Best 5G Phones of 2022

The “fifth generation” of wireless technology promises faster speeds, lower lag, and buttery-smooth connections over your cellular data plan. But to channel the power of 5G, you need a 5G-compatible phone.

So which one is best for you?

In this guide, we’ll run down the list of top 5G cell phones, highlighting how they work on 5G networks, what kind of extra features they come with, and which ones give you the most value for your money.

Which 5G phone is best?

The iPhone 13 is the best 5G phone out (so far). An improvement on the much-touted iPhone 12 that dropped in 2020, this beauty has a longer-lasting battery, an upgraded camera, and twice as much storage on the baseline model. And of course it supports the full spectrum of 5G connectivity.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is a pretty close contender, though. It deserves top billing for its multiband 5G compatibility, silky 120Hz display, and ultrafast Snapdragon 888 chipset that’s perfect for using multimedia tools and multitasking.

Best 5G phones

Best forModelStarting price*DisplayProcessorGet it
Best overalliPhone 13$829.006.1" Super Retina XDR OLED; 2532 x 1170 pixelsA15 BionicView on Amazon
Best cameraSamsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G$1,049.996.8" AMOLED; 3200 x 1440 pixelsSnapdragon 888View on Amazon
Best featuresOnePlus 9 Pro$719.996.7" AMOLED; 3216 x 1440 pixelsSnapdragon 888View on Amazon
Best budget optionSamsung Galaxy A42 5G$399.996.6" Super AMOLED;
720 x 1600
Snapdragon 750GView on Amazon

The phones here all give you lots of power when it comes to wireless data, promising faster speeds and lower latency over 5G networks. They also hook it up with powerful cameras, sleek designs, and sturdy screens.

Most of the 5G phones out right now are deluxe models, since 5G is in such early stages of development. But price-conscious 5G seekers do have options, including the fabulous Samsung Galaxy A42 5G—the best budget 5G phone you can buy.

Pro tip: Do you need a 5G phone right now?

Getting into 5G is a big investment. But 5G technology is still expanding nationwide, and there’s no need to jump in now when there will be more models to pick from in the coming months and years.

But if you rely heavily on your phone for work or play, these powerful and fast phones will really come in handy. And it’s worth investing in 5G now if you want to stay ahead of the tech curve.

Learn more about where 5G is at and how to get it.

iPhone 13

Best overall
iphone 13 pic

$829.00 (128 GB), $929.00 (256 GB), $1,129.00 (512 GB)

  • Display: 6.1″ Super Retina XDR OLED; 2532 x 1170 pixels
  • Weight: 6.14 oz.
  • Cameras: Dual 12MP wide and ultrawide, 12MP front-facing
  • Storage: 128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB
  • Processor: A15 Bionic

With its square-edged design, iPhone 13 looks a bit like a throwback to earlier iPhones. But everything is shiny, new, and innovative. It has a sturdy build with a water-resistant body and a ceramic shield for the display—making it resistant to cracks and other damage if it’s dropped.

The two 12-megapixel lenses on the base model aren’t quite as eye-popping as that of the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. But they capture images with incredible detail—and you’ll get movie-making quality if you upgrade to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. Apple’s A15 Bionic processor ensures peak performance even during maximum multitasking. And the battery is a big improvement, lasting two and a half hours longer than that of the iPhone 12.

Pros

  • Beautiful hi-res display
  • Versatile camera and video options

Cons

  • Higher price than iPhone 12

Pro tip:

Curious to know where you can find 5G? Take a look at our T-Mobile 5G page, covering the biggest 5G network nationwide so far.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

Best camera

$1,049.99 (128 GB)*

$1,499.99 (256 GB)*

$1,799.99 (512 GB)*

  • Display: 6.8″ AMOLED; 3200 x 1440 pixels
  • Weight: 8 oz.
  • Cameras: 12MP wide-angle; 12MP ultrawide; two 10MP telephoto lenses
  • Storage: 128 GB, 512 GB
  • Processor: Snapdragon 888

This superdeluxe phone delivers excellent performance and a whole range of ridiculously cool features—including the best superzoom camera you can get from a 5G phone.

The phone’s 3200 x 1440 pixel AMOLED display is lovely, bright and milky smooth when it comes to image quality and resolution. And it has four cameras on the rear, delivering full-bodied image quality with rich colors and great contrast. This lets you step further outside the bounds of selfie territory into truly beautiful photography.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G also has very long battery life and allows for 8K video recording.

