Motorola Moto G Stylus (2021) review: the write stuff

Calling the 2021 Motorola Moto G Stylus the finest price range stylus telephone feels a bit like a backhanded praise. There’s roughly only one different contender for that title, the LG Stylo 6, which is just too underpowered to suggest. However the G Stylus doesn’t simply win by default; it’s truly a well-rounded and succesful telephone for below $300.

It provides an enormous 6.8-inch 1080p display, a beneficiant 128GB of built-in storage, and a Snapdragon 678 processor with 4GB of RAM. Motorola launched it earlier this yr with a $299 MSRP, although it’s now promoting for $279 from the producer and different retailers.

Different highlights embody a 48-megapixel most important digital camera accompanied by ultrawide and macro rear cameras, a 4,000mAh battery, a “water-repellant” design, and a fingerprint sensor embedded in the recessed energy button. It’s a well-rounded set of options for a price range machine, even with out contemplating the G Stylus’ headline function.


Good Stuff

  • Helpful stylus options
  • Good battery life
  • Succesful processor/RAM combo

Unhealthy Stuff

  • Solely two years of safety updates
  • Poor ultrawide digital camera picture high quality
  • Sluggish to obtain OS updates

The G Stylus contains apps for note-taking, doodling, and coloring.

Moto G Stylus (2021) stylus options

The principle promoting level is certainly the G Stylus’ stylus, so let’s cowl that first. Like the Stylo 6, the G Stylus features a built-in capacitive stylus tucked into the bottom-right nook of the machine. Popping it out brings up a fast menu of shortcuts to stylus-friendly apps.

There’s a note-taking app and a shortcut to take and annotate a screenshot. You may also jot down a fast observe with out unlocking the display. It’s a fundamental set of options — nothing too superior like what the Galaxy Notice sequence provides — however with a few neat bonuses.

With AI, the telephone can acknowledge what you’re attempting to attract and switch it right into a coloring e-book template.

First, messaging apps assist handwriting-to-text conversion. It is a Gboard setting you may allow on any Android machine, but it surely’s obtainable by default on the G Stylus. Urgent the “globe” icon to the left of the spacebar opens up the handwriting panel. Write your message, and watch it seem in the textual content line above.

The Moto G Stylus’ different trick is the skill to create cinemagraphs, nonetheless photos with a shifting ingredient. To create one, you’ll principally take a brief video clip, holding the digital camera nonetheless. You then use the stylus to attract on the areas of the scene with movement. The remaining will stay frozen as a nonetheless picture. You don’t essentially want a stylus for this, however the added precision is useful. Outcomes will be saved as an MP4 or a GIF. The app does a good job of stabilizing a handheld picture for a extra convincing last product, although the ensuing clip is pretty low-res. Nonetheless, it’s enjoyable to play with.

Whereas the LG Stylo 6’s stylus options felt somewhat extra enjoyable and creativity-focused, the Moto G is a bit more no-nonsense. Positive, there’s a coloring e-book app that does a neat trick of utilizing AI to determine a rudimentary sketch of a cat and switch it right into a template to your digital “crayons.” However the place’s the animated GIF creator? Or an app that data as you sketch so you may textual content your mates and exhibit your mad doodling expertise? This stuff exist in third-party apps, little question. However the native function set feels, for higher or worse, somewhat extra grown-up.

The Moto G Stylus contains a massive 6.8-inch display.

Moto G Stylus (2021) display and efficiency

The Stylus’ display is nothing fancy — customary 60Hz refresh price LCD — but it surely’s a decently vibrant and huge 6.8-inch 1080p show. The telephone itself is, naturally, additionally giant and on the heavier facet, however the barely rounded edges of its again panel make it extra snug to carry than its dimensions recommend. It appears somewhat ridiculous peeking out of the prime of a yoga pants pocket, however this stylus-packing machine was by no means meant to be extremely pocketable.


