Make the most of 5G networks with these beastly smartphones
All this hullabaloo around 5G is just unwarranted hype, isn’t it? Well, what do you think about 1Gbps of average download speeds and lag-free Internet no matter how many family members or office colleagues are connected to one Wi-Fi router?
But 5G isn’t just about blazing fast connectivity, it’s also about super-high capacity. This next gen network can hook up approximately a million connected devices per square kilometer. 4G can only do about 2,000 per square kilometer.
Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T have launched 5G networks in some regions across the US. China set up its 5G national network and started commercial operations in 2019. Service providers in Canada, the UK, Japan, New Zealand, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia and other nations are offering 5G on a limited scale.
There’s no stopping it anymore. 5G is a step up from 4G and the time is ripe for it whether you like it or not. Of course, it will take a few years before 5G heavily transforms the Internet of Things, AR and VR, the field of medicine, manufacturing and what not.
Meanwhile, talking strictly about mobile devices, there are a bunch of great options in 5G capable smartphones running Android, and four Apple iPhone variants for iOS enthusiasts. Here is the complete lowdown on devices to consider if you’re looking for a good 5G smartphone.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 – Foldable phone done right
Above everything else, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a huge novelty value. It’s a tablet-sized phone that can be folded into a phone-sized phone, so to speak. You can also fold it halfway and use it in a variety of different ways. In such cases, the bottom half of the display will act as a secondary interface.
The phone ships with two displays. The outer display, called the Cover Screen, is a tall, almost bezel-less 6.23-inch Super AMOLED panel, while the foldable panel is a 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 1768 x 2208 pixel resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. Any app that is open on the Cover Screen seamlessly adapts itself to the large screen when the phone is opened up.
Not surprisingly, the Snapdragon 865+ chipset goes inside it and you can purchase it with 12GB of RAM and 256 or 512GB of storage. A 4500mAh battery has been granted to the device, offering 25W fast charging support as well as wireless and reverse wireless charging support. It’s no surprise then that the device costs $2,000.
Lastly, it grabs a triple rear camera setup consisting of a regular, an ultra-wide and a telephoto camera, all bearing 12MP resolutions. Interestingly, both the outer and the inner displays have hole-punches that house 10MP cameras of their own, taking the tally of cameras to five. The best part is that the folding mechanism allows you to take selfies using the rear camera setup as well.
iPhone 12 5G – Pick from four variants
Apple makes solid, dependable smartphones which work smoothly with iOS. The user experience across iPhones is standard and not as fractured as it is when you move from one Android handset brand to another. This is one of the reasons why the company has managed to retain its loyal fan-base.
5G is only starting to spread its web worldwide. Hence it comes as no surprise that Apple didn’t feel the need to include 5G in its handsets until now. We’ve got four versions this year – the 5.4-inch iPhone 12 mini, the 6.1-inch iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, and the 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max.
All of them integrate the latest A14 Bionic chip with a 16-core Neural Engine that boasts of being able to perform 11 trillion operations per second. With regards to 5G, they can connect to low-, mid- and high-band 5G networks in order to work with most 5G networks across the world.
In terms of appearance, Apple has again embraced the good old utilitarian design of flat edges in this new series. It has brought in MagSafe wireless charging as an option and IP68 water- and dust-resistance. Also, the displays have been reinforced against accidental falls with Ceramic Shield tech courtesy of Corning.
The company used to put LED screens on the affordable variants each year. It has gone only with Super Retina XDR OLED displays this time, offering better viewing angles and deeper blacks. The Pro and Pro Max feature three 12MP main cameras, while the other two embed a pair of 12MP lenses. The selfie lens is a 12MP cam on all four models.
The iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini start from $799 and $699. They are being sold in 64GB, 128GB and 256GB options. The iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max prices begin at $999 and $1,099. They are available in configurations of 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB.
Google Pixel 4a with 5G – Priced under $500
The Google Pixel 4a with 5G is pegged at $499, though Verizon is flogging a white colored version of the device for $599. The latter is for those who want to surf the carrier’s limited coverage, ultra wideband 5G network.
