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LG takes a second shot at courting pen fans with Stylus 2 (hands-on)

The LG Stylus 2 gets a makeover and some enhanced features for the pen, but otherwise seems like a pretty familiar phone.

Chalk up a win for LG when it comes to weird product names. If you've never heard of the LG Stylus 1 don't panic: The LG Stylus 2 is actually the "enhanced sequel" to the LG G Stylo, which was also known as the LG G4 Stylus outside of the US and Korea, just in case you weren't confused enough already.

Like its curiously named predecessor, the Stylus 2 has a large 5.7-inch screen, but it sports a slimmer and lighter design. It is set to make its physical debut at Mobile World Congress. The stylus has also been given a few enhancements, according to LG:

  • 5.7-inch display with 1,280x720-pixel resolution
  • 155mm by 79.6mm by 7.4mm and 145g (6.1 by 3.1 by 0.3 inches and 5.1 ounces)
  • 1.2GHz Quad-Core processor
  • Rear 13-megapixel camera, 8MP on front
  • 1.5GB RAM
  • 16GB storage with microSD
  • 3,000mAh battery
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow

Mightier than the sword

The new stylus has a slightly mysterious "nano-coated" tip, which is supposed to help with accuracy, as opposed to the rubber one of the previous generation. The updated stylus feels thin, almost borderline fragile, and the tip of the pen is a lot more narrow and fine. But it's the suite of new software features for the pen that make the biggest difference. Removing the pen now automatically gets you a pop-up menu, a la the Samsung Note range.

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Pen Keeper is designed for people who constantly lose their keys. It gives you a warning if it detects the phone moving away when the pen bay is empty. There's also a new Calligraphy Font for people with great handwriting and a burning need to show it off on their phone.

During our brief time with it, the stylus felt solidly built and secure inside the phone. With the familiar rear control buttons on the back, LG didn't mix up the device's design too much. It gave the phone a metallic-like sheen similar to the Stylo 2's predecessor, which elevates its design aesthetic just a bit.

The same inside?

While the 13-megapixel camera is a nice jump up from the 8MP rear snapper on the Stylo, and the 20-gram/0.7-ounce weight difference is significant, there don't seem to be too many other differences. The battery size is the same, as is the storage space, and even the processor is still a 1.2GHz quad-core, although LG hasn't gone into any further specifics on that front.

Sarah Tew/CNET

We're also not clear on pricing. The G Stylo was a mere $199 unlocked and the Stylus 2 is supposed to be "exceptionally priced." But actual figures, timing or even where the phone will be available all have yet to be revealed. Look forward to seeing it in white, "titan" and...uhhh...brown.

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