’t find productivity features or nifty tricks like the Note series-style wireless control, but instead some useful shortcuts for snapping a GIF or doodling in a screenshot. They are useful and fair for the price.
Moto G Stylus 5G Camera
The Stylus 5G offers three rear cameras: a standard 48-megapixel f / 1.7 wide, 8-megapixel f / 2.2 ultrawide, and a 5-megapixel macro, along with a 2-megapixel depth sensor and a 16-megapixel selfie camera. The 4G G Stylus has a 2 megapixel macro camera, but that’s the only difference between them.
Like the 4G version, the Stylus 5G takes good photos in abundant light with an amazing level of detail, thanks to the way it processes 48 megapixel images into 12 megapixel files. The ultrawide camera is nice to have, although your images can be a bit noisier in difficult lighting conditions, and the macro camera is still disappointing, despite the modest resolution increase.
The main camera is prone to some drastic color shifts with even slightly different compositions of the same scene and subject: in one shot my orange cat is orange, and in the next, taken in a slightly different position, it suddenly looks blue . This happens more often in mixed lighting conditions, which many cameras will struggle with, but it appeared often enough in my tests to annoy me.
The 4G-only G Stylus is a good deal at $ 279, and there’s nothing really wrong with the $ 399 G Stylus 5G, but it’s harder to justify its higher cost. With only a couple of years of guaranteed security updates, this phone will only see the beginning of a really good 5G in the US It’s a good option to upgrade if you are leaning towards a stylus phone and the Note isn’t in for. your budget, but for most people, I’d recommend sticking with the 4G-only model for a couple of years or looking at a 5G phone with a bit more longevity.
If you’re more interested in the big screen and battery than the stylus, you can save quite a bit and go for the Moto G Power (2021). Its processor isn’t that great and you miss out on the ultrawide camera, but if you want to cover the basics for a couple of years, it will work.
On the other hand, if you can afford to spend a little more and want to get more than a few years out of your phone, the Samsung Galaxy A52 5G is an excellent choice. It has a beautiful big screen, 5G, and it comes with a generous support policy. Stylus enthusiasts on a budget have a good option in the Moto G Stylus 5G, but most others could do better elsewhere.
Photograph by Allison Johnson / The Verge