Since 3G was replaced by 4G, innovations in mobile technology are moving pretty rapidly. Shortly after in early 2019, we saw the emergence of 5G networks in the U.S. with carriers like AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint turning on the networks in the region. However, it’s still nowhere close to covering the entire U.S., which is to say that the best 5G phones technology is still in its infancy.
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However, for those lucky enough to be covered by 5G networks, there are a few options you can get right now. We’re going to talk about a few of the best 5G phones you can buy today. We’re also going to discuss phones that will launch over the coming year as more manufacturers get on board the 5G bandwagon.
So here are some of the best current and upcoming 5G phones.
Best 5G Phones
1. Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G (Verizon Wireless)
The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G was launched just a couple of months ago and is one of the few devices that support 5G networks in the U.S. Unfortunately, this particular variant of the flagship is currently limited to Verizon’s networks in the U.S. This means even if you get a 5G compatible Galaxy Note 10+ 5G from elsewhere, the chances are it won’t be able to access 5G networks in the U.S. This is why it makes sense to get the smartphone directly from Verizon instead of looking for third-party sellers.
As for the hardware, the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G comes with all that you need from a flagship offering including a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 3040 x 1440. The phone also supports HDR10+ allowing you to watch high definition video content without needing an expensive television. The phone runs on the octa-core Snapdragon 855 SoC and is accompanied by 256GB of expandable storage and 12GB of RAM. The phone runs Android 9.0 Pie by default, although an update to Android 10 is on the horizon.
The elaborate rear camera setup consists of four cameras including two 12MP sensors, a 16MP sensor, and a TOF 3D camera. The front has a single 10MP camera for video calls and authentication. The Galaxy Note 10+ 5G is running a mammoth 4,300 mAh battery with support for 45W fast battery charging. Verizon offers the handset in Aura Glow, Aura Black, and Aura White.
2. OnePlus 7 Pro 5G (Sprint)
This is an important smartphone for both OnePlus and Sprint as it is the first OnePlus phone to pack 5G capabilities, and Sprint is the only carrier that sells it in the U.S. right now. In terms of hardware features, the OnePlus 7 Pro can match up to the best in the industry, One of my favorite features from the smartphone is the crisp 6.67-inch display with a Fluid AMOLED display and a refresh rate of 90 Hz, making it one of the few phones in the market to have this feature. Sprint is offering the 256GB version of the handset, which comes with 8GB of RAM onboard. It’s worth pointing out that the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G doesn’t pack expandable storage, so what you see here is what you get.
The smartphone runs on the powerful Snapdragon 855 processor and has an impressive triple camera layout on the back consisting of a 48MP primary sensor, a 16MP ultrawide sensor, and an 8MP telephoto sensor for macro shots.
For selfies, the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G uses a motorized pop up 16MP camera which means there’s no annoying camera cutout anywhere on the display. The phone is running Android 9.0 Pie but OnePlus is already working on the Android 10 update for the handset. The phone comes with a 4,000 mAh battery and is supported by the company’s 30W Warp Charge tech. Sprint offers the smartphone in Blue.
3. Huawei Mate 20X 5G
Huawei has been in hot water recently, particularly with the U.S. government, although that hasn’t stopped the company from churning out powerful phones. The Mate 20X 5G is an excellent example of this. The phone comes with a few limitations, which means you won’t be able to use it as a conventional Android phone. But on the hardware front, this is certainly one of the best 5G phones you can get today.
The Mate 20X 5G is packing a gargantuan 7.2 inch OLED display with a resolution of 2244 x 1080, making it one of the biggest phones (tablets?) in the market today. It’s also sporting a massive 24MP selfie camera and a triple rear camera layout consisting of a 40MP sensor, a 20MP sensor, and an 8MP sensor. The phone offers 256GB of native storage with expandable storage (nano memory) and keeping the phone ticking is the octa-core HiSilicon Kirin 980 chip and 8GB of RAM.
Overall, as far as hardware specifications are concerned, the Mate 20X 5G is simply unbeatable right now. However, given the recent dispute between Google and Huawei, the company is no longer licensed to use official Android on its phones. This means the Mate 20X 5G is packing a custom EMUI 9.1 ROM which lacks Google Play Store and other Google services.
4. Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (Verizon Wireless)
The Galaxy S10 5G was one of the first phones from a big manufacturer to offer 5G connectivity in the U.S. The initial release of the 5G phone was bumpy with carriers like AT&T setting up restrictions on who can buy the new 5G device. However, this move was expected given that the carrier’s 5G networks were just taking off then.
In the hardware department, the Galaxy S10 5G comes with pretty much the same hardware as its non-5G sibling, although with a couple of key changes. Since 5G is known to take a big toll on your battery life, Samsung is using a bigger 4,500 mAh battery on the 5G variant as compared to the 3,400 mAh unit on the standard Galaxy S10. It also sports a bigger 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 3040 x 1440.
It runs the powerful Snapdragon 855 SoC and is accompanied by 8GB of RAM and 256GB of expandable storage. The Galaxy S10 5G also comes with an elaborate triple-camera layout on the back and a 10MP front camera. The company launched the handset with Android 9.0 Pie, but the company is already said to be working on the Android 10 update.
