Back then, Steve Jobs didn’t like using a stylus with smartphones even before the 2010s, and he even mentioned it as a failure. He may have been right back then, but with large-sized phones and sausage fingers, the stylus is trending again for all the right reasons. Moreover, people who have worse sight get precise control and fewer typos.
A smartphone with a stylus is generally a choice for professional artists and drawing enthusiasts, but even if you aren’t one and need it for personal reasons such as precise control & fewer typos, then you are at the right place.
Before we begin with the list, we’ll share few advantages of having a stylus compatible phone.
- A pointed stylus makes for a smoother experience while swiping for gestures, highlighting text or signing digital documents.
- Increased accuracy while selecting items on the edge of the screen and in general.
- The screen is free from smudges, fingerprints, and oils when you use a stylus instead of your large index finger or thumb.
- No hand gymnastics while trying to hold your edge to edge or bezel-less screen while trying to use the phone with your large fingers.
- With artist’s apps on smartphones and tablets, you get better control over brush strokes, sketches, and drawing over your screen.
- 8 Best Smartphones with Stylus in 2021
- 1. Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- 2. Best Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
- 3. Samsung Galaxy Note 10
- 4. Best Flagship Killer: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
- 5. Best Value for Money: Huawei Mate 20X
- 6. Old Yet Good: Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- 7. Best Budget-Friendly: Moto G Stylus
- 8. Cheapest Option with Stylus: LG Stylo 6
- The Verdict
8 Best Smartphones with Stylus in 2021
|Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 10+|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 10|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite|
|Huawei Mate 20X|
|Samsung Galaxy Note 9|
|Moto G Stylus|
|LG Stylo 6|
You won’t find a lot of brands making phones that come with a stylus. Our research found 4 brands with stylus-oriented devices: Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Huawei. There weren’t many options too; however, we had to pick the best ones for you. That’s why we tested most of the devices and are finally here with the list!
So, shall we begin?
1. Best Overall: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
- RAM & Storage: 8GB + 256GB
- Processor: Exynos 990
- Display: 6.9-inch AMOLED with 120Hz
- Front Camera: 10MP
- Rear Camera: 108MP Main + 12MP Ultra Wide + 12MP Telephoto
- Battery: 4500mAh (with 25W fast charging & 15W wireless charging)
If you have a penchant for stylus compatible smartphones and also the money to spare, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the perfect flagship to invest in. However, before you plan on buying the same, it is important to note that the Note 20 Ultra is anything but slim or light.
Under the hood, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra houses the Exynos 990 chipset. While this chipset variant is mostly persisted by Samsung for all the global flagship smartphone variants barring the ones launched in the United States, it is still quite fast courtesy of the eight mongoose cores. Furthermore, the highest clock speed for a maximum of two cores is set at 2.73GHz, which is perfectly complemented by the Mali-G77 MP11 GPU.
Although the GPU doesn’t make substantial performance increments, it pairs well with the 8GB or 12GB RAM module, depending on the purchased variant. While the smartphone system memory associated with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is probably the fastest, we were also impressed with the speeds associated with the 256GB UFS 3.0-compatible storage space.
As far as the processing platform is concerned, this stylus-compatible smartphone works closely with the Android 10 OS, with the One UI 3.0 skin sitting atop. However, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra isn’t all power but also stacks in a commendable Dynamic AMOLED display. The 6.9-inch QHD+ screen assumes an overall resolution of 1440 x 3088 pixels and is safeguarded by the Gorilla Glass ‘Victus’ from Corning.
The camera modules further the credibility of this already exceptional device. While the 10MP front shooter is a highly capable resource for clicking selfies, our money is on the rear module, with Samsung integrated a massive 108MP primary shooter followed by one 12MP telephone lens and another 12MP ultra-wide unit for the panoramic shots. As far as the features are concerned, the rear conglomerate boasts 5x optical zoom, OIS, Laser AF, and other attributes.
Moreover, the screen can reach the highest possible refresh rates of up to 120Hz, whilst supporting the HDR10+ and Always-on modes. However, it is the nifty stylus with multiple connectivity modes and 9ms latency that deserves a special mention. As far as the layout is concerned, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is all glass, residing within an aluminum frame. In case you are concerned about the weight, the smartphone is tagged at 208 grams.
