Over the past year, we’ve heard more and more buzz about 5G wireless networks and 5G-compatible phones. With hundreds of smartphones out there, though, it’s hard to know which device is the best one for you, especially when some are still using 4G technology while others blaze forward. If you’re thinking about upgrading your device in the near future, you need to know what’s going on with 5G coverage and which 5G phones are the best ones out there.
What Is 5G?
In the telecommunications world, 5G stands for “Fifth Generation,” as it’s the 5th generation of wireless technology. 5G is currently the most advanced type of wireless communication, although 4G (and more specifically 4G LTE) is still the most commonly supported type of wireless communication.
While most cell phone carriers started offering 5G technology in 2019, 5G technology didn’t start to become widespread until 2021. Currently, all of the major wireless carriers (AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) offer 5G coverage nationwide within the United States, meaning many MVNO carriers offer 5G coverage as well. However, this coverage is mostly limited to major cities, meaning more rural parts of the country are still relying on 4G.
Why Upgrade to 5G Phones?
As you can imagine, wireless technology evolves to keep up with the ever-increasing demands we place on it. This means that 5G wireless networks are much faster than 4G, especially when it comes to messaging and streaming. For example, 5G data operates at 10 gigabits per second, which is nearly 100 times faster than 4G. This means you can download a movie in nearly one-tenth of the time.
Furthermore, someone can receive a message you sent in just 1 millisecond over 5G, compared to 200 milliseconds with 4G coverage. This is because the latency, or delay in communication, is lower with 5G coverage.
However, speed isn’t the only reason to upgrade to 5G. 5G networking also offers increased bandwidth and capacity, meaning it can more effectively handle usage spikes, large crowds in areas for events, and other situations that currently impact speed on 4G networks.
Top 5G Phones You Can Buy Today
Unfortunately, because 5G is still a relatively new technology, 5G devices are less abundant than 4G phones and more expensive. While there are several 5G phones available for under $500, most currently run anywhere from $700 to over $1000 depending on the features you want.
The following are eight great 5G phones you can buy right now.
1. Apple iPhone 13
Back in September, Apple released a total of four iPhone 13 models, all of which offer 5G compatibility. With prices ranging from $699 to $1099, there are options to fit every budget. Furthermore, you can choose between 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage and a total of six different color options.
Pros of iPhone 13
- A15 64-bit six-core CPU (four-core in base model and mini)
- 6.1″ OLED screen with 60Hz (or 120Hz on Pro) display
- Dual 12MP rear cameras
- More than 18 hours of battery life
- Sturdy, waterproof design
- 128 to 512GB storage (depending on model selected)
Cons of iPhone 13
- No fingerprint scanner
- No Wi-Fi 6E compatibility
- Slow charging
Why Buy iPhone 13
The Apple iPhone 13 is a great fit for anyone looking for a high-quality, well-performing phone with an outstanding camera. It’s a small upgrade from the iPhone 12 but a huge improvement from iPhone 11 or older. This phone is also an especially great fit for content creators who need a phone that will easily help them record TikTok videos or take outstanding photos for social media graphics.
2. Google Pixel 6
As the latest member of the Google phone family, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro offer one of the best Android alternatives to the iPhone. And, with price points at $599 and $899 respectively, you may even save a bit of money with these Android devices! Furthermore, you can choose either a 128GB or 256GB model in one of three unique color options.
Pros of Pixel 6
- 6.4-inch, OLED display (up to 90 Hz) with Corning® Gorilla® Glass Victus™ cover glass
- More than 24 hours of battery life
- Dual rear cameras (with 50MP main camera and 12MP ultrawide camera)
- Under-display fingerprint sensor
- Highly durable design
- New, high-quality Google processor
- Options for 128GB or 256GB storage
Cons of Pixel 6
- Slower than average wireless charging (23W)
- Much larger device than previous Pixel versions
- No external memory or Micro SD support
- No face unlock
Why Buy Google Pixel 6
Between the new processor, outstanding camera, and impressive design, the Google Pixel 6 makes a great premium 5G phone under the $1000 price point. Like the iPhone 13, the Pixel 6 also offers a great quality camera alongside all of the great new AI features with Android 12.
3. Samsung Galaxy S22
The new Samsung Galaxy S22 offers all the best features from the previous version (S21) with all the possible enhancements you could imagine. While this phone is definitely not cheap (starting at $799.99 for the base model and $999.99 for the S22+), it’s worth every penny for Android users who want the latest and greatest 5G phone. The phone offers 128GB or 256GB and four color options.
Pros of Galaxy S22
- 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen with fast refresh
- Dual rear cameras with true 3x zoom
- Water resistant
- eSIM support
- Supports Wi-Fi 6E connectivity
- 128GB or 256GB storage
Cons of Galaxy S22
- 10-hour battery life
- Expensive compared to other models
- 45W charging not very fast
Why Buy Samsung Galaxy S22
The Samsung Galaxy S22 series is one of the most recent phone launches, which means it blows most other phones out of the water. This device offers extensive 5G coverage, a super bright display, and great cameras, making it an ideal solution for all Android users, regardless of what they plan to do with their device.
