The best stylus phone in 2024

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Stylus being inserted into a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

Our top picks↴
1. Best overall: S24 Ultra
2. Premium value: 23 Ultra
3. Best foldable: Fold 5
4. Best value: S22 Ultra
5. Best cheap: Note 20 Ultra
6. Foldable value: Fold 4
7. Cheap foldable: Fold 3
8. Best basic: Note 10+ 5G
9. Samsung alt: Moto G Stylus
FAQs
How to choose
How we test

The best stylus phone means you won't be fumbling around all day with fingers. Everything from simple tasks like opening an app to something more involved such as editing a photo will become easier and faster to do. A stylus will also let you draw, sketch, and hand-write notes in a way that's more similar to a real pen on paper. 

The iPhone doesn't come with a stylus; nor is it optimized for one. So while the Apple Pencil 2 is the best stylus for iPads, iPhone users' only option is third-party pens. Once Apple brings out a dedicated iPhone stylus, we'll no doubt include it on this list. But right now, the best stylus phones almost all come from Samsung, thanks to its brilliant S Pen. 

Note, though, that here's not just one S Pen, there are several versions, and they don't all have the same capabilities. In other words, if you have an S Pen for one Samsung phone, don't necessarily assume it will work with all of them.

Our top picks

The best stylus phone in 2024

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

The best stylus phone overall

S-Pen writing on the screen of a Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra with purple lights blurred in the background

(Image credit: Luke Baker / Digital Camera World)
The best stylus phone overall

Specifications

Rear cameras: 200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x zoom), 10MP telephoto (10x zoom)
Front camera: 12MP
Dimensions: 78.1 X 163.4 X 8.9mm
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Beautiful large screen with S Pen
+
New telephoto lens
+
Powerful AI image editing 

Reasons to avoid

-
Not so different from S23

There's no doubt about it: the best stylus phone available today is the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. It comes in the box with the latest version of the S Pen, Samsung's proprietary stylus. With 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity, this is great for anyone who takes notes or sketches, and features a low 9ms latency. And as this is the latest big phone release by Samsung, it offers the best stylus experience, no question.

You can also control apps remotely using the S Pen via Bluetooth. For example, you can quickly launch apps, such as the Camera app, by pressing and holding the S Pen button. Then, while using said app, you can use as a shutter release. The Bluetooth will work up to 30 feet away.

The screen is big, bright, and colorful with a near-bezeless curved screen. And the S Pen slots nicely into the side for charging. When you insert it into the slot, charging begins: it's that simple. A full charge takes as little as 40 seconds. That said, if you don't want to drain your phone's battery, you can set it to only charge when the phone itself is charging. Note that the S Pen still works when it's out of charge, you just lose its remote features.

In short, this is the best stylus phone available today, and as long as you can afford it, you don't really have to look elsewhere. That said, this latest model is quite expensive at time of writing, and not so different from its predecessor, the S23. So you may prefer to save money by getting that one instead.

For more details, see our full Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review

The best premium stylus phone for value

(Image credit: Gareth Bevan)
The best premium stylus phone for value

Specifications

Rear cameras: 200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x zoom), 10MP telephoto (10x zoom)
Front camera: 12MP
Dimensions: 78.1 X 163.4 X 8.9mm
Storage: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Nice screen
+
200MP camera sensor
+
Qualcomm Snapdragon processor

Reasons to avoid

-
Still expensive

The Galaxy S23 Ultra isn't the latest model from Samsung. but it was only released last year and is still a very worthy alternative to the newer S24. In fact, it's not really that different, and it's considerably cheaper, so it's well worth considering.

So what are the main differences? Well, firstly the S23 Ultra has a curved panel rather than the completely flat display in the S24 Ultra, and the newer phone has a new type of glass, which is supposed to be four times more resistant to scratches. The S24 Ultra also has a new reflective coating, and a maximum brightness of 2600 nits, compared with 1750nits in the S23 Ultra. 

