Moto G Stylus (2023) Review: A $200 Value for Right Now




Moto G Stylus (2023)


  • Good pictures for the worth vary

  • First rate efficiency for many duties

  • Two-day battery

Do not like

  • Stylus feels superfluous

  • Quick replace timeline

  • Lacks 5G connectivity as equally priced telephones begin to embody it

The Moto G Stylus is among the most succesful $200 telephones I’ve used thus far. In contrast to the $170 Moto G Play — which struggled on many primary duties — I discovered the Stylus to easily run most apps, video games and providers whereas additionally taking respectable pictures on its 50-megapixel essential digital camera and 8-megapixel front-facing digital camera.

The Moto G Stylus has a 6.5-inch 720p show with a 90Hz refresh fee, a sluggish however in any other case succesful MediaTek Helio G85 processor, 64GB of storage that is expandable with a microSD card slot, 4GB of RAM, a 5,000-mAh battery and — as per its identify — a stylus with a built-in slot. Stereo audio system, a fingerprint sensor and a headphone jack spherical out the cellphone’s {hardware} — all of that are welcome.

Moto G Stylus with stylus partially ejected

The Moto G Stylus has a menu that pops up when ejecting the stylus.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Though the stylus is among the cellphone’s promoting factors, its addition feels extra like a “good to have” perk than a necessity. When popping the stylus from its slot, you get a fast menu to entry a screenshot-editing software, a notice utility, a handwriting calculator and Google Maintain. You additionally get a handwriting keyboard that permits you to scribble into most textual content fields, which is good for fast phrases however is irritating to make use of for longer sentences. However if you’re a fan of stylus telephones, it is right here and is functionally effective.

Motorola ships the Stylus with Android 13 onboard, and just like different Moto G telephones, will solely get one main software program replace (to Android 14, which launches this fall) and three years of safety updates. This timeline is pretty common for this value vary, and I want Motorola may provide one thing extra like 4 to 5 years of safety updates for individuals who need to use their cellphone till it is damaged.

That quick replace lifespan, made worse by the cellphone’s lack of 5G connectivity, results in the most important downside with the Moto G Stylus. Whereas I discovered the cellphone works nice with most duties, the cellphone’s lower-end processor, 4GB of RAM and lack of 5G might lead it to get left behind as apps and providers grow to be extra superior and make the most of quicker web speeds. 

That is notably of notice as 5G cellphone costs start to drop under $200, with Samsung already providing the Galaxy A14 5G and TCL beginning to carry its 40 sequence of telephones into the US market. Nevertheless, in the event you merely do not care about whether or not your cellphone has 5G, and also you simply want an affordable cellphone proper now, the Moto G Stylus does provide loads of consolation options to take pleasure in at its funds value.

Moto G Stylus with annotated screenshot

The Moto G Stylus gives quick entry to taking after which enhancing a screenshot.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Moto G Stylus: Simply sufficient specs to get you going

The Moto G Stylus has what I’d contemplate the minimal specs wanted to functionally run most apps and duties with out irritating lag or storage issues. The MediaTek Helio G85 processor paired up with the cellphone’s 4GB of RAM permits most apps to launch rapidly whereas dealing with a bit little bit of multitasking. It is by far probably the most noticeable enchancment when evaluating the Stylus to the $170 Moto G Play, whose Helio G37 processor and 3GB of RAM created a stuttered cellphone expertise the place some apps would not even load.

The extra highly effective processor does seem to assist the display screen with its refresh fee, which capabilities at a noticeable 90Hz. Additionally in contrast to the Moto G Play, which solely had an “auto” refresh fee as much as 90Hz, you possibly can set the Moto G Stylus to run persistently at that greater refresh fee. This enables for smoother scrolling by net pages, apps and in recreation animations.

The cellphone’s 64GB of storage is on the smaller facet by immediately’s requirements however ought to assist you to nonetheless retailer sufficient apps, pictures and movies earlier than reaching for a microSD card. 

Moto G Stylus notes app

When ejecting the stylus from the Moto G Stylus whereas locked, the notes app launches for fast notes.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

The cellphone’s 5,000-mAh battery lasts roughly two days below medium to heavy utilization. Throughout my overview interval, I usually ran the cellphone by our benchmark checks whereas utilizing it for video calls, social media and images all through the day. These checks embody monitoring the battery by roughly an hour of energetic use, consisting of 10 minutes of enjoying Marvel Snap, a 10-minute video name, a 20-minute voice name the place I additionally browsed a number of apps and rounded out with quarter-hour of YouTube movies. Throughout that interval, the battery began at 78% and depleted right down to 69%.

As I discussed earlier than, the included stylus is a pleasant perk, nevertheless it’s additionally one which I am confused by at this value vary. The cellphone’s lower-powered specs make it helpful for many duties, however a stylus implies that the system is supposed for productiveness — like creating drawings or annotating PDF paperwork. Except for taking a couple of fast screenshots, circling or highlighting vital particulars and sending the annotated picture off in a textual content message, I am not completely certain what extra to make of the included stylus. As an alternative, it might have been nice to see both NFC for contactless purchases or maybe wi-fi charging make its means right down to the sub-$200 value, even in lieu of 5G connectivity. 

