The TCL Stylus 5G gives us another stylus smartphone on the cheap


Anyone looking for a smartphone with a built-in stylus just got a new option today with the unveiling of the new TCL Stylus 5G. Sporting a 6.81-inch, FHD+ LDC display with a 120Hz touch-sampling rate, the device isn’t going to be a direct replacement of Samsung’s now-defunct Note series, but instead will serve as an alternative to the Moto G Stylus, thanks to its entry-level MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G chipset that’s paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. The device also features a microSD card slot, allowing you to expand its storage capabilities by a full 2TB 

Like many other smartphones in TCL’s lineup, the TCL Stylus 5G sports a quad-camera setup, featuring a 50MP main sensor on the back with a 5MP ultrawide camera, 2MP depth sensor and 2MP macro camera as well. The main camera is capable of capturing 4K video, but the ultrawide camera and 13MP selfie camera are limited o 1080p. 

The stylus functionality of the phone appears to offer more features than the Motorola G Stylus but falls short when compared to Samsung’s S Pen capabilities on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. While the stylus does resemble the S Pen in its styling and pop-out capabilities, it uses passive technology, which means it simply replicates regular finger touch input on the display. Fortunately, TCL has included extra software to allow for handwriting-to-text conversion, the MyScript Calculator that solves hand-written math problems, eSignature creation and storage for easy use with third-party apps and the ability to easily write on screenshots or create custom GIFs. 

One cool Galaxy Note feature that TCL did replicate is the ability for the TCL Stylus 5G to start writing on the screen, even when it is turned off. Since this is an LCD display, you can clearly see that the screen turns on when it senses that the stylus has been removed from the in-body silo, but that’s forgivable when you take into account the phone’s entry-level price. 

The TCL Stylus 5G will be making its US debut on T-Mobile for $258, giving it roughly the same price as the Motorola G Stylus. Meto by T-Mobile will be selling the phone as well for $269. No official details were shared, but TCL did hint that we could see the TCL Stylus 5G make its way to other service providers in the US or be sold unlocked from third-party retailers. One last thing we need to point out is that the phone will be running Android 12 and will only receive one major OS update and 2-years of security patches. 

Let us know what you think of the TCL Stylus 5G and if you’re looking for a cheap Galaxy Note alternative like this.

Enrique Villacrez
Enrique moved to New York and found his way into tech reporting. Since then, he's been back home in South Florida where he continues to write about tech and works in the industrial machinery business. He enjoys tech, photography, cars, machines, cooking, and yoga.

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