Review of the Moto G Stylus (I've heard that Internetpilot is now very Stylish)

Discussion in 'General Smartphone/Handheld/Wearable Discussion' started by internetpilot, Apr 17, 2020.

  1. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    Hi ho, hi ho -- back to my Palm roots I go! Yep, Internetpilot has a stylus again by way of a Moto G Stylus.

    Let me get this out of the way -- if you're looking at this phone primarily because it has a stylus and thinking it's a cheap way to get a Note-ish phone then you're likely wasting your time and in for a disappointment. This isn't a fancy "aware" or "smart" stylus at all. The only thing remotely "smart" about this stylus is the silo, which can detect when you've pulled the stylus out so it loads a little floating side menu of stylus related apps, including Moto's only little Note app applicably called Moto Note. You can also set whether or not you want a locked Moto G Stylus to load Moto Note when you pull out the stylus without first unlocking the phone. But that's about it. When using the stylus in place of a finger, it offers rather excellent performance and much more precise editing (like in photo editors or drawing apps) than a finger. However, when using the stylus in (ironically) the Moto Note app, there's tremendous and noticeable lag. It's pretty bad -- so bad that I really question why or how Moto would release this with a stylus at all. I think it would've been better if they didn't include the Moto Note app, but I guess they felt the need to come up with a note app for their new stylus phone. It just should've actually worked. That may have been what initially attracted me to the phone, but it was the other specs that sold me on it.

    With that out of the way and being said -- this is probably the best phone I've ever owned, so I guess that would be why Moto released it despite the very mediocre stylus.

    So, if the stylus was your first question, the second question is likely the camera, specifically the Moto Camera app. I am happy to report that it has VASTLY improved over the previous implementations. I'm not sure if that's because they actually improved the app of the camera(s) hardware is just better in this phone, but the end result is vastly superior photos than my Moto G5S Plus. The main camera is 40mp @ f1.7, then there's a dedicated macro camera which is 2.2mp @ f2.2, and the third camera is a dedicated 16MP Action Cam with a 117-degree fov that allows you to hold the phone portrait while still recording video landscape (I guess except when I need truly waterproof, I'll now be leaving the GoPro Hero 5 at home). The front selfie camera is 16mp @ f2.0 and is a hole-punch in the upper left-hand corner of the relatively bezelless screen. I had a scare that the main camera sucked when one of the first pics I took turned out a little blurry. That turned out to be bokeh...haha. And it was real bokeh -- not fake post-processing bokeh. The action cam feature is really cool and it even offers image stabilization so you're not bouncing all over the place making every sick watching your videos. With a flick of a setting, you can easily use the main camera for video like you would any other phone. The photo modes offered in the Moto Camera app are: Portrait, Cutout, Macro, Spot Color, Night Vision Cinemagraph, Panorama, and Live Filter. The video modes offered are Macro, Slow Motion, Timelapse, AR Stickers (by way of Google Lens). FYI, the Night Vision photo mode when used in normal light produces a VERY close quality of image to the Google Camera app. The Moto Camera app allows HDR to on, auto, or off. The HDR is still not as good as the Google Cam, but it's now still very good and it's just as fast shot-to-shot. Most importantly, by being able to use the Moto Camera again (rather than a ported Google Camera), I can store the photos in internal or external memory (so I no longer need the FolderSync app).

    The fingerprint scanner on the back is going to take some getting used to for me. I typically have my phone laying on a horizontal surface screen up. When do the same with this phone, I have to lift it up and/or almost turn it over to unlock it. Otherwise I have to use a PIN, etc.

    The dual speakers are really nice and the Moto Audio feature with Dolby makes it all even nicer. With each bluetooth audio device I connect, it gives me the option to setup a different Moto Audio profile for each device, so my car with 7.1 surround isn't limited to the same settings as my wireless earbuds. Also of note, it does still have a 3.5mm headphone jack, which is becoming increasingly rare so I'll take it as long as I can get it.

    Speaking of bluetooth, this phone has connected to every vehicle, every camera (GoPro, SJCAM, Panasonic, etc. -- even my cheap knock-off drone camera), every speaker, every headphone flawlessly and without any issue. This is a first ever for me. I've yet to own a phone that didn't have some problem with bluetooth connections/compatibility.

    OMG...USB-C...FINALLY! Woohoo!

    There are not as many Moto apps included with this phone as with my Moto G5S Plus. My Moto G5S Plus also came with a System UI tweaker option that allowed me to change the status bar settings, set long-pressing the fingerprint scanner to turn off the screen, etc. Moto Actions are still there, including Quick Capture (twisting the wrist twice to quickly open the camera even when the phone is locked), double-chop to turn on the flashlight, flip the phone face down for DND, 3-finger swipe for screenshot, etc.

    One thing very different with this phone (due to Android 10) is the new buttonless UI navigation. For those who haven't used Android 10 yet, you might find that unfortunate as I did if you use a 3rd-party launcher. No 3rd-party launcher is compatible with Google's new UI gesture navigation. And there are other minor Android 10 issues when using a 3rd-party launcher, like no "Clear All" option for recent apps (thankfully there is for notifications). I really like the UI gesture feature (even if it is very iPhone-ish), but I also really like using Nova Launcher. That being said, one of the main reasons I was using Nova Launcher was for better widget support. Unfortunately, Google deemed HD Widgets as dangerous (?) and removed it from the Google Play Store, and I can't really find any other widget app that I like, so I might just end up using the stock Moto launcher. I know on my Moto G5S Plus I had frequent issues with Nova Launcher, so it might just be time to go with the stock launcher. We'll see if I can tolerate it. As I mentioned in my other post about my Sprint activation experience, I don't know if this for all Android 10 phones, just the Moto G Stylus, or just phones on Sprint, but the Carrier Settings option has moved from the Mobile Network menus to the System menus under System Update. I'm sure I'll find other differences, too, since I'm skipping up to Android version by going from a phone with Oreo to a phone with Android 10.

