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

The LG V50 ThinQ will be available from Verizon starting on June 20

LG has a habit of releasing too many phones. Following on the heels of the V40 ThinQ, the company has now unveiled the LG V50 ThinQ. There's 5G support, as well as an accessory that turns it into a foldable phone.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 10's camera might be Samsung's most advanced yet

The Samsung Galaxy S10 range isn't exactly old, but Samsung is already working on the next big release. Details about the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 are making their way online, and we've gathered them all for you.

Best smartphone deals for June 2019: iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, and LG

Need a better phone but don't want to spend a fortune? It's never a bad time to score a new smartphone and save some cash. We rounded up the best smartphone deals available that can save you as much as $900.

Walmart slashes $100 off Apple’s latest 128GB iPad with Wi-Fi

Have you been looking to upgrade to Apple's latest iPad? Now's your chance, since Walmart is having a great on the 128GB version of the iPad. Here's everything you need to know about Walmart's latest iPad deal.

Best Buy stores are now certified to repair Apple devices

Apple completed a major expansion of the Apple authorized service provider program — Best Buy stores are now all certified to repair Apple devices. Now, eight out of 10 Apple customers live within 20 minutes of an authorized service…

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.

How iOS 13 will eventually make your iPhone the only ID you need

In Apple’s iOS 13, the stage is being set for it to become the main form of personal identification you carry, due to the company opening up its NFC feature beyond simply Apple Pay.

Best Prime Day smartphone deals: What we expect from the Amazon event

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is almost here, and it's set to be a big one. The event will include some pretty sweet deals on smartphones. If you're on the market for a smartphone, Prime Day might be the time to buy. Here are the best Prime Day…

The best Amazon Prime Day 2019 deals: Leaked date and sale predictions

Amazon Prime Day 2019 isn't here yet, but it's never too early to start preparing. We've been taking a look at the best discounts from previous Prime Days to give you our predictions of what to expect this year.

Amazon cuts price of 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro with a $124 discount

Apple tablets have always been on top of the game since its inception. Despite the rise of various competitors, iPads still rule the tablet market. You may want to take advantage of Amazon’s $124 discount on the 12.9-inch Apple iPad Pro.

Fossil is preparing 5 new designer smartwatches, and we can’t wait to see them

Five new designer smartwatches are coming soon from Fossil. Based on FCC listings, it suggests the watches will be released under the Diesel, Michael Kors, Emporio Armani, and the Fossil brand names.

Uber vs. Lyft: Which ridesharing app goes the distance?

Uber and Lyft have changed the way people get from A to B, and while these ridesharing companies provide the same service on paper, they operate in different ways. Here, we break down the major differences between the two.

Huawei and Honor make bold Android Q update pledge in the face of U.S. ban

Huawei has opened a website to reassure smartphone buyers about the status of Android and Android Q on its devices. It is confident Android Q will come to the Huawei P30 series and the Honor 20 series.

Nimble wants to clean our oceans with new iPhone cases made from plastic bottles

We produce too much plastic and most of it ends up in the oceans, so Nimble's new iPhone cases, made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, are a welcome development. The company donates 5% from every sale to ocean-related nonprofits.