Pros

  • Beautiful hi-res display
  • Versatile camera and video options

Cons

  • High price tag

OnePlus 9 Pro

Best features

$719.99 (128 GB)

$889.00 (256 GB)

  • Display: 6.7″ Fluid AMOLED, 3216 x 1440 pixels
  • Weight: 6.9 oz.
  • Cameras: 48MP wide, 50MP ultrawide, 8MP telephoto
  • Storage: 128 GB, 256 GB
  • Processor: Snapdragon 888

The OnePlus 9 Pro is slightly smaller than the OnePlus 8 Pro, but it’s still a whole lotta phone. It has all the deluxe goodies to justify the high price—including the formidable Snapdragon 888 processor, 48 megapixel Hasselblad cameras with no less than four lenses, and an efficient wireless charging function.

Image-wise, the display is something to behold, delivering a 120Hz refresh rate over 3216 x 1440 resolution, creating ballet-like fluidity as you watch movies and play games. It also has surprisingly solid onboard speakers, delivering more volume and definition than you’d expect from a smartphone.

Pros

  • Excellent screen resolution
  • Nifty wireless charger

Cons

  • Bulky size doesn’t fit well in hand

Samsung Galaxy A42 5G

Best budget option

$399.99*

  • Display: 6.6″ or 6.5″ Super AMOLED, 720 x 1600 pixels
  • Weight: 6.8 oz.
  • Cameras: 48 MP main, 8 MP ultrawide, 2MP depth
  • Storage: 128 GB
  • Processor: Snapdragon 750G

The Galaxy A42 5G is the middle bear out of a trio of equally excellent 5G phones that fall into Samsung’s affordable and reliable Galaxy A series. It has a nice, big screen and compatibility for all the 5G bands you need, including the much-touted C-band that’s expected to give phone users a massive speed boost on a wide scale in 2022. It’s also the only budget phone you can find capable of tapping into ultrafast, millimeter-wave types of 5G.

We’re a little bummed about the relatively low-res display, but the A42 does have an excellent, 48-megapixel camera and a powerful battery that will last throughout the day. All in all this is a solid budget-to-midrange phone that will give you full 5G capability for an affordable price.

Pros

  • Compatibility with all 5G bands
  • Long battery life

Cons

  • Low screen resolution

What is 5G?

5G is the fifth generation of wireless technology. A cutting-edge new communications standard, it incorporates advanced technology like millimeter waves and massive MIMO to vastly increase data speeds and streamline signaling between radio transmitters and your device.

You can expect to see faster speeds, lower latency (or lag), and more efficient networking communications as 5G networks grow nationwide over the next several years. 5G is still in its early stages, but it could lead to big steps forward in phones, home internet, and more.

If you have more questions about 5G, head on over to our 5G providers page for a more detailed look at what it’s all about.

Pro tip:

If you have more questions about 5G, head on over to our 5G providers page for a more detailed look at what it’s all about.

What to look for in a 5G phone

The main features to look for in a 5G phone are its compatibility with 5G bands, the quality of its camera, and whether its design fits well with your daily phone habits. You’ll also want to know the quality of the display and whether it has any other features that will be attractive to your needs.

Since these phones are so expensive (for now at least), make sure you’re getting exactly what you want when you’re investing in a new 5G phone.

Pro tip:

Not sure whether to jump into 5G or stick with your 4G phone? Take a look at our 4G vs. 5G guide to get the details on which will best meet your needs right now.

5G compatibility

The main reason you’re getting a 5G phone is so you can get on a 5G network, right? So obviously you want to make sure you’re getting all the 5G there is to get.

Unfortunately, buying a 5G phone doesn’t automatically guarantee you’ll get access to all the 5G bands that are available.

5G is currently split between these types: C-band, millimeter-wave bands and sub–6GHz bands.

C-band

Expected to make a big splash in 2022, C-band is a much-touted type of 5G that delivers extremely fast speeds over a relatively wide area. You don’t need a C-band phone right away, but it’s not a bad idea to invest in one now—especially if you’re on AT&T or Verizon’s networks, since they’re taking the lead in the C-band rollout.

Although 5G speeds have been somewhat middling lately, C-band is expected to give 5G a major boost. It’s capable of vastly improving the data speeds of 5G phones, but unlike millimeter-wave (which we discuss below), it also works over long ranges, requiring fewer cell towers. Cellular carriers in the US have spent billions to use C-band frequencies that fall between 3.7 to 3.98GHz, which have a range of anywhere from half a mile (in densely populated urban areas) to over six miles (in remote rural areas).