    The screen has taken some criticism from reviewers, but these same people are used to reviewing $1,000+ phones. Personally, I don't notice a difference. I definitely do notice any difference between the Moto G Stylus screen and the iPhone XR, iPhone 8+, etc. I'm admittedly not that picky, but in comparing them side-by-side, I can usually notice a difference between a lesser and a better screen, but that's not the case here. The colors, whites, blacks, etc. all look fine to me, but I do realize that others may be more picky.

    I chose to get the 128GB internal storage option...because there's only that option. Haha! Not a bad thing to "cornered" into for a $300 phone. I bought a new 128GB micro SD card for it, so now I have a 256GB phone.

    It is now 5:20pm on Friday, and this phone has been unplugged from its charger since 9:30pm last (Thursday) night, and heavily used since 7:30am this morning, and the battery is on 70%. Usually I kill a new phones battery setting it up -- this has not been the case with this phone and its 4000mah battery. I've heard some grumblings that the included charger is only a "fast charger" and not a "turbo charger", but I'm not sure if that's actually the case. I do know that when I hook up my Moto G Stylus to my multiport QC3 charger, the phone says it's charging in turbo mode. I'll have to check to see if the included charger yields the same message.

    All in all, this is an excellent phone for me. I admit that I've only tried the stylus one or twice and haven't touched it since. I might use it more when editing photos, which I do a lot on my phone (even transferring the photos from my GoPro, dedicated digital camera, etc. to my phone for OTG editing). It's fast, it's big (but not too big because it's also "skinny"), it has a huge amount of internal storage, accepts external storage, very good if not excellent camera, has a headphone jack, big battery, and...and...oh, yeah! It even has a stylus. All for $300. FYI, this wasn't advertised until over a week after the pre-order opened up, but if you buy the phone from Best Buy and immediately activate it (on Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or T-Mobile), you get the phone for only $250. I'm pretty sure this is for new lines AND existing lines. For Sprint, if it's for a new line and you immediately activate it (and good luck with that...haha), you get the phone for only $200.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020
  2. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    IP - Wow! Great review - makes my mouth water! Congratulations on a great value phone - enjoy it. I wonder if Mrs scjjtt would like us to use our stimulus check for 2 new phones?

    Sent from my LG v10 using Tapatalk
     
    headcronie, Hook, RickAgresta and 3 others like this.
  3. internetpilot

    internetpilot Flying Dog (...duh...)

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    Despite that it's such a good deal, I still felt so bad buying and activating a new phone during a pandemic. Unfortunately, my Moto G5S Plus is really limping/ailing, so I couldn't be without a phone (especially during a pandemic). I did luck out on the release date and excellent price point!
     
    headcronie, raspabalsa, Hook and 4 others like this.
  4. jigwashere

    jigwashere Mobile Deity

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    Is there a left-handed version of the Stylus? :rolleyes:
     
  5. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    Sounds like a trip to Best Buy is in my future -- my S5 has been mis-behaving to the point of me wondering 'Will it blend?' For the first time in forever, I turned it off overnight, to let it charge in peace. Turned on this morning, and battery is listed at 97% -- hmm…then the reboots started. 5 before I intervened, including 1 where the battery was listed at 0%. I put it on a charger while trying to persuade Buster to eat (see signature), and it bumped up from 44% to 59% in about 5 minutes - really?… Currently is behaving, but I think that's just a clever ruse, *especially* since it knows what thread I'm in <g>.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020
  6. Hook

    Hook Professional Daydreamer

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    Hey, you're helping the economy! :vbgrin: :thumbsup:
     
  7. jigwashere

    jigwashere Mobile Deity

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    I wish everyone good health and happiness. I am worried that you might have gotten exposed when you ventured out to the Sprint store, but it sounds like you were careful. You did need a new phone. I consider mine to be essential.
     
  8. RickAgresta

    RickAgresta Peanut, leader of the Peanutty Forces

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    order has been placed; should be available shortly for in-car pickup at my local BestBuy (where the $50 discount by BB is swallowed up by the device activation fee of $40 that VZW charges). activation - hopefully - will be smoother than it was for ip, given his posted experience.
     
  9. raspabalsa

    raspabalsa Brain stuck BogoMipping

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    Very nice review, IP. Thanks! Sounds like an interesting phone, especially at that price. My wife's Moto G6 seems to be working ok, but I've heard a couple of grumblings from her in the past couple of weeks. Mrs R is not one to complain over nothing, so I think it's time to think about a new phone for her. The Moto G Stylus sounds like a great option.
    IP, have you tried KWGT Kustom Widget Maker? It's almost too powerful when it comes to designing widgets, and the learning curve is somewhat steep, but there are lots of custom widgets available, for free and paid also. You can either apply them or use them as templates for your own.
     
  10. scjjtt

    scjjtt A Former Palm User

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    IP - I was wondering how "Graffiti Pro" would work with the stylus. If you can or would, could you check out that app for me? I hate having to use my finger to write with & miss using a stylus.

    I would TOTALLY understand if you'd rather not try out that app on your new phone & that is totally fine.

    Just wondering.

    Also, do you know if the $50 discount works for existing T-Mobile customers?

    Sent from my LG v10 using Tapatalk
     
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