Motorola is a name as old as our parents and even grandparents at this point. The pioneer of the wireless and cell phone market has long been synonymous with gadgets that push boundaries. One of the newest additions to the company’s portfolio is the Moto G stylus 5G.
While it borrows many common traits from Samsung’s established Note series, the Moto G Stylus brings its own bag of elements. We tested this device for about three weeks thanks to AT&T, and let’s run through our findings in this full review.
The Moto G Stylus 5G also borrows heavily from its siblings. If you’ve held a Moto G device in your hand in the past few years, this model will look and feel familiar to you. It reminds me a lot of the Moto G7 Power from a few years ago.
Moto has always nailed that “hand feel” when holding their phones. This started years ago with the X series and is still evident in the Moto G Stylus 5G. I can attribute this to a slight curvature on the back of the phones. It’s a fundamental Moto design element that just feels natural in the hand.
One thing that struck me right away, and that’s how massive this thing is. This is to accommodate the 6.8-inch screen that covers the entire front of the Moto G Stylus. The screen has an aspect ratio of 20:9 with a resolution of 1080×2400.
Internally, the Moto G Stylus 5G is powered by a Qualcomm 480 with an integrated 5G modem. This is paired with the combination of 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The storage can be expanded up to 2 TB with the microSD slot.
On the back, flanked by the plastic case, are the camera modules and a fingerprint scanner. I love the rear-mounted scanner and especially like how it’s integrated with the classic Moto “bat” logo.
At the bottom of the phone you’ll find a single speaker grille and a USB-C charging port. Precisely in the middle of these two ports is the business of this particular model: the pen! We will elaborate on this addition in the next sections of this review.
Moto has always been a favorite of mine as it uses one of the most pristine versions of Android. You get a very similar experience to a Pixel with some classic Moto additions like the twist to launch the camera and the karate chop to launch the flashlight on the Stylus 5G.
Otherwise you have a few custom widgets but still a very standard user interface. To the right of the home screen, you get the Google feed and even have predictive icons in the launcher, similar to Pixel.
One place where software falls flat, in typical Moto fashion, is with OS and security updates. The Moto Stylus 5G runs Android 11 and still has the June 2021 security update. This is just beyond unacceptable in today’s market.
Back on a positive note, much like the Samsung Galaxy Note, the stylus gets some software love from the engineers. When you pick up the input device from the phone, you get a pop-up widget that lets you easily handle things like quick notes, photo annotations, and typing dictations from handwriting.
Let’s dive a little deeper into these integrations for the stylus by continuing the comparison with the main alternative, the Note. I found it both very useful and a bit frustrating. This is a much less advanced stylus pen than Sammy’s S Pen.
As a touch alternative, does it interact with the screen? Yes. Can you write on the screen and do basic drawing? Yes. However, I found that the latency is much worse than the S Pen. I often get either lagging or missing input. Especially if you use the stylus for easy scrolling in an app.
It also only supports one pressure level, as opposed to the more modern S Pen’s multiple simulations. The Moto G Stylus 5G Pen is a pretty basic rubber-tipped stylus, much like the cheap aftermarket ones you can get on Amazon.
While buggy, it was still nice to have it tucked into the phone as an option. I like to quickly take work notes or comment on screenshots for reviews like this one. It’s also great for signing documents in the upcoming tax season.
The Moto G Stylus 5G’s cameras are solid, but not great. These lenses take average to above average shots in good light with a still subject. If external interference or bad light is introduced, the images will be affected.
However, it’s not a terrible knock on the device either. Moto built in acceptable sensors and post results to mollify those Instagram and Snap moments with no issues. It’s just that you need to be aware of its shortcomings when comparing it to premium options.
Moto has always prided itself on the longevity of its Android devices, and the Moto G Stylus 5G is no exception. I’ve consistently had more than a full day of normal use with this device. On super light days I can even get two days out per charge.
With a 5000mAh battery pack and Moto tweaks, that’s not surprising. When you need to reach for the outlet, you get Motos Turbo Charge with up to 10W fast charging capability. While I’d love to see Qi wireless charging or higher turbo wattage, both are acceptable for the sub-$400 market.
I really like the Moto G Stylus 5G. It has great battery life and unique stylus interaction, but it’s hard to recommend those terrible software updates. Moto is still way too far behind other competitors in this regard that it’s now just an embarrassment for the brand.
Despite the software setbacks, this could still be a great option for those willing to adopt outdated updates. At just $2 a month in installments from AT&T or $249 retail, the Moto G Stylus 5G is a bargain for those on a budget.
Buy the Moto G Stylus 5G from AT&T
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Motorola’s Moto G Stylus 5G borrows from Samsung’s Note series, offering a 6.8-inch screen with an aspect ratio of 20:9 and a resolution of 1080×2400. It is powered by a Qualcomm 480 with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage that can be expanded up to 2 TB with a microSD slot. The Moto G Stylus 5G has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner, a single speaker grille and a USB-C charging port. The stylus gets software support from the engineers, providing widgets for typing dictations and quick notes. However, it only supports one pressure level, unlike the more advanced S Pen. The Moto G Stylus 5G has acceptable cameras but is let down by poor software updates. Despite this, it is still a great option for those on a budget.