Many C-band frequencies will be dedicated solely to 5G cellular providers, clearing up the airwaves and making it possible to achieve data speeds well past 100 Mbps, far surpassing the capabilities of 4G.

Millimeter-wave bands

Millimeter-wave 5G promises ridiculously fast download speeds of 1,000 Mbps or faster and extremely low latency. But since millimeter-wave bands have such short range, this technology works only in urban areas and indoor sites like sports stadiums. And since these networks are still quite small and unavailable in most areas, many of the cheaper 5G phones won’t be outfitted to give you access to millimeter-wave 5G.

Sub–6GHz bands

These cover what is often called “low-band” and “mid-band” 5G. These are frequencies that give you faster speeds than 4G LTE, albeit speeds that aren’t radically faster (usually 50–100 Mbps).

Most 5G phones (even the cheaper ones) will support a range of sub–6GHz radio bands. However, when you’re shopping around, double-check to see what your phone can support so you can make sure it’s adaptable to what’s on your cell carrier’s 5G network.

Type in your zip code to see if there are any 5G wireless providers in your area:

Camera

It seems phone manufacturers are racing to put more and more cameras on their phones these days. The iPhone 13 has two cameras on the back, while the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G and OnePlus 8 Pro have four camera lenses.

But photo quality isn’t measured strictly by the number of cameras a phone has. Here are some key things you want in a good phone camera:

  • Wide aperture: This lets you capture images with greater depth of field.
  • Lots of megapixels: A higher number of megapixels collects more detail in an image, creating higher resolution.
  • Quality lenses: A good wide-angle “prime” lense gives you a richer image and is more durable in the long run.

Design and features

There’s a good chance you’ll pay top dollar for your new 5G phone—even the more budget and mid-range options can run into the hundreds. And as with any phone, make sure your 5G model strikes a nice balance between form and function.

The iPhone 12 and 13 are elegantly designed, whereas the OnePlus 9 Pro is a bit bulkier and may not be the best for a small-handed person. You also might want to watch out for any phones with curved screens (like the OnePlus 8), since it can lead to accidental bumps and distorted colors on the edge of the screen.

Our verdict

We say go for the iPhone 13 as your next 5G phone. This phone doesn’t skimp on the good stuff—you’ll get all the 5G capability you need in any market. And it’s generous when it comes to deluxe features, providing a powerful battery, classic design, and a sophisticated camera.

You also can’t go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. It not only hits all the right marks for 5G compatibility, but it also gives you a sturdy body and screen, a high-performance camera, a powerful processor, and an excellent design all around.

FAQ about 5G phones

What phones are 5G compatible?

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, iPhone 12, OnePlus 8 Pro, and Galaxy A71 5G  are all 5G-compatible phones. Major brands like Apple, Samsung, OnePlus, and Motorola all sell a range of other 5G phones as well, which will work on 5G networks in the United States.

Will 5G work on 4G phones?

5G will not work on a 4G phone. In order for a phone to tap into a 5G network, it has to be configured to work on a number of 5G radio bands.

Will 4G work on 5G phones?

4G will work on 5G phones because all 5G phones are backward-compatible with 4G technology. When you’re not on a 5G network, a 5G phone will automatically switch over to your cell carrier’s 4G LTE network. No fuss, no muss.

Sources

1. Sascha Segan, PC Mag, “What Is C-Band, and What Does It Mean for the Future of 5G?,” July 6, 2021. Accessed December 14, 2021.

Disclaimer

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product. HighSpeedInternet.com utilizes paid Amazon links.

CERTAIN CONTENT THAT APPEARS ON THIS SITE COMES FROM AMAZON. THIS CONTENT IS PROVIDED ‘AS IS’ AND IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE OR REMOVAL AT ANY TIME.

Author -

Peter Holslin has more than a decade of experience working as a writer and freelance journalist. He graduated with a BA in liberal arts and journalism from New York City’s The New School University in 2008 and went on to contribute to publications like Rolling Stone, VICE, BuzzFeed, and countless others. At HighSpeedInternet.com, he focuses on covering 5G, nerding out about frequency bands and virtual RAN, and producing reviews on emerging services like 5G home internet. He also writes about internet providers and packages, hotspots, VPNs, and Wi-Fi troubleshooting.

Editor - Cara Haynes

Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.