Moto G Stylus cameras

The Moto G Stylus has a 50-megapixel essential digital camera and a 2-megapixel macro digital camera.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Moto G Stylus images is sort of good

The Moto G Stylus has one of many higher digital camera methods I’ve used within the $200-and-under cellphone area. The cellphone’s 50-megapixel essential digital camera captures lots of element, particularly when outdoor or in well-lit areas. As is typical on this value vary, pictures taken in indoor areas get a bit noisy, leading to barely less-details, however I used to be fairly proud of lots of pictures I took over a Sunday afternoon brunch at Comfortland in Astoria, Queens.

Group photo in Comfortland restaurant

This indoor group picture taken within the Comfortland restaurant has barely extra noise and fewer particulars than the close-ups or the out of doors pictures.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

The picture of the crab cake benedict notably highlights the digital camera’s functionality for meals images, sharply capturing each the primary portion of the dish together with the tomatoes on the plate.

Crab cake benedict

Crab cake benedict dish at Comfortland, taken on the Moto G Stylus.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

The 50-megapixel essential digital camera is paired up with a 2-megapixel macro lens, that are used collectively to supply a blurred background bokeh impact in portrait mode. In different cheaper telephones that I take a look at with portrait mode, outcomes are normally someplace between unnoticeable to badly rendered. Nevertheless these pictures of my good friend Cole taken on the patio at Diamond Canine in Astoria accurately maintain him and his flowing hair in focus, whereas blurring out the folks behind him.

Photo of Cole at Diamond Dogs in Portrait Mode

Portrait mode picture of Cole at Diamond Canine in Astoria, Queens.

Courtesy of Kevin Brown

Kevin took a portrait mode picture of himself on the Moto G Stylus, and regardless that it is an 8-megapixel digital camera the picture got here out good.

Courtesy of Kevin Brown

Much more shocking is the portrait mode additionally working effectively with the 8-megapixel front-facing digital camera, which my good friend Kevin examined out whereas we frolicked within the bar’s yard.

Indoor selfies had extra picture noise however in any other case work for a fast picture. I additionally discovered the front-facing digital camera acceptable for a gaggle chat, with colours being extra muted normally whereas indoors. Once more, it is pretty typical for telephones on this value vary to battle extra whereas in darker settings.

The cameras shoot 720p-resolution video at 30 frames per second, leading to footage that’s effective for a fast clip, however I would not use it for any particular events. This is not a cellphone for taking pictures a dramatic movie, however it can work for grabbing fast photographs of surroundings or of a pet.

Indoor front-facing camera photo taken on Moto G Stylus.

An indoor front-facing digital camera picture taken on the Moto G Stylus.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Outdoor photo of Mike Sorrentino taken in Astor Place

An out of doors selfie picture taken on the Moto G Stylus.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

In contrast with my present favourite under-$200 cellphone, final 12 months’s $160 Samsung Galaxy A03S, the Moto G Stylus captures extra element with its digital camera. Sections of the CNET workplace plant wall which can be blurry when taken by the A03S are visibly clearer within the picture taken by the Stylus.

Plant wall taken on the Moto G Stylus

The plant wall in CNET’s workplace, taken on the Moto G Stylus.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Plant wall taken on the Galaxy A03S

The plant wall taken on the Samsung Galaxy A03S.

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Moto G Stylus: Backside line

Whereas the Moto G Stylus is sort of practical proper now, it is value noting all of the ways in which this cellphone may battle after its first 12 months of use. Except for the Motorola-imposed restrict of solely getting a bump to Android 14 someday subsequent 12 months, the cellphone’s lack of 5G connectivity may grow to be extra noticeable as new telephones proceed to reach within the $200 and fewer value vary. The cellphone’s present processor and reminiscence are in a position to run any of immediately’s apps simply, however these much less highly effective specs may hit a wall after two or three years with the cellphone.

Whereas we have not but examined the $200 Galaxy A14 5G, potential consumers who do not contemplate the stylus vital ought to maintain it in thoughts, just because that connectivity may assist it adapt higher as apps and providers start to make the most of these quicker information speeds.

Nevertheless, if what you want is a cellphone for proper now that features the stylus, is as low-cost as doable whereas being succesful sufficient to run your favourite apps and also you’d wish to have it take respectable pictures, the Moto G Stylus does provide lots of good options for its $200 value. Simply take note its limitations and the chance that you just may end up wanting to leap to a extra succesful cellphone in a 12 months or two.

How we take a look at telephones

Each cellphone examined by CNET’s critiques crew was really utilized in the true world. We take a look at a cellphone’s options, play video games and take pictures. We look at the show to see if it is brilliant, sharp and vibrant. We analyze the design and construct to see how it’s to carry and whether or not it has an IP-rating for water resistance. We push the processor’s efficiency to the extremes utilizing each standardized benchmark instruments like GeekBench and 3DMark, together with our personal anecdotal observations navigating the interface, recording high-resolution movies and enjoying graphically intense video games at excessive refresh charges.

All of the cameras are examined in a wide range of circumstances from brilliant daylight to darkish indoor scenes. We check out particular options like night time mode and portrait mode and examine our findings towards equally priced competing telephones. We additionally try the battery life through the use of it day by day in addition to operating a sequence of battery drain checks.

We keep in mind extra options like help for 5G, satellite tv for pc connectivity, fingerprint and face sensors, stylus help, quick charging speeds, foldable shows amongst others that may be helpful. And we steadiness all of this towards the worth to provide the verdict on whether or not that cellphone, no matter value it’s, really represents good worth.