Hands-on preview: LG Stylus 2 – the phablet that was promised

We‘ve got our hands on a new phablet contender in the form of the LG Stylus 2. Does this device improve on its predecessor and carve a niche of its own?

The LG G4 Stylus was a mixed bag; a great budget device but one that sadly lacked enough integration with its major selling point – its stylus – to make a major dent in the phablet market. Now, we have an opportunity to dive right back in with the LG Stylus 2 – LG’s newest phablet which exists outside of the flagship G family.
They say getting some distance from one’s family once in a while can be a good thing, and the LG Stylus 2 goes a great distance to proving that. This is altogether a sharper, leaner yet more powerful offering that has taken strides to improve above and beyond its predecessor.
Read: LG G4 Stylus Review: a noteworthy contender?
Out of the box, the LG Stylus 2 is one of – if not the – lightest phablet we’ve had the pleasure of using. A new form factor – finally distanced from last year’s G4 design language – grants a wafer-thin body, thin edges, and an attractive back panel that’s oddly reminiscent of Samsung‘s Galaxy Note 4, but retains LG’s unique visual identity.
LG Stylus 2
On startup, it’s easy to appreciate the Stylus 2’s 720p display which boasts a cooler colour-set, rendering the latest version of LG’s software skin a visual treat on top of Android 6.0 Marshmallow.
Early indications running apps and games on board the Stylus 2 are positive; a Snapdragon 410 SoC runs the show with aplomb, and we’ve encountered no lag nor hindrance to speak of so far. 2GB of RAM round out this package, while a paltry 16GB of internal storage can be expanded through a MicroSD card.
On the camera front, the Stylus 2’s 13-megapixel and 8-megapixel camera split offer unconvincing results in low light; in suitable accommodations, the primary camera’s focus range is perfect for close-up shots, while the secondary camera lacks detail.
Pleasantly, LG has worked to integrated the Stylus 2’s Rubberdium Stylus into its skin atop Android; the result is exactly what we felt the LG G4 Stylus missed.
LG Stylus 2
On removing the stylus, the LG Stylus 2 greets users with a Pop menu; giving options to activate either a quick screen capture, a document scanner, or open LG’s QuickMemo + app. The latter, finally, feels usefully integrated with the stylus; we feel that we finally have a reason to use the stylus with this device, where on the previous G4 Stylus we eventually grew cold using it.
Our early realisation is that this could well be the everyman’s Galaxy Note; a mid-range device that tightly integrates its stylus and bears an attractive hardware and software design. Not only is this a substantial improvement over the G4 Stylus, we feel it is a device that could well carve out a niche of its own in South Africa.
Read: LG‘s new X Screen and Stylus 2 hit South Africa
We’ll be putting the LG Stylus 2 through its paces during the coming weeks, so be sure to stay tuned to Bandwidth Blog for the full, in-depth review!
Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA