Going hands on with the LG Stylus 3 - a phone with a lot of the Note's features for a lot less money

Going hands on with the LG Stylus 3 - a phone with a lot of the Note's features for a lot less money

When talking about LG's mobile division, most of the attention is currently being placed on what's to come next with the company's successor to the G5. Last year's modular mess didn't really pan out how anyone was hoping, and all eyes are on LG to see what their next move will be with the G6. Until that day comes though, LG has taken advantage of CES 2017 to introduce a heap of new budget smartphone offerings. The budget smartphone market is easily in its most competitive form ever, as good smartphones and becoming increasingly cheap, and cheap smartphones are becoming increasingly good.

Along with three new updates to LG's K series of handsets, the company also announced the LG Stylus 3 - a large, stylus-equipped smartphone that's trying to offer as many of the Note's features as possible while selling for just a fraction of the Note's cost. The Stylus 3 certainly won't win any spec race, but if you're looking for a big, cheap, Android slate that comes equipped with a built-in stylus and software features that are specific to it, the new Stylus 3 just might fit the bill. We got a chance to go hands on with the phone here at CES 2017, and these are our initial impressions.

Design

On the design side of things, the LG Stylus 3 is serviceable, if not a bit unexciting. The phone is made completely out of plastic, and while this does keep the whole package rather lightweight at just 149-grams, there's no doubt at all that the feeling in hand it offers is considerably less premium feeling than the likes of the all-metal Honor 6X that was also recently announced here in Vegas. However, this trade-off in materials does allow the Stylus 3 to have a removable battery thanks to the back panel that you can easily pop on and off. So, while the Stylus 3 may not be quite as flashy as some of its competition, it does make up for this by adding functionality that's come to be quite a rarity in the mobile landscape. 

The plastic being used here doesn't feature any sort of texture like we saw on the ZTE Blade V8 Pro, and instead opts for a faux-metal appearance. It looks fine in person, but is more reminiscent in its overall look and feel to budget phones of yesteryear rather than some of the other cheap handsets we've seen come out over the past few months.

Going hands on with the LG Stylus 3 - a phone with a lot of the Note's features for a lot less money

And, as you'd expect with a phone in LG's Stylus lineup, the Stylus 3 does come equipped with its very own stylus. The one that's featured here doesn't offer pressure sensitivity like you'd find with the Galaxy Note 5, but it is a nice addition to have at this price point. The stylus itself is very lightweight and feels nice in the hand, and it can be housed discretely in the phone's body when you aren't using it.

Display

Moving over to the display, LG crammed a massive 5.7-inch screen on the front of the Stylus 3. The panel is that of an LCD nature, and the resolution is a meager 1280 x 720. In person the display looks fine, but compare this to anything with a Quad HD or even Full HD display for that matter, and you'll quickly notices the soft nature of the panel being used here. Colors look fine if not a bit washed out, and text can get a bit fuzzy when dealing with a 720p HD resolution on this size of a screen. People who are looking to spend under or around $200 on a smartphone will likely be perfectly fine with the setup here, but with many other competitors offering similar price points and higher screen resolutions, this does seem like a step in the wrong direction for the Stylus 3. 

User Interface and processor

Android 7.0 Nougat is running on the LG Stylus 3 right out of the box, and LG's custom skin that's present on this version of Android is my favorite iteration of it yet. LG has decided to hold things back a bit when it comes to tweaking the look of the OS, as more elements of stock Android are present here than there were in past versions of LG's customized software. And, in addition to this, it's great to see the Stylus 3 already getting the Nougat love.

Going hands on with the LG Stylus 3 - a phone with a lot of the Note's features for a lot less money

LG's decision to hold back with over-customizing Android also helps to keep things feeling snappy and smooth, and this is a good thing as the MediaTek 6750 isn't the most powerful chipset out there by any stretch of the imagination. This particular chipset consists of of an octa-core processor that's clocked at 1.5GHz, and this is backed up by 3GB of RAM. This combination should provide for enough horsepower for light to medium tasks, but don't expect to get away with too many graphically intense games. 

