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5G networks are popping up all over the map, with the likes of China, Europe, the US, and other regions offering the next-generation cellular standard. If faster cellular speeds are what you’re after, getting a 5G phone is something to consider.

Fortunately, we’ve done the legwork to bring you a list of the best 5G phones. The good news? We had to sift through loads of devices, showing us just how far 5G has come in a short period of time.

It’s also worth noting that 5G devices aren’t just for 5G networks, as they’ll work just fine on today’s LTE 4G networks too. This is ideal if your local carrier has announced plans for 5G but the actual launch is still months away.

What is 5G, anyway?

Before we show you the best 5G phones you can currently get, let’s talk about what is 5G technology. 5G is the next step in cellular connectivity, in the same way that 4G followed 3G. This mobile connectivity standard delivers faster downloads than 4G LTE, although top speeds vary with the specific 5G technology used — more on this later.

5G also enables lower latency, which should be ideal for activities like VoIP calls, video conferencing, and online gaming. Essentially any real-time activity where lag can be a big problem.

Finally, 5G networks also bring reduced congestion compared to 4G. This means you shouldn’t have as much trouble holding a connection at concert venues, stadiums, and other places with a ton of people.

A lot of carriers in Africa, China, Europe, Korea, the Middle East, and the US offer 5G right now. India is one of the biggest markets without 5G right now, but hopefully the standard launches soon there as well.

This is just a brief overview of what 5G is. To learn more about the technology, check out our “What is 5G and what can we expect from it?” post at the link.

Is 5G safe?

We’ve seen several alleged 5G dangers in recent years, with one persistent claim being that 5G causes cancer. These claims have been doing the rounds with 2G, 3G, and 4G as well. Nevertheless, the evidence right now generally points to this not being the case

Another popular conspiracy theory is that 5G is somehow responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply put, cellular radio waves don’t create viruses or weaken the immune system. So, please don’t burn down towers.

The 5G/coronavirus conspiracy theory also doesn’t hold water when the likes of India and Iran — two nations with loads of COVID-19 cases — don’t have 5G networks right now.

All signs point to 5G being safe, or just as safe as 4G and other technologies. The internet is full of nonsense myths when it comes to 5G tech, a lot of which our very own Gary Sims debunked in a video you can check out above.

mmWave versus sub-6Ghz: What’s the difference?

Qualcomm Snapdragon 5G badge

5G is divided into two standards, much like HSPA+ and LTE are two 4G standards. These two 5G standards are mmWave and sub-6GHz.

mmWave 5G is the faster of the two standards right now, with a 2021 OpenSignal survey noting that Verizon’s mmWave 5G network offers average download speeds of almost 700Mbps. But this standard is more unreliable than sub-6Ghz and legacy 4G, making it suitable for much smaller pockets of coverage.

Meanwhile, sub-6Ghz 5G isn’t much faster than gigabit LTE. In fact, the aforementioned survey showed speeds varying from 238Mbps by Korea’s LG U+ all the way down to 47Mbps for T-Mobile in the US. Nevertheless, sub-6Ghz 5G offers blanket coverage much like legacy 4G tech, and you’re still benefiting from reduced network congestion and lower latency.

Best 5G phones:

Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best 5G phones regularly as new devices launch or are announced.


1. Samsung Galaxy S21 series

Samsung’s flagship phones have generally enjoyed plenty of features and widespread availability, and this rings true in the 5G phone era too. The Galaxy S21 series also enjoyed a $200 price cut across the board at launch, which means you’ll be spending $800 on the cheapest model compared to $1,000 in 2020. So what do you get for the cash?

The S21 series delivers 120Hz OLED screens, Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 processors, wireless charging, and IP68 water resistance. But the S21 Ultra is clearly the star of the show, it packs a QHD+ screen, a crazy rear camera setup (108MP main, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP 5X periscope, 10MP 2X telephoto), and a 5,000mAh battery. It even includes S Pen support.

Our verdict: Samsung Galaxy S21 review — Strength in value

Otherwise, the S21 and S21 Plus have to settle for FHD+ displays and the same rear cameras seen on their predecessors (12MP main, 64MP hybrid zoom, 12MP ultra-wide). The base S21 also tops out at a 4,000mAh battery and uses a plastic back, while the S21 Plus offers a 4,800mAh battery (but retains a glass back). Either way, you’re still getting powerful, feature-packed devices that are among the best 5G phones around.