In other words, you're getting a slightly less good screen with this 2023 phone. However, both models have a 6.8-inch, AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate, so the difference as a whole is minor.

The 200MP cameras are pretty similar too, with two main exceptions. With the S23 Ultra you won't be getting the 10MP telephoto lens of the S24 Ultra, or the new AI-powered photo editing tools. Finally, the S23 Ultra's processor (Snapdragon 8 Gen 2) isn't quite as powerful as the S24 Ultra's (Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy). It's still no slouch, though, so most people won't notice any difference.

In short, unless you want the very top specs, the S23 Ultra offers far better value than the S24 Ultra at the current prices.

For more details, see our full Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review

The best foldable stylus phone

A photo of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5 foldable smartphone

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)
The best stylus phone with a foldable screen

Specifications

Release date: August 2023
Stylus included: No
Slot for stylus: No
Screen size: 7.6 inches
Rear cameras: 50MP f/1.8, 10MP f/2.4, 12MP f/2.2
Front camera: 4 MP, f/1.8, 10 MP, f/2.2
OIS: Yes
Weight: 253g
Dimensions: Unfolded: 154.9 x 129.9 x 6.1 mm; folded: 154.9 x 67.1 x 13.4mm
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Large display
+
Split screen functionality
+
Water-resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Crease in middle of display

Want a screen that's as big as that found on a small tablet, but with the portability of phones? Then you want a folding phone. And the best stylus phone with a foldable screen today is the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 5.

Open up the phone, and you'll have a smooth, expansive 7.6 inch display to enjoy. This extra screen real estate is great to use with a stylus, whether you want to quickly make notes (just press the side button on the S Pen and start writing), handwrite an email or message and convert it to text, annotate a PDF, or take notes during a videoconference (by running the Samsung Notes app on the bottom half of your screen simultaneously.) It's also excellent for masking in apps like Lightroom

However, note that while the Z Fold 5 supports the S Pen, it doesn't come with one; you'll have to buy that separately. Also note that you can't just use any S Pen. To write on your Z Fold 5, you'll need to either pick up the new S Pen cover, buy an S Pen Pro, or buy the new Creator's edition S Pen.

For more details, see our full Z Fold 5 review

The best value stylus phone

(Image credit: Future)
An oldie but goodie

Specifications

Release date: February 2022
Stylus included: Yes
Slot for stylus: Yes
Screen size: 6.8 inches
Rear cameras: 108MP f/1.8, 10MP f/2.4, 10MP f/4.9, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide
Front camera: 40MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 228 g
Dimensions: 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9 mm
Storage: 128GB/256GB/1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Comes with a stylus 
+
Stylus is built into the frame
+
Take photos with your stylus

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive

2022's Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra still has a lot to offer. In our review, we found it a joy to use, with low latency, whether we were using brushes in Photoshop Lightroom or doing some digital sketching. You can also use it to jot down ideas, perform Air actions, open a new note directly on the screen, or use the S Pen to text feature to convert your handwriting to text as you write on the screen.

The S24 Ultra and 23 Ultra (numbers one and two on our list) are better phones for a number of reasons, such as their 200MP main cameras, faster processors and better battery life. But these are small differences, and don't really affect stylus use. So if you can find an S22 Ultra at a good price, it may still be worth investing in.

For more details, see our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review.

The best cheap stylus phone

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli/Digital Camera World)
Ageing phone, but still a great S Pen experience

Specifications

Release date: August 2020
Stylus included: Yes
Slot for stylus: Yes
Screen size: 6.9 inches
Rear cameras: 108MP f/1.8, 12MP f/3.0, 10MP f/2.2
Front camera: 10MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 208g
Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Lovely S Pen experience
+
Low latency
+
Take photos with stylus

Reasons to avoid

-
S22 Ultra has better specs

Like the S22 Ultra above, 2020's Note 20 Ultra is another lovely Samsung phone with great S Pen integration. However, with the exception of a slightly bigger (6.9 inch) screen, it's beaten by the S22 Ultra in most respects. For instance, the latter has a faster processor, better cameras, and two optical zoom levels (3x and 10x), to just 5x in the Note 20 Ultra.