This variant can be bought via Amazon although it does come with a couple of caveats. Although it’s unlocked to work with GSM carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile, it will only handle 5G networks on Verizon’s networks. This means if you’re an AT&T or T-Mobile customer, you’re limited to using 4G LTE speeds on this device.
5. Moto Z4 (Verizon Wireless)
This may come as a bit of a surprise to many, but the Moto Z4 can theoretically let you access 5G networks on Verizon. This is thanks to the company’s 5G Moto Mods attachment that plugs into the Moto Z4 to instantly enable 5G connectivity. In terms of onboard features, the Moto Z4 is an excellent smartphone in almost every department. It comes with a 6.4-inch OLED display bearing a resolution of 2340 x 1080.
Other hardware specs of the smartphone include 4GB of RAM, 128GB of expandable storage, a 48MP single rear camera, a 25MP front camera, Android 9.0 Pie, and a 3,600 mAh battery with 15W fast charging support. The phone also comes with an under-display fingerprint scanner, allowing Moto to utilize the entire display real estate. The phone has a USB C port, which makes it easy to transfer files quickly or simply charge your phone faster. Moto has also been kind enough to include a 3.5mm headphone jack on the Z4, allowing audiophiles to plug in their wired headphones.
Unfortunately, the 5G Moto Mods are not supplied with the Moto Z4. This is an add-on accessory that you can buy from Verizon or Moto’s official stores. It costs almost as much as a new smartphone, which isn’t surprising given that 5G smartphones are not necessarily cheap in the market today. The 5G Moto Mods can be bought via same-day shipping, in-store pickup or free 2-day shipping from Verizon’s website right now.
6. LG V50 ThinQ 5G (Verizon Wireless)
LG hasn’t had the best couple of years in the mobile industry with the likes of Apple and Samsung dominating the market. However, the LG V50 ThinQ from earlier this year is an excellent illustration of what the manufacturer is capable of. The phone comes with a 6.4-inch P-OLED display with a resolution of 3120 x 1440 pixels, bringing it on par with pretty much every other flagship in the market today. The phone is certified to be MIL-STD-810G compliant which gives it a significant advantage in terms of durability.
In the CPU department, the V50 ThinQ 5G comes with the Snapdragon 855 SoC, while the company is using a unique dual front camera for selfies and user authentication. The back consists of a triple camera layout which includes dedicated sensors for telephoto and ultra-wide shots. In addition to the phone being tuned with Meridian Audio, the V50 ThinQ comes with DTS: X Surround Sound certification, allowing for some mind-boggling audio quality from the default speakers.
The LG V50 ThinQ 5G is only compatible with Verizon Wireless in the U.S., and as of right now, VZW is the only carrier that offers the smartphone. However, if you’re looking for a no-compromise 5G phone from one of the best 5G networks in the U.S. right now, this option is definitely worth considering. The handset is available with 128GB of expandable storage and 6GB of RAM. Powering the device is a 4,000 mAh battery which supports LG’s 18W fast charging tech.
7. Samsung Galaxy Fold 5G
This version of the Galaxy Fold arrived during the second launch of the phone. For those unaware, the Galaxy Fold was recalled shortly after it was released earlier this year. However, Samsung spent the next few months ironing out some design flaws while also adding in 5G compatibility. Before you get excited, we would like to point out that this smartphone is currently not officially available in the U.S., so the only way you get your hands on one of these is if you head over to Europe or Asia where the phone is currently available from a handful of retailers and carriers.
If you’re planning to take this route and get the smartphone anyway, we would like to tell you that the Galaxy Fold 5G is one of the most expensive phones you can buy right now. This is because of the appealing foldable display design that gives you two large displays on either side offering a combined display size of 7.3 inches. Samsung is using its Dynamic AMOLED display here with a combined resolution of 2152 x 1536. Underneath this shiny exterior is the powerful octa-core Snapdragon 855 chipset, which is paired with 12GB of RAM and 512GB of non-expandable storage.
Customers will also find the triple rear camera layout consisting of two 12MP sensors and 16MP sensors, while the front has dual 10MP + 8MP cameras. The phone runs Android 9.0 Pie by default and packs a large 4,235 mAh battery to keep the hardware powered on. The phone can support 15W fast charging as well as 15W fast wireless charging. The company offers the smartphone in Space Silver and Cosmos Black.
8. ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G
This is yet another 5G phone that you cannot use in the U.S., although the non 5G variant is already available in the region, so we cannot completely rule out its arrival in the near future. The Axon 10 Pro 5G is a stellar device as far as hardware specs are concerned.
It comes with a 6.47-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels, which is on par with most flagships available in the market today. The phone runs on the octa-core Snapdragon 855 CPU and is complemented by 256GB of storage and 12GB of RAM while other configurations are also available from the manufacturer.