Coming to connectivity, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes with optional dual-SIM support followed by Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth LE, USB OTG, and other essential specs. Other relevant attributes include the NFC support and the integrated fingerprint scanner.
In terms of battery backup, you get access to the 4500mAh module, featuring 25W fast charging and 15W wireless charging support. However, Samsung takes innovation to a different level and even introduces the concept of reverse charging support via the wireless mode at 4.5W. Regardless, the battery is expected to last for a day, on heavy usage.
Overall, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra from Samsung isn’t only about the specs that we mentioned but offers a lot more than what meets the eye. However, the pricing is nothing less than exorbitant, which is appropriate considering the features on display.
That said, if you are a Samsung loyalist and looking for a similar smartphone at a lower price point, the Galaxy Note 20 is also up for grabs. While it still brings a reliable stylus with 26ms latency and persists with a similar SoC, it comes with 8GB RAM and a 64MP primary shooter. The FHD+ display with Super AMOLED plus technology still looks great and you wouldn’t be making a lot of compromises upon purchasing the same.
- Exceptional camera
- Brilliant build quality
- Best-in-class display
- Responsive stylus
- Ultra-fast memory
- Massive device
- 120Hz is restricted to the FHD mode
2. Best Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy Note 10+
You could be a drawing enthusiast, professional artist, business owner, or even a gamer. If you’re looking for a device that provides high-end performance and comes with a stylus, then this Samsung Galaxy Note should be the one you should get!
With the Galaxy Note 10+, Samsung has tried to incorporate all things best into their flagship model. The screen has been extended to 6.8 inches until there’s virtually no bezel, and things look brighter and better with the AMOLED display. However, images, texts and icons mat appear to be sharper on the Mate 20 from Huawei due to 3 sub-pixels in every pixel on its IPS display.
The phone also features Snapdragon 855, one of the most powerful processors in the market, and 12GB of RAM with a massive battery to bring out all that performance. In terms of specs, you may see a lot of similarities with the Galaxy S10 family. However, using it is a completely different experience thanks to the S Pen stylus. Along with the phone, the S Pen has a new design and has some new tricks up its sleeve.
Navigate the phone while you gesture with the S pen in mid-air. Air actions are something that would grow on you, and even if you don’t want to hover the stylus in the air, you can’t deny the usefulness of transferring documents and PDFs to other devices with a simple motion in the air.
The camera is one of the rare features that was disappointing. The quad-camera setup is nice and clicks great pictures. However, the competition beats it by a wide margin. The front camera doesn’t just lack in megapixels but has a narrow aperture when it comes to other models like the Mate 20.
Like most of the Samsung Galaxy Note & S series devices, it also comes with a hybrid SIM + SD card slot. It means you can use 1 slot for a SIM card, and the other slot can be either used as an SD card slot or for a SIM card. So if you wish to use it as a DUAL SIM phone, then consider getting a high-storage variant.
- Dustproof and waterproof
- AMOLED screen shows true blacks
- Gorilla Glass 6 protection
- Powerful Processor
- Hybrid SIM slot
- Battery lasts long
- Underwhelming camera compared to predecessors
- Lack of a headphone jack
Apart from the smaller screen, smaller battery and lower pixel density, Samsung hasn’t really skimmed much from the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ (which we talked about above.) Sure, the RAM has been reduced by a few gigs. But everything from the processor in both US or global variants are the same.
Compared to most other phones in this list from Huawei and even LG, Galaxy Note 10 is a clear winner in battery and charging technology. With wireless charging, you need to place it on a wireless charging hub without bothering about cables. On this phone, the call quality scores another wins with 3 microphones that pick up your voice with little to no distortions or noise.
Like its big brother, the Note 10 is optimally designed for use with an S-pen. Without the stylus, one-handed use may result in a poor user experience, especially when you reach for notifications at the top. When it comes to camera performance, you get almost identical results to its larger sibling, the Note 10+.
It is the same triple camera setup without the fourth one that does 3D scanning. However, if measuring real-world objects isn’t your thing, you get a lot more out of the Galaxy Note 10 with a price tag that is lighter by over $100.
A good camera setup means lots of pics for social media or some casual photography. Apps and heavy games add a lot of stress on the storage as well. However, the UFS 3.0 storage gives you a lag-free performance. The lack of a microSD slot may come as a deal-breaker for a few. However, the base storage of 256GB should be good enough for most.
