Best 5G phones in 2021: The top-rated smartphones
- 17 Mar, 2021
Are you ready? The best 5G phones are here to take advantage of the country's 5G networks. 5G has become more real than ever with Apple and Samsung’s introduction of new 5G phones to the mix.
So, is now the right time to update your mobile to a 5G model? The answer is YES! You can enjoy improved connection stability and dramatically fast speeds, but only in areas where 5G is available. Further, our favorite 5G phones offer more than just speedy and quick downloads. They feature excellent cameras, large displays, and massive batteries. That's not a shock really, considering that many of these phones are literally the best phones available, only with 5G modems thrown in. So, it's really hard to pick which is the best for you and it all depends on how you want to use your 5G phone.
However, the price has become more of a consideration, as phone makers have started to offer 5G phones costing 800 AUD or less. These phones don't have any of the bells and whistles of premium phones, but they also won't put a dent in your wallet. Further, we expect prices on 5G phones to drop further this year as cheaper 5G-enabled chipsets are becoming more and more affordable.
So, let’s dive deep and have a deeper look at the best 5G phones in 2021!
iPhone 12 Pro Max
The iPhone 12 Pro Max does not only have the most 5G bands of any handset in the market but also enables you to enjoy those speeds for a long time, courtesy the phone's big battery. In the 5G web browsing battery test, the iPhone 12 Pro Max lasted nearly 11 hours. Apple's Smart Data mode will also help you save some battery by flipping between 5G and 4G when you're doing less demanding tasks (like streaming music with the screen off.) This is, without a doubt, the best 5G phone money can buy right now.
This big-screen phone also impresses in other ways, including its brilliant and immersive 6.7-inch OLED display ideal for video streaming and showing off the photos you take with the Pro Max’s stellar cameras. The main camera boasts large pixels offering an 87% increase in low-light performance, and you get a 2.5x telephoto zoom for getting closer to your object. Add in a tough ceramic shield display that can withstand drops, a seamless Mag Safe wireless charging system, and a superfast A14 Bionic chip, and you have a truly excellent and future-proof 5G phone.
- Immersive 6.7-inch display
- Superior performance
- Solid battery life
- Charger sold separately
- A bit heavy and bulky
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup is the first to use Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 888 system-on-chip, which ensures that each of the three new phones — the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, and Galaxy S21 Ultra — can work with 5G networks. However, experts prefer the Galaxy S21 Ultra not only because it costs less than the comparable S20 model, but also because it has a long battery life.
Further, the Galaxy S21 lasts nearly 11.5 hours, but that was with a 60Hz refresh rate. Turning on the setting that enables the phone to dynamically change its refresh rate consumes some power, but the S21 Ultra outlasted the average smartphone.
- Excellent 6.8-inch AMOLED display
- Great battery life
- S Pen support
- No charger in box
- Lacks microSD card slot
iPhone 12 Pro
Apple claims that the new iPhone models have more 5G bands than any other handset on the market. This enables the iPhone to operate 5G in the majority of areas, regardless of the form of 5G network. As a result, the iPhone 12 Pro should be able to take advantage of 5G in the future, making it an excellent choice if you're looking for a 5G handset.
However, iPhone 12 Pro's battery life suffers when it connects to the faster network. But Apple has included a range of other features such as a powerful A14 processor that outperforms any chipset found in an Android phone and a spectacular 6.1-inch OLED display, making it a convincing 5G phone. Further, it boasts features which makes it a steal deal, not just a phenomenal 5G device option. The phone's three rear cameras are supplemented by a LiDAR sensor, resulting in some of the best mobile images we've seen. And the phone's Mag Safe charging system also makes it easy to charge your iPhone 12 Pro's battery wirelessly.
- Extensive 5G support
- Best-in-class cameras
- A14 Bionic chip blows away other phones
- 5G puts a hit on battery life
- No charger included with the phone
OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8 Pro is an outstanding Android phone that costs 400 AUD less than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus. Unfortunately, OnePlus 8 Pro has less 5G features than some of its rivals. You can't purchase the phone from a particular wireless network because it's only available unlocked.
More importantly, the OnePlus 8 only works on sub-6Hz-based 5G networks. As a result, it would be unable to benefit from the speeds of mmWave-based 5G.
But, if your carrier supports the OnePlus 8 Pro, you'll get a phone with a vibrant and smooth 120Hz screen, excellent quad cameras, and a ridiculously fast charging speed, even when charging wirelessly.
- Bright and beautiful 120Hz display
- Very good quad cameras
- Super-fast wired and wireless charging
- No mmWave 5G support
If you don't want to spend too much money for a 5G handset, the iPhone 12 is a decent choice. It costs less than the iPhone 12 Pro, but you still get all of the features that make Apple's Pro model so appealing — a A14 Bionic processor, a 6.1-inch OLED screen, and 5G connectivity with just about any network.
As with iPhone 12 Pro, 5G puts strain on the iPhone 12's battery. When 5G was turned off 5G, there was a battery life increase by almost two hours. The iPhone 12 features a Smart Data Mode to intelligently switch between LTE and 5G depending on whether or not the device really needs the extra speed.
- Excellent design with 6.1-inch screen
- Great performance
- Just 64GB of storage in base model
- 5G impacts battery life
5G has huge potential, and over the next few years its capabilities will surpass anything that was possible with 4G. If you're willing to spend to truly get the best possible specs and experience in a 5G device, iPhone 12 Pro Max is your pick. But for those who don't need every bell and whistle under the sun, the other iPhones, OnePlus, and Samsung variants offer an excellent experience without costing you much.
Remember, when you are looking for a 5G phone, consider which wireless carrier will be providing your cell phone service. Different service providers are taking different approaches to their 5G rollouts so make sure to do your research.
We suggest you know your needs, and don't overpay for a device that does more than you need. So calm your FOMO and upgrade your device to 5G now!