TCL unveils its first phone with a stylus, starting at $258

The phone offers a solid list of specs and stylus-centric features for its low starting price.

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TCL has announced its newest smartphone, the Stylus 5G, which is its first to ship with a stylus. The device is obviously budget-oriented, but it offers a decent balance of specs for the price. It’s positioned as the biggest competitor to Motorola’s Moto G Stylus from 2021.

The Stylus 5G’s pen sits in a silo with a spring-loaded mechanism to make pulling it out easy. TCL says you can use it for a variety of things beyond simple sketches and note-taking, such as creating GIFs, screenshots, and screen recordings. The phone ships with a special version of Nebo which enables handwriting-to-text to make organizing your notes easier, and there’s MyScript Calculator 2 which lets you write the calculations you’d like to perform like you would on a piece of paper.

During a press briefing, TCL specifically highlighted the Stylus 5G’s ability to take notes when the screen was off, a feature first made famous on Samsung’s Galaxy Note line. However, the device comes with an LCD display, so you won’t get the same contrasts as an OLED panel would give you in that scenario.

As far as specs go, the device ships with a 6.81-inch Full HD+ display with TCL’s NXTVision tech to improve color accuracy and HDR effects, a MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G processor, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage with microSD card expansion. You’ll also find a 4,000mAh battery that provides “all-day power.”

On the back, the Stylus 5G gets a quad-core camera setup with a main 50MP lens, a 5MP ultra-wide, a 2MP depth sensor, and a 2MP macro lens. The front of the device houses a 13MP camera. TCL makes a few mentions in its press materials of how much it thinks influencers will love using this phone for producing content, namely TikTok videos. Obviously, we’ll need to test the phone to determine whether that’s true.

Rounding things off, the phone comes with a side-mounted fingerprint scanner, 5G (obviously), and a single Lunar Black matte finish.

The Stylus 5G goes on sale today. Pricing is a little clunky, with Metro by T-Mobile getting the device for $258 while T-Mobile itself prices it at $269. Either way, it seems like a decent low-end offering if you’re looking for a phone with a stylus.