As the fifth generation of mobile networks starts to grow and spread, you may be thinking about snagging a new smartphone that can take advantage. The jump from 4G to 5G offers some benefits, including major potential speed boosts, but before you buy a new device you should check up on coverage in your area; the 5G rollout is going to take some time to reach beyond major cities. We have a list of every 5G phone announced so far, but not all of them are available in the U.S., and of those that are, only a few are worth buying. These are the best 5G phones you can buy today.
Samsung Note 10 Plus 5G
With an enormous 6.8-inch screen packed into a stylish curved body, the Samsung Note 10 Plus is our favorite Android phone right now and one of the best smartphones you can buy. It may not be very original, but Samsung has stuffed every feature you could want into an elegant design that’s a joy to use. The enormous screen is vivid, sharp, and mesmerizing. There’s a Snapdragon 855 inside with 12 GB of RAM, and you get 256GB or 512GB of storage with room to expand by up to 1TB with a MicroSD card. The versatile camera takes great shots in a wide variety of settings and is adept at video capture. The 4,300mAh battery is enough to see you through a busy day and there’s support for wireless charging and very fast wired charging. All of that comes before we mention the S Pen accessory, which also doubles as a remote. Samsung also offers a number of handy software features to beef up the productivity potential of the Note 10 Plus. The stunning iridescent chrome of the Aura Glow finish is our pick of the color options. Read our Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus review for a really in-depth look at what this device is capable of.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
The first 5G Samsung phone to hit the market was the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and it’s very similar to the Note 10 Plus 5G. It boasts a gorgeous 6.7-inch display, a slightly more rounded design, and a horizontal, rather than vertical camera module on the back. Internally, it has the same Snapdragon 855, but with 8GB of RAM, which is still plenty for most people. The main camera is every bit as versatile, but the S10 5G also has a dual-lens front-facing camera, whereas the Note 10 Plus 5G has a single-lens selfie shooter. Other reasons to opt for the S10 5G include the headphone port and the slightly bigger, 4,500mAh battery. Both phones start from a frightening $1,300, so you’ll need to weigh up what matters to you to decide which one to opt for. If you prefer a slightly bigger screen, expandable storage, and the S Pen, then opt for the Note 10 Plus 5G, but if you want a headphone port and prize battery life, the S10 5G has the edge.
OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
Available for $840, the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G might be the best value of any 5G phone currently on the market. There’s a big, beautiful, 6.67-inch AMOLED display with a smooth 90Hz refresh rate. The Snapdragon 855 provides the muscle, backed by 6GB of RAM in the 128GB of storage version and 8GB or 12GB of RAM in the 256GB version. It has a very capable triple-lens camera and a pop-up selfie camera that allows virtually the entire front of the phone to be screen. Battery life is a little disappointing — there’s a capacity of 4,000mAh — but it does charge up fast. It lacks water resistance and wireless charging but at several hundred dollars less than Samsung’s flagships you’re unlikely to care. We tested the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G in the U.K. and found it very capable where 5G was available. In the U.S. you’ll have to go with Sprint to use the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G.
Here’s another option that won’t break the bank, though it also won’t come close to matching the stats of the first three phones on this list. The Moto Z4 is a midrange phone with a Snapdragon 675, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage. There is a 6.4-inch OLED screen, but it’s not as sharp, fluid, or impressive as our previous recommendation. It has a single-lens camera, though it is rated at 48 megapixels, which enables Motorola to combine images for better quality through pixel binning, producing a 12-megapixel image in the end. The 3,600mAh battery will see you through most days with change. The Moto Z4 is also relatively cheap at $500, but you also have to buy the 5G Moto Mod which usually costs $350 and is exclusive to Verizon. The mod doesn’t just bring 5G connectivity to the Moto Z4, it also contains an extra 2,000mAh of battery. You can find out more about this device in our Moto Z4 review.
LG V50 ThinQ 5G
There are a few reasons that you might consider LG’s first 5G phone, the V50 ThinQ. For a start, there’s a lovely, sharp 6.4-inch OLED screen, there’s also a Snapdragon 855 inside with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and there’s a 4,000mAh battery. The triple-lens camera is not the best, but it is fairly versatile and there’s a good dual-lens front-facing camera. LG has also found room for a headphone port, wireless charging, and water resistance on the spec sheet. The software isn’t great, it feels cluttered, and the design is not the most exciting. You can find out more in our LG V50 ThinQ 5G review. If you do buy the LG V50 ThinQ, the 5G support is only available on Verizon or Sprint, but they’re not interoperable, so if you buy on Verizon it will work on Verizon’s 5G network, but not Sprint’s and vice versa. You’re also looking at paying around $1,000 for this phone.
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