The Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the few modern phones that offers the convenience of a feature-loaded stylus, but it costs a pretty penny, too. If you don’t want to shell out that much for a phone, say hello to the TCL Stylus 5G, a $258 alternative that packs a stylus and a substantially lower price tag. TCL’s new smartphone is up for grabs from T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile, and will soon be available from other carrier partners as well.
TCL is touting “near latency-free strokes” with its stylus and interestingly, the company is offering some neat stylus tricks to elevate the experience. Take, for example, the in-house Nebo app, which automatically turns handwriting into text thanks to an AI-powered handwriting recognition algorithm. The MyScript Calculator 2 app turns handwritten mathematical equations into a machine-readable form and gives the result in a jiffy.
Users can also keep a copy of their e-signature stored on the phone for quickly signing documents shared via emails. Another cool feature is the ability to jot down a note without having to switch on the screen. Talking about the screen, it’s a 6.81-inch FHD+ (1080 x 2460 pixels) display that offers 500 nits of peak brightness, but it lacks a high refresh rate. At the heart of TCL’s stylus-toting model is MediaTek’s Dimensity 700 5G SoC paired with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage; there’s also the option to expand the storage capacity via a microSD card with up to a 2TB capacity.
A fairly well-rounded package
A 4,000 mAh battery keeps the lights on, and it offers support for 18W charging. Thankfully, TCL bundles an 18W charger in the retail package, and the 3.5mm headphone isn’t going anywhere, either. TCL got a tad generous with the imaging hardware, arming its latest phone with a 50-megapixel primary camera, but it lacks any notable capabilities such as 4K video recording and high refresh rate video capture.
The main snapper sits alongside a 5-megapixel camera for ultra-wide photography and a token 2-megapixel sensor for capturing macro shots. Selfie and video calling duties are assigned to a 13-megapixel front-facing camera housed in a hole-punch cutout at the top of the screen. The rear panel rocks a matte finish that is said to keep fingerprints at bay, while the fingerprint sensor is mounted on the side of the phone, embedded inside the power button.
Notably, the phone doesn’t support dual-SIM functionality. The TCL Stylus 5G runs Android 12 out of the box, but the company’s press material doesn’t mention how many Android OS upgrades the phone will get. As far as cellular connectivity goes, the latest TCL offering can latch on to 5G sub-6 GHz waves, but there’s no support for the faster mmWave 5G, which is not surprising given the device’s asking price. The phone is on sale in only a single trim called Lunar Black.