Samsung has traditionally had the monopoly of phones with active styluses, though Huawei at one point was able to launch one that was compatible with the other kind of battery-powered Wacom-enabled pens that Samsung’s Galaxy Note phones didn’t use. LG does have its only line of stylus-toting devices but those are pretty much just thin counterparts of regular passive styluses you can easily buy on the cheap. The mid-range LG Velvet, however, is different and LG is making sure the public knows about its less advertised powers and it’s not really being subtle about pitting it against the more expensive Galaxy Note 20.
The difference between an active pen like Samsung’s S Pen and a passive one like those on LG’s Stylo phones is almost like night and day. Both do offer a more precise input tool but an active pen offers not only pressure sensitivity at the very least, it also gives some form of palm rejection. In contrast, regular displays that don’t offer active stylus support can’t distinguish between the stylus, your finger, or the side of your palm.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note and Galaxy Tab S lines use Wacom’s exclusive EMR technology which has the advantage of not requiring any battery to power the stylus. Apparently, LG’s new Velvet phone, just like the LG V60 before it, supports that other active pen tech, AES, which is used by many third-party manufacturers, including those with Windows Ink compatibility. This means, the Velvet is immediately compatible with many such styluses, most of which come in a more ergonomic size than the “thin, plastic stylus” of the Galaxy Note 20.
The LG Velvet, however, has another trick up its sleeve. It isn’t its main display only that can support an Active Pen, even the Dual Screen accessory works with one. In other words, this LG pretty much beat the Microsoft Surface Duo to the punch when it comes to having a dual-screen stylus-capable phone, except it didn’t really talk much about it until now.
It’s actually a shame that LG didn’t make a lot of noise about a feature that is still rare among phones. Perhaps it was waiting for this very moment to contrast the LG Velvet’s affordability with the Galaxy Note 20’s luxury. Unfortunately, that strategy may backfire given Samsung’s clout, ensuring that the Velvet will get buried under a ton of Samsung news for days.