These are the Best 5G Phones you can buy in October: Samsung, Apple, Google, and more!
Whatever your budget, there's a 5G phone for you
5G rollout continues to happen around the world, so if you’re buying a new phone, it might be worth picking one up that supports this fifth-generation network. Most of the phones in our Best Phones and Best Android phones list already support 5G – but you don’t have to spend flagship money to get that high-speed connectivity now. Here’s XDA’s guide to the best phone with 5G support.
Navigate this article:
- Best 5G foldable phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
- Best 5G phone between $1000 and $1,500: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Best 5G phone between $800 and $999: Apple iPhone 13
- Best 5G phone between $700 and $800: OnePlus 9
- Best 5G phone between $500 and $699: Apple iPhone 12 Mini
- Best 5G phone under $500: Google Pixel 5a 5G
- Best 5G phone under $450: Moto One 5G
- Best 5G phone under $300: OnePlus Nord N10
Best Foldable 5G phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
If you want the most capable and coolest 5G phone, it’s got to be the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 right now. A mini tablet that can fold in half to become a pocketable form factor, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 is the most cutting-edge smartphone in the world right now.
This year Samsung added more durable build material and IPX8 water resistance, as well as improved screen brightness and S-Pen support, making it a very capable productivity machine.
Best 5G phone between $1,000 and $1,500: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is arguably the best slab phone in the world right now, so it naturally takes this spot here too. In addition to top-notch connections, you’re getting the best screen possible on a mobile device right now, a Samsung AMOLED screen with an adaptive refresh rate that can max out at 120Hz, with the punchiest colors and 1,500 nits of maximum brightness. Throw in the Snapdragon 888 and a legit 10x optical zoom, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra is not just the best 5G phone right now, but the best non-foldable phone ever.
Best 5G phone between $800 and $999: Apple iPhone 13
If you want to spend between $800 and $1,000, then the standard iPhone 13 is about as good as it gets. It’s got the best mobile processor and video recording capabilities, and it’s no slouch in still photography either, since Apple improved the camera sensors for both its wide and ultra-wide shooters.
Factor in Apple’s unrivaled app and accessories eco-system, and this is a great option for most people.
Also great between $800 and $999: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
With a price under four digits, an official water resistance rating, and a much-improved screen, the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 is perhaps the first foldable phone with true mainstream appeal. And while the iPhone 12 is just a bit more polish all around, if you want a stylish device that will turn heads, or if you want something that fits into small shirt pockets, then the Z Flip 3 is a worthy alternative in this category.
Between $700 and $800: OnePlus 9
The OnePlus 9 packs specs almost as powerful as the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s — it’s got a Snapdragon 888, 120Hz OLED screen, a very good 48MP main camera, and premium glass and aluminum design. However, it lacks mmWave 5G bands so in the US it only supports T-Mobile and Verizon’s 5G Nationwide, but not AT&T’s.