The G Stylus makes use of a Snapdragon 678 processor with 4GB of RAM, and this mix feels greater than enough for day-to-day duties. Apps load rapidly, and leaping between them feels snappy. There are some occasional hiccups and slight slowdowns when scrolling by means of media-rich apps like Twitter, however nothing that feels too irritating.

I had no downside getting by means of a full day with loads of battery life left to spare

Battery life can be good — not excellent however completely enough. Motorola claims the Stylus will get two days to a single cost, which seems like somewhat little bit of a stretch in my expertise. Extra importantly, I had no downside getting by means of a full day, together with two-plus hours of display time, with loads of battery life left to spare. Motorola features a 10W charger, which it calls “Turbo Energy” when it’s linked. Charging speeds are extra common than “Turbo”: 10 minutes of cost received me an additional 10 %, and it took about 40 minutes whole to convey an 80 % battery as much as full cost.

The Moto G Stylus ships with Android 10 and is anticipated to get an replace to Android 11. Motorola doesn’t say precisely when, however G Stylus homeowners can keep watch over the company’s software update page for extra info. Motorola’s price range machine assist isn’t nice; the telephone will get simply two years of safety updates, ending in January 2023. Samsung not too long ago introduced that even its price range A-series Galaxy telephones will now be assured 4 years of safety updates. Hopefully, that’s a coverage extra producers like Motorola will contemplate adopting.

The Stylus contains customary huge, ultrawide, and macro rear cameras.

Moto G Stylus (2021) digital camera

The triple digital camera on the G Stylus is the identical discovered on the $400-ish Motorola One 5G Ace, with the addition of a devoted depth sensor. To recap, that features a 48-megapixel f/1.7 most important digital camera that produces 12-megapixel photos, an 8-megapixel f/2.2 ultrawide, and a 2-megapixel macro digital camera.

There aren’t any surprises right here. Like the Ace, the G Stylus is able to good-quality photos in vibrant gentle, notably from the most important digital camera. Downsampling from 48 megapixels to 12 permits it to seize loads of element, however in the event you look shut, you’ll see some crunchy-looking sharpening. Colours are reproduced effectively, with out trying overly saturated. As an exception, the digital camera appears to spice up saturation and heat when it identifies a topic as meals. The outcomes are extra appetizing, if somewhat unnatural.

Grid View

Sadly, the ultrawide digital camera is much less good. Even pictures taken in vibrant gentle present smeary particulars and a few ugly noise. A photograph I took of a metropolis road has an uncommon purple tint, whereas a photograph from the most important digital camera in the identical spot appears significantly better. That is all evident even at smaller picture sizes for social sharing, which is unlucky. The macro digital camera is unhealthy, however the selfie digital camera is somewhat sharper and higher than anticipated from a price range telephone. Win some, lose some.

Whereas the digital camera system on the Ace was a little bit of a letdown, it feels about proper on the inexpensive Moto G Stylus. You gained’t discover a tremendous night time mode or top-notch image high quality right here, however for a sub-$300 telephone, it does the job simply wonderful.

The G Stylus is a well-rounded price range machine, even in the event you don’t care about its pen-focused options.

The Moto G Stylus is a well-rounded price range telephone that additionally occurs to have a stylus. Of Motorola’s 2021 price range gadgets that I’ve examined to date, this one provides the finest stability of options and cost-saving measures. It has an enormous show, stylus options, good battery life, and strong on a regular basis efficiency. The cameras, although flawed, are adequate to get by.

That is the apparent alternative for somebody searching for a price range stylus telephone

That is the apparent alternative for somebody searching for a price range stylus telephone, however I hesitate to suggest it to everybody else. The $299 OnePlus Nord N10 5G provides a quicker refresh price display, a greater digital camera, and barely higher efficiency for practically the identical value. If you happen to can afford to spend a bit extra, the $349 Google Pixel 4A will supply higher software program assist and an ideal digital camera.

If you happen to’re a stylus devotee and even simply strongly stylus-curious, the Moto G Stylus is an efficient alternative. However in the event you’re ambivalent towards the stylus, you may be higher off with one in every of these different choices.

Images by Allison Johnson / The Verge

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