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The best 5G phones for Verizon

There’s no time like right now to buy a 5G phone. 5G network coverage is expanding across the U.S. — and the world — at an impressive rate, so if the 5G rollout has yet to hit your town or city, it likely will soon. To make use of 5G technology, however, you’ll need both a 5G-capable device and a network that supports it.

Not all networks are rolling out 5G at the same rate. Verizon’s mmWave network is the most widespread of all the carriers, and their nationwide 5G network — which uses the sub-6 spectrum — has already been rolled out in over 2,700 cities. Their Ultra Wideband is now available in parts of more than 60 cities. However, even if you don’t have 5G in your area just yet, it’s still worth investing in a 5G device — think of it as future-proofing your phone.

There are so many 5G phones to choose from these days that finding the best one can feel like a bit of a minefield. That’s where we come in. We’ve spent hours testing all aspects of 5G phones, from their performance and battery life to their connectivity — and we’ve found some of the best 5G phones for Verizon’s 5G network.

We’ve also covered the best 5G phones if you’re looking for a device on another network, as well as the latest 5G phone deals to save you some money. Making the most of today’s 5G tech has never been easier.

Best 5G smartphones for Verizon at a glance

Best 5G phone for Verizon overall: Apple iPhone 12 Pro

Why you should buy this: Its gorgeous display, exceptional design, powerful chip, and support for 5G ensure the iPhone 12 Pro will last you for years to come.

Who it’s for: Anyone serious about future-proofing their device.

Why we picked the Apple iPhone 12 Pro:

First impressions of the iPhone 12 Pro are its striking good looks, combining the iPhone 5’s design with a sleek edge-to-edge display. But it’s more than just an attractive 5G smartphone — it supports all types of 5G connectivity including sub-6 and mmWave, both supported by Verizon. Depending on where you live, you may not be able to enjoy 5G just yet, but the iPhone 12 Pro will ensure you’re good to go when it reaches your area.

The iPhone 12 Pro runs on Apple’s most powerful chip yet, the A14 Bionic chip. It’ll handle whatever you throw at it with ease, from multitasking with the latest apps to mobile gaming. It’s a future-proof choice, too, as the chip should be good for three to four years before any slowing down is noticeable — and the phone is likely to receive new versions of iOS for the next four to five years, too.

The stunning Super Retina XDR display ensures colors are bright and images sharp, and the iPhone 12 Pro features Ceramic Shield, which Apple promises four times better drop performance — great if you’re worried about protecting that screen.

The camera’s worth mentioning, too. On board is a triple-lens rear camera with wide, ultrawide, and telephoto lenses. The new wide camera’s f/1.6 aperture captures up to 27% more light, improving the camera’s performance in Night Mode and low-light conditions. There’s also 10-bit HDR recording, and this is the first camera ever to record in Dolby Vision.

You can pick up the iPhone Pro 12 with 128GB of storage from Verizon for $33 a month (30 monthly payments) or buy it outright for $1,000. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, consider the iPhone 12 mini, which also offers 5G support.

Read our full Apple iPhone 12 Pro review

Best Android 5G Phone for Verizon: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best phone you can buy right now for those who prefer the Android ecosystem, with its high-end camera, huge display, long battery life, and 5G connectivity.

Who it’s for: Anyone looking for a top-of-the-range Android phone with 5G connectivity.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra:

It may be a considerable investment, but Samsung’s latest phone’s stunning display, excellent camera, and stylish new design ensure it’s well worth the price of entry if you’re looking for a phone with 5G service. The huge display ensures it’s perfect for gaming or watching your favorite shows.

The S21 Ultra is a bit of a beast, weighing in at 227 grams, so it’s most definitely a two-handed device. But it’s as powerful as you’d expect for the price, with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, 5,000 mAh battery, and 16GB of RAM.  The 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x screen supports a 3200 x 1440 pixel resolution at 120Hz — with an adaptive refresh rate depending on what you’re using your phone for. You can also adjust the refresh rate manually to save battery life — although the phone’s battery life is excellent, and you’ll easily get through a full day of even heavy use.

The camera spec may not be anything to write home about — a 108-megapixel camera, 12MP ultrawide, a 10MP 10 times periscope zoom, and a 10MP three times telephoto zoom — but Samsung has implemented these specs effectively, so expect the photos you take on the S21 Ultra to be some of the best you’ve seen on any Samsung Galaxy phone.

The S21 Ultra supports Samsung’s S Pen, great for sketching or note-taking on the go — although there’s no onboard storage for the S Pen.

This phone isn’t going to be for everyone. If you prefer your phones lightweight and easy to operate one-handed, the weight will be an issue, and there’s no microSD card slot to expand your storage. But for the price, you’re getting one of the best 5G phones available right now.

You can snap up the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra with 128GB of storage from Verizon for $40 a month (30 monthly payments) or buy it upfront starting at $1,200. If you prefer to pick up an unlocked handset, you can find it at Best Buy for $950 right now.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review

Best value 5G phone for Verizon: Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Why you should buy this: You can enjoy everything on offer in last year’s Galaxy S20, but for a more affordable price.

Who it’s for: Anybody on a budget looking for excellent specs and 5G connectivity.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G:

The S20 FE is everything you could want in a phone at this price. Its Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and 6GB of RAM ensure multitasking is a breeze, while the 6.5-inch AMOLED Infinity-O display with 120HZ refresh rate makes gaming on this phone a delight. All this and the Verizon model also supports super-fast mmWave 5G.

