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Sep 24

LG Stylo 3 on Cricket Wireless is a Smartphone With Great Signal
LG Stylo 3 on Cricket Wireless

LG and Cricket Wireless have recently released their Stylo 3 phablet with a big screen, Android Nougat 7 and a stylus. The 4G LTE enabled smartphone comes with a 13MP autofocusing camera and a 2,500 mAh battery, for all day use. It has a 5MP forward facing camera to snap selfies.

Disclosure: The LG Stylo 3 smartphone and Cricket Wireless service were loaned at no cost for review. I have not been compensated for the review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


LG Stylo 3 Unboxing Video

What’s In The Box:

- LG Stylo 3
- Wall Charger
- Micro USB Cable
- Back Cover
- 3,200 mAh Battery

LG’s Stylo 3 uses a Cricket Wireless SIM for use on their nationwide 4G LTE network. Go internationally with the Goodspeed 4G LTE hotspot. The LG smartphone can go internationally on its own, but to control costs and data usage, an external hotspot with a fixed cost is best.

The Stylo 3 offered on Cricket Wireless can be used with multiple plans. Each of the plans comes with unlimited nationwide calling and texting. The Cricket plans are $30 for 1GB, $40 for 4GB, $50 for 8GB and $60 for unlimited data (up to 22GB of 4G LTE high speed data and depending on network congestion, data may be slowed). Add-on options for mobile hotspot and more can be found on the plan page as well.

Fingerprint security for smartphones is becoming popular and LG has recognized this fact. They have built a slightly recessed fingerprint scanner on the top back of the phone, below the camera. The placement is very convenient when you pick up the smartphone. It doubles as the power button. If the phone is on and the screen is dark, tapping on the screen twice will wake it up, a nice feature that Nokia built into their phones a few years ago.

For its size, about the same as the iPhone 6S Plus in length and width, the LG Stylo 3 feels big in the hand but also has a thin frame made with metallic sides. It has small side bezels around the screen and its back cover is made of thin plastic that allows it to receive excellent signal strength.

The rear camera protrudes slightly from the back. Its micro USB and headphone ports are located on the bottom and its volume rocker button is on the left side. Two small speaker grills are located near the bottom left on the back. The stylus sits flush on the top right corner of the phone’s frame.

LG Stylo 3 Features:

- 13MP Rear Facing Camera with flash
- 5MP Front Facing Camera
- Cricket Wireless Service (Uses AT&T Cell Towers)
- Quad-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 1.4GHz CPU
- 2GB RAM / 16GB of ROM
- 3,200 mAh Battery

This smartphone comes with 5.7” IPS Gorilla Glass 3 screen with 720p HD resolution, in a 16:9 ratio frame. This makes for a nice way to watch streaming video, shows and movies, which are usually made in that aspect ratio. Despite the budget smartphone’s lower resolution HD screen, at least the photos and videos it produced were sharper than similar phones in the same category. The screen resolution will save on battery life, too.

The Stylo 3 from Cricket comes with 2GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. The SIM card and micro SD card slots are located under the thin back cover. The SanDisk 128GB A1 micro SD is quick enough for this phone to run apps at full speed, capture thousands of images and to record max 1080p video.

A 3,200 mAh removable battery is included. Having a removable battery makes it easy to keep a spare charged up and ready to go. The battery should be adequate enough for a full day’s use in an area with fairly good signal strength. For heavy use days, keep a small battery handy, like the TYLT Flipstick.

The rear facing 13MP camera takes clear enough photos, when shooting in well lit scenes and does so with a multipoint autofocus system. It will quickly analyze what the camera is aimed at and focus on multiple points simultaneously. This is a great feature only included on much more expensive smartphones.

It offers automatic HDR, panoramic and film color modes. Automatic HDR is a feature seen only from premium smartphones like the iPhone. Its 5MP forward facing camera easily captures selfies with a mode that turns the screen bright white to create a type of flash. It too has an HDR mode, though it is not automatic. With all of the above features however, do not expect the Stylo 3 to create amazingly sharp photos. Editing them on the smartphone though was easy with its quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 425 1.4GHz CPU.

A stylus can be found on the top right corner of the Stylo 3. Its Pen Pop 2.0 software automatically activates when the stylus is removed. Pen Keeper prevents the stylus from becoming lost by displaying a popup message when the phone is detected as being in motion and when the stylus slot is empty. Pop Scanner is useful after capturing a photo. Use the stylus to trace an object to bring it right side up and front and center. Pop Memo is a quick note-taking app that can be set to activate immediately when the stylus is removed from the phone. Screen-off Memo is great to write memos while the screen is off. If the phone screen is activated during note taking, the note stays in limbo in the background, until it is saved to the phone’s memory. This was one of the top features that the Note 7 had. Capture+ is good to write or draw on nearly any screen and schedule memos to appear at schedules times. QuickMemo+ allows users to take notes on a blank screen with ability to choose paper style, pen size and color, add text with a tool bar, and more.

There are a whole host of helpful features offered by the LG Stylo 3, but the best that I have found are the multi-window, notification LEDs and clip tray. There are some smartphone users that absolutely need a notification LED for calls, messages and alerts.

The multi-window option allows for two apps to run simultaneously via split screen. Where most smartphones only have one level of copy, the clip tray allows for multiple items to be added to a clipboard. It pops up at the bottom of the screen when needed. The collection of information in the clip tray can then be saved or shared.

Rounding out its wireless features are 802.11 b/g/n on the 2.4GHz band and 802.11 n on the 5GHz Wi-Fi band and Bluetooth 4.2. Having access to both Wi-Fi bands opens up the most amount of available hotspots around the world. If using an open hotspot, be sure to install reputable VPN software to keep Internet use private and as secure as possible.

LG Stylo 3 Las Vegas
LG Stylo 3 Cricket Wireless Smartphone

In my extended tests from Southern California, Las Vegas, Arizona and Minneapolis, I found that in some instances, the signal with Cricket Wireless was better than with my iPhone on another carrier. Google Maps usage was nearly constant with the LG Stylo 3. The maps app used more battery power than the screen and it still lasted for nearly a half of a day. I made it to Local Guides level 8 with over 6.5 million photo views, while using its camera to quickly take and upload shots of various locations.

The most extensive test with the highest concentration of people, in a single area, was at the Minnesota State Fair. I was there from the morning until night, during one of its busiest days. The official count for the day I visited was over 158k and everywhere I went I had signal to make calls and find out where the next food kiosk was located. One of my other phones, on another carrier, could not make calls or receive text messages. The Cricket Wireless network and LG Stylo 3 performed above expectations.

My overall time with the LG Stylo 3 and Cricket Wireless service was nice. I like that the cellular service was available and clear everywhere I went during testing. If available at the time of the call, HD Voice kicked in to make them even clearer. I like that the smartphone had a removable battery. Its large screen made for using multiple apps in split-screen mode easy. The auto HDR photography feature for the 13MP camera created photos with an adequate level of contrast. If only it could focus and snap a photo somewhat faster, to capture in-the-moment action better. While I did not see a firmware update during several months of testing, hopefully LG keeps up necessary Google security patches. This Android 7 phablet smartphone would be the one to choose for use on Cricket Wireless.

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