LG Stylo 4 Review

Review index

Design | Display | Interface and Functionality | Processor, Performance and Memory | Connectivity | Camera | Call quality | Battery life | Conclusion

So, you heard about the latest Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and thought “hey, a good _phone_ with a big screen and a stylus – sounds cool!” then you saw the $1000 price tag and said, “not for me”? Well, what if we told you there’s another _phone_ with a stylus selling for less than a third of the price? We know, you’re thinking “there must be some compromises” and while that may be true, you might be surprised to learn how few. Allow us to introduce you to the LG Stylo 4.

Selling for $300, or $250 through Amazon Prime, LG’s lower mid-range device may not have Bluetooth enabled on its included stylus but offers users some of the same functionalities of higher-end devices, like the Galaxy Note 9, but at a different price point. This makes the Stylo 4 a rare device in that regard, but when it comes to price, this field is pretty packed. Did LG do enough to make the Stylo 4 stand out? Or is it just a one-trick pony?

In the box:

  • LG Stylo and stylus
  • USB-C Fast Charging cable and adapter
  • Cleaning cloth
  • Warranty and Quick Start booklets

Design


LG’s Stylo 4 is actually a decently stylish mid-range phone. Bezels are on the smaller side and the display’s rounded corners and 18:9 aspect ratio give the Stylo a bit of a higher-end aesthetic. The aluminum sides add to this look and in-hand feel; chances are you wouldn’t guess this phone costs $300 by just looking at it sitting face-up on a table, and that’s a nice perk.

LG Stylo 4 Review
LG Stylo 4 Review
LG Stylo 4 Review
LG Stylo 4 Review

It is a lighter device, though – something we’re certainly not complaining about, but may give some indication of its price point when picking it up. Turning it around will also be another indicator due to its plastic backing. Still, the LG Stylo 4 holds a decent aesthetic, and feels good in the hand thanks to its metal sides.

Along the bottom edge is where you’ll find the included stylus, which, being a stylus and not a digital pen, has no battery or electronics of any kind and is therefore quite skinny. The experience of writing with this accessory is best compared to that of taking out the ink cartridge of a ball-point pen and writing with that – it’s that skinny. So, while not our favorite in terms of ergonomics, it does get the job done. More on that later, of course.

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Front view | Side view
LG Stylo 4
LG Stylo 4
6.3 x 3.06 x 0.32 inches
160 x 77.7 x 8.1 mm
6.07 oz (172 g)

LG Stylo 4

Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
6.4 x 2.94 x 0.34 inches
162.5 x 74.8 x 8.6 mm
6.88 oz (195 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

LG G6
LG G6
5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches
148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm
5.75 oz (163 g)

LG G6

Motorola Moto G6
Motorola Moto G6
6.06 x 2.85 x 0.33 inches
153.8 x 72.3 x 8.3 mm
5.89 oz (167 g)

Motorola Moto G6




Display


LG went with a 6.2-inch, Full HD+ (2160 x 1080 px) LCD display on the Stylo 4 and the results of which are mostly satisfying. Colors appear somewhat accurately, although there is a slight tendency towards a bluish tint. Reaching 476 nits at maximum brightness and 3 nits at minimum, the Stylo 4 is easy to see and read in almost any lighting.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
LG Stylo 4 476
(Good)
3
(Excellent)
1:2047
(Excellent)
8365
(Poor)
2.27
3.34
(Good)
6.69
(Average)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 518
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6471
(Excellent)
2.03
3.39
(Good)
2.29
(Good)
LG G6 506
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:2164
(Excellent)
8639
(Poor)
2.12
5.68
(Average)
7.55
(Average)
Motorola Moto G6 573
(Excellent)
5
(Excellent)
1:1159
(Good)
8579
(Poor)
2.36
4.91
(Average)
8.21
(Poor)
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The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

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Interface and Functionality


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LG has equipped the Stylo 4 with LG UX 7.0 built on Android 8.1
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When it comes to the interface, LG has equipped the Stylo 4 with LG UX 7.0 built on Android 8.1, Oreo – the same combination you’ll find on the higher-end LG G7 ThinQ and V35 ThinQ. While performance naturally will have some differences due to lower-end processing components, the general layout and look will be quite similar. Our Prime-exclusive Stylo 4 comes with a suite of Amazon software, including Alexa, worked into its layout. Unfortunately, Alexa can’t be summoned by your voice alone, and must be triggered via the software button before fielding requests.

Fingerprint gestures are also incorporated, enabling functions like triggering the camera shutter, capturing screenshots, or opening and closing the notification bar. These are nice additions to an already fast and responsive piece of biometrics.

Overall, the experience here is tidy, good-looking, and intuitive – characteristics we also appreciate in the additional stylus-related software bits.

Pen functions


The included stylus provides the most unique features of this device which include functions for screen-off memos, screen capture and markup, and quick memo features. Screen-off memo can be switched on or off via settings, and once enabled, allows the user to simply pull out the stylus while the screen is off to start writing a quick note from the lockscreen, which is then saved to your QuickMemo+ notebook.

LG Stylo 4 Review
LG Stylo 4 Review
LG Stylo 4 Review

Within the OS, pulling out the stylus brings up a floating icon which, much like the floating bar we’ve seen on other LG devices, provides shortcuts to various apps and functions. Being a pen-related feature, the first few of these five default shortcuts are for quick memos, as well as screen capture and editing. Any app can be swapped into one of the five slots, though.

Writing with the pen is easy and responsive, but no hand rejection software is at work and the pen is rather skinny, so the writing angles aren’t the most comfortable or natural. We also hope that QuickMemo+, the default note-taking app, will soon gain functionality for its eraser to delete entire strokes, rather than having to trace pixel by pixel to erase your marks. Even without a battery in the pen, though, LG’s created a location-based feature which reminds you that you’re walking away from your pen if you get up and do so.

