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To help you find the best 5G phones, we first identified the most important considerations to make during your research. We recommend purchasing a 5G phone with a premium design quality and added durability through water resistance and shatter-resistant displays. You should also look for a flagship 5G phone that features a powerful camera array and a fast-moving processor. That way, you’ll get a fully comprehensive phone that services all of your needs.
With these considerations in mind, we picked the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max as our top pick winner in the best 5G phones category. Keep reading to learn more about this powerful Apple iPhone and our other top picks for the best smartphone.
Award: TOP PICK
WHY WE LIKE IT: This is the latest offering from smartphone-powerhouse Apple, and it’s apparent how much has been improved over previous generations. An incredibly powerful A14 Bionic chipset powers the phone and its user-friendly software, comprehensive camera, and reliable 5G network capabilities.
When it comes to 5G phones, Apple doesn’t hold back. The Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max is the most powerful, largest, and highest-performing iPhone to date, which makes it the perfect choice for power users who are ready for 5G connectivity. For starters, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is designed to fit comfortably in your hand, even in spite of its large, 6.7-inch display. Of course, you may find one-handed use harder than usual with such a large size, but most business users will be using two hands anyway. The OLED display on the iPhone 12 Pro Max is brighter and more colorful than many of the other 5G smartphones available today, and it features an extra-durable Ceramic Shield glass that’s more resistant to drops and shattering.
Related: Check 27 best iPhone 5 retina wallpapers.
When it comes to performance, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is hard to beat. The iPhone 12 Pro Max features the snappy A14 Bionic processor, which is the fastest Apple processor yet. This chipset is paired with 6GB of RAM for even better overall performance. You’ll be able to multitask, game, and watch videos with ease, making it one of the best gaming phones on the list. You’ll also get much better battery life with the 12 Pro Max, even while using 5G network capabilities. Plus, the powerful smartphone features wireless charging via MagSafe accessories, which is a really nice touch. If you need the most reliable, comprehensive business mobile phone solution, you can’t go wrong with the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max.
Award: HONORABLE MENTION
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 5G phone offers the best of mobile technology with a gorgeous display, revolutionary camera, and extra-fast internal processor. The included S Pen also helps this phone come closer than ever to completely replace the need for any other device in your life.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra offers a ton of functionality and features for power users, casual users, and phone enthusiasts alike. For starters, it comes out of the gate with a beautiful 6.9-inch display that will certainly wow you the first time you power it on. This AMOLED display features a 3088 x 1440 pixel resolution and amazing 120Hz refresh rate, which makes scrolling and general operation smoother than anything you’ve experienced before. This is a curved display as well, which looks really sleek. However, be aware that the curved edges can sometimes lead to increased accidental screen taps, though not enough to detract from the overall quality.
Related: Discover some of the best cell phones for seniors.
The Note 20 Ultra doesn’t just feature an amazing display. You’ll also get a powerful Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, which is one of the fastest around in Android phones. You’ll also get either 128GB or 512GB of internal storage, with the option to expand up to 1TB with a microSD card. One of our favorite features of this phablet is the included S Pen stylus, a long-time staple of the Galaxy Note series. This best stylus mimics the feel of a pen on paper and improves efficiency in note-taking and navigation, making it the perfect addition for power users. You’ll also get next-gen camera technology with the Note 20 Ultra. It features a triple-lens array on the rear cameras with 108 megapixels of still image quality. The best feature on the camera, though, is the 50x super-resolution zoom, which allows you to take clear pictures from a long-distance away.
Award: BEST STREAMLINED USER INTERFACE
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for one of the best 5G Android phones, you’ll find it here. This simple, streamlined business smartphone is durable and offers smooth overall performance with an excellent camera to boot.
The Google Pixel 5 is the newest iteration of the popular and affordable Pixel flagship phone lineup. It improves upon a lot of previous generations’ downfalls, making it an excellent choice for smartphone enthusiasts and casual users alike. For starters, the Pixel 5 features a stripped-down user interface and version of the Android operating system. Without all the bloatware and extra software, the Google Pixel 5 smartphone offers a buttery-smooth experience, even for power users, and in spite of its somewhat lower-performing Snapdragon 765G processor. It’s also one of the best unlocked 5G phones on the market today.
To complement its simplified operating system, the Google Pixel 5 also offers a simplified form factor and design. This is perfect for customers who don’t want or need all of the extra fluff and pomp this is commonly present on modern flagship phones. The Pixel features extra durability with Gorilla Glass 6 and IP68 certification, which is nice for the added protection from accidents, like what you get with the best rugged smartphones. In other areas, the Google Pixel 5 also offers one of the best smartphone cameras and reverse wireless charging capabilities, so you can charge other devices using just your smartphone. Plus, the 5G phone includes a 90Hz display, which looks good no matter what you’re doing.
Award: BEST CAMERA ARRAY
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for a truly unique and cutting-edge camera experience, this is the smartphone for you. This option offers a whopping 108 megapixels of camera quality, an amazingly detailed and smooth display, and 5G coverage for even faster network performance.