4. OnePlus 9 Pro
The OnePlus 9 Pro is a great “bargain” compared to some of the other 5G phones, with a retail price of just $799. However, don’t let that price point fool you – this phone is packed with many of the same great features that more expensive phones offer. The 9 Pro comes in two color options and packs 256GB of storage into each device.
Pros of OnePlus 9 Pro
- 6.55-inch, Full HD+ 120Hz display
- Lightweight (6.9 ounces)
- Outstanding camera with “freeform” ultra-wide lens
- 65W fast charging and 50W wireless charging
- 256GB storage
Cons of OnePlus 9
- Not compatible with AT&T 5G
- 11-hour battery life
Why Buy OnePlus 9 Pro
With an amazing display and quick charging capabilities, the OnePlus 9 Pro is an outstanding phone pick for any Android users who frequently use their phone for streaming, conferencing, or other graphics-intense tasks.
5. Motorola Razr 5G
This redesigned smartphone version of the early 2000s flip phone offers a compact design and all the best features of a modern phone at the $799.99 price point.
Pros of Razr 5G
- 256GB storage
- Great cameras (48MP rear and 20MP front)
- Compact design with small footprint in your pocket
- 6.2-inch OLED HD+ display
Cons of Razr 5G
- Outdated CPU (Snapdragon 765G)
- Eight-hour battery life
Why Buy Motorola Razr 5G
The new 5G Motorola Razr is arguably one of the best foldable 5G phones currently available. In addition to its small footprint, it’s a great phone for anyone who loves a bit of nostalgia, as it’s essentially a redesign of the highly popular 2005 flip phone.
6. Asus ROG Phone 5s
If you’re looking at 5G phones in the $1000-$1200 price range, then chances are you’ve at least heard of the Asus ROG Phone 5s. The phone isn’t just another 5G phone, though – it’s built specifically with entertainment in mind, especially mobile gaming, and comes in either white or black.
Pros of ROG Phone 5s
- Up to 512GB storage
- Up to 18GB RAM
- Snapdragon 888+ CPU
- Supports Wi-Fi 6E
- 15-hour battery life
- Many perks for gaming
Cons of ROG Phone 5s
- Overpriced if you’re just using as a basic smartphone
- Does not support secondary storage, such as micro SD
Why Buy Asus ROG Phone 5s
While there are a fair amount of 5G phones now available to purchase, there aren’t nearly as many hat offer the same specs as the Asus ROG Phone 5s. This is one of the few 5G phones built specifically for gaming, which makes it a must-buy for anyone who lives and breathes for online gaming.
7. Realme 8 5G
Believe it or not, not all 5G phones require you to shell out big bucks. In fact, the Realme 8 is one of the most affordable 5G phones, with a starting retail price of just $249.99 and options for blue or black.
Pros of Realme 8
- Large, bright screen (6.5 inch, 1080 x 2400 90Hz)
- Supports micro SD
- More than 20 hours of battery life
- One of the cheapest 5G phones available
Cons of Realme 8
- Slower processing than some other 5G devices (dimensity 700 5G CPU)
- Cameras less than impressive
- Only available with 128GB storage
Why Buy Realme 8 5G
Everyone deserves a 5G phone, but not everyone can afford to shell out $1000 for a mobile device. If you’re looking to take advantage of 5G data speeds without cashing in your savings, then the Realme 8 5G is a great option.
8. OnePlus Nord N200 5G
While the OnePlus 9 Pro was made to compete with many of the top-tier Android flagships from brands like Samsung and Google, the Nord N200 offers a great device starting at just $239.99.
Pros of OnePlus Nord N200
- 6.5 inch, 2400 x 1080, 90Hz LCD display
- Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU
- Impressive 16MP front camera
- Headphone jack
- 15-hour battery life
Cons of OnePlus Nord N200
- 64GB storage
- No “impressive” features
- Only one color option
Why Buy OnePlus Nord N200 5G
The Nord N200 offers an amazing mid-range device for a low price. This, combined with the impressive specs, makes this a great entry-level 5G phone for anyone, especially teens or users who don’t need all the bells and whistles that some high-end devices offer.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Will a 5G phone work in a location where 5G service is limited or unavailable?
Luckily, all 5G phones currently on the market are “backwards compatible” with 4G and 3G networks. In other words, while you won’t receive the full benefit of 5G in an area where 5G is not available, you will still have reception and be able to use your device.
2. Will my current 3G or 4G device be able to connect to a 5G network?
No. Unfortunately, you cannot take advantage of 5G coverage if your device does not support 5G. If your phone is more than a few years old, you may need to upgrade soon, especially if it is a 3G device.
3. Can I use an unlocked 5G device on any network?
While many phones ship “unlocked” so that you can use them with any carrier, not all 5G devices will work with all cellular networks. Therefore, you should always check compatibility before changing your cell phone carrier.
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