The super-fast data speeds of 5G aren’t just limited to the wealthy — we’re now seeing the service become available on much more affordable handsets. What once seemed like a distant dream is now common, with all of the top phones released in the last year, including theseries and , being fully enabled to take advantage of those 5G phone speeds. The arrived recently too, though the picture regarding for Google’s new flagship phone.
Though, 5G is the next generation of mobile connectivity. works fast, and from the new network, including drones, self-driving cars and the internet of things. Its growth across the US, the UK and the wider world has been fast, but it’s still not everywhere, so make sure 5G coverage is available — or at least coming soon — in your area before you splash the cash on a 5G-enabled handset.
Remember that a 5G phone will still work as normal on a 4G network (albeit at lower speeds) so don’t be afraid of buying a 5G phone like the S21 Ultra even if you’re not in a 5G zone. In fact it’s good practice to future-proof yourself; you may not be in a 5G zone right now, but it may well be that 5G will come to your area in the three years or so you have your phone, so at least you’ll be ready to take advantage of it when it arrives.
But with 5G handsets being offered by pretty much every major phone manufacturer now it can be difficult to work out which is best for you. We’ve done some of the hard work and put together our list of our top 5G-enabled phones that you can go and buy right now.
Apple unveiled four iPhones this September, all of which are 5G phones. At the helm of the lineup is the iPhone 13 series, which starts at $729 and features the A15 Bionic processor and dual rear cameras. If you’re looking for something smaller and cheaper, the iPhone 13 Mini is your best pick for a 5G capable phone. And if you want something more premium, the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are decked out with more features.
Read our Apple iPhone 13 review.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best phone Samsung makes right now, packing everything you’d expect from an elite flagship phone. It’s got a big, vibrant screen, and incredible rear camera performance setup (including a zoom lens unlike anything we’ve seen) and it’s absolutely stuffed with power. This Android phone doesn’t come cheap, but it’s the 5G phone to go for if you’re looking for the best of the best in an Android handset.
Read our Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G review.
The Pixel 5 and Pixel 4A 5G are 5G phones from Google that have long-lasting batteries, excellent cameras with fantastic low-light capabilities and software support from Google. As the more expensive of the two 5G Pixel phones, the Pixel 5 costs $699 and has a 90Hz display, wireless charging or reverse wireless charging.
Read our Pixel 5 review.
Despite its high price tag and being a Verizon exclusive in the US, the Edge Plus is still a premium 5G smartphone worth looking into. This 5G phone features a Snapdragon 865 chipset, a giant battery, an OLED screen with a high refresh rate and multiple rear cameras with heavy-duty specs. As CNET’s Patrick Holland declared, it’s “one of the most wonderful Android phones I’ve tried in a long time.”
Read our Motorola Edge Plus review.
The OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro impressed with their excellent performance, their slick designs and their generally decent cameras. While both are 5G signal enabled, it was the base OnePlus 9 that particularly wowed us, with its much better battery life and its more affordable price tag. It’s the phone to go for if you want a flagship experience but don’t want to empty your bank account to get it.
Read our OnePlus 9 review.
There’s a lot to like about the Galaxy S21, but the best thing about it has got to be the price. Samsung’s next-gen flagship lineup starts at $800, and you can find it on Amazon right now for an extra $100 off. Samsung made some trade-offs to get to that price: The phone has 4GB less RAM than its predecessor, the wall charger and headphones don’t come in the box, and it doesn’t have a microSD card slot for expanded storage. But even with those sacrifices, you’re getting a lot for your money with this 5G device, including a striking design, the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip and 5G connectivity.
Read our Samsung Galaxy S21 review.
A combination of 5G connectivity, solid specs, and a tempting price tag earned the Galaxy S20 FE a CNET Editors’ Choice award for 2020. Plus, it’s got a great screen, a lightning-fast Snapdragon 865 processor, and a potent triple camera.
Read our Galaxy S20 FE review.
The Samsung Galaxy A52 5G sports a 6.5-inch AMOLED display with a high-refresh rate that can be set to either 120Hz or 60Hz. The phone features four rear cameras and the main one is really good. On days with lighter use or when the display is set to 60Hz, you can easily get the 4,500-mAh battery to last 1.5 days. The Galaxy A52 5G is the best 5G smartphone under $500.
Read our Galaxy A52 5G review.
Released in January, the Motorola One 5G Ace is the best 5G phone available under $400 right now. It features a big 6.7-inch IPS LCD display and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 750G. It can capture 48-megapixel photos with an option for 8-megapixel ultrawide and 2-megapixel macro shots. It’s your best bet under $400.
Read our Motorola One 5G Ace review.
OnePlus Nord and Nord N10 5G
As part of OnePlus’ midrange family of phones, the Nord N10 5G (pictured here) features a 90Hz display, a headphone jack and a generous 6.49-inch screen. The new phone will be available in Europe first then North America at a later date. It follows the company’s first Nord phone, which also has 5G and is only available in the UK.
Read our OnePlus Nord review.
The $400 One 5G is one of the best, most affordable 5G phones available. This cheap phone has a total of six, yes six, cameras, a 90Hz high-refresh rate display and fast-charging technology. It’s available now in the US on AT&T and Verizon’s mobile networks.
Read our Motorola One 5G first take.
Samsung Galaxy A71 5G
At the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, Motorola announced two flexible Razr phones within months of each other. The 2020 version is the better one of the two. Available for $800, this model has 5G support, a 48-megapixel camera, more memory and a faster Snapdragon 765G processor.
Read our Motorola Razr 5G (2020) review.
The Xperia 5 II is a pricey but gorgeous phone for users who like to play games, shoot photos and record video. Its 120Hz display is silky smooth and its quasi mirrorless camera can record 4K 120fps video. And while it can connect to 5G, the US model of the phone cannot.
Read our Sony Xperia 5 II review.
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