The Stylus 3 felt very smooth while playing with it at LG's booth, but keep in mind that my tasks on the phone were limited to opening apps and navigating through the UI. And, similar to what we saw with the Note 7 before Samsung recalled it, popping out the included stylus from its housing in the phone's body will result in a pop-up menu being displayed. This menu consists of a various actions you can perform that relate directly to the stylus, and it's certainly a nice touch that makes the stylus feel like a real addition to the phone as a whole rather than an afterthought.

Camera

The Stylus 3 features a 13MP on the back and a 5MP shooter up front. However, the Stylo 3 (the US version of the Stylus 3) will get a slight upgrade to an 8MP selfie cam. LG's camera UI is starting to feel a bit dated at this point, but all of the controls and settings are fairly easy to access.

Battery

The large nature of the Stylus 3 allows for a beefy battery as well, and this is apparent with the 3,200 mAh unit that's packed inside of the phone. The 720p HD display being used certainly may not be the best-looking one around, but this combined with a large battery unit like this should provide for some rather nice stamina.

Going hands on with the LG Stylus 3 - a phone with a lot of the Note's features for a lot less money

Price and availability

LG has yet to announce any pricing or availability information for the Stylus 3, but we're expecting the phone to cost around $150 or $200 unlocked. In a vacuum, the Stylus 3 is a very solid handset for the money. However, when you take all of the other cheap smartphones that have come out in the past year or so into consideration, things get a bit murkier. We'll do our best to get our hands on a review unit of the Stylus 3 to see how it performs as a daily driver, but until then, stay tuned to the website for any updates regarding the phone's official pricing and availability.

Related phones

Stylo 3
  • Display 5.7" 720 x 1280 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 435, Octa-core, 1400 MHz
  • Storage 16 GB + microSDXC
  • Battery 3200 mAh(25h talk time)

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23 Comments

1. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

Saw mediatek SoC ad stopped reading. I just can't see why, with all of Qualcomm's offerings, any would choose to build a phone with a mediatek SoC targeting the US market.

14. phldlphn unregistered

Because, believe it or not, the majority of people in the world don't know anything about mobile processors, nor do they really care what company is producing the hardware as long as the phone does what it needs to do.

2. WillieFDiaz

Posts: 127; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

So a lot less features too - waterproofing, Qualcomm chipset, interoperability with Samsung services/TVs etc, and the crappy stylus that does far less. Yeah, sorry, for $200 its great, as an entry level device to someone who MAY want to upgrade to a Note, but it certainly is not like, a replacement for, or relatable to a Samsung, let alone a Note 7

17. Klinton

Posts: 1408; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

The effort Note to be killed(in the ppl's eyes) must go on. Because no one OEM can make Note-like device, as long, as Samsung holds the technology and patents. Of course this stylus has NOTHING to do with S-Pen, but why it should be mentioned. This stylus is normal capacitive stylus. S-Pen is Wacom pen with thin accurate tip with high pressure sensitivity. BTW I'm under impression, that no one media knows, that S-Pen's functionality is not only about jotting. WOW

3. DavMor0069

Posts: 266; Member since: Dec 09, 2015

This phone has nothing on the note series.

4. verbalize

Posts: 150; Member since: May 03, 2013

As long as it doesn't have the fire feature...

5. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Wow. Your time machine works. Or you're just recycling jokes from 2016.

6. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

Duplicate. Come PA, get on board & switch to Disqus.

7. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

"a phone with a lot of the Note's features for a lot less money" You're referring to the Note 3, right? Any other Note blows this outta the water.

9. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

Come on, @SupermanayrB Even the Note 3 blows this LG Stylus 3 outta the water. Joe M must be referring to the Note 2, as this LG Stylus 3 has comparable specs and features with the Note 2, but not with the Note 3!

