Moto G Stylus 5G vs. Moto G Stylus (2021): Which should you buy?

Moto G Stylus 5G Cosmic Emerald
Moto G Stylus 5G Cosmic Emerald (Image credit: Motorola)

Moto G Stylus 5G

Moto G Stylus 5g Render

The Moto G Stylus 5G gets some upgrades over its predecessor that can't be ignored. With more RAM and storage, it should run smoother and fit a lot more games, apps, and video. That alone could justify the price, but this model also has a bigger battery. Plus, with Android 11 out of the box and 5G support, it's a little more future-ready.

Moto G Stylus 5G

Future worthy

Big, sharp screen
5G Connectivity
Bumped up internals
Same look
No mmWave

Moto G Stylus (2021)

Motorola Moto G Stylus 2021 Reco

The Moto G Stylus (2021) will save you $100 right away if you know you don't need 5G anytime soon. For casual use, it's likely to feel every bit as capable as the Moto G Stylus 5G, and its display won't disappoint. But, in the long run, the dated software may require you to upgrade again sooner.

Moto G Stylus (2021)

Cost-saving alternative

Same display
Comparable cameras
Dated software
Less memory

Motorola's phone lineup is quickly getting out of hand. The company's prowess for making some of the best cheap Android phones remains intact, but Motorola is putting out so many variants that it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. It's only more confusing when the Moto G Stylus 5G and Moto G Stylus (2021) both come out within just a few short months of each other with more similarities than differences. So, if you're trying to figure out which one is the more worthwhile purchase, we're here to help you see through the confusion.

Moto G Stylus 5G vs. Moto G Stylus (2021): Price and availability

The Moto G Stylus 5G comes hot on the heels of the Moto G Stylus (2021). The Moto G Stylus (2021) launched just earlier this year on January 14 for $300. Only five months later to the day, the Moto G Stylus 5G launched for $400. The price difference is considerable, but the addition of 5G isn't the only difference setting the two phones apart.

Moto G Stylus 5G vs. Moto G Stylus (2021): In-depth specs

Moto G Stylus 2021 Review

Source: Android Central (Image credit: Source: Android Central)

The Moto G Stylus 5G might have that extra thickness and weight because, where the Moto G Stylus (2021) packs a 4,000mAh battery, the Moto G Stylus 5G instead packs a 5,000mAh battery. That larger battery could see the Moto G Stylus 5G last longer on a charge than the Moto G Stylus (2021), though it'll also take longer to charge as both phones top out at 10W fast-charging.

Another thing that may help the Moto G Stylus 5G last longer is the Snadragon 480 chipset inside. While we haven't done any direct comparisons between this new chipset and the Snapdragon 678 in the Moto G Stylus (2021), the two chips likely perform relatively close to one another, with the Snapdragon 480 just bringing 5G support to the table.

That said, the Snapdragon 480 is built with smaller transistors than the Snapdragon 678, so it may run more efficiently than the chipset in the Moto G Stylus (2021). Even if the processing cores perform similarly between the two phones, the Moto G Stylus 5G's Adreno 619 should give it a leg up in graphics, as should the 6GB of RAM and 256GB of storage it comes with at the $400 price point. That's double the storage and 50% more memory, two things that could easily help justify the $100 price increase.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Moto G Stylus 5GMoto G Stylus (2021)
Operating SystemAndroid 11Android 10
Display6.8-inch LCD 2400 x 10806.8-inch LCD 2400 x 1080
ProcessorSnapdragon 480Snapdragon 678
Memory4 or 6GB4GB
Storage128 or 256GB128GB
Expandable StorageYesYes
Rear Camera 148MP48MP
Rear Camera 25MP macro2MP macro
Rear Camera 38MP ultra-wide8MP ultra-wide
Rear Camera 42MP depth2MP depth
Front Camera16MP16MP
Connectivity802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.1802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Bluetooth 5.0
PortsUSB-C 2.0USB-C 2.0
AudioLoudspeaker, 3.5mm headphone jackFront-ported speaker, 3.5mm headphone jack
Battery5,000mAh, 10W charging4,000mAh, 10W charging
Water ResistanceWater repellantWater repellant
Dimensions169.54 x 77.48 x 9.35mm169.8 x 77.9 x 9mm
ColorsCosmic EmeraldAurora Black, Aurora White

Beyond those internal differences, you won't find too many more hardware differences. Both phones have plastic frames and backs, offer minor water resistance, charge over USB-C connection, feature side-mounted fingerprint scanners, have Wi-Fi 5 connectivity, and bring the Moto G Stylus family's signature feature: a built-in capacitive stylus for more precise input.

The camera setup is different, but only slightly. The layout of the sensors on the back is altered, with the Moto G Stylus 5G going for a square layout and the Moto G Stylus (2021) stacking three in a column with one off to the side. That said, both phones feature near-identical camera hardware with a 48MP primary sensor, an 8MP ultra-wide sensor, and a 2MP depth. Both have macro sensors, but the Moto G Stylus (2021)'s is only 2MP while the Moto G Stylus 5G's is 5MP.

There's a software difference that we'll get into a little more in-depth below, but just note that the Moto G Stylus (2021) comes with Android 10 while the Moto G Stylus 5G comes out of the box running Android 11.

Moto G Stylus 5G vs. Moto G Stylus (2021): Future readiness

Moto G Stylus 5g Lifestyle

Source: Motorola (Image credit: Source: Motorola)

Despite only being a few months newer than the Moto G Stylus (2021), the Moto G Stylus 5G is already set up to last a good deal further into the future. When the Moto G Stylus (2021) launched, it was already on outdated software, as Android 11 had already been released. Since Motorola is only promising one major software update, the Moto G Stylus (2021) is likely to just get an update to Android 11 and never go beyond that. Meanwhile, the Moto G Stylus 5G has Android 11 now and will eventually get Android 12, giving it that much extra software support into the future.

Then there's the matter of 5G. 4G LTE isn't exactly dead, so the Moto G Stylus (2021) will likely continue to work on networks just fine as long as the phone functions. But, the Moto G Stylus 5G will get opportunities to use 5G speeds (even though it doesn't support the fastest mmWave), which can be a big upgrade for some applications, like streaming and cloud gaming.

Moto G Stylus 5G vs. Moto G Stylus (2021): Which one to get?

The differences may seem pretty marginal between the Moto G Stylus 5G and the Moto G Stylus (2021), but there's enough leaning in favor of the Moto G Stylus 5G to justify its increased price.

The Moto G Stylus 5G should operate smoother, run for longer, and have a longer lifespan with operating systems updates and network connectivity. That's an extra $100 well spent. Of course, at that price, it will have to contend with many other great Android phones under $400.

Mark Knapp