Unfortunately, none of the S21 series phones offer microSD support. So you’ll need to choose your desired storage variant wisely. Really need a microSD card slot? Then we’d recommend the Galaxy S20 FE, which offers a slightly older flagship chipset but brings storage expansion and a proper telephoto camera.


Samsung Galaxy S21 specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, FHD+
  • Chipset: SD 888 / Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 64, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, FHD+
  • Chipset: SD 888 / Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 64, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,800mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.9-inch, Quad HD+
  • Chipset: SD 888 / Exynos 2100
  • RAM: 8/12/16GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 12, 10, and 10MP
  • Front camera: 40MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: SD 865 / Exynos 990
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 8MP
  • Front camera: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 10

2. Asus ROG Phone 5

Asus ROG Phone 5 product shot of the rear of the phone from the left side
Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

The Asus ROG Phone 5 ticks plenty of boxes for a flagship in 2021, such as the Snapdragon 888 SoC, a 144Hz OLED screen, and a 6,000mAh battery with 65W charging. Other notable features include a triple rear camera system (64MP main, 13MP ultra-wide, 5MP macro) and a 3.5mm port. Some variants even feature a secondary rear screen, although it’s less useful than the Mi 11 Ultra’s secondary rear display.

Asus’ phone is a gaming-focused offering though, and that’s why we see two capacitive shoulder triggers, two rear touch sensors (on more expensive variants), Game Genie UI overlay, and several optional first-party accessories. Sure, you can play games on other Snapdragon 888 phones, but the extra inputs in particular are always welcomed.

The ROG Phone 5 is currently available on Amazon for around ~$700, making it a pretty good deal for a Snapdragon 888-powered gaming flagship.


Asus ROG Phone 5 specs:

  • Display: 6.78-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8/12/16/18GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 64, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 24MP
  • Battery: 6,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

3. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Want a 5G phone but want to go all-in on the S Pen experience? Then Samsung’s 2020 Note device is for you. More specifically, we’d advise people to get the Note 20 Ultra over the regular Note 20, although that $1,300 price tag is pretty steep.

The Ultra model offers a 120Hz QHD+ screen, microSD expansion, a glass back, a 108MP main camera, and a 12MP 5x periscope zoom shooter. Meanwhile, the regular Note 20 packs a 60Hz FHD+ screen, no storage expansion, a “glasstic” plastic back, a 12MP main camera, and a 64MP camera for 3x hybrid zoom.

Our thoughts: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra long-term review — The good and bad six months later

Samsung’s Ultra model also serves up an Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865 processor, 12GB of RAM, and a 4,500mAh battery. Otherwise, typical Samsung features like wireless charging, water resistance, and 8K recording are present across both phones. The Note 20 Ultra also offers both mmWave and sub-6Ghz 5G in one device.


Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.9-inch, QHD+
  • Chipset: SD 865 / Exynos 990
  • RAM: 12GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 108, 12, and 12MP
  • Front camera: 10MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 10

4. Xiaomi Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra

The Mi 11 and Mi 11 Ultra are Xiaomi’s latest mainline flagship phones, and the two devices are starkly different propositions. They both share a QHD+ 120Hz OLED screen, Snapdragon 888 SoC, and sub-6GHz 5G capabilities (no mmWave here), but that’s about where the similarities end.

Expect to pay a steep €1,200 for the Ultra model, and your cash gets you an IP68 rating, 67W wired and wireless charging, a huge battery, and an impressive rear camera setup (50MP main, 48MP ultra-wide, 48MP 5X periscope). You also get a tiny secondary screen on the back for selfies. 

Xiaomi’s standard flagship is still a good proposition at €749, featuring 55W wired charging, 50W wireless top-ups, a 4,600mAh battery, and a 108MP main shooter. But you miss out on the Ultra’s IP rating, faster charging, telephoto camera, and tiny rear screen.


