The best 5G phones allow you to use the mobile internet at the fast speeds possible. Well, assuming you have access to a 5G signal of course. But with 5G infrastructure fast improving across the country, even you don't right now, you probably will soon.
With 3G networks shutting down over the next few years (opens in new tab), it's certainly the best choice if you need to upgrade. And with more and more manufacturers bringing out 5G phones, there's a lot to choose from, at a range of prices.
Below, we've gathered together the best 5G phones you can buy in the USA today. Meanwhile, to learn more about 5G, read our article What is 5G (opens in new tab). And if you're looking at 4G handsets too, don't miss our guide to the best camera phones (opens in new tab).
The best 5G phones 2023
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We'll start with the obvious choice, if money is not an issue. Samsung's latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, is hands down the best 5G phone you can buy right now.
Its telephoto unit manages a 10x zoom. And it's got beefed-up night capabilities thanks to its neural processor unit (NPU), which also allows it to capture 16-bit RAW files. While it's not much of a change in hardware terms from the S21 generation, Samsung's improved processing has made a real difference, and images on the S22 Ultra look fantastic.
Also, in a welcome upgrade, the S22 Ultra introduces S-Pen integration, meaning it behaves more like a member of the Note family than a phone. It's big, it's pricey, it's maybe over-specced for most users – but if you want the best 5G phone available right now, here it is. For more details, read our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review (opens in new tab).
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the best phone Apple has to offer today, and as you might expect, it supports 5G. It's an exceptionally large phone, big enough to give pause to anyone with smaller-than-average hands, but it packs in some seriously impressive tech, and lightning-fast 5G speeds.
The 13 Pro Max has a particularly dazzling rear camera array, with handy features such as the macro mode that kicks in automatically when you get close to a subject, and the Cinematic mode, which simulates large-sensor shallow depth of field, and even allows for focus adjustments after the image is captured.
Like Samsung's flagship, above, it's big and pricey. But it really is a superb smartphone that can do just about anything. For more details, see our Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max review (opens in new tab).
Google's Pixel 7 is expected this Fall, but if you can't wait that long, the Pixel 6 is still an utterly superb 5G smartphone, replete with sophisticated imaging tech and sublime image processing.
It's a real jump from the Pixel 5, especially when you view the images it captures side by side – details are sharper, and dynamic range is noticeably improved. With its big gorgeous display and sleek physical design, the Google Pixel 6 Pro really does impress across the board. It's got RAW capture, and the Android OS means there's no shortage of third-party camera apps to play around with. For more details, see our Google Pixel 6 Pro review (opens in new tab).
The Samsung S22 is significantly cheaper than the Samsung S22 Ultra, our number one pick. But while that means it's less well-specced, the differences aren't so great.
For example, you get the same 120Hz refresh rate, but 1300 nits of brightness to the Ultra's 1750. The battery's is a less impressive 3,700mAh to the Ultra's 5,000mAh. The triple lens camera's similar, but with the main sensor offering just 50MP to the Ultra's 108MP. So while these things make it a less powerful phone, if you're looking to save around $300 they may well be compromises you're willing to make. For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy S22 review. And if you want to delve even deeper, also read Samsung Galaxy S22 vs S22 Plus vs S22 Ultra.
If the phones we've covered so far are too rich for your blood, Samsung has a new phone (launched this March), which should be just up your street.
The Galaxy A53 5G benefits from a beautiful 6.5-inch AMOLED display, offering Full HD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and 800 nits of brightness. The camera setup's impressive too, based on a 64MP main sensor, with OIS and an f/1.8 aperture, along with a 12MP fixed-focus ultra-wide, 5MP depth sensor, and a 5MP fixed-focus macro.
All this, plus a premium super-thin design, represents excellent value. On the downside, we did find the interface a little laggy at times, so we wouldn't recommend it for gamers. For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review.
The latest phones don't always offer the best value. Older models often get considerably cheaper over time, and so if you can find one at the right price, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra could be exactly what you're looking for.
First released in January 2021, this camera phone features four rear cameras, including a 108MP f/1.8 main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera and two 10MP telephoto cameras – one with an f/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom and one with an f/4.9 aperture and a huge 10x optical zoom.
The Dynamic AMOLED 2X display features a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth scrolling and gaming experiences, HDR10+ support, 1500-nit peak brightness and a 1440 x 3200 resolution. Be aware, though, that it's pretty big, offering a 6.8" screen size that users with smaller hands might struggle with. For more details, see our Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review (opens in new tab).
The Motorola One 5G is a super affordable way to get your hands on one of the best 5G phones. Featuring a large 6.7-inch display and a fingerprint sensor mounted on the side, the Motorola One 5G also offers a good array of cameras, including a 48MP main wide angle camera and two front-facing cameras (at 16MP and 8MP respectively). While we wouldn't expect the Motorola One 5G to perform as well as other more expensive handsets, you simply can't argue with the price.
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