Processor, Memory, and Performance


Equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 450, 3 GB RAM, and 32 GB storage
(expandable via MicroSD), the LG Stylo 4 unfortunately isn’t the smoothest operator. While we wouldn’t necessarily call our experience buggy, we did run into a few force-closed apps, and general navigation seemed a step behind; stutters and hangs were easily apparent in multitasking and app-launching. It’s not an overly frustrating experience but it certainly isn’t the best, even in this price range.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
LG Stylo 4 44393
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 175439
LG G6 157208
Motorola Moto G6 70490
JetStream
Higher is better
LG Stylo 4 14.709
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 67.884
LG G6 57.368
Motorola Moto G6 22.512
GFXBench Car Chase on-screen
Higher is better
LG Stylo 4 2.2
Motorola Moto G6 3.2
GFXBench Manhattan 3.1 on-screen
Higher is better
LG Stylo 4 3.8
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 39
LG G6 14
Motorola Moto G6 5.8
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
LG Stylo 4 519
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 1877
LG G6 1797
Motorola Moto G6 750
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
LG Stylo 4 2407
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 6552
LG G6 4285
Motorola Moto G6 3928
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Connectivity


The Prime-exclusive variant of the Stylo 4 comes with all the proper antennas to work on 4G LTE with Sprint, Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, and of course, any prepaid carriers using their towers. We also very much appreciate the inclusion of USB-C fast charging. Otherwise, you’ll find the requisites like Bluetooth 4.2 and dual-band Wi-Fi, but no NFC, and therefore no Android Pay.

Camera


Packing a 13 MP, single camera, the LG Stylo 4 has the requisite functions you’d hope to find in this department, and not much else. This means functions like auto-HDR, phase-detection autofocus, and filters are all included.

In terms of performance, the LG Stylo 4 is a formidable point-and-shooter for this price range. The camera focuses quickly and exposure, though not always perfect, does its job in short order, as well.

LG Stylo 4 Review

Color capture is solid, displaying very good color accuracy. The only thing that can get in the way of this is the camera’s tendency to sometimes overexpose brighter areas. It also has some troubles with letting in movement in lower-light scenarios, obscuring its otherwise impressive proclivities in detail capture by blurring areas of the shot – textures, and text can get a bit muddy. Otherwise, colors and details are very well-captured in ideal lighting, such as bright landscapes. The LG Stylo proves to be an impressive shooter for outdoor adventures in the day time, but night time shooting’s shortcomings are more apparent.

The LG Stylo’s 5 MP front-facer shoots some pretty good-looking selfies too; details and color capture look pretty on-point. Using the switch to capture a wider field of view is easy and effective, as is the experience using portrait and beauty modes. Auto-beauty cleans up blemishes well but can appear noticeably airbrushed, while the portrait features do a solid job separating the background and creating a pleasing bokeh effect.

LG Stylo 4 sample images

HDR
HDR
HDR
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QLens is a camera mode meant to add a bit of AI functionality to the Stylo 4, but instead of using algorithms to improve photo capture, QLens is more akin to Google Lens in its feature set. Functionalities within exist solely to photo-search Pinterest and Amazon, or scan QR codes. Predictably, it’s not very useful or effective.

Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
LG Stylo 4 1.67
2.34
277
272
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 1.7
1.96
996
765
LG G6 1.7
2.7
522
530
Motorola Moto G6 2.15
2.50
667
679
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Video


Video capture tops out at 1080p on the Stylo 4 and results are a bit mixed. While audio sounds loud and clear, and color accuracy is high, details are a bit grainy of course at 1080p, and there’s a pronounced bit of stutter and jitter when moving the camera – even at slow speeds. Exposure too is a bit slow to adapt, and overall not quite as adept as in photo capture.



Call Quality


The calling experience on the LG Stylo 4 is a pretty good one. We had no issues with dropped calls or connection, but the rear-mounted speakerphone could use a little more oomph, and we mean in both decibels and bass. The earpiece does its job well, though, and should be easy enough to hear in most environments.

Battery Life


Clocking a very solid nine and a half hours in our custom battery drain test, the Stylo 4 performs quite well in the battery department. In our day-to-day usage we averaged over a day of use, even with heavy use. Fast charge was also nice to have, juicing up the phone’s 3300 mAh battery in about 90 minutes.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
LG Stylo 4 9h 32 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 7h 50 min (Good)
LG G6 6h 9 min (Average)
Motorola Moto G6 8h 25 min (Excellent)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
LG Stylo 4 88
Samsung Galaxy Note 8 102
LG G6 97
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Conclusion


LG’s turned in a decent performer in most regards with the Stylo 4. The camera’s quite impressive and note-taking abilities set it apart from other devices. Nailing the basics like the screen and battery life help round the device out, but the computing performance leaves something to be desired. It’s not unusable by any means, though, so it may be a worthwhile compromise for everything else the Stylo 4 has to offer.

Being a stylus-equipped device helps narrow its competition a bit, but there are other large-screened devices in this price range to consider. This includes the Moto E5 Plus and G6, for instance. Both of which perform better than the Stylo when it comes to speed and fluidity and compete well in the camera department, as well. The E5 Plus also has a massive 5000 mAh battery to sweeten the deal. Not to mention the Nokia 6.1 lives in this price range and has similar strengths in processing and photography.

If size is of no consequence to you, then the Essential PH-1 is typically found in this price range, as well. Even LG’s own G6 can be had for just about $100 more as a Prime exclusive. But, of course, if a stylus is what you desire, the Stylo 4 will provide you a decent device to go along with it.