Xiaomi Mi 11 specs:

  • Display: 6.81-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 108, 13, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,600mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra specs:

  • Display: 6.81-inch, Full HD+, 1.1-inch rear screen
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 256/512GB
  • Cameras: 50, 48, and 48MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Software: Android 11

5. OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro

The OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro are the latest OnePlus flagships, and they make for a pretty decent upgrade over last year’s OnePlus 8 family. The standard model targets the lower end of the flagship tier, while the Pro model is an unabashedly premium device.

Both phones share a Snapdragon 888 SoC, 120Hz OLED screen, a 4,500mAh battery with 65W wired charging, and the same main and ultra-wide cameras (48MP and 50MP respectively). And these are also the first phones developed in partnership with camera veteran Hasselblad.

More coverage: OnePlus 9 Pro review — Gunning for Apple and Samsung | OnePlus 9 review — Serious business, cheap suit

The Pro variant stands out by virtue of its IP68 rating across the board, 50W wireless charging, 3X telephoto camera, and QHD+ screen. Otherwise, the standard OnePlus 9 doesn’t have an official IP rating (unless you buy it via T-Mobile), offers 15W wireless charging (or no wireless charging in India), a 2MP monochrome sensor in place of the telephoto lens, and an FHD+ panel.

In terms of 5G support, both phones support sub-6GHz networks but the OnePlus 9 doesn’t appear to support mmWave connectivity. Meanwhile, the Pro model indeed offers mmWave for super-fast speeds.


OnePlus 9 specs:

  • Display: 6.55-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 50, and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

OnePlus 9 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, QHD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 888
  • RAM: 8/12GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 50, 8 and 2MP
  • Front camera: 16MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

6. Asus Zenfone 8

Asus has been churning out Zenfone flagships for a while now, but the Zenfone 8 might be its most exciting smartphone in a long time. Unlike previous devices, it opts for a compact design with a traditional rear camera setup instead of the flipping camera seen on previous models. 

The Zenfone 8 offers some great core specs otherwise, including a Snapdragon 888 SoC, 5.9-inch 120Hz OLED screen, 4,000mAh battery with 30W charging, water resistance, and a headphone port. The phone does lack a couple of features you might expect from a flagship in 2021, such as wireless charging and a telephoto camera.

Then again, you’re only spending $630 in the US. That’s significantly cheaper than devices like the Galaxy S21 and OnePlus 9. 


Asus Zenfone 8 specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, 4K
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 865
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 256GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP + 3D ToF
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Software: Android 10

7. Apple iPhone 12 series

The Cupertino company may have been late to the 5G party but it brought a variety of intriguing models to the table last year. Between the iPhone 12 Mini, standard iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Pro, and iPhone 12 Pro Max, it looks like there’s an option for everyone.

All the phones deliver OLED screens, water resistance, wireless charging, and Apple’s blazing-fast A14 processor. But fans of sensibly sized phones will be glad to see the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini make an appearance. In saying so, we found that the Mini variant suffered from subpar endurance compared to its stablemates and other Android phones. At least there’s also the standard iPhone 12 that’s still not quite on the large side.

What we thought: Apple iPhone 12 review — Awkwardly standard

Aside from offering bigger batteries, the Pro and Pro Max models also offer a triple rear camera setup compared to the iPhone 12 and 12 Mini’s dual rear cameras. So the Pro models might be worth considering if you value endurance and photography flexibility.

One thing you won’t find on these iPhones is a fingerprint scanner, as Apple is still reliant on Face ID. This isn’t exactly ideal in today’s world. 


Apple iPhone 12 Mini specs:

  • Display: 5.1-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: A14 Bionic
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 2,227mAh
  • Software: iOS 14

Apple iPhone 12 specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, 1170p
  • Chipset: A14 Bionic
  • RAM: 4GB
  • Storage: 64/128/256GB
  • Cameras: 12 and 12MP
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 2,815mAh
  • Software: iOS 14

Apple iPhone 12 Pro specs:

  • Display: 6.1-inch, 1170p
  • Chipset: A14 Bionic
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras: 12, 12, and 12MP + 3D ToF
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 2,815mAh
  • Software: iOS 14

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max specs:

  • Display: 6.7-inch, 1284p
  • Chipset: A14 Bionic
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128/256/512GB
  • Cameras:12, 12, and 12MP + 3D ToF
  • Front camera: 12MP
  • Battery: 3,687mAh
  • Software: iOS 14

8. Poco F3

Xiaomi’s Poco sub-brand has delivered a slew of value-focused handsets in 2020 and 2021, and the Poco F3 might just be the most impressive entry since the Poco F1. The F3’s big selling point might just be bang for buck, delivering a host of features for £349 (~$480).