That said, in our review we found using the S Pen for note taking, sketching and using apps to be an excellent experience. Nicely integrated on the left of the phone's base, the stylus feels beautifully natural on the screen, with the same Bluetooth connection and low latency as on the S22 Ultra. And so you can use it to switch modes, open apps, operate a shutter release with the camera and so on, just like with the latter, and it offers virtually instantaneous action

For more details, see our full Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review.

The best foldable stylus phone for value

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli / Digital Camera World)
Foldable stylus phone that's great value

Specifications

Release date: August 2022
Stylus included: No
Slot for stylus: No
Screen size: 7.6 inches
Rear cameras: 50MP f/1.8, 10MP f/2.4, 12MP f/2.2
Front camera: 4MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 263g
Dimensions: Unfolded: 155.1 x 130.1 x 6.3mm; folded: 155.1 x 67.1 x 14.2-15.8mm
Storage: 256GB/512GB/1TB

Reasons to buy

+
Large display
+
Split screen functionality
+
Water-resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Crease in middle of display

Is 2022's foldable Samsung phone, the Galaxy Z Fold 4, still worth considering? Well, on the plus side it's pretty similar to this year's Fold 5 (number 3 on our list): same screen, same S Pen support, same camera hardware.

However, there are a few big differences. Most importantly, the Z Fold 5 has a new hinge design with no gap, as well as a slimmer and lighter body, making it a better foldable overall. It also boasts a faster processor, longer battery life, and better on-board camera software. So if you can afford it, we'd recommend the Fold 5 overall, especially if there's not much difference in price. 

If that price differential widens beyond the current $100, though, it may be worth considering as this is still a very capable foldable phone. 

For full details, see our Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 review

The best cheap foldable

(Image credit: Basil Konfli/Digital Camera World)
The best cheap stylus phone with a foldable screen

Specifications

Release date: August 2021
Stylus included: No
Slot for stylus: No
Screen size: 7.6 inches
Rear cameras: 12MP f/1.8, 20MP f/2.4, 12MP f/2.2
Front camera: 4MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 271g
Dimensions: Unfolded: 158.2 x 128.1 x 6.4 mm; folded: 158.2 x 67.1 x 14.4-16 mm
Storage: 256GB/512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Gorgeous screen
+
Big battery 
+
Water resistant

Reasons to avoid

-
Z Fold 4 has better camera

The Galaxy Z Fold 5 may be the best foldable phone right now, but it sure is expensive. So if it's out of your price range, the older Galaxy Z Fold 3 is a decent alternative, that also supports the S Pen Pro and the S Pen Fold.

It's cheaper for a reason: some of the specs are a big climbdown from the Z Fold 4 and 5. For instance, the processor's not as fast as either, and rather than the 50MP camera sensor, you have to make do with a 12MP one. 

But there's also a lot to like, including the big 4,400Mah battery, IPX8 water-resistance, and 900 nits of brightness (just 100 nits less than on the Fold 4). Plus you get a beautiful 7.6 inch AMOLED unfolded display, and 6.2 inch HD+ front cover display, and pretty much the same, excellent stylus experience as the Z Fold 4. 

For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy Fold Z 3 review.

The best basic stylus phone

(Image credit: Samsung)
The best basic stylus phone

Specifications

Release date: August 2019
Stylus included: Yes
Slot for stylus: Yes
Screen size: 6.8 inches
Rear cameras: 108MP f/1.8, 12MP f/3.0, 10MP f/2.2
Front camera: 10MP
OIS: Yes
Weight: 208g
Dimensions: 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1mm
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB

Reasons to buy

+
Affordable
+
Nice display
+
Strong battery

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher latency than Note 20 Ultra

The oldest and (potentially) cheapest Samsung phone on our list, 2019's Samsung Note 10+ 5G nonetheless provides a good stylus experience. 