Expect colorful, crisp photos and excellent selfies from the phone’s camera offerings: A 12MP main lens, 8MP telephoto lens, 12MP ultrawide camera, and 32MP front-facing camera. It takes decent photos in low light, and although the camera offering is not quite as impressive as the S21 Ultra’s, it’s still impressive. You can even record 4K video at 60 frames per second, although the S20 FE doesn’t support recording video in 8K.

There’s 128GB of internal memory and a microSD card slot, so you can expand your storage to 1TB — something the new S21 range doesn’t offer. The 4,500mAH battery will easily see you through a day of heavy use with some life to spare, and wireless charging is supported, too.

If we had a criticism, it’s that the plastic back doesn’t feel quite as premium as glass, although this should actually ensure the phone withstands bumps and drops better — and you’ll probably pop a case on it anyway.

You can get the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G with 128GB of storage at a reduced price from Verizon right now for $10 a month (24 monthly payments) or buy it outright for $700. If you’d prefer an unlocked handset, you can get the S20 FE 5G for $550 at Best Buy right now. Either way, it beats shelling out the cash for the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G review

Best cheap 5G phone for Verizon: Google Pixel 4a 5G

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Why you should buy this: An awesome camera, specs to rival the Pixel 5, and a low price ensure this is a solid purchase for anybody looking for a cheap 5G phone.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants Google’s impressive camera offerings without the premium price tag.

Why we picked the Google Pixel 4a 5G:

It’s nothing flashy, but for those who prefer their phones with a simple, sleek design and excellent camera, the Google Pixel 4a 5G ticks all the boxes. It has more in common with the Pixel 5 than the 4a, with the 5G variant sporting a better processor, larger display, and an upgraded camera.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G processor should be able to handle multitasking and gaming with ease, and there’s 6GB of RAM plus 128GB of storage, enough to suit most people. The 3,885mAh battery should see you through a full day with juice to spare, and the phone’s adaptive mode reduces power to rarely-used apps, helping to conserve battery.

But it’s the impressive camera that really makes the Pixel 4a 5G stand out from the crowd, thanks to Google’s excellent camera software and digital enhancements. A 12.2MP dual-pixel camera, 16MP ultrawide lens — the same as the Pixel 5 — and 8MP front camera complete the lineup, with Night Sight ensuring shots are clear in low-light conditions.

Despite its commendable feature set, the Google Pixel 4a 5G is the cheapest 5G phone on our list; you can pick it up from Verizon for $5 a month (24 monthly payments), buy it outright for $600, or purchase an unlocked handset for $400 from Best Buy.

Read our full Google Pixel 4a 5G review

Best foldable 5G phone for Verizon: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G

Galaxy Z Fold 2 vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Why you should buy this: For those into foldables, this is the best around right now. It boasts two beautiful displays and excellent specs.

Who it’s for: Anybody looking for gorgeous good looks and top-end specs, plus all the benefits of a tablet and phone rolled into one.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G:

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G supports sub-6 and mmWave 5G. Those living in one of the 60+ cities supported by Verizon’s Ultra Wideband can take advantage of lightning-fast speeds — but fast 5G connectivity is still possible with Nationwide 5G, too, available in over 2,700 cities and currently on its way to more as we speak.

It’s the foldable display and two-tone matte glass and glossy metal design that ensures this phone stands out from the crowd. The stunning interior 7.2-inch AMOLED display with 120Hz refresh rate packs a punch and is just the ticket for multitasking and gaming, while the 6.2-inch AMOLED outer display is also excellent. Open an app, and it will snap between the two screens, which means you can start using an app on your outer screen and continue using it when you open the phone up.

Speaking of opening up, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G’s redesigned hinge improves on the Z Fold’s hinge in every way — it feels robust, is virtually silent, and allows you to set your screen angle however you want without it budging. It’s worth noting that this is a pretty heavy device, weighing in at 282 grams — so if you prefer using your phone one-handed, you might want to think twice.

Under the hood, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ processor, a whopping 12GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage. The Z Fold2 5G is designed for multitasking and can handle anything you throw at it. Add a 4,500mAh intelligent battery, and you’ll easily be able to make it through a day of even heavier use. It delivers solid photos and videos thanks to a 12MP main camera, 12MP telephoto lens, and 12MP ultrawide camera.

There’s no denying this the best foldable phone around right now — but the weight and expensive price tag might give you pause for thought.

The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G is available from Verizon for $67 a month (30 monthly payments) or you can buy it outright for $2,000. You can pick up an unlocked Z Fold2 5G for $1,750 at Best Buy.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Fold2 5G review 

Where can I get 5G with Verizon?

Verizon‘s nationwide sub-6 5G network is now available in over 2,700 cities, offering download speeds of around 200Mbps to 300Mbps. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of the 60+ cities where Verizon’s mmWave Ultra Wideband (UW) is available, then you’ll enjoy even faster download speeds of up to 2Gbps, although it’s worth noting that UW is only available in the most densely-populated areas of these cities. Verizon’s 5G coverage map should give you a good idea of where you’ll currently find 5G coverage.

If you live in the center of a major city, you should hopefully have access to Verizon 5G. The odds still aren’t very good for those living in rural areas where 4G LTE still dominates, although picking up one of the best 5G phones for Verizon is still a good idea if you’re looking to future-proof your device and capitalize on a 5G connection in the future.

You’ll also need a phone plan that includes 5G access, and Verizon offers a huge range of 5G plans. The most popular are the Unlimited plans, which start at $35 per line per month (for Nationwide 5G connectivity). If you want 5G Ultra Wideband, you’ll need to choose the Play More, Do More, or Get More Unlimited plans, which currently start at $45 per line per month.

Editors' Recommendations

Paula Beaton
Freelance tech and travel writer living in (somewhat) sunny Scotland. Gamer, tea addict, never without a good book.
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