Since Verizon deploys 5G using the mmWave band unlike T-Mobile or AT&T, this customized Google Pixel 4A 5G UW at $100 extra is more of a necessity than a choice. All versions of the new Pixel 4a sport a 6.2-inch 1080 x 2340p 60Hz screen with Gorilla Glass 3.
It has an octa-core Snapdragon 765G processor, 6GB RAM, 128GB storage and a 3885mAh battery. The main camera setup consists of a 12.2MP dual-pixel rear lens supported by a 16MP ultrawide angle lens and Google’s much-lauded camera software.
The phone has a 3.5mm earphone jack, unlike the Google Pixel 5 which was announced at the same time. BUT this handset is not for you if you’re looking for a water and dust resistant device. It’s expected to hit the US and other regions on November 19.
OnePlus 8 Pro – A solid flagship
With the 8 series, OnePlus continued its journey of moving away from its mid-range leanings into the premium space. Launched in April this year, the OnePlus 8 Pro adopts a Snapdragon 865 chipset and pairs it with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, depending on whether you buy the 128GB or 256GB storage option.
This exquisitely designed smartphone grants you the benefits of a 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED display with QHD+ resolution. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, this panel also grabs a 120Hz refresh rate and an HDR10+ rating.
The OnePlus 8 Pro boasts of a quad camera setup that includes a 48MP main camera, another 48MP ultra-wide camera, an 8MP telephoto camera, and a 5MP photochrome filter camera. There’s a 16MP front camera as well that sits inside the hole-punch of the display.
Another big highlight of the device is its 4510mAh battery that’s equipped with 30W fast charging support. It allows the phone to go from 0 to 50% in just 23 minutes. You also get fast wireless charging support and reverse wireless charging support, moreover. The phone can be bought at $899.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
There certainly isn’t a dearth of 5G phones from Samsung. The Note 20 range was unveiled this August by the company as part of its regular line of S Pen equipped devices. And we must say the device left us mighty impressed with its offerings, despite the fact that it asks for $1,299.
Just like the S20 Ultra, this one also comes equipped with a 108MP main camera that’s capable of delivering 100x digital zoom. There are two other cameras on board, with one offering ultra-wide support and the other aiding the phone’s staggering zooming capabilities.
Not surprisingly, a Snapdragon 865+ chipset can be found inside the phone and 12GB of RAM is standard for all storage models. The Note 20 Ultra has been blessed with a 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz refresh rate. A 10MP front camera sits inside its hole-punch.
There’s a non-Ultra version of the Galaxy Note 20 as well, which ditches the Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel for a slightly smaller Super AMOLED one. And it also has a different triple camera arrangement on its rear. Although, the processor at its heart is the same.
Motorola Edge+ – The surprise package
Earlier this year, Motorola returned to the flagship space with the launch of its Edge+ handset. It’s the company’s most powerful phone in years and also one of its most expensive yet, at $999. No prizes for guessing that the Snapdragon 865 chipset goes inside it, allowing it to latch on to speedy (but limited) mmWave 5G networks.
As much as it’s powerful under the hood, it’s equally beautiful on the outside. Its most striking aspect is its massive 6.7-inch display that stretches across the front surface and wraps around the edges at nearly 90 degrees around both sides. Motorola calls it the Endless Edge display and it’s enhanced by the fact that it has HDR10+ certification and a 90Hz refresh rate.
The company has augmented its software to make the most of the extra screen space along the edges. These knick-knacks can help in one-handed navigation, gaming, and much more. The Edge+ has also been blessed with stereo speakers tuned using technology from Waves.
And did we mention that this Motorola phone houses a 108MP triple camera setup? It can capture 6K videos as well. And you even get a 5000mAh battery. Lastly, despite being an expensive flagship, it also houses a headphone jack, which is quite uncommon these days.
LG Velvet – Transforms into dual screen device
The 6.8-inch P-OLED display on the front of the LG Velvet will grab your attention from the word go. Its edge-to-edge nature is designed to provide the full picture of whatever it is you’re watching on it, without any cropping or distortion.
Not only is this phone sleek, but it’s also an incredibly light device to hold. This cool design contributes a great deal to its premium feel. It’s not big in the processor department though – it has gone for the mid-range Snapdragon 765G. But that still grants it 5G capability nonetheless.
