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LG Stylus 2 first impressions: a small step up from the G4 Stylus

|March 1 2016 |Mobiles, Android Phones, LG, First impressions, MWC 2016

"The LG Stylus 2 is a 5.7-inch phablet with a bundled stylus. Here's a first look"

LG Stylus 2_1

The LG G5 (first impressions) was undoubtedly LG's showstopper for MWC, but the company had some interesting mid-range devices lined up for us too in the form of the LG X cam (first impressions) and X screen (first impressions). Apart from this trio, the company had a fourth device on the floor, the LG Stylus 2. Showcased for the first time publicly at MWC, the Stylus 2 is the successor to the G4 Stylus that was launched in mid-2015. On the specs front, the Stylus 2 doesn't seem like much of an upgrade compared to its predecessor, but LG says the stylus pen has been improved with a tougher nano-coated tip, compared to the rubber-tipped pen of the G4 Stylus. The demo unit we checked out at LG's MWC booth was clad in an optional flip-case which had some interesting features of its own.

Here's our first impressions of the smartphone.

LG Stylus 2_3 LG Stylus 2_4 LG Stylus 2_5 LG Stylus 2_10 LG Stylus 2_7 LG Stylus 2_8

We've already mentioned how LG hasn't done much to upgrade the specs of the Stylus 2, and it's the same story with design. The smartphone features the same 5.7-inch display as its predecessor, and disappointingly, the resolution remains unchanged at 720p. With a screen that big, you get a measly pixel density of 258ppi. While the screen looked sharp enough, on a device where the display and stylus are the mainstay, a 1080p resolution would have been appreciated. The Stylus 2 features the same rectangular frame and slightly curved rear as its its predecessor, but is lighter at 145g (vs 163g) and thinner at 7.4mm (vs 9.6mm).

LG Stylus 2_6

The device features a metal frame and what LG calls a 'Spin Hairline' pattern at the back. We couldn't remove the flip cover to check this out, but we were told that the case features the same finish, in which case, it's nothing to write home about. The facade of the Stylus 2 is standard LG fare. There's a thin bezel above the display (which for some reason is smaller than the one below), and on it you'll find the earpiece, sensors and front 8MP camera. There's just LG branding under the screen, given that the Android navigation controls are on the display. The bottom edge of the smartphone houses the micro-USB port, along with the headphone jack and primary microphone. Up top you'll find only the secondary microphone and a slot for the stylus. The left and right spines are devoid of any ports and buttons, since the Stylus 2 sports classic LG rear-mounted controls. You'll find both the power and volume buttons on the rear, just below the primary 13MP camera and LED flash. There's also a loudspeaker grill on the bottom left. The back panel is removable, and houses the user-replacable 3,000mAh battery, SIM and microSD card slot.

LG Stylus 2_11

The flip cover on our demo unit snaps on to the back panel, and offers a snug fit with cutouts for the various buttons, ports and controls. The most interesting feature is the transparent strip on the front, which is designed to show you a bit of the display where you'll be able to see information like the time, date and battery status, and presumably notifications as well.

LG Stylus 2_12

The pen is obviously the smartphone's mainstay, and is capable of some interesting features. When you pop the pen out of its socket, a popup menu called Pen Pop appears on the top right corner of the screen, with shortcuts to apps like PopMemo, Capture+, PopScanner and QuickMemo+. With QuickMemo+, you can make notes or drawings with the pen, while PopMemo is basically a post-it sized version of the same. LG has introduced a new calligraphy pen font with the Stylus 2, and in our experience it worked really well. The stylus is both firm and smooth, and while this writer failed at art in school, we're sure more creative users won't have any trouble making a quick sketch or doodle. Another interesting feature you can enable for the pen is Screen-off Memo. This allows you to write memos when the screen is off, and gives you a black canvas on which you can scribble in white.

LG Stylus 2_13

In the Pen settings, you can enable an app shortcut, which opens a pre-selected app when you remove the pen. To make sure you don't misplace the stylus, you can program the smartphone to vibrate or make a sound when the pen is removed or inserted. A new alert feature LG has introduced is Pen Keeper, which reminds you with a sound and note when the pen is removed from the socket and the phone is moved.

LG Stylus 2_14 LG Stylus 2_15

Apart from the pen features, the software on the phone is quite standard. The Stylus 2 runs Android 6.0.1 Marshamallow with LG's custom UI on top. Powering the device is a 1.2GHz quad-core chipset (unspecified) paired with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of expandable storage. The connectivity features of the smartphone include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. Unlike the G4 Stylus, which came in both LTE and 3G variants, the Stylus 2 will be available only with LTE. The LG Stylus 2 will be available in a choice of Titan, White and Brown hues. LG hasn't specified either the price or availability of this device, but given that its predecessor didn't come cheap at Rs 24,990, we don't expect affordable pricing on this handset either.

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