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When it was introduced, 5G was heralded as the savior of the wireless network offering blazing-fast speeds on your favorite mobile devices. Of course, new technology always takes a while to roll out to everyone, and the quality of 5G networks you have available can vary a lot depending on where you live. One thing is for sure, though, 5G is the future.

Getting a phone with 5G connectivity is valuable for those with access to a quality network right now and for people looking to future-proof their smartphone. Many of the best Android phones made today ship with 5G compatibility, both sub-6GHz (sub-6) and millimeter wave (mmWave), but it's not just flagships; some of the best budget Android phones can give you access to the best wireless network speeds as well.

Editors choice

9.25 / 10

Samsung has always impressed with its flagship Galaxy series, and this year's Galaxy S22 is no different. Yes, it's the smallest one. And, yes, it's the cheapest one, but that doesn't mean it's a slouch by any means, and when it comes to 5G capabilities, there's a lot to like.

Due to its support of a wide array of bands, the S22 can be used on any U.S. carrier with ease, supporting both sub6 and mmWave 5G. Plus, the dual-SIM tray makes it easy to travel internationally (or nationally) and ensures you have the best coverage. So whether you live in a city center or a bit outside, the Galaxy S22 should be able to take advantage of the 5G network you have close to you.

On top of that, you get a pretty stellar phone, too. With the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 that powers the S22 Ultra, you know you're getting all the power you need to blaze through your daily tasks. The great three-camera array on the back is more than capable of being the only smartphone you need in your pocket to take all your pictures and videos, too. Add in the fact that Samsung's window dressing on Android 12 (One UI 4.1) is finally at a place where it balances useful add-ons without distracting too much from what makes Android great, and you've got yourself a top-notch 5G smartphone. With the phone starting at $800, it's easy to see the value the Samsung Galaxy S22 brings to the table.

  • SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (US/Japan) Samsung Exynos 2200 (ROW)
  • Display: 6.1" 1080p OLED, 120Hz
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, expandable by microSD
  • Battery: 3700mAh
  • Operating System: Android 12 with One UI 4.1
  • Front camera: 10MP f/2.2
  • Rear cameras: 50MP f/1.8 primary; 10MP f/2.4 3x telephoto; 12MP f/2.2 120˚ ultra-wide
  • Dimensions: 146 x 70.6 x 7.6 mm
  • Colors: Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold, Graphite, Cream, Sky Blue, Violet
  • Weight: 167 g
  • Charging: 25W wired; 15W wireless
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Price: $699 USD
Buy This Product
Samsung Galaxy S22
Premium pick

9.00 / 10

For anyone dismayed at the news of Samsung's Galaxy Note lineup being discontinued, fear not; the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the remedy for what ails you. An extra-big screen, super-powered processor, larger battery, and an S pen are all inside Samsung's premium flagship device. Plus, with all the same sub6 and mmWave 5G compatibility as its little brother (our top choice), it's undoubtedly one of the most powerful 5G phones you can get your hands on west of the Atlantic.

The big 6.8-inch screen is hard not to love once you lay your eyes on it. With a variable refresh rate that can get up to 120Hz, content looks sharp and crisp, and animations look smooth as all get out. Plus, the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor hides underneath the screen and works pretty effortlessly to let you easily unlock your Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

While the Ultra's camera module may not look as sleek as some other phones, the four-camera array (108 MP f/1.8 primary, 12 MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 10 MP f/2.4 3x telephoto, 10 MP f/4.9 10x telephoto) offers a ton of versatility for anyone who loves shooting pics. You can also grab 8K video with a device that fits in your (rather large) pocket. Add in the fact you can take the training wheels off at any time and enter Pro shooting mode for more control, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra makes an impeccable camera phone.

What's more? The S22 Ultra also ties into Samsung's ever-expanding ecosystem, which may be your cup of tea. From the Galaxy Watch 5 to the several versions of Galaxy Buds to the ability to link your phone up to Windows 10 or 11, it could just be the icing on the cake that makes the Galaxy S22 Ultra worth it to you. Of course, all these premium features come at a cost since the cheapest one you'll be able to grab is $1,200.

  • SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • Display: 6.8-inch 1440 x 3088 AMOLED @ 120Hz (variable)
  • RAM: 8GB, 12GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Battery: 5,000mAh
  • Operating System: Android 12 with One UI 4.1
  • Front camera: 40MP f/2.2, 26mm
  • Rear cameras: 108 MP f/1.8 primary, 12 MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 10 MP f/2.4 3x telephoto, 10 MP f/4.9 10x telephoto,
  • Connectivity: 5G mmWave and sub6; Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e; Bluetooth 5.2
  • Dimensions: 163.3mm x 77.9mm x 8.9mm
  • Weight: 229 grams
  • Charging: 45W wired, 15W wireless (Qi)
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Price: Starting at $1,200
  • Micro SD card support: No
  • Stylus type: S Pen
Buy This Product
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Best value

9.00 / 10

OnePlus has somewhat strayed from its roots over the past few years, but thankfully, the OnePlus Nord N20 5G has changed all that. That's right, OnePlus released a fabulous budget phone that can perform all the essential functions just fine — and it's got 5G with one major caveat. You can only get 5G on your Nord N20 5G with T-Mobile, which is understandably a little annoying, but we still think true budget phone enthusiasts, the phone is still a delight.

It's powered by the Snapdragon 695, which may not have all the bells and whistles you see in many of today's flagships, but it still packs a fair punch. It moves through OxygenOS (Android 11) very smoothly and can handle most of your daily tasks. Even some older 3D games aren't too much of a problem; you might not be able to handle the hottest and newest titles.

While the display is capped at 60Hz, it is a 1080p OLED screen, meaning you get those vibrant colors and pure blacks that OLED displays are known to produce. This likely helps the battery life, as in our review, we got 10 hours of screen-on time, which mean average use should net you a good full day of use and likely even more. Plus, the 33W fast charging makes it easy to stay charged once you do find your battery percentage trickling down.

At $300, you have to expect your fair share of compromises. The cameras will likely leave something to be desired for the true phone photographers out there. Still, if you're just posting some photos on your social media feeds and don't care for some of the finer details, you'll be able to get by with the camera array on the Nord N20 5G just fine.

  • SoC: Snapdragon 695
  • Display: 6.43" 1080x2400 (20:9) OLED 60Hz
  • RAM: 6GB RAM
  • Storage: 128GB, microSD expandable
  • Battery: 4500mAh
  • Operating System: Oxygen OS 11 (Android 11)
  • Front camera: 16MP f/2.4
  • Rear cameras: 64MP f/1.79 Primary, 2MP f/2.4 Macro, 2MP f/2.4 Monochrome
  • Connectivity: 5G (Sub-6GHz), LTE, Wi-Fi (dual-band, up to ac), Bluetooth 5.1, NFC
  • Dimensions: 159.9 x 73.2 x 7.5 mm, 173g
  • IP Rating: IP52
  • Price: From $300
Buy This Product
OnePlus Nord N20 5G

8.00 / 10

The Asus Zenfone 9 bucks the trend that every other smartphone manufacturer has been jumping on for years by offering a small phone that is perfectly pocketable and doesn't skimp on performance. You've got the power and capable Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 powering the Asus Zenfone 9, so you never have to worry about not being able to run the games you want to play. Plus, its use of Android is pretty great, with a ton of gesture controls that make zooming through the UI on the Zenfone 9 a breeze.

You might think a small phone like this would have battery issues, but the Asus Zenfone 9 has a surprisingly excellent battery life, despite the 4,300mAh battery. The 5.9-inch OLED display is gorgeous, offering vibrant colors and deep blacks like you'd expect, and provides up to 120Hz refresh rate to make everything look sharp and feel as smooth as possible.

Sub6 5G support is there, but carrier support for the Asus Zenfone 9 can be a little tricky if you're a U.S. customer. If you're on T-Mobile, you shouldn't run into any big issues, but it's missing some key bands for AT&T. It's Verizon customers that probably have short stick as LTE band 13 support isn't here. Overall, just be aware that Zenfone 9 may have a few quirks with your network, so be sure to check that out before you go through your purchase. Still, even with the carrier connectivity annoyances, the small form factor makes the Asus Zenfone 9 a unique and worthy offering in the flagship market.

