The LG Stylo 5 could be the right choice as a mobile device for your kids once you make the harder parental decision about what age is the right age to give your child a cellphone. Figuring out which is the right smartphone to buy is hard enough (our best smartphone buyer’s guide can help). Finding a phone for your kids presents a unique set of selection criteria, including which kind of cell phone provider plan. It may not be possible or desirable to have your kids consume available bandwidth on your plan. Or maybe you’re concerned about the loss or theft of a device that’s on your plan; the risk of unauthorized use and/or the hassle of removing a device from your plan. The Stylo 5 is a prepaid device locked into the Total Wireless network, with nationwide 4G connectivity, and no contract. The LG Stylo 5 is an Android smartphone with a mix of features and apps that should please most any user (even kids). If you’re seeking only a basic emergency phone for perhaps a younger child or even a special needs child, then check out the KidsConnect KC2. Also check out GR’s Best Phone for Kids buyer’s guide in which you can compare the LG Stylo 5 against other handsets and smartphones suitable for kids.
Why We Like It – LG Stylo 5
The LG Stylo 5 is a budget Android phone that’s tough enough for kids. It has a full size display, GPS, is fast charging, and even has a stylus. Good first phone for pre-adolescents or perhaps those seeking a secondary device.
- Budget friendly
- Includes wireless provider coverage
- Built-in stylus
- Mediocre cameras
- Poor sounding speaker
The LG Stylo 5 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 chipset with an Adreno 506 GPU powering the display, all of which is backed with 3GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The Snapdragon 450 features an 8GHz Octa-Core processor that is certainly capable albeit at slower performance than more expensive Qualcomm chips. As a result the more apps that are open on the Stylo 5, the slower its performance becomes. RAM on the Stylo can’t be expanded, but storage can be supplemented using a microSD card to provide up to a whopping 2TB of storage capacity. The Stylo 5 has built-in GPS and a built-in FM radio. The Stylo 5 has both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity including Near Field Communications (NFC) capability allowing for easy transferring of content with other NFC-enabled devices. The Stylo 5 ships with Android OS v9.0 (Pie) with a bundled selection of Android apps and games. Truly the best part of the Stylo 5 (and hence its name) is that it has a stylus. It’s basic but highly usable and carried inside its own little alcove on the bottom of the phone when not being used. With the Stylo 5 locked, simply removing the stylus causes a notepad app to open. There’s also a fingerprint sensor on the back of the phone to unlock the LG Stylo 5, and a proximity sensor that turns off the display when holding the phone up to your ear on a call (to prevent accidentally opening apps or pressing something).
The LG Stylo 5 has a 3500 mAh non-removable battery. LG doesn’t set any expectations or make any assertions regarding the battery life of the Stylo 5, and there are no consumer comments discussing real-world battery life experiences. According to LG the battery is claimed to be quick charging via the USB-C port located on the bottom edge of the Stylo 5.
The screen size of the LG Stylo 5 is 6.2” (diagonal) of multitouch capable IPS capacitive touch screen, with a 1080 x 2160 pixel resolution (about 390 pixels per inch) in an 18:9 aspect ratio (just like full HD). IPS is leading-edge LCD fullvision display technology, and the Stylo 5 display resolution delivers a sharp bright image. The rear camera on the back of the Stylo 5 is a single lens 13MP (4160 x 3120) f/2.2 autofocus camera with an LED flash, and there is also a 5MP front camera on the Stylo. The Stylo 5 can also record full HD 1080p video at 30fps. Despite relatively good camera specs, many consumer comments rate the images produced by the Stylo 5 as being of lesser quality than images captured using other smartphone cameras. For phone options with more screen real estate, you can read our guide on the largest cell phone screens.
The bezels on the LG Stylo 5 plastic case provide some edge protection for its glass display screen, but they’re not as beefy as the bezels on the Unihertz Jelly Pro. While it would likely survive minor drops, a sturdy case will likely be needed for the LG to withstand active kids. The Stylo 5 does not have any water or dust protection on its own without a case. The glass covering the display is not claimed to be the Gorilla Glass as found on certain other devices such as the Google Pixel 4a. There’s a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom edge of the Stylo 5, as well as a single bottom-firing speaker that’s plenty loud, but doesn’t sound very good at any volume level.
As a prepaid device the LG Stylo 5 is essentially a so-called “burner phone” that has to be replenished on a prepaid basis in a pay-as-you-go fashion. Some people may not like that arrangement, but it does have some merit –perhaps you’re unsure how long you’ll be using a device, there’s no commitment. For about a hundred bucks you get a serviceable smartphone with access to a cellular network, making the LG Stylo 5 a reasonable value with more functionality than other burner phones such as the LG Classic Flip. One thing for sure, losing the Stylo is certainly easier to absorb than losing a smartphone like an Apple iPhone SE or the Samsung Galaxy A50s which both represent an investment of multiple hundreds of dollars as well as commitment to a cell provider plan. If you, however, want to step up to a better smartphone, the Huawei Mate P30 Pro can be a great contender.
LG Stylo 5 Wrap Up
The LG Stylo 5 is a good low budget choice as a prepaid phone for kids or as a second device. For slightly more money the Moto G Power is an unlocked device with better cameras that delivers faster performance and longer battery life, just without a stylus.