5 Best 5G Phones For Amazing Experience

Best 5G Phones

5G cellular networks are finally here but only if you have some disposable income and a 5G compatible phone. 5G smartphones are sparse right now but you still have options to choose from. That’s why we pitted the best 5G phones head to head to find the pros and cons of all the options out there. Read on below the get the scoop.

What Are the Best 5G Phones in 2020?

Checkout below our critical reviews

1. Samsung Galaxy S10 5G Phone

Pros:

  • Gorgeous Infinity-O Display
  • Tri-lens rear camera array
  • Wireless PowerShare capability
Cons:

  • Only refurbished models available
  • Mediocre biometrics
  • 5G service only compatible with Verizon

The Galaxy S10 is Samsung’s first phone to receive a 5G variation, making it an easy choice for Android enthusiasts looking to join the nation’s first wave of 5G customers. This big downside? The S10 5G is already out-of-stock on Samsung’s website, so if you want to get a hold of this handset now you’ll have to settle for a refurbished model on Amazon.

A used phone isn’t the end of the world, though, especially since the S10 5G will eventually be outclassed by a standalone 5G phone.It is one of the best 5G Phones in the market now. Since 5G networks haven’t reach nationwide coverage yet, this handset has two wireless chipsets, one to support 5G and one to support 4G/3G/2G. Switching from 5G to 4G is totally seamless, so this phone is basically a direct upgrade of the normal Galaxy S10.

Networking technology aside, the Galaxy S10 is a fantastic smartphone that will continue to be competitive with current phones well past 5G’s launch (assuming 2020 is the year of 5G as promised). One of the premier features of the phone is its Infinity-O Display. It has a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED touch display that curves across the side edges of the phone. It is HDR10+ certified and can light individual LEDs for a low-power always-on screensaver.

This phone also has an incredible rear tri-lens camera array, which can snap a picture at multiple focal points then stitch them all together for a crystal-clear shot. Factor in its impressive 4500mAh battery and you’ve got a phone that delivers just about everything you could ask for.

The Galaxy S10 has other gimmicks going for it too, some good and some bad. The good includes their Wireless PowerShare feature, which allows your phone to wirelessly charge out to other Qi-compatible devices. The bad includes a somewhat mediocre use biometric features like fingerprint scanners and facial recognition software.

But, like 5G, biometrics will soon have an even more crucial place in the smartphone universe, so you can’t blame Samsung for trying to walk on the cutting edge.


2. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G Phone

Pros:

  • Gorgeous 6.8-inch AMOLED Infinity Display
  • Rear quad-camera array
  • Included motion control S Pen
Cons:

  • International version does not work with CDMA networks (Verizon, Sprint, US, T-Mobile)
  • High price tag
  • Phone is ridiculously large

Currently, the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G is one of the best 5G phones available by merit of its incredible specs and its ability to work with any of the major US 5G service providers. As long as you get the US version, that is. What we have here is the international version, which only works with select GSM networks and not CMDA networks.

For US users, the international version of this phone will only work with AT&T in select areas, though we were unable to confirm this via Frequency Checker. You can find a US version direct on most 5G providers’ websites but we will continue to use this as a place-holder for when an unlocked US version becomes available on Amazon.

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As for the phone itself, the Note 10 Plus is a top-tier phablet, whose only compromises are a massive form factor and an equally massive price tag. The positive side of this is its generous 6.8-inch Infinity Display, which is made from a beautiful AMOLED panel that is HDR10+ compatible.

The phone also has an incredible rear quad-camera array, with wide, ultrawide, and telephoto lenses built right in. It can record ultra slow-motion 960fps videos at 720p and normal speed 2160p videos at 30fps.

It also comes with the pressure-sensitive S Pen device, which can be used to scribble notes down, do a doodle, or make touch-free gestures to swipe through menus. This phone does, however, mark the end of the headphone jack for Samsung phones. Goodnight, sweet prince.

3. Moto Z4 + 5G Moto Mod

Pros:

  • Solid 6.4-inch OLED display
  • Low price tag
  • 2 day battery life
Cons:

  • Only works with Verizon networks
  • Processor could be better
  • Requires the 5G Moto Mod

The Moto Z4 is somewhat of an outlier on this list of best 5G Phones, only for the fact that it is ca mid-range phone that has found itself listed alongside high-end handsets by the grace of a 5G expansion option. Looking first at the specs of this phone, it is clear that it doesn’t quite match the performance of heavy hitters like the Galaxy S10 or the Huawei Mate 20X.

It has a mediocre Snapdragon 675 processor and a basic 4 GB of RAM. Its 6.4-inch OLED display has a decent resolution but its color recreation is not as accurate. There aren’t total deal-breakers since the price is right, but you also need to keep in mind that the Moto Z4 needs some modifications out of the box to support 5G.

If you want to use this phone on 5G networks, you will need a special moto mod pack that is available only at Motorola’s website. This replacement backplate just about doubles the price of the phone and adds some bulk as well, so it is clearly not the most high-tech way of experience 5G. To further complicate things, it only works with Verizon 5G networks and no other providers.

Regardless, it is still a successful proof-of-concept for 5G cellular data. Plus, the Moto Mod does have the added benefit of a built-in battery pack, which easily extends the Moto Z4’s battery life to beyond 2 days.

Still, if your goal is to have the most advanced wireless cell network support, then it just feels wrong to settle for a mid-range handset unless you already own one.

