Our Top Picks for 5G Phones


Elite-level phones like the iPhone 13 series, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 range and the Google Pixel 6 naturally come with the latest superfast 5G data speeds — after all, that’s what you’re paying such high prices for. But it’s not just those expensive, premium phones that let you access these lightning-fast networks. There are plenty of budget-friendly options from Samsung, OnePlus and Motorola that offer 5G connectivity, and even Apple’s cheapest iPhone SE is 5G-enabled too. 

Though it won’t replace 4G in its entirety, 5G is the next generation of mobile connectivity. 5G works fast, and many industries can benefit from the upgraded network, including drones, self-driving cars and the internet of things. Its growth across the US, the UK and the wider world has been fast, but it’s still not everywhere quite yet, so make sure 5G coverage is available — or at least coming soon — in your area before you splash the cash on a 5G-enabled handset. 

Remember that a 5G phone will still work as normal on a 4G network (albeit at lower speeds), so don’t be afraid of buying a 5G phone like the S22 Ultra even if you’re not in a 5G zone. It’s good practice to future-proof yourself; you may not be in a 5G zone right now, but it may well be that 5G will come to your area in the three years or so you have your phone, so at least you’ll be ready to take advantage of it when it arrives. 

But with 5G handsets being offered by every major phone manufacturer now, it can be difficult to work out which is best for you. We’ve done some of the hard work and put together our list of our top 5G-enabled phones that you can go and buy right now. 

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Apple unveiled four iPhones last September, all of which are 5G phones. At the helm of the lineup is the iPhone 13 series, which starts at $729 and features the A15 Bionic processor and dual rear cameras. If you’re looking for something smaller and cheaper, the iPhone 13 Mini is your best pick for a 5G capable phone. And if you want something more premium, the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are decked out with more features.

Read our Apple iPhone 13 review.

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At $899, the Google Pixel 6 Pro undercuts rivals on price while including so much value. It comes with a flagship camera setup, new AI features, a crisp display and a distinctive design. If you only have $600 to spend, you get get the lower-end Pixel 6, which still sports the flagship cameras and a big screen.

Read our Pixel 6 Pro review.

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The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best phone Samsung makes right now, packing everything you’d expect from an elite flagship phone. It’s got a big, vibrant screen and an incredible rear camera setup (including a zoom lens unlike anything we’ve seen). It’s absolutely stuffed with power. This Android phone doesn’t come cheap, but it’s the 5G phone to go for if you’re looking for the best of the best in an Android handset.

Patrick Holland/CNET

The iPhone SE may be the cheapest phone Apple produces, but it still comes with superfast 5G. While it lacks the camera prowess of the much more expensive iPhone 13 Pro, it runs the latest iOS 15 software and uses the same processor found in the higher-end models, making it a great phone for everyday use and light gaming.

Read our iPhone SE (2022) review.

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Samsung’s new Galaxy A53 5G has a lot to offer for the price. With a spacious 6.5-inch display, a camera with cameras for wide, ultrawide and macro shots and long battery life, it’s easy to forget this phone costs just $450. That also makes it $50 cheaper than its predecessor, and Galaxy A53 5G is guaranteed to get at least four generations of Android updates. It supports all three flavors of 5G: sub-6GHz, C-band and millimeter-wave.

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Want to get in on the foldable craze? The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is the phone to get. It offers flagship performance, good cameras and a decent battery life — all crammed into a small package that looks really, really cool.

Read our Galaxy Z Flip 3 review.

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The OnePlus 10 Pro earned a good score in our review thanks to its slick design, its powerful performance and its price tag, which undercuts its main rivals. It needs a few improvements — most notably to the camera, which is good, but not great — but this flagship offers a great overall experience. If you’re after a top-end 5G phone that’s a bit different to your friends’ iPhones and Galaxy phones then it’s a solid option to consider.

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While the Xperia 5 III isn’t a particularly affordable phone, its compact design, excellent interface and great dual rear camera setup makes it a good option to consider — particularly if you’re familiar with Sony’s range of Alpha cameras. 

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The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) for $500 is one of the best stylus-equipped phones you can get right now, especially for the price. You get Android 12, 5G connectivity, a large 6.8-inch screen and a spacious 256GB of storage. Unfortunately, the phone is only promised one software update and three years of security updates, which is a much shorter timeline than the four years promised by Samsung for the Galaxy A53.

Yet if you want a stylus-equipped phone, the next step-up option is the substantially more expensive Galaxy S22 Ultra at $1,200.

Read our Moto G Stylus 5G review.

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OnePlus’s Nord range is sold exclusively in Europe, so people in the US will unfortunately have to look on envy at this great-performing, budget 5G phone. The Nord 2T has power enough for all your everyday essentials, handles gaming perfectly well, has a decent camera setup for the price and comes with extra features including 80W fast charging, a 90Hz refresh rate and, yes, 5G speeds. 

It’s a solid phone to consider if you’re looking for a flagship experience without spending top-end levels of cash. 

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Go to Publisher: CNET News
Author: Andrew Lanxon