This year TCL had a slew of smartphones coming from their 30 Series but one that wasn’t a part of that is the TCL Stylus 5G. It looks to have its own audience including a stylus to do tasks that might not be fully capable with their other devices. Also, it comes at a relatively low price point as well. Is the Stylus 5G great for work and play?
Here we are getting a thick slab of a device coming in at 210g and makes it better to hold but doesn’t do much to stand out. Its colorway is Lunar Black which is closer to greyish black as its expressed on the back and outer borders of the device. It has a power button and volume rocker on the right side while on the left is a sim tray which surprisingly also supports MicroSD. Speaking of support if you look at the bottom there is a 3.5mm headphone jack. In that same area is a Type-C charging port and where you also get access to the included stylus pen.
TCL Stylus 5G comes with a USB-Cable and wall charger.
Hardware / Display
As far as power is concerned the TCL Stylus 5G is utilizing a MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G chipset, ARM Maili-G57 MC2 GPU alongside 4GB RAM and 128GB of storage. It is great to see storage expansion via microSD as that’s been dying out in smartphones. I have found using the device to make calls, watch some YouTube videos or other light tasks it manages okay. With gaming unfortunately Fortnite is not compatible with the device but Call of Duty: Mobile is. Played full rounds without any lag or overheating.
Wit the screen you are getting a large 6.81” FHD+ display. Its capable for providing up to 1080p resolution and has a 20.5:9 aspect ratio. It has 500nits of brightness and isn’t bad for viewing inside or out. Watching content whether from Netflix, YouTube, or Google TV does not seem to grasp the best resolution and its NXTVISION enhancement doesn’t seem to make much of a difference in this regard either.
This phone does have a 4,00mAh battery that does seem to work with you for the good part of the day. There is no wireless charging but that shouldn’t be too expected at this price point. It does at least support 18W charging and found it getting back to full battery life fast.
There is also the power button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor. It is pretty on point and didn’t find any issues unlocking the phone instantly each time. Soon as I press the button phone unlocked.
Software / Stylus
Out the box the phone is running Android 12 and its TCL’s take on it is vanilla which is not necessarily a terrible thing. You can either use the 3-button navigation or go for gestures. I flipped between the two and both worked fine without issue.
The most you will notice out the software is when you are grabbing the stylus. TCL makes little cool graphics when you pull out the stylus when the screen is off allowing you to write on it and has a plethora of apps to take full advantage like writing notes, doing calculations and even includes Nebo which is typically a paid app. I like the weight and feel of the stylus as it feels good in the hand and writing with it is no issue.
This phone works with T-Mobile’s 5G network and its prepaid side which is MetroPCS. Using it with my own personal T-Mobile sim I have gotten download speeds ranging around 50ish and at the most 80mb while using another phone on T-Mobile I about double those speeds in the same area. Also this phone supports up to WiFi 5 which is a bumper considering WiFi 6 and 6E are more available now.
You are getting a quad camera system on the TCL Stylus that feature 50MP (main), 5MP (super wide), 2MP (depth), and 2MP (macro) lens. I have used it in various scenarios and found its best using it in a bright setting outside. I used the portrait mode on flowers and didn’t look too bad. Inside in dimmer areas pictures can look unsharpened and a bit muddy.
With a low price of $258 on T-Mobile (for some reason its $10 on MetroPCS), you are getting a budget phone that tries to do a bit of everything. While it has a large screen it is a bit squarish and heavy in the hand. Camera quality is okay in bright settings. Best feature on the TCL Stylus 5G is its namesake which is the stylus. Taking notes and drawing pictures on it is its strong suit and you can even do some digital signatures while you are at it too. It could be cool for the Back to School crowd that needs to take notes.