You get lightning-fast performance along with unmatched response times and a gorgeous Dynamic AMOLED display for a lot less. What else do you need?
- Fabulous design
- Excellent display
- Can record slow-motion videos
- Peerless call quality
- No headphone jack
4. Best Flagship Killer: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
- RAM & Storage: 6GB + 128GB
- Processor: Exynos 9810
- Display: 6.9-inch sAMOLED with 60Hz
- Front Camera: 32MP
- Rear Camera: 12MP Main + 12MP Ultra-Wide + 12MP Telephoto
- Battery: 4500mAh (with 25W fast charging)
The Galaxy Note 10 Lite from Samsung readily adheres to your stylus-centric requirements and that too at a pretty affordable price point. While the plastic back might be a deal-breaker to some, the entire structure and the overall specs sheet, including the camera, are no pushover.
At the core, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite houses the Exynos 9810 chipset. The octa-core processor comes forth with high-speed Mongoose cores, at least four capable of clocking at speeds of up to 2.7GHz. Working alongside the 10nm chipset is the Mali-G72 MP18 GPU, which makes room for decent-enough processing performances.
What works well for the prospective buyers is the 6GB RAM, allowing them to multitask sans inhibitions. However, if you are into smartphone gaming, the 8GB variant is also up for grabs. Coming to the storage, Samsung persists with a 128GB unit, which can be upgraded up to 1TB via the Micro-SDXC slot. When it comes to the OS, you get Android 10, straight out of the box, with the One UI 2.5, sitting atop.
As far as the shooters are concerned, the 32MP selfie unit steals the show. Moreover, the front snapper is perfectly assisted by the three 12MP rear shooters, with one being the primary camera with the f/1.7 aperture. Other 12MP lenses are the telephoto and ultra-wide units, respectively. However, the image quality is top-notch, courtesy of the OIS, dual PDAF, and 2X optical zooming feature.
The 6.7-inch display is charming to look at, courtesy of the Super AMOLED technology. Besides, you also get access to FHD+ screen resolution, culminating in an overall resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels. Not just that, the always-on display is further strengthened by the Gorilla Glass 3 enhancement. The existing device is also stylus compatible and supports multiple connectivity options.
When it comes to the design, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite flaunts the hardened aluminum frame, durable plastic back, and a slab-like form factor that weighs 199 grams. Besides, you also get dual-SIM support followed by Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth LE, Type-C port, and a responsive fingerprint scanner embedded underneath the display.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite features a sizable 4500mAh battery unit, which is capable of lasting for up to 16 hours, despite heavy usage. Not just that, you also get to experience the innovative fast-charging technology at 25W despite the mid-range price point. Overall, if you are looking to purchase a premium device with stylus support but at a mid-range price, the Galaxy Note 10 Lite is the perfect option to consider.
- Brilliant display
- Fast charging is actually fast
- Excellent low-light camera performances
- Upgradeable storage
- Not water resistance
- Plastic back might a deal-breaker
5. Best Value for Money: Huawei Mate 20X
- RAM & Storage: 8GB + 256GB
- Processor: Huawei Kirin 980
- Display: 7.2-inch OLED with 60Hz
- Front Camera: 24MP
- Rear Camera: 40MP Main + 8MP Ultra Wide + 20MP Telephoto
- Battery: 5000mAh (with 22.5W fast charging)
In case you seek a tablet-like smartphone and that too with stylus support, the Huawei Mate 20X is easily the best option to pick. While the gadget flaunts a pretty sturdy build quality, it is also on the heavier side, best appropriate by the massive screen size.
Under the hood, the Huawei Mate 20X stacks in the powerful Kirin 980 chipset. This processor flaunts the 7nm, octa-core architecture and ensures the highest possible clock speeds of up to 2.6GHz. Working in tandem is the Mali-G76 MP10 GPU, which is a good-enough computing resource for managing games and other demanding activities.
Next in line is the 8GB RAM that allows you to keep almost every application open without slowing the smartphone down. As far as the storage space is concerned, the 256GB unit is more than adequate. While the Huawei Mate 20X comes with dual-SIM compatibility, you can always use the second slot to upgrade the existing storage capacity by an additional 256GB.