  • SoC: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1
  • Display: 5.9" OLED, 2400 x 1080 (20:9) @ 120Hz
  • Battery: 4,300mAh
  • Ports: USB 2.0 (Type-C), 3.5mm audio
  • Operating System: ZenUI 9 w/ Android 12
  • Front camera: 12MP f/2.45 Sony IMX663
  • Rear cameras: 50MP f/1.9 Sony IMX766 w/ 6-axis stabilization,12MP f/2.2 Sony IMX363 ultrawide (113°)
  • Connectivity: 5G (Sub-6GHz), LTE (4G), HSPA (3G), Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC
  • Dimensions: 146.5 x 68.1 x 9.1 mm
  • Colors: Midnight Black, Moonlight White, Starry Blue, Sunset Red
  • Weight: 169 grams
  • Charging: 30W PD3.0 PPS w/ Quick Charge 4 Adapter
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Price: $700, $750, and $800
  • RAM and Storage: 8GB LPDDR5 RAM + 128GB UFS3.1 storage / 8GB+256GB / 16GB+256GB
  • Micro SD card support: No
Buy This Product
Asus Zenfone 9

8.50 / 10

Who says your 5G phone has to be boring? The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is the perfect phone for someone looking to get into the realm of foldables while still having that mmWave 5G compatibility. We can't say it's the absolute best on a single aspect compared to other flagship phones, but you better believe it's a fun phone to use and carry around.

Folded up, this little square of a phone has a 1.9-inch OLED cover display capable of showing notifications and other useful bits of information. Of course, this means carrying around the Galaxy Z Flip 4 in a pocket should be no problem. The magic starts as you unfold the phone to reveal the beautiful 6.7-inch 120Hz OLED display that's just as good as its non-folding Galaxy phones.

So what are the compromises? Well, the cameras are okay, considering its $1,000 starting price point. They lack any super fancy hardware but can still provide plenty of good shots for your social media feeds. Plus, the ability to take hands-free selfies is a nice touch for people who like capturing themselves in a moment. On top of that, the battery life isn't stellar, but it also isn't terrible. You'll likely get through your day (depending on how heavy you use it) with a bit left over, and charging up is crazy fast, making the smaller battery a bit easier to swallow.

  • SoC: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
  • Display: 6.7" 2640 x 1080 120Hz OLED primary, 1.9" 260 x 512 OLED cover display
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB
  • Battery: 3,700mAh
  • Ports: 1x USB Type-C
  • Operating System: Android 12L (OneUI 4.1.1)
  • Front camera: 10MP f/2.4 hole-punch camera (80˚ FoV, 1.22μm pixels)
  • Rear cameras: 12MP f/1.8 wide-angle (83˚ FoV, OIS, 1.8μm pixels), 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide (123˚ FoV, 1.12μm pixels)
  • Connectivity: 5G (inc mmWave), LTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC
  • Others: Single SIM, eSIM, wireless reverse charging/PowerShare, side-mounted capacitive FP sensor
  • Dimensions: 71.9 x 84.9 x 17.1mm folded (tapering to 15.9mm), 71.9 x 165.2 x 6.9mm unfolded, 187g
  • Colors: Bora Purple, Graphite, Pink Gold, Blue
  • IP Rating: IPX8
  • Price: Starting at $1,000
Buy This Product
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4

8.50 / 10

One of the draws of 5G technology is the ability to have blazing-fast download speeds anywhere you go, and what can use those ultra-fast speeds? Gaming — specifically online multiplayer gaming. With some amazing high-quality online mobile games out there, like League of Legends: Wild Rift and Apex Legends Mobile, it's tantalizing to play those titles anywhere you have your trusty 5G phone. If that sound like your dream, the ASUS ROG Phone 6 is worth your consideration.

Asus ROG Phone 6 is one of best gaming phones money can buy, and it's built to handle all the intensive tasks you can throw at it. Of course, the super-speedy Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset gives it the power and performance you need to take on your friend, and the massive 6.78" 1080p 165Hz display ensures that your gaming experience is as smooth, sharp, and crisp as possible.

