I've been using this phone, on sale for $110 at best buy for a week now, and it sports some flagship design, with some drawbacks, at entry level prices.
With only a Snapdragon 445 and 2GB of ram, as well as having SD card adoption disabled to expand the internal storage beyond the stock 32GB, this phone is very similar to other entry level devices in terms of raw performance. However, there's more to a user experience than the geekbench score.
The included stylus launches a small bubble with some quick options, like the Galaxy Note, and works remarkably well. The mesh tip actually feels more premium than the rubber tipped s pen in pure use feel, but obviously lacks many of the s pen's features.
The ability to draw a cutout from the screen for a screenshot never gets boring, even if my unskilled hand makes ugly, jagged cuts. For drawing, I miss the S Pen's reticle displayed when hovering, but the accuracy is better, especially after you've slightly bent the S Pen's rubber tip.
Small bezels are nice, and the phone sports a fairly premium 79.9% screen to body ratio. The chin at the bottom of the phone is the same size as the forehead at the top, and I applaud LG's decision to forgo a notch to try and increase that screen to body ratio just a little higher. It's not winning any awards, but the 18:1 aspect ratio, with a 1080x2160 resolution on a 6.2" display (with rounded d corners), pushes even lower end smartphones toward the future of a more affordable premium feel.
I instantly missed the Super AMOLED display of my Samsung phone, and the colors will just never feel right without it. It's the sort of thing you can never come back from.
The Stylo 4 is a big winner in productivity. It handles more intensive chat apps like snapchat with no problems, and running Android 8.1 Oreo, it has no shortage of support for newer applications like Riot.im. I don't know how they stretch the small RAM so far, but I never feel like I'm losing performance.
App launch time isn't premium feeling, but it's far and afield beyond yesterday's budget, or even mid level options, so while launch is instantaneous, the brief hesitation to populate constant, while not necessarily welcome, isn't a major drawback.
The cameras sport fairly premium resolutions (5MP front & 13MP back), but they're frankly shit in post. After a few shots I already thought it may be a good idea to consider carrying a lower res, lower price, Samsung as just a camera to get all of life's little moments recorded. It's a damn shame, and makes me wonder if LG's claims of the great camera performance on the V40, might not be worth the five sensors, purely because their post processing, theoretically the same across their entire line, is so severely lacking.
Next, we come to battery life. This is where everything comes to a head. The 3000mah battery would have been great at one point, but it just doesn't cut it anymore. The fast charging is a nice feature, but as no fast charger is included it's kind of a letdown. The phone doesn't support Qi charging, so don't expect to get away with a cheap online charging pad. I have to wonder why Qi wasn't thrown in, as the design completely allows for it, which I'll touch on in a moment. Perhaps budget was a constraint, on this budget model. This kinda undermines the productivity claims I made earlier, as you might be productive with this device, you just won't be for long.
From a design perspective, mostly premium materials were used. There's adecent hardened glass on the front of the screen, though LG didn't spring for Corning Gorilla Glass, not even an older formula, and the back of the phone is an imitative glass acrylic, which feels cheesy at first, but after some use, isn't as bad as many acrylics, and actually offers better grip than glass would. It looks like glass, and is definitely a fingerprint magnet, but it doesn't send a "cheap phone" message when viewing or touching it, after you've imparted some of the oils from your hand to make it less tacky to the touch. The fingerprint sensor is not fast, but it is pretty accurate, and it is definitely still much faster than swipe to unlock. The buttons, (volume and power, no quick access key) are made of metal, as is the entire outer frame of the phone, which offers decent drop protection and makes the phone feel more premium in general. Oh, and it has a headphone jack, in addition to the Type C port which is usually so absent on entry level phones.
If anyone out there can't be bothered to spring a few hundred for Nokia's latest offerings, which I consider the best of mid-range phones, or incrementally more for the Oneplus 6T or another Flagship at twice the price, I would definitely recommend this unit over my 2017 entry level pick of the year's successor (the Samsung J7 2017 held this title, and the J7 2018 is just a refresh of the same hardware). The Stylo 4 feels newer and more premium than even some flagship hardware from a couple of years ago, which do offer better performance, but this unit has all of the good design elements that arose in 2018, and seems to have left behind all of the bad ones.