This helps the company price it competitively at $699, which is a big advantage against the other expensive devices on this list. With the LG Velvet, you get a triple rear camera setup consisting of a 48MP regular camera, a 5MP depth sensor, and an 8MP ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree field of view.
LG’s 3D Sound Engine technology makes its way into the device as well. It recognizes what you’re listening to and uses AI to apply the ideal settings to the phone’s stereo speakers to deliver a satisfying aural experience.
Selling point: Just like we saw with the LG G8X ThinQ and LG V60, you can enjoy the dual screen experience on the Velvet if you get a second screen for it which sells as an add-on accessory.
Samsung Galaxy S20+ – The all-encompassing premium smartphone
If you’re Samsung right now, you just cannot go wrong with your smartphones. The company has been delivering truly advanced flagships year after year and this year has been no different. If you’re on the lookout for a great all-round phone that also connects to 5G networks, the Galaxy S20+ is an excellent choice.
This model ships with a 6.7-inch QHD Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that’s arguably the best in the market right now. It’s also HDR10+ certified and boasts of a 120Hz refresh rate. You get four rear cameras in total. The main 12MP shooter gets a regular lens, a 64MP camera gets a telephoto lens enabling 30x digital zoom, while a 12MP camera gets an ultra-wide lens. And then there’s the 0.3MP TOF camera as well.
The Galaxy S20+ can capture 8K videos and it can also deliver super smooth video footage thanks to its Super Steady stabilization. The beautiful device that the Galaxy S20+ is runs on the Snapdragon 865 chipset and offers 12GB RAM as standard on all its storage models. This Samsung phone starts at $1,199.99.
In case you’re looking for a cheaper model, you also have the S20 variant costing $999. Its got a smaller sized display, a slightly smaller battery and ditches the TOF camera. And then there’s the top-end Galaxy S20 Ultra, which prides itself on its 108MP + 48MP + 12MP + TOF camera setup that can deliver 100x digital zoom. It also has a slightly larger display and costs $1,399.99.
Google Pixel 5 – For photography buffs out there
Anyone who has ever used a Pixel phone will keep raving about its camera. This isn’t without reason. Google has managed to use the same camera sensor for years on its devices and has still managed to give tough competition to other flagships thanks to its stunning image processing.
The Pixel 5 again uses the same main sensor as the one on the Pixel 2 from 2017. Yet you can rest assured that it will return excellent pictures in all lighting conditions. It also pairs its main shooter with a 16MP ultra-wide camera, which is a first for the company.
Google might have positioned the Pixel 5 as a flagship, but it’s got a lower price ($699) and weaker specs than other flagships in the market. That’s not to say it’s a slow phone. The Snapdragon 765G is still a 7nm octa-core beast with an Adreno 620 GPU. And there’s even 8GB of RAM for it to take advantage of.
There’s a 6-inch OLED display with FHD+ resolution and a 90Hz refresh rate on the front of this device. Also worth considering is the Pixel 4a 5G, which grabs the same internals and the same cameras but holds a slightly larger display that loses the 90Hz refresh rate. And it costs just $499.
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE – Premium features at a lower price
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) is a phone developed as a direct response to the pandemic, with an aim of making a premium phone available at an accessible price point. Priced at just $699, it retains most of the selling points of the company’s flagship range.
You get the same Snapdragon 865 chipset with its 5G capabilities and a 6.5-inch Super AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. There’s IP68 dust/water resistance on board as well, apart from a 32MP selfie camera lodged inside a hole-punch.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE ships with a triple rear cameras setup consisting of a 12MP main camera, an 8MP telephoto camera, and another 12MP ultra-wide camera. Unlike the flagship S20 range, there’s no 8K recording here though, but not many will be complaining about that, we guess.
A 4500mAh battery makes its way into the Galaxy S20 FE. At its $699, it poses tough competition to the newly launched Pixel 5.
It’s true that 5G is not as widely available as one would wish it to be. But global carriers are working hard to deploy it in mmWave or sub-6GHz bands across as many areas as possible. It will definitely be an option in many more regions than it currently is by the middle of 2021. So it makes perfect sense to invest in a 5G phone if you’re already on the lookout for a new device.