12. SupermanayrB

Posts: 1188; Member since: Mar 20, 2012

You're right. I was just trying to give the LG a bit of an edge because of the front facing camera.

18. Klinton

Posts: 1408; Member since: Oct 24, 2016

Note 2??? LOL This capacitive stylus has nothing to do even with Note1 S-Pen Such stylus you could buy from ebay and use it on any phone. You may be talk about some software features for jotting only? There are many apps since years, for capacitive stylus jotting, though.

8. SolidGold69

Posts: 6; Member since: Jul 11, 2013

Oh, come on LG! You can do better than that! But until then, I'll just keep my Nexus 6. It may be nearing the 3 yr. age mark, but it still does everything I need it to.

10. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

Your title claims that this phone, comes with a lot of the Note features, at a lower cost. Yet you didn't talk about any of them. So what are they PA? I didn't see you demo split-screen, or many of the other tasks the Note is able to handle with ease. Having a stylus doesn;t make any smartphone anymore like the Galaxy Note, than the iPad with a physical keyboard would be onto a laptop running a full desktop operating system. There is no phoen that even comes close to the Note. The reason why this cheap POS is so cheap is because it is using a 720p display, it has no advanced features. Any phone with a screen can be used with a stylus even without a wacom digitizer. The fact is PA, you don;t want to talk about just how unique the Note really is, and the fact no OEM could make a device to similar to it, in fear of gettign sued. Because in order for an OEM to make a real "note", it would mean stepping on several Samsung patents, which we know they won't want to pay for and end up gettign sued.

11. aegislash

Posts: 1457; Member since: Jan 27, 2015

Seriously? What an incredibly misleading title...No mention of the features that make it comparable to the Note series? So it has a stylus...Great! Guess I could say that my Surface Pro 4 is comparable to the Note because of the stylus.... Might want to try giving some examples of why it is like the Note, if you're going to make such a bold claim.

13. KingSam

Posts: 1395; Member since: Mar 13, 2016

I think PA reviews/have on are getting repetitive and soft. For example: the MediaTek 6750 isn't the most powerful chipset out there by any stretch of the imagination. Also evident a lot in the display sections. I think you should say it for west it is instead of throwing wild comparisons. If its weak say so or if its strong say so. I feel like you're beating around the bush a lot. Just NY thoughts thoough.

15. sissy246

Posts: 7029; Member since: Mar 04, 2015

LMAO come on OK, just going to leave it at that.

16. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Why on earth would they make this a mid-ranger again, when the Note 7 left a huge void in the "phablet"market? Why wouldn't you make a pro version of something with some high end specs? A V20 with a stylus? You OEM''s are particularly avoiding giving customers what they want and you will all go the way of Palm if you keep this up.

19. tabS2IsBoss

Posts: 6; Member since: Dec 27, 2016

This is a sad joke in the phablet world made prominent by Samsung since August 2011. People need to realize true feature enhancements and software implementation will never come from anything LG makes. If the main purpose is to save a buck then maybe you really don't need a phablet in the first place. The Galaxy Note line is the BEST INNOVATION of a phablet/business tool ever made period and perpetrating a useless fraud with these silly big screen handsets only mislead the general public unnecessarily. At the end of the day Samsung is technology and Android period everything else is pretty much worthless and comically boring and obsolete.

20. chenski

Posts: 754; Member since: Mar 22, 2015

My next phone will be better than note series, =p

21. Phantom1031

Posts: 263; Member since: Aug 02, 2014

Wow phonearena what a comparison? Hillarious anyway. I have used three notes and nothing amuses me more than note series

22. a1awan

Posts: 40; Member since: Feb 26, 2014

This is possible their first try in the field with a pen. If successful they will probably up the specs next time

23. trojan_horse

Posts: 5868; Member since: May 06, 2016

No, this is not LG's first try in the field with a pen. As the title says, it's the LG Stylus 3, which clearly says this handset is LG's 3rd iteration in the field with a pen, yet LG's stylus and it's features have, once again and for the third time, failed to impress!

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