4. Huawei Mate 20X 5G Phone

Pros:

  • 7.2-inch OLED FHD+ display
  • Rear tri-camera array records 4K
  • Massive 5000mAh battery
Cons:

  • International version does not work with CDMA networks (Verizon, Sprint, US, T-Mobile)
  • May soon drop Google Store support
  • Company’s behavior raises ethical concerns

This phone has the best battery life in its price range and it still has an auxiliary headphone jack. Yes, there are rumors that Huawei will be ditching support for apps on the Google Play Store, but for now, Huawei’s ROM support exists in a state of duality in the same way its wireless support straddles 4G and 5G.

Chinese electronics juggernaut Huawei may be under scrutiny for conducting surveillance for the Chinese government, but their Mate 20X 5G is nevertheless one of the most viable best 5G phones around.

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Politics aside, Huawei dominates the market in terms of price value, especially when non-standalone 5G handsets already cost extra for needing two discrete wireless chips. The international version of this phone comes at a respectable price, especially considering its specs. However, the catch is that it does not work on CDMA network, including Verizon, Sprint, US, and T-Mobile.

According to Frequency Check, the Huawei Mate 20X currently only works with AT&T, so it being unlocked isn’t as liberating as it should be for the potential 5G customer. So not only do you have to be within the geographic coverage of AT&T but you also have to already have them as a provider. Welcome to the world of early 5G.

When you look at the Mate 20X as a handset, there are finally a lot more positive things to talk about. After all, it is a well-built phone. The 7.2-inch AMOLED display provides vibrant colors and a crisp resolution. Its rear tri-camera array has a dedicated telephoto and ultrawide lens for clear shots from any angle. It also records 4K video.

5. Oppo Reno 5G

Pros:

  • 6.6-inch AMOLED display
  • Solid Snapdragon 710 processor
  • Sleek and beautiful design
Cons:

  • International version does not work with CDMA networks (Verizon, Sprint, US, T-Mobile)
  • UI can be sluggish
  • Not actually 10x zoom

Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of the Oppo Reno 5G. We hadn’t either and it’s kind of our job. Oppo is a brand-new smartphone manufacturer from China, which is already producing international versions of their 5G-ready Reno phone in anticipation of the global switchover.

Unfortunately, international 5G phones have limited efficacy in the US, where three of the big four carriers use outdated CDMA networks instead of GSM. We weren’t able to confirm any 100% compatibilities using Frequency Checker, but nonetheless, the Oppo Reno looks like it should work with AT&T on paper. If, however, you are interested in using the 5G networks of Verizon, Sprint, or T-Mobile, you will want to look elsewhere.

As for the specs of this phone, it is basically their Oppo Reno 10x Zoom with the added update of a 5G wireless chip. That means it is a pretty decent phone all-around, despite not being such a well-known brand. This phone’s claim to fame is its camera tech, which includes a tri-lens rear camera array that can (almost) achieve a 10x optical zoom.

Its Snapdragon 710 processor isn’t the absolute latest available from Qualcomm but performance still seems mostly smooth. If anything, its custom UI gets a little funky at times but that may also be because I am used to the responsiveness of my Galaxy S10. As a brand, Oppo still has a lot more to prove but their early support for 5G may yet propel them to a higher tier in the coming years.

 

What is 5G?

To put it into as simple terms as possible, 5G is the next generation of wireless technology, which marks massive improvements over the data transfer speed, latency, and bandwidth of the current 4G LTE standard.

The reason that its rollout is so important to the cell phone industry is that this new standard completely changes the game by increasing the max data transfer speed by ten times that of 4G. Currently, cell phone carriers are promising speeds between 1 and 10 Gbps, which is fast enough to download a full 4K movie in just seconds.

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Another reason that the 5G radio system is so important is that it is not compatible with 4G, so it requires an all-new cellular infrastructure to be created. At this time, most 5G cell phones on the market have what’s called 5G NSA (or “not standalone”), which uses the 4G infrastructure as support.

5G NSA uses urban hotspots to deliver millimeter-wave (a signal 600MHz or lower) frequencies to compatible devices, allowing them to take advantage of the speed boost in limited scenarios. By next year, most of the big four service providers are expected to have a standalone 5G network — at least in select locations.

Where is 5G Available?

At this time, 5G is only being rolled out to limited cities in the US. The best place to track availability near you is via Ookla’s 5G Rollout Map, which shows 5G coverage around the world as it develops.

Just make a note that this map differs between “commercially available” 5G and “limited availability,” which is an important distinction. A small amount of the available 5G networks are being used more like a private beta test, which you shouldn’t take as a guarantee that you would be able to access it anytime soon. But that much should already be apparent if it is integrated with 4G coverage.

Which Provider Has the Best 5G Coverage?

Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile are the four largest cell carriers in the world, but they are endlessly trading places on the 5G. That’s why we recommend periodically checking out PC Mag’s Race to 5G leaderboard, which tracks each company’s advancement towards a primetime 5G rollout.

At the moment, Sprint has the most 5G coverage in the nation but because this is a 5G NSA plan marketed as true 5G, its speeds won’t be as impressive we’ve promised so far. Still, 200 Mbps is nothing to balk at.

How Much Does 5G Service Cost?

You may be surprised to find that the first 5G cellphone plans are reasonably priced even considering their limitations. This 5G cell phone plan list from Whistle Out lays down the price differences between Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, and T-Mobile.

That said, these plans offer mostly 4G coverage on 5G networks, with limited millimeter-wave 5G access near urban hotspots. You should definitely research your local infrastructure before you are won over by the price tag, as coverage means everything in the cellular industry.

So until we start to see more standalone 5G services become available, it is hard to estimate what the final price will be for this sort of service.

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