Don't get us wrong: its successor, the Note20 Ultra is better. A better phone in general, with superior cameras, more versatile zoom and a faster processor. And of the two, the best stylus phone specifically, with a faster refreshing display and lower latency.

That said, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is still a powerful and impressive phone overall, with a nice 6.8-inch AMOLED display, 256GB-512GB of storage, and strong battery life from the 4,300 mAh battery. And you may find one at a much lower price than other phones on this list (although do a comparison, because that isn't necessarily guaranteed).

For more details, see our full Samsung Note 10+ 5G review.

The best stylus phone from Moto

(Image credit: Moto)

9. Moto G Stylus 5G 2023

The best stylus phone if you need to avoid Samsung

Specifications

Release date: April 2023
Stylus included: Yes
Slot for stylus: Yes
Screen size: 6.6 inches
Rear cameras: 50MP f/1.9, 8MP f/2.2
Front camera: 16MP, f/2.5
OIS: Yes
Weight: 202g
Dimensions: 162.8 x 73.8 x 9.2mm
Storage: 128GB/256GB

Reasons to buy

+
Comes with stylus
+
Stylus is built-in
+
Good value phone overall

Reasons to avoid

-
Stylus is basic
-
Only avaialable in USA

As we stated in our introduction to this article, Samsung make the best stylus phones today. But maybe you have a reason for avoiding Samsung products specifically. In which case, here's our top alternative.

Released last year, the refreshed version of the Moto G Stylus 5G features a built-in stylus that slots into the phone, and does a good job at tasks like notetaking, editing photos, and navigating the interface. 

More generally, the phone has a nice 6.6 inch LCD display, with 1080p resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate, a generous 5,000 mAh battery, and a decent 50MP + 8MP rear camera setup. These are all pretty impressive specs giving the affordable price.

Be aware, though, that the stylus is fairly basic, and can't do all the cool tricks that Samsung's latest S Pen can. But given that that the Moto G Stylus 5G is pretty affordable, that might not be a problem for you.

FAQs

What is a stylus phone?

A stylus phone is a smartphone that comes with a built-in stylus pen, allowing you to interact with the screen more precisely, for drawing, handwriting and other tasks.

Why should I use a stylus phone?

A stylus means you're less likely to miss small buttons, app icons, etc, which makes using a smartphone easier, faster and more relaxing. It also allows for greater precision when doing fiddly tasks on your phone such as handwriting, drawing, and editing photos. And it means you're less likely to leave smudges or fingerprints on your screen, too.

Can I use any stylus with a stylus phone?

You don't always have to use the supplied stylus with your phone; but you normally should. That's because stylus phones are usually optimized to work with the specific stylus provided by the manufacturer. So while a generic stylus may work to some extent, it probably won't offer the same level of functionality and precision as the dedicated stylus designed for the phone.

How to choose the best stylus phone

To choose the best stylus phone for your needs, there are several factors you need to consider. The first is functionality: look for precision, pressure sensitivity, and palm rejection features. The second is display quality, especially if you need a stylus phone for detailed work. Also consider the phone's processing power and RAM: the higher these are, the smoother the performance you can expect, especially if you plan to use productivity apps or engage in creative tasks. Finally, as with any phone, battery life is important if you're expecting to use your stylus over prolonged periods.

How we test the best stylus phones

Testing the best stylus phones involves a comprehensive evaluation process to ensure they meet acceptable standards of performance, usability and functionality. We assess precision, responsiveness and pressure sensitivity by conducting tasks such as drawing intricate shapes, writing long passages  and sketching designs. We examine the quality of the screen, including color accuracy, brightness, and resolution, to ensure it provides a pleasing experience for stylus use. And we evaluate how seamlessly the stylus integrates with the phone's software, checking for features such as palm rejection, hover detection, and shortcuts for specific functions.

Read more:

Best Samsung phones
Best Motorola phones
Best tablets for photo editing
Best iPhones
Best stylus for tablets and smartphones
Best camera phone
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