The camera modules sported by the Huawei Mate 20X impressed us equally with this massive smartphone bringing in a powerful 24MP front shooter. As compared to other gadgets, the low-light performances of this front snapper are much better courtesy of the f/2.0 aperture. When it comes to the rear camera unit, you get the 40MP primary lens, ably supported by the 8MP telephoto shooter and the 20MP ultra-wide lens. Other relevant camera-centric specs include the OIS, PDAF, and more.
The Leica lens, as featured by the Huawei Mate 20X, are of the high-quality and even ensure 4K video recording. Not just that, the captured snaps look even better on the 7.2-inch OLED screen, featuring an overall resolution of 1080 x 2244 pixels. Moreover, the Gorilla Glass panel further strengthens the HDR10-empowered display.
Coming to the design and layout, the Huawei Mate 20X flaunts an aluminum frame, clubbed with a glass panel at the rear. However, despite trying to minimize the heft, the smartphone is still on the heavier side at 232 grams. Besides, you also get to experience the IP53 protection against splashes and dust. Moreover, this is one stylus-compatible smartphone but you need to purchase the additional piece of hardware separately.
As far as the connectivity is concerned, this dual-SIM smartphone is also 5G ready and features Bluetooth LE, USB OTG, and other relevant specs, including the rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Besides, you also get access to the stereo speakers and the elusive 3.5mm audio jack. The Huawei Mate 20X also packs in a massive, 5000mAh battery unit with 22.5W fast charging support.
Overall, if you are in the market for a phablet, you can hardly do better than the Huawei Mate 20X.
- Excellent display
- Powerful battery
- High-end processing performances
- Brilliant camera
- Exceptional speakers
- Not the easiest smartphone to carry around
6. Old Yet Good: Samsung Galaxy Note 9
The Galaxy Note 9 is a predecessor to the Galaxy Note 10 series and was launched way back. Still, even after being an old device, it outperforms the devices listed below for performance & camera quality.
The old yet still worthy, Galaxy Note 9 is a phone crafted by Samsung for high-end performance. It has a 6.4″ display protected by Gorilla Glass 5. The aluminum body is encased in Gorilla 5 protection from the rear too!
It runs on Exynos chipset in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa and on Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset in the USA and China. With an Octa-Core processor, you can easily multitask on this phone. The phone comes in two variations: 6GB RAM with 128GB storage and 8GB RAM with a gigantic 512GB storage.
The smartphone is loaded with a dual rear camera and a single secondary camera boasting 8MP. The rear cameras support wide shots at 12MP and telephoto shoots at 12MP. Note 9 also comes with Android 8 which is upgradable to Android 10. With Android 10 already in the market, this is kind of a backlog for this phone.
Draw, write or take screenshots however you want it with the excellent, handy and playful Note 9.Melisa Bracey
It runs on a 4000 mAh non-removable Li-Po battery and can run for a very long time. The many sensors included in this phone include a lovely Iris Scanner that gives it a very sophisticated touch! However, this smartphone is not very different from its predecessor, the Galaxy Note 8 in its specifications. The only significant differences lie in storage and battery.
Galaxy Note 9 is a very fun phone to use. Sure, it is loaded with specs to get your work done like most of the Note Series from Samsung- but the stylus feature integrates a degree of freedom while using the phone that is simply incomparable.
When you pop out the stylus and start doodling over the black screen, your artistry is recorded in tart lemon digital ink. This is a phone which will poke the artist in you to craft various things. You can also use the it to click selfies as it is loaded with a remote shutter.
- Available in dual storage configuration
- Wide display
- Excellent display
- Excellent rear cameras
- Good battery module
- Dual cameras only
7. Best Budget-Friendly: Moto G Stylus
- RAM & Storage: 4GB + 128GB
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 665
- Display: 6.8-inch FHD+ IPS LCD with 60Hz
- Front Camera: 16MP
- Rear Camera: 48MP Main + 16MP Ultra-Wide + 2MP Macro
- Battery: 4000mAh
The Moto G Stylus is arguably one of the best phablets from Motorola to consider if you have a penchant for stylus-compatible smartphones. While the gadget houses some of the best specifications for the given price point, the IPS screen is one of the more alluring highlights to take note of.
Starting off, the Moto G Stylus opens doors to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 chipset, allowing you to reach a maximum single-core clock speed of up to 2GHz. Coming to the GPU, the mobile SoC brings forth the Adreno 610, which is good enough for most mobile-centric games.
