Are Phones With Styluses Worth It? [How to Decide]

In the mid to late 2010’s, phone models, like the Samsung Galaxy Note, recognized the potential of pairing a touchscreen with a stylus, the electronic equivalent of classic writing tools, to increase user precision and ease. While fewer models featured the stylus in the years to follow, it is slowly making a comeback, for tablet and phone users alike, causing people to reconsider whether investing in one is worthwhile.

There are many advantages and disadvantages to pairing a stylus with your phone. Deciding whether this accessory is worthwhile for you will depend on your phone-related priorities and uses. People who prioritize touchscreen accuracy, multitasking, and cleanliness often prefer phones with styluses.

In this article, we will discuss the pros and cons of using a stylus with modern-day phones to help you determine whether this combination is right for you. As you read, you’ll learn what lifestyles, tasks, and phone uses are best benefited by styluses and when they can be seen as more of a hindrance.

Advantages of Using a Phone With a Stylus

Technological advancements in gadgets such as cell phones, tablets, and graphic tablets have increased the relevancy and usefulness of styluses in modern-day life.

The predominant advantages of using a phone with a stylus include:

  1. Improved accuracy
  2. Increased ease of use
  3. Cleaner screens
  4. More artistic capabilities and features

Reading our more in-depth sections on each of these advantages below will help you better determine how they can benefit you, especially if these are factors you prioritize in your daily phone use.

1. Improved Accuracy

Arguably the advantage people notice most when using a stylus on their phone is its superior accuracy.

When it comes to selecting and navigating things on a phone’s touch screen, using one’s finger is usually the default. However, your fingertip is much wider than the tip of a stylus, which is why more people experience mis-selections and other inaccuracies.

Comparatively, most stylus are created with pressure sensitivity technology and other design features that ensure they are as precise as possible. This, in turn, means that using a stylus tend to be a more efficient and pleasurable experience for users.

2. Increased Ease of Use

Convenience is a trait people highly prioritize in anything they use nowadays, and for good reason.

Most modern-day phones are created with touchscreens specifically for this reason, and while the design is practical and generally easy to use, it does have its drawbacks. All you have to do is put on a pair of gloves to experience one of these limitations.

With a stylus in hand, you can fully utilize your phone without sacrificing personal comfort. They increase ease of use by allowing you to access your phone without relying on skin-to-screen contact, which can be difficult in certain situations.

Another example where they increase ease of use significantly is if you happen to have a cell phone that features a relatively small screen while you have not-so-small fingers. This combination is closely tied to the previous point made about accuracy since it is likely your phone misunderstands your intended commands on a regular basis.

Because styluses are practically universal in size, they’ll fit nicely in your hands and help eliminate this daily issue altogether. 

3. Cleaner Screens

If you have ever used your phone without a stylus, then you know just how quickly and easily fingerprints, smudges, and oils can accumulate on the screen.

These contaminants not only obscure your view but also make your phone’s screen one of the dirtiest surfaces you touch.

In fact, many phone manufacturers have even started incorporating oleophobic coatings into their devices to repel oils and fingerprints, but these coatings are far from perfect.

A stylus will always give you a cleaner screen because it reduces the transfer of these common contaminants. Another benefit of this is that your screen protectors will last longer and work more efficiently because there are fewer oils, bacteria, and other contaminants present that would otherwise degrade the material and obscure input. 

4. More Artistic Capabilities and Features

If you’re the type of person who likes to jot down notes using their own handwriting, create works of art, or simply sketch a doodle, then you’ll want to invest in a stylus.

These tools allow you to create artistic works more accurately and provide superior support for personal customization versus using your phone’s keyboard or your finger.

As a result, your phone becomes one of the most convenient tools in your artistic arsenal, giving you the option of using it over lugging around your graphic tablet or laptop.

Disadvantages of Using a Stylus With Your Phone

Despite the long list of advantages that come with using a stylus with your phone, there are some disadvantages to these tools that you should be aware of before making your decision.

The most influential disadvantages of using a stylus with your phone include:

  1. Cost
  2. Limited compatibility
  3. Reduced keyboard speed
  4. Requires two-handed phone use

Again, we’ve elaborated on these disadvantages below to ensure you have all the information you need to determine whether styluses suit your needs.

1. Cost

The overall cost of a stylus is highly dependent on the device you pair it with. While some styluses cost as little as $10-$15, others, like the Apple Pencil 2nd Generation, cost over $100.

Unfortunately, the cost of your initial purchase isn’t the only disadvantage here because you’ll likely need to purchase a replacement stylus when either:

  1. You get a new phone
  2. Your current stylus model becomes outdated

With the rate that modern devices upgrade to new models, you’ll likely have 1-3 years of use with your stylus before you’re forced to purchase a replacement. For some, this is an ongoing cost they aren’t willing to pay.

2. Limited Compatibility

Another disadvantage of styluses that is understandably frustrating is the fact that they aren’t universal tools when it comes to compatibility.

You can’t purchase just any stylus and expect it to work on your phone because there are so many different types of sensors used among devices. Even if you find a compatible model, the performance may not be ideal.

This means that you have to do your research to make sure you’re getting a quality stylus that will work well with your specific device.

3. Reduced Keyboard Speed

This is a pretty straightforward disadvantage of using a stylus with a phone. If you’re the type of person who prioritizes speed for simple tasks like texting, then a stylus isn’t the way to go.

Yes, these tools can increase speed for general tasks, especially if you frequently experience inaccuracies using your fingers, but if you were to have two individuals compete for texting speed, one using a stylus and one using their thumbs, then nine times out of ten, the non-stylus user will win.

4. Requires Two-Handed Phone Use

Arguably the only area where styluses lose points regarding ease of use is here. Unless you have your phone sitting on a flat, stable surface, a one-handed, stylus-phone combination is out of the question.

This can make them harder to use when you’re on the go and only have one hand at your disposal, so if that sounds like most of your phone experiences, then a stylus will probably be a hinderance.

Final Thoughts

Styluses are fantastic tools you’ll likely see more of in the near future, but whether they’re the right tool for you will ultimately depend on your lifestyle and daily phone tasks. Some people think they make their lives significantly easier, while others seem them as an unnecessary cost and extra step for using their phone. It’s up to you to decide if the pros outweigh the cons.