For those out there who like the larger-than-life Samsung Galaxy Note 9 but are not exactly enamored by the price tag, there are options. The LG Stylo 4 includes a very useful stylus and runs the same operating system, while also coming in at a much more affordable price point. The LG Stylo 4 may not have all the glitz and glamor of the Note 9, but if you’re more concerned with basic functionality, it’s a very good alternative.
To produce a note device which is roughly a quarter the price of its rivals, there will be some compromises along the way, but where the LG Stylo 4 stands out is in its sheer value. For the ultimate in speedy devices, the Stylo 4 won’t win the race, but in reality, the gap is not as big as you may think for general day-to-day work.
As you’d expect with a budget option, you will have to make do with a slightly older processor. This comes in the form of a 2017 Snapdragon 450 processor, which has slower signal processing and clock speed than the latest contemporaries. This basically means that when using the Android Oreo operating system, the graphical performance will not be as fast as found on the Note 9, higher LG models, or other flagship devices.
The Stylo 4 has a reasonable battery life with a 3,300mAh capacity providing a good day’s worth of charge. The battery’s power output may not be as sizeable as the contemporaries, but in the real world, it’s more than adequate.
As for the overall build quality of the Stylo 4, it has a mainly plastic design, but it feels far from being cheap. The overall dimensions feel comfortable in the hand and the 6.2-inch screen is pleasant to view in bright daylight. The 390ppi resolution provides a good degree of color and contrast, with all settings being easily tweaked.
As most of the front of the device is taken up by screen real estate, the fingerprint sensor is on the rear of phone. The sensor may be a touch small, but it’s fast and effective. As for other useful output ports, the device has a 3.5mm headphone jack for the music lovers out there.
The LG Stylo 4 doesn’t feature any Bluetooth functionality, but the basic features are easily at hand. As you would expect with this type of device, it has a built-in stylus which is simplistic but does the job. The stylus needs to be pulled in and out with your fingernails, which kicks off an animated menu on screen for all the basic workings. In other words, it makes for a good notetaking device, but not so much for the aspiring artist with the lack of pressure sensitivity.
The LG Stylo 4 in Use
As previously mentioned, the Snapdragon 450 processor takes longer to provide results than its contemporaries. While the Note 9 starts up video and animations almost instantly, the LG Stylo 4 takes a second or two to snap into gear. However, this decreased speed is easy to grow accustomed to in the real world without being overly distracting.
With just 2GB of RAM, you quickly learn to work at the pace of the device. Apps may open up a touch slower than expected, but the delay isn’t as labored as you would expect with constant usage.
One of the biggest hindrances to the workings is the LG UX gui, which adds some unnecessary complication to the interface. This makes you fully appreciate the fast and smooth workings of the Note 9. Fortunately, things can be easily sped up by turning things like orientation lock on and not allowing any apps to run in the background.
For a device that costs almost a quarter of the Note 9, the speed deficit doesn’t make it unusable, but rather just more sluggish. Generally speaking, people who buy into smartphones in this price bracket will be aware of the speed and functionality differences. Unless you compare both units side-by-side, the LG Stylo 4 is still a workable machine if you have a few seconds more patience.
The 13-megapixel camera performs well in reasonable light conditions and has very respectable color rendition. For a smartphone camera, it works better than expected in low light conditions, much better than you would expect from a phone in this price bracket.
The accompanying camera app isn’t as fully featured as on high-priced LG units, but there’s still enough functionality for creative work. Features such as Match Shot for simultaneous use of the front and back cameras and a food mode are fun to use, further expanding functionality.
How Does It Compare?
Lining up the LG Stylo 4 and the Samsung Note 9 is really an apples and pears situation. Although both are notetaking devices with a stylus: one is a flagship model, one is a budget option. The speed of the Note 9’s Samsung Exynos 9810 processor means all the functionalities are as fluid as can be, with the general workings also being bolstered by 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
While the Note 9’s camera provides far more detail than the Stylo 4, it’s the LG which has the better color rendition. The Stylo also has a respectable amount of camera functionality, which is more than adequate for social media sharing.
|LG Stylo 4||Samsung Note 9|
|Processor||Snapdragon 450||Samsung Exynos 9810|
|Screen||6.2 inch||6.4 inch|
Devices such as the Stylo 4 and Note 9 will always appeal to completely separate markets. The Note 9 to those who want the latest and greatest features, along with the fastest workings of the time, while the Stylo 4 is for those who want the most bang for their buck, while still acquiring all the basic functionality.
Where the Stylo 4 stands out is value for money and you can’t fault the device on those terms. All the features may seem a few years old and functionality less speedy than the top line offerings, but that’s when a direct comparison is made between the two units.
When evaluating the Stylo 4 on its own terms, it provides lots of usage for its asking price. Although it only costs a quarter of the amount of the top line versions, it’s got more than a quarter of the functionality.