TCL’s newest budget smartphone is the first from the manufacturer to feature a stylus. The Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 are two of the most expensive smartphones with stylus support, but for those who can’t afford these devices and still want a phone with a stylus, there are actually a handful of affordable alternatives available.
Motorola has a stylus series under its Moto G line and announced two new models earlier this year – the Moto G Stylus (2022) and the Moto G Stylus 5G (2022). Motorola isn’t the only brand that has made affordable phones with stylus support in the past either. Prior to LG’s demise, it also had its own line of stylus-toting smartphones that were sold under the Stylo name. Now TCL is entering the space with its TCL Stylus 5G smartphone.
The TCL Stylus 5G looks like the average mid-range smartphone released this year. It has a punch hole display and a vertically stacked quad camera setup on the back. TCL has made it available in a single color —Lunar Black—with a matte finish that keeps fingerprints and smudges at bay. Unlike the Galaxy Z Fold 3, whose stylus has to be purchased separately and stored in a special case, the stylus for TCL’s phone is stored at the bottom and can easily be removed with a simple press.
Stylus-Toting Smartphone On A Budget
The TCL Stylus 5G packs some pretty neat tricks. Users don’t have to unlock the phone before writing down a quick note. There is also a note-taking app made by Nebo for TCL which features handwriting-to-text conversion. Another useful app that comes pre-installed is MyScript Calculator, allowing users to write out calculations on the screen which are then solved and saved for later. Those who opt for the TCL Stylus 5G will also be able to take advantage of support for creating and storing e-signatures on the phone, and using the stylus as a magnifier.
TCL has equipped the phone with a pretty large display. The 6.81-inch FHD+ 60Hz screen is about the same size as that of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, albeit with a flat edge. This is also an LCD panel instead of AMOLED which shouldn’t be surprising considering the price. However, it leverages TCL’s display technologies used in its TVs. For instance, it can upscale SD to HDR when playing games or watching a movie. Inside the phone is a MediaTek Dimensity 700 processor, the same one that powers the Galaxy A13 5G, and it is paired with 4GB of RAM. While many people should be fine with the TCL Stylus 5G’s 128GB of storage, those who need more can utilize the microSD card slot which supports cards up to 2TB.
As is common with most budget smartphones these days, the primary rear camera is a 50MP sensor. It is joined by a 5MP 115-degree super wide angle camera and two uninspiring macro and depth cameras with a 2MP resolution. Up front is a 13MP camera that can record 1080p videos at 30 fps. The TCL Stylus 5G has a side-mounted fingerprint scanner and also supports face unlock. The 4,000 mAh battery seems small considering the massive display size, but it does support 18W fast charging over USB-C. The phone runs Android 12 and has NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, dual-band Wi-Fi, an audio jack, stereo speakers, and a single SIM card slot. The TCL Stylus 5G is exclusively available to buy via T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile for $258, which undercuts the $499 Moto G Stylus 5G.