The memory allocation, however, is pretty straightforward with the Moto G Stylus accommodating 4GB RAM and 128GB of storage space. The RAM module, regardless of popular opinion, is good enough for any set of demanding tasks. When it comes to the operating system, this phablet offers Android 10, right out of the box.
Moto G Stylus also boasts of a pretty reliable camera setup, led by the 16MP front shooter. However, it is the rear consortium of lenses that steal the show. Motorola comes equipped with a 48MP primary lens at the back followed by the 16MP ultra-wide shooter and the 2MP macro lens. As far as relevant features are concerned, Moto G Stylus brings forth PDAF and Laser autofocus but misses out on OIS.
The 6.8-inch IPS screen is a sight to behold, especially with the FHD+ resolution to work with. However, despite the stylus compatibility, Motorola chooses to let go of the protective coating and instead opts for an uncertified water-repellent protective layering. Besides, the pixel density of 399ppi is one of the better reasons to purchase this innovative smartphone which actually assumes an equivalent screen size of 6.4 inches.
When it comes to the design, we didn’t actually like the plastic back. However, the aluminum-back helps the Moto G Stylus save some face but the gadget is still on the heavier side at 192 grams. Regardless, the connectivity is top-notch with this phablet making room for Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth LE, Type-C, and single-SIM compatibility. Moreover, you also get access to a dedicated fingerprint scanner, which is quite responsive.
The 4000mAh battery unit helps with heavy usage but still offers close to 16 hours of backup. Overall, for the given price point, this is one of the best stylus-compatible smartphones to invest in, especially if you have a thing for IPS panels.
- Massive screen
- Powerful stereo speakers
- Excellent processor
- Efficient camera
- The battery lasts longer than expected
- Doesn’t come with fast charging support
- Lacks gorilla glass protection
8. Cheapest Option with Stylus: LG Stylo 6
For prospective buyers looking for budget-centric phablets with stylus-compatibility, the LG Stylo 6 is quite a refreshing addition to the smartphone arena. While you can consider the same solely for the massive battery, it also brings forth an extended array of other reliable specifications.
Firstly, the LG Stylo 6 accommodates the Helio P35 processor with 8 cores to rely on. While the PowerVR GE8320 GPU is quite a reliable ally, the chipset alone can handle diverse multitasking requirements with ease. However, we were more impressed with the smartphone performances even when it comes equipped with only 3GB of system memory.
The 64GB of storage space is also more than enough considering the price point. However, you can always upgrade the same via the dedicated microSDXC slot. Then again, the camera setup is pretty functional, featuring a triple-lens rear setup. While the consortium is led by the 13MP primary shooter with PDAF support, you also get access to a 5MP ultra-wide lens and another 5MP shooter for depth-sensing. You also get access to a 13MP front shooter for clicking selfies with precision.
As far as the display is concerned, the LG Stylo 6 packs in a 6.8-inch IPS screen, boasting an overall resolution of 1080×2460 pixels. Furthermore, the featured panel also boasts stylus compatibility followed by an overall pixel density of close to 395ppi. Coming to the design, the gadget is certainly one of the heaviest at 219 pounds, despite striking the perfect balance between plastic and metal.
Connectivity-wise, this is strictly a single-SIM variant. Other relevant specs include Wi-Fi support, Bluetooth 5.0, Type-C port, and the responsive fingerprint scanner sitting pretty at the rear. When it comes to autonomy, the 4000mAh battery module is a show-stopper, capable of lasting for almost 24 hours, on medium to heavy usage.
In conclusion, if a sub-$300 stylus-compatible smartphone is what you seek, we would want you to consider the new LG Stylo 6, without second thoughts.
- Massive display
- Excellent stylus pen
- Excellent camera for the given price
- Loud and clear speakers
- Massive battery
- Doesn’t offer splash protection
- No fast charging support
Phones with an option for stylus are a good investment option. It expands the utility of a smartphone to a great degree. Not only does navigating through apps become more easily accessible, but all other functions do so too!
With the premium stylus in premium phones like the Galaxy Note series, you can tap into a plethora of options such as clicking selfies using the stylus. The mediocre stylus in budget phones is also a handy tool as it aids in accessing and browsing through your phones smoothly.
Did you buy any of the devices mentioned in this list? How is your experience with it? Please share it below to help other people make an informed buying decision. Do you have any other suggestions? Feel free to comment down, if we think it’s worth adding, we’ll surely add it to our list!