Starting at $1,000, it's not a cheap phone and serves a more niche audience. The overall design screams gamer, and Asus has added some software specifically with gamers in mind, but all in all, it's still a very capable 5G phone. However, it's important to note that the Asus ROG Phone 6 won't work on Verizon and Sprint (now T-Mobile) networks because it doesn't have CDMA compatibility — likely not a significant issue outside the U.S. It also doesn't have mmWave support, so the absolute fastest speeds aren't quite achievable, but in our testing that hasn't stopped the ROG Phone 6 from streaming games over 5G really well.

  • SoC: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
  • Display: 6.78-inches 2448x1080 20.4:9 165Hz
  • Storage: 8GB/12GB LPDDR5
  • Battery: 6000mAh
  • Ports: 2 USB-C, dual nano-SIM, headphone jack
  • Operating System: Android 12
  • Camera (Rear, Front): 50MP+13MP+5MP (Rear), 12 MP (Front)
  • Connectivity: 2G/3G/4G/5G, WiFi 6e, Bluetooth 5.2, GPS, NFC
  • Display type: AMOLED
  • Price: From $1,000
Buy This Product
ASUS ROG Phone 6

8.50 / 10

If you want to go the Apple route, the iPhone 14 Pro is likely the 5G phone you'll want to buy due to its impressive feature set and great hardware. There's no denying that Apple's A16 Bionic chipset is just as speedy as you'd like it to be, and iOS 16 is probably the most customizable the iPhone software has ever been.

In the U.S., the iPhone 14 Pro supports a wide range of bands, meaning whether you have access to sub6 or mmWave in your area, the iPhone 14 Pro will give you the speed you desire. Outside the U.S., you'll only have sub6 5G compatibility, so keep that in mind. Moreover, the iPhone 14 Pro also has Emergency SOS via satellite, which can help you connect to emergency services via a satellite connection — nice if you often like to try and go off the grid.

Lastly, while the iPhone 14 Pro's Dynamic Island may have the silliest name for a notch we've ever heard, it has some pretty cool functionality that gives it the substance to back up the flash. Apple and third-party developers alike are just starting to crack open to the potential for the Dynamic Island, and it's low-key an exciting time to be an iPhone user.

Please note: Apple is having difficulty keeping stock of the iPhone 14 Pro at retailers due to protests and other ongoing supply chain issues in China. In a recent report, the Apple supplier Foxconn stated that the shortage should be coming to an end sometime in early 2023.

  • SoC: Apple A16 Bionic
  • Display: 6.1‑inch OLED display
  • RAM: 6GB of RAM
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Ports: Lightning
  • Operating System: iOS 16
  • Front camera: TrueDepth Camera: 12MP ƒ/1.9 aperture
  • Rear cameras: Main: 48MP ƒ/1.78 aperture; Ultrawide: 12MP ƒ/2.2 aperture; Telephoto: 12MP ƒ/1.78 aperture
  • Connectivity: 5G (sub6 and mmWave), 4G LTE, Wi-Fi-6,
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Price: From $1,000
Buy This Product
iPhone 14 Pro

9.00 / 10

While the Google Pixel 7 wasn't the most revolutionary phone of the year, its combination of performance, flagship features, and price make it an incredible value for anyone looking for a 5G phone.

On top of having access to the latest and greatest mobile networks, the Google Pixel 7 is a stellar daily driver. Though Google stuck with what made its predecessor — the Pixel 6 — a big hit, the company improved the phone in many ways. The new design has an excellent sleek look with a matte aluminum finish on the camera bar that blends nicely into the aesthetic of the entire device. Plus, the 6.3-inch 90Hz OLED display is gorgeous, and thanks to its ever-so-slight decrease in size, a lot more comfortable to hold in hand.

Looking inside the phone, the Pixel 7 offers a good amount of performance to make just about anyone happy. The 8GB of RAM inside can be paired with either 128 or 256GB of storage, and the new Google Tensor G2 provides a solid amount of power to the Pixel 7, making it suitable for gaming and productivity. Also, the battery life isn't too shabby either, even with a modest 4,355mAh capacity.