The phone serves up a Snapdragon 870 SoC, which is essentially a mildly upgraded Snapdragon 865 Plus. But you also get a 6.67-inch 120Hz OLED screen, a 4,520mAh battery with 33W wired charging, an IP53 rating, and a solid if unspectacular triple rear camera (48MP main, 8MP ultra-wide, 5MP telemacro). If it all looks familiar, that’s because the Poco F3 is a rebranded version of the Redmi K40.

There is one major downside to the phone though, and that’s the software experience. Our own C Scott Brown said the skin needs serious improvements owing to a variety of bugs. It’s a pity because we’ve previously reviewed Xiaomi phones where the software was actually great. You’re also not getting mmWave connectivity, but sub-6GHz is here anyway. In other words, it’s not the best 5G phone on the list, but it certainly brings plenty of value for money.


Poco F3 specs:

  • Display: 6.67-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 870
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 48, 8, and 5MP
  • Front camera: 20MP
  • Battery: 4,520mAh
  • Software: Android 11

9. Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Another Samsung handset makes our list of best 5G phones, but we’re looking at a mid-ranger this time. The Galaxy A52 5G is one of the top picks if you want a well-rounded 5G device but don’t want to pay top dollar.

Our verdict: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G review — Scrappy, mid-range fighter

The A52 5G brings a couple of flagship-level features to the table, namely IP67 water resistance and a 120Hz OLED screen. But the core specs are pretty good too, featuring a Snapdragon 750G chipset, 128GB to 256GB of expandable storage, and a 4,500mAh battery with 25W charging. Photography is handled by a 64MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide snapper, and a pair of 5MP sensors (depth and macro). Selfies and video calls are accomplished with a 32MP camera.

Samsung’s mid-ranger retails for $500, which isn’t the cheapest price on the list. But you can definitely do a lot worse than this, and the blow can be softened by contract pricing.


Samsung Galaxy A52 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.5-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 750G
  • RAM: 6/8GB
  • Storage: 128/256GB
  • Cameras: 64, 12, 5, and 5MP
  • Front cameras: 32MP
  • Battery: 4,500mAh
  • Software: Android 11

10. Google Pixel 5 and 4a 5G

The Google Pixel 5 joins the 5G party as well, but it isn’t taking the $1,000 flagship path. The company is using upper mid-range silicon instead of the pricier flagship silicon, coming in at $700 in the US and €629 in Europe. So what do you get for $100 less than 2019’s Pixel 4?

Aside from the mid-tier 5G processor, the Pixel 5 also sports a 90Hz OLED screen, a secondary ultra-wide rear camera instead of the Pixel 4’s secondary telephoto shooter, and premium extras like wireless charging and IP68 water/dust resistance. The firm is also bringing several camera-related features to the table, such as Night Sight in Portrait Mode and Cinematic Pan for smooth videos.

In terms of 5G capabilities, the US Pixel 5 gets both sub-6Ghz and mmWave capabilities. Meanwhile, the rest of the world only gets sub-6Ghz support.

Those on the hunt for a more affordable 5G Pixel should also look at the $500 Pixel 4a 5G. It offers the same processor and dual rear camera setup as the Pixel 5, but skips out on a high refresh rate, water resistance, and wireless charging.  


Google Pixel 5 specs:

  • Display: 6-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 4,080mAh
  • Software: Android 11

Google Pixel 4a 5G specs:

  • Display: 6.2-inch, Full HD+
  • Chipset: Snapdragon 765G
  • RAM: 6GB
  • Storage: 128GB
  • Cameras: 12.2 and 16MP
  • Front camera: 8MP
  • Battery: 3,885mAh
  • Software: Android 11

These are our picks for the best 5G phones you can buy now or will be able to soon, but there are plenty of other good devices that didn’t make the cut. Other phones we can recommend include the Samsung Galaxy A32 5G, Asus ROG Phone 5, Moto G 5G Plus, and the LG V60. We’ll be sure to update this post once new 5G phones hit the market.