There’s a triple camera layout on the back consisting of a 48MP primary sensor as well as a 20MP unit and an 8MP sensor. On the front, ZTE is using a single 20MP camera sensor that can comfortably take wide-angle selfies and high-resolution videos. Since the phone was launched during the first half of 2020, it comes with Android 9.0 Pie along with ZTE’s custom MiFavor 9.1 UI. Rounding off the specs sheet is an under-display optical fingerprint scanner, a USB C reversible port, and a 4,000 mAh battery with 18W fast charging support.
As of now, 5G connectivity with the Axon 10 Pro 5G is only possible in some parts of Europe and Asia. This is yet another reason why we don’t have too many manufacturers offering 5G phones today. However, things are expected to be significantly different in 2023.
9. Oppo Reno 5G
While not many in the U.S. are aware, Oppo, like many other Chinese OEMs, are at the forefront of mobile technology. The company’s most recent Reno 5G is a stellar smartphone, although it cannot access high-speed 5G networks in the U.S. due to a lack of carrier support. However, if we have a look at the hardware specs of the smartphone, it’s immediately apparent why this is one of the best phones in the market today. The Reno 5G comes with a 6.6-inch 2340 x 1080 resolution AMOLED display, which appears to be a standard among every 5G smartphone today. The display is also DCI-P3 compliant.
The phone uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC that we’ve seen on multiple 5G phones. This is paired with 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of internal storage which can be expanded with the help of a microSD card. The triple camera layout on the Reno 5G is also quite unique, as it features a dedicated 13MP periscope camera accompanied by a 48MP primary sensor and an 8MP ultrawide sensor. The front has a 16MP selfie camera which is hidden from plain sight and revealed from under the display using a motorized popup function.
The Reno 5G runs Android 9.0 Pie with ColorOS 6, and includes all the features that you would expect on an Android device including the Play Store. While this phone was not originally designed to work with American 5G networks, it can comfortably handle 4G LTE networks with blazing-fast data speeds in the U.S. However, the seller mentions that this phone is not compatible with network like Verizon, Sprint, U.S. Cellular as well as T-Mobile, so your options for using this phone in the U.S. is quite limited.
10. Mi MIX 3 5G
Much like the Reno 5G that we talked about above, the Mi MIX 3 5G is a stellar device, although it’s not available in the U.S. right now. However, you may be able to take it for a spin if you ever travel to Asia or Europe. The handset packs a unique design that makes it stand out from the crowd. The phone is pretty well equipped in the hardware department, with one of its key highlights being the 6.39-inch Super AMOLED display with a resolution of 2340 x 1080.
The company has put in a lot of work with the front camera of the smartphone as it packs two manually controlled motorized pop-up cameras of 24MP and 2MP respectively. The back panel consists of two 12MP cameras. The phone comes with 64GB of default storage (non-expandable) and is supported by 6GB of RAM. As expected, the phone also packs the octa-core Snapdragon 855 processor. It’s a surprise that Mi is using a standard rear-facing fingerprint scanner rather than the in-display optical sensor that we see on modern Android devices. The phone runs Android 9.0 Pie with MIUI 10 and has a 4,000 mAh battery on board with 18W fast charging support.
Although the 5G version isn’t available in the U.S. officially you can still get the 4G LTE version of the handset in the region. It’s currently available on Amazon for a decent price. Check it out from the link here.
Upcoming 5G Phones
While there’s no concrete information on where the mobile industry is headed with regards to 5G technology, one can say for certain that companies like Apple or even Google will have a 5G device next year. Luckily, we’ve also heard bits and pieces of information on potential 5G smartphones coming in the smartphone. So let’s talk about a few of them.
Apple iPhone 12
This is one of the most common rumors already and is probably going to be in 2023. There have been reports over the past few weeks which indicate that Apple wants to create its own modem for 5G connectivity, although this may not materialize until 2021 or beyond. Until then, however, Apple plans to source the 5G chips from Qualcomm to enable compatibility in 2023 iPhones.
We must mention that while it seems likely that Apple will launch the iPhone 11S or 12 with a 5G chip inside, it’s entirely possible that Apple will hold off until 2021. Keeping this in mind, we recommend you to take this with a large grain of salt for now.
Unnamed Nokia 5G smartphone
The Chief Product Officer for HMD, Juho Sarvikas recently mentioned that the company is looking to launch a 5G phone by 2020. While he failed to divulge additional details on the phone itself, he did mention that it will cost half as much as current 5G flagships. This also hints at a release for Nokia’s key European and Asian markets, although we’re not sure how Nokia will handle the lack of 5G coverage around the world. One can hope, however, that come 2020, large parts of Europe and Asia will see 5G connectivity for the first time, thus providing great value on a phone like this.
Sony’s briefly detailed 5G phone
While the rest of the world was busy announcing 5G compatible phones, Sony’s MWC event in Barcelona earlier this year was pretty moderate in response. However, the company did reveal a 5G prototype running Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and the X50 5G modem. This is pretty much everything we know about the smartphone as of now, besides the fact that it is expected to arrive sometime in 2023. Given the fact that Sony’s fortunes in the mobile industry have been falling pretty rapidly of late, a 5G phone may just be the device to get Sony back into the game.