As for 5G compatibility, the Google Pixel 7 does support sub6 and mmWave, so in theory, the Pixel 7 can fully take advantage of whatever 5G network you have around you; however, there's been some connectivity issues. Reports of users having issues connecting to networks properly — particularly in less populated areas — have plagued the device since launch. Google has responded to the issue and provided software updates to help remedy the situation. Still, even with the 5G not working 100% correctly, it's hard not to appreciate the Google Pixel 7's advanced calling features. Call Screening, Hold for Me, and Direct My Call are some of the best call features any smartphone manufacturer has released in quite some time, and really demonstrate the power of Google's AI.

The cherry on top of this entire package is the price. Starting at only $599, you'll be hard-pressed to find a 5G phone that offers as much as the Google Pixel 7 while retaining a price point that isn't approaching four figures.

  • SoC: Google Tensor G2
  • Display: 6.3-inch FHD+ OLED, 90Hz
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128GB, 256GB
  • Battery: 4,355mAh
  • Ports: USB-C
  • Operating System: Android 13
  • Front camera: 10.8MP, f/2.2, 92.8° FoV
  • Rear cameras: 50MP wide (f/1.85), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2, 114° FoV)
  • Connectivity: 5G (sub6 / mmWave) Wi-Fi 6e, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2
  • Dimensions: 155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7mm
  • Weight: 197g
  • Charging: 20W wired, up to 20W wireless
  • IP Rating: IP68
  • Price: From $599 USD
Buy This Product
Google Pixel 7

What is the difference between sub6 and mmWave 5G?

5G is the overall term used to describe the latest evolution in cellular network technology. Much like 4G LTE that came before it, 5G operates on specific spectrums of band frequencies. These are separated into a few categories you'll often hear; sub-6 and mmWave.

The term sub-6 is rather straightforward, as it refers to band frequencies below 6 GHz — you may also hear this referred to as low-frequency or mid-frequency 5G. This type of 5G is a bit easier to access because it can penetrate easier through walls and other obstacles and cover a greater distance. This isn't the blazing-fast 5G you've likely heard a lot of hype about, but you can think of it as the foundation that 5G networks are built.

mmWave is the 5G you've likely been told will replace Wi-Fi (slightly hyperbolic) and have the entire world connecting like never before. While some of that is hype, the potential for mmWave is quite high. As you may have guessed, mmWave refers to band frequency over 24GHz. These are capable of incredible speeds and data transfer rates; however, their effective range is much shorter and less reliable than the sub-6. It's why most mmWave networks are in major cities or highly-populated areas; it's just really hard to spread across vast distances.

Should I buy a 5G smartphone?

It's a valid question because it's still an emerging technology in a lot of ways. The best reason to buy a 5G smartphone is if you have access to a reliable 5G network in your area because your new phone would let you use it. That could mean some enhanced speeds (if you happen to be in an area with mmWave) or just a much more reliable network.

So our first suggestion is to find out if there's 5G coverage in your area and what type of 5G is to help you make an informed decision.

If there's no coverage around you, maybe you don't care about having 5G on your new phone; however, consider that 5G is the future. With carriers building out their 5G networks more each month, your area may get 5G sometime sooner than you think. If you have a 5G phone, then, if you want, you'll be able to jump on that network if and when it becomes available. As you can see from our list, most of the best smartphones these days already have 5G compatibility to some degree, and many even have access to both sub-6 and mmWave.

The best 5G smartphone for you

Buying a 5G phone can be a little complicated as you try to find the best phone that works in your network and your area — it's a lot of steps, and that's why the Samsung Galaxy S22 tops our list. It's pretty much available everywhere since it's Samsung's most recent flagship, and it works with any network. So any 5G network you have access to, sub6 or mmWave, the Galaxy S22 takes much of the guesswork out of the questions surrounding 5G.

That goes doubly so for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, our premium pick because of its price tag. Regarding 5G performance, it's the same compatibility with U.S. networks that the stand S22 gets. The S22 Ultra has all those extra features that make it not only a great 5G phone, but one of the best Android phones you can buy right now.

Phones are ridiculously expensive these days, but you don't have to spend a ton of money to jump in on 5G — the OnePlus Nord N20 5G offer entry-level 5G to customers who value their bottom dollar. The biggest downside is it only works on T-Mobile's network. Still, we think bargain hunters will appreciate the overall performance and features of the OnePlus Nord N20 5G. It truly is a great phone and an incredible price.