There are no two ways about it, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra offers one of the most advanced cameras you can find on a smartphone. With a truly innovative 108-megapixel sensor, 10x lossless zoom functionality, and mind-blowing 100x digital zoom (dubbed as Space Zoom), the Galaxy S20 Ultra is hard to beat. It can shoot up to an incredible 8K resolution at 24fps for extremely detailed, bright, and colorful vlogging videos. However, it really shines when it comes to zoom capabilities. The S20 Ultra performs best with its 10x lossless zoom, but the Space Zoom can be a little harder to control since it will capture all of your natural hand movements. If you want to use Space Zoom, we recommend mounting your phone on a tripod.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra provides a wide variety of other advanced features and functionality that you should come to expect from flagship 5G smartphones. It features 128GB of internal storage with available upgrades if you need more storage. You’ll also get an incredible 120Hz display that looks absolutely stunning. Plus, with a large 5000 mAh battery, you’ll usually get long-lasting battery life. However, the S20 Ultra is packed full of extra features that can create inconsistent battery performance, depending on what features you have enabled. This phone is also durable with IP68 water and dust resistance, but it’s thicker and heavier than other 5G phones, so you may want to use it with a selfie stick or handheld gimbal for the most comfortable experience. It’s a great choice for anyone looking for the best selfie camera phones.
Award: BEST FOR POWER USERS
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 5G phone offers a more affordable option to get high-end functionality when compared to other options in this company’s premium handset lineup. With the included S Pen stylus, super-fast processor, and extra-large display, this phone was made with power users in mind.
In Samsung’s recent lineup of flagship phones, you’ll find an extra-wide variety of different options that carry the same model name but with a Plus or Ultra tacked on at the end. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is the base model of the Note series, but that doesn’t mean it holds back. It doesn’t offer all the bells and whistles of the Plus or Ultra models, but it still works incredibly well for power users at a much more affordable price. For starters, you’ll get one of the most powerful processors available on the market today, the Snapdragon 865 Plus, which makes the phone snappy and responsive. Plus the extra-large AMOLED display offers 2400 x 1080 pixel resolution. Unfortunately, it’s only a 60Hz display, which means it doesn’t look as smooth as the more premium versions. However, the display still looks great with bright colors and full HD resolution.
The Note 20 is designed well and still includes the incredibly handy S Pen stylus. With this additional tool, you can use this phablet to take notes and navigate more easily through the user interface, making it the best option for 5G smartphone power users. You’ll also get Samsung’s popular camera array, with triple lenses and excellent zoom functionality. With a 64MP telephoto lens, you’ll be able to take pictures from afar and get amazingly crisp results. The Note 20 comes with 128GB of internal storage, which is more than enough for most users. Unfortunately, you won’t get any expandable storage options with this phone. This phablet is also durable with IP68 water and dust resistance, a strong metal frame, and tough matte glass. It’s a great option if you’re looking for the best large screen phones with 5G capabilities.
Award: BEST DISPLAY
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 5G phone offers the best when it comes to display quality with its 120Hz, QHD+ touch screen. The phone is also snappy and responsive, and it functions really well on 5G networks for blazing-fast wireless and download speeds.
The OnePlus 8 Pro improves upon years of previous OnePlus flagship phones to present the most well put together and high performing phones to come from the company to date. The first thing you’ll notice when you unbox this powerful smartphone is how well it’s designed. The phone’s display is its best quality and it gives you a ton of shiny functionality to boast about. The QHD+ AMOLED display features a 3168 x 1440 pixel resolution and HDR10+ support, but really shines when it comes to how smooth it is. With 120Hz of motion handling, everything you do on the OnePlus 8 Pro looks buttery smooth, even action-packed video games.
This 5G phone also offers a high level of internal performance with its Snapdragon 865 chipset. It’s not as powerful as the Plus version of the same processor, but it gets the job done in a way that prevents stuttering and lagging. This is the first OnePlus phone to offer IP68 certification, and the added water resistance is a really nice touch if you’re looking for the best waterproof phone. You can charge this phone wireless and even use the device as a wireless charging pad for other phones due to its reverse wireless charging capabilities. The rear camera setup here is excellent, as well, although you might be disappointed by the lackluster zoom quality.
Award: BEST QUALITY
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you want the premium design of a flagship phone for your 5G phone, then this option is a great choice. With a high-quality Infinity display, 5G network compatibility, and ergonomic design, you’d be hard-pressed to find a smartphone with better quality than this.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is an affordable 5G phone that offers high-end functionality that works well for mobile gamers and casual users alike. For starters, the S20 Plus features a powerful Snapdragon 865 processor, which serves as the basis for its smooth and reliable performance. This is incredibly helpful for connecting to 5G networks and performing well on them. Plus, the processor helps power the phone’s other impressive features, like the quad-lens camera and user-friendly user interface.
