Skip to main content

LG Stylo 3: Our First Take

Scribble away with the LG Stylo 3, an intriguing budget phone

Pop out the stylus, and the budget-friendly LG Stylo 3 turns into an interesting phone.

It’s not easy to make a mid-range smartphone interesting. They don’t have the highest specs, rarely come with some amazing new feature, and aren’t made out of a super special new material mined from another planet. However, that doesn’t mean they have to be boring. LG’s new Stylo 3 is a big-screen phone with a stylus, and that’s what makes interesting. The stylus is not as common as it used to be, because of the demise of the Galaxy Note 7.

Don’t go comparing the Stylo 3 with Samsung’s hot phone, though, because they’re not even close to being similar. The Stylo 3 — called the Stylus 3 outside of the U.S. — is likely to cost considerably less, and doesn’t have features like retina scanning, water-proofing, or catastrophic explosions.

LG trimmed down the stylus tip to 1.8mm, providing more precision. Pop it out of the built-in holder, and the phone vibrates to confirm the action, then opens a special menu. It was a bit tough to get the stylus out of the model we used. There are several stylus-only features for taking notes, annotating screenshots, and LG’s Quick Memo feature for fast note taking in a small window. The stylus is comfortable to hold, if a little slim for extended writing, and leaves a pleasingly realistic pen-like trace on the display. No, it doesn’t offer the feature-packed S Pen experience seen with Samsung’s Note phones, but it’s perfectly adequate for quick notes.

Premium bloodline

While the Stylo 3 isn’t a so-called premium phone, the body is matched to a curved 2.5D glass panel over the 5.7-inch screen, making it comfortable to hold and closer in style to many more expensive phones. The rear cover is plastic, but pop it off and a removable 3,200mAh battery is hidden inside, lessening ties to a charging cable or external battery pack. This is a feature LG’s keen to maintain on its phones, and it works hard to continue the trend throughout the range, including on the G5 and the V20.

Similarly, the Stylo 3 has its home button and integrated fingerprint sensor on the back under the 13-megapixel camera lens, much like the V20. It’s easily located with your finger and can be programmed to activate other features such as the camera shutter release. Also like the LG G5 and LG V20, the selfie cam has a 120-degree wide-angle for improved group and landscape shots, plus the screen acts as a flash in lowlight environments. Rather than a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, LG has chosen an octa-core MediaTek chip running at 1.5GHz for the Stylo 3, with 3GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage space.

The Stylo 3’s success, and our recommendation, will depend on the eventual price.

The stylus is the main reason you’ll want to buy the Stylo 3, but don’t expect it to provide many features outside of variations on scribbling notes. This isn’t a bad thing. It’s a pen replacement system, and that’s mostly what people will want to use it for. In our short time with the phone, it performed basic tasks well. Keep your expectations in check, and you’ll be happy with it.

That’s also the approach that should be taken with the phone itself. Performance from the MediaTek chip will be adequate, LG usually makes great cameras, and the screen looked good. You’ll appreciate LG’s nods to more expensive hardware, such as the 2.5D glass, and the lightweight body itself. It weighs just 149 grams. We’re also happy to see Android 7.0 Nougat installed, meaning the phone’s right up to date.

The Stylo 3’s success, and our recommendation, will depend on the eventual price. LG told Digital Trends that the price will be decided by the carriers. It’ll definitely be released in the U.S., but a date will also be provided by the carriers that decide to stock it. The Stylo 2 Plus from T-Mobile costs $240, and if the Stylo 3 comes in at the same price, it’ll be a strong proposition. We’ll update here when we know more.


  • Precise stylus
  • Latest Android software
  • Wide-angle selfie cam
  • Removable battery


  • Limited stylus features
  • Simple design

Editors' Recommendations

Andy Boxall
Senior Mobile Writer
Andy is a Senior Writer at Digital Trends, where he concentrates on mobile technology, a subject he has written about for…
OnePlus CEO takes on 10 Pro critics by releasing official photos
OnePlus 10 Pro official image showcasing rear camera module.

The OnePlus 10 Pro was unceremoniously leaked weeks ago in the form of CAD-based renders. Finished renders soon followed, and like clockwork, more details such as videos of dummy and official posters made their way online. But it appears that the chatter about the OnePlus 10 Pro's polarizing design, centered in large part on that wild camera island design, got a bit too much for CEO Pete Lau, so he posted a bunch of official product shots and renders.

To be fair, the OnePlus 10 Pro doesn't look that bad, especially in its all-black avatar. The contrasting sandstone-like matte finish of the rear panel and the shiny camera island lend it some identity. The green color option, well, it looks like an acquired taste. The shade of green at play here somewhat resembles the iPhone 11 Pro's Midnight Green, if it was a tad more lively. There is some likeness to the Pixel 5's Sorta Sage shade, but OnePlus has gone with a slightly darker overtone of green here.

Read more
Realme GT 2 Pro has the world’s first 150-degree wide-angle camera on a phone
Realme GT 2 Pro camera module.

Realme’s first true flagship smartphone, the Realme GT 2 Pro, has been announced at an event in China, where it was also confirmed the phone will be released in Europe in the near future. The phone has been teased several times already and many of the specs leaked, but this is the first time Realme has given us all the details, and there are a few surprises.

The 150-degree, 50-megapixel wide-angle camera is a world-first on a phone, and we can’t wait to try it out. The field of view is far wider than most wide-angle cameras fitted to phones, and Realme says it will produce images showing, “extreme panoramas.” It’s joined by a Micro-lens Camera, which will take close-up shots at 40x magnification. We’ve seen something like this before on the Oppo Find X3 Pro and had fun with the unusual feature, and while Realme is closely related to Oppo, it’s a surprise to see it here.

Read more
The best Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 cases and covers
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 Cases Feature image.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a solid $1,800 hunk of phone, a foldable reinvention of the smartphone that packs an IPX8 rating and S Pen support into a pocketable frame. Our review rates the third generation of the Z Fold as a progressive improvement, and a functional alternative for the average cell phone consumer. When you buy this sort of high-end device, you commit yourself to its care and safety -- and keeping it out of harm's way. Smartphone case vendors had plenty of foldable practice in outfitting the second generation of the Galaxy Z Fold, and now they have further perfected new cases for the Z Fold 3. We present our favorites.
Urban Armor Gear Civilian

This innovative case offers several advantages in addition to its rugged but slim two-piece design. It is engineered with so-called HyperCush technology for impact protection that cushions your phone should it slip from your grip. Its adhesive bonds the device, as its open hinge design facilitates maximum functionality. The light armor shell has a shock-absorbent soft core and impact-resistant bumpers. It's compatible with wireless charging and NFC payments. Responsive oversized tactile buttons deliver a crisp, reassuring click. Raised bezels protect the screen and lens. Plus, it meets military drop-test standards [MIL STD 810G 516.6] to provide increased shock protection.

Read more