5G is now standard on US networks, with the expectation that every flagship will include support for 5G. We’re even now seeing affordable phones – some under $ 400 – support 5G technology, so access to these networks is no longer limited to $ 1,000.
Before deciding on a 5G phone, you need to know that there are several different ways to build 5G networks. At the end of this guide we explain 5G networks in the USA. You can find more tips on buying phones and how we make our recommendations here.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is the most innovative and arguably the best smartphone on the market. The design has been perfected by Samsung and there is very little missing from this new smartphone. It’s expensive at $ 2,000 but built to the best of specifications, great performance, and gives you a 5G phone and small tablet in a single device.
With 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM, 256 GB of internal storage, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus processor and impressive display technology, the Z Fold 2 is hard to beat.
Likewise: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G review
$ 1,800 on Amazon $ 1,800 on Best Buy $ 1,590 on eBay
Apple iPhone 12 Pro max
Apple surprised me with the introduction of 5G technology a year earlier than expected. By integrating Qualcomm modems, the latest iPhone 12 models connect via 5G with improved cellular reception even in 4G LTE networks.
In contrast to previous iPhones, the 12 Pro Max not only offers a larger display and a battery with a larger capacity than the 12 Pro. It also brings improvements to two rear cameras. So if you want the absolute best from Apple, you have to go for the bigger, more expensive iPhone.
The latest Apple A14 Bionic chip provides this great phone with all of the other features you’d expect from an iPhone, such as: B. a larger 6.7-inch OLED display, internal storage options with 128/256/512 GB, IP68 dust / water resistance and much more. The colors of the 12 Pro Max include silver, graphite, gold, and Pacific blue.
Likewise: Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max review
$ 1,099 on Amazon $ 1,100 on Best Buy $ 1,099 on Apple
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
The Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G was launched with the best specifications available. Unlike last year’s Note 10 Plus, it’s a recommended upgrade for Note lovers. Nothing is missing from this new note, with advanced S Pen Air actions, a cool frosted glass back panel, very powerful triple rear view cameras, and much more.
The S Pen improvements, 5G support, 120 Hz display, and improved cameras are good reasons for Note 10 owners to upgrade to the Note 20 Ultra. The device worked just fine, and once you’ve tried a 120Hz display it’s difficult to go back to 60Hz.
Likewise: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G review
$ 1,099 on Amazon $ 1,100 on Best Buy
OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro
OnePlus will have two phones with very similar internal specs in early 2021. The OnePlus 9 Pro supports 5G in the three available networks, while the OnePlus 9 is limited to the low-band spectrum. In addition to availability, T-Mobile sells these phones directly from OnePlus.
These two OnePlus devices come in cool color options and at prices that are below Samsung’s. OnePlus has reached parity with Samsung and surpassed it with its charging technology. So, if you want a flagship phone with no duplicate apps and ads, then you should consider a OnePlus phone.
Like Samsung, OnePlus has fantastic RF reception, so you’ll see great support from cellular carriers in the US. With its fast performance, adaptive refresh rate and much more, the OnePlus 9 Pro is great for working and playing.
$ 1,070 on Amazon
Samsung Galaxy S21 / S21 Plus / S21 Ultra 5G
Samsung released three models of the S21 with 5G integration across the product range in early 2021. Samsung has cut the price (compared to its 2020 version) by $ 200 on each phone, which makes the S21 phones very compelling.
The cameras have been upgraded while the phone comes with the latest and greatest specs and features that can be found on any smartphone. Samsung has proven that it offers the highest level of cellular coverage, and 5G takes that performance to the next level.
$ 1,185 on Amazon $ 1,200 on Best Buy
5G networks explained
In the US we have a low-band, mid-band, and high-band wavelength spectrum, with some carriers supporting multiple bands.
The High band spectrum consists of short waves that cover small areas with little ability to penetrate buildings or get through objects. However, it is the fastest network technology that Qualcomm is talking about the most as it uses Qualcomm mmWave modems to function.
These high-band networks are designed for cities or dense urban areas because they have greater bandwidth and limited range. Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband is a high-band spectrum network. AT&T and T-Mobile are also supporting mmWave in 2021, with T-Mobile focusing on low-band for nationwide coverage and mmWave focusing on dense urban areas. mmWave is most limited on phones. You will therefore need to confirm the presence of radios to support mmWave in the phone you plan to buy.
Mid-band spectrum Networks balance speed and range, but much of that bandwidth is already in use, so there are limited opportunities for growth. Sprint used the mid-band spectrum of 2.5 GHz. Now that Sprint is part of T-Mobile, customers can also take advantage of this spectrum.
T-Mobile is the lead attorney for that Low band spectrum and was the first to introduce it across the country. All major network operators support low-band 5G. If you see a phone with 5G on the box, the default network is low-band. The low-band network has a frequency of 600 MHz and is designed for extended coverage with penetration of buildings and obstacles. It’s not as fast as mmWave 5G, but recent tests show that you can expect faster speeds than LTE and a lot more range. During this time of the coronavirus, the low-band spectrum can be more useful with people working inside.