As soon as you hold this Samsung 5G phone, you’ll notice just how high-quality it really is. The outer casing is made from premium materials and looks really sleek. This is a phone that will appeal to the broader customer base. The AMOLED screen features a nearly-bezel less design and an impressive 3120 x 1440 pixel resolution. The phone is also durable with IP68 water and dust resistance, as well as Gorilla Glass on the screen. It’s also one of the best phones for business on our list.
Award: BEST ON A BUDGET
WHY WE LIKE IT: If you’re looking for the best budget 5G phone, you’ll be impressed by this option. With a 90Hz refresh rate, extra-colorful display, and impressive overall performance, you get a good amount of functionality for a really affordable price.
The Motorola Edge brings extra-smooth performance to the table at an extra-affordable price, making it an excellent pick for budget-conscious smartphone enthusiasts. For starters, it features a respectable Snapdragon 765 processor. While this isn’t the fastest processor available on the market, it’s by no means the slowest. It does well for most people’s needs, and offers a good basis for the snappy user interface and other premium features the phone provides.
You’ll also get a variety of additional design features that many users will appreciate. The Motorola Edge features a bright and colorful 90Hz AMOLED display, which produces accurate image quality and smooth motion handling. You’ll also get a proprietary Moto GameTime software, which is a great additional feature that allows gamers to more easily adjust performance settings for a better gaming experience. The Edge also features a 3.5mm headphone jack so you can listen to the phone’s audio through your favorite pair of headphones. It’s great if you’re interested in the best phones for kids with 5G capabilities.
Award: BEST PHABLET DESIGN
WHY WE LIKE IT: A foldable design and massive display size are the two hallmarks of this incredibly innovative and unique 5G phone. However, it also offers more than just gimmicks with tablet-mode apps and impressive multitasking performance.
The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 is absolutely the most unique and innovative smartphone available today. As you can assume from the phone’s name, this is a foldable smartphone with a dual-display design that gives you nearly eight inches of screen size. This is the biggest 5G phone your money can buy, but be aware that you’ll be paying quite a bit for it. It also includes a third cover screen that you can use as you would with a normal-sized smartphone when the phone is folded up. With this unique foldable design and extra-large display size, this is closer to a tablet than an actual phone.
The good part about that is the fact that it also performs much like a tablet with its dual-screen technology. When the phone is completely open, the apps are displayed in tablet mode, which leads to larger working spaces and more features available at your fingertips without needing to dig around in the menus. You’ll also get enhanced multi-tasking functionality with side-by-side configuration. The Galaxy Z Fold 2 offers the latest in processing power with its Snapdragon 865 Plus processor, which means none of these enhanced functionalities will slow the phone down. There are some downsides to consider here, though, mainly the fact that the phone isn’t water-resistant. It’s also much heavier than other smartphones. However, these are small tradeoffs in order to get such cutting-edge functionality. You might also be interested in our best tablets buying guide for similar alternatives.
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Award: BEST VALUE
WHY WE LIKE IT: This 5G smartphone offers excellent overall performance for a mid-range offering, including fast overall performance and a premium design quality that’s hard to beat. Plus, you’ll get a beautiful 90Hz display and great camera performance.
The OnePlus Nord 5G smartphone lies squarely in the mid-range category. It’s not as powerful or expensive as the premium flagship options, but it provides a ton of functionality for its mid-range affordability. The first thing you’ll notice about the OnePlus Nord is its design. It mirrors the design you see in OnePlus’s flagship lineup, with some differences in the materials used. The phone is mostly plastic but features Gorilla Glass 3 on the front, which is nice to see from a durability standpoint. One of the biggest misses here is the lack of water resistance.
We were pleased with the overall performance of the OnePlus Nord. Its display is the biggest selling point. It’s bright and offers 90Hz of motion handling, so everything feels smooth as you’re scrolling through apps or playing mobile games. We were also impressed by the camera array. It features a quad-lens camera on the back that includes a unique monochrome lens for black and white photos specifically. The camera can record 4K videos and the overall UI is simple to use and learn. All in all, if you want to save a little money but still get premium functionality the OnePlus Nord is an excellent choice. Great if you’re looking for the best phones for vlogging on a budget.
When it came time to rank the best 5G phones, we had to determine which features were the most important. For starters, we looked at the reliability of each option’s connection to 5G networks. We only included the phones above if they were able to provide reliable 5G network speeds due to high-quality hardware components. We also preferred options that could easily fall back on LTE networks in case access to 5G became unavailable.
Next, we looked at the overall design and form factor of each phone we included in our guide. We preferred phones that paid special attention to design aesthetic and quality. Most flagship phones look really great, and this is especially true for the newest 5G options. We preferred phones with larger, brighter, and more colorful displays. We also scored phones higher if they included slim bezels and 4K display resolution.
Finally, we considered overall durability and battery life. Since 5G network connectivity can eat up your battery life, we ranked options higher if they included bigger batteries. We also ranked options higher that provided next-gen battery tech, like wireless charging, reverse wireless charging and fast charging options. We also preferred 5G phones with added durability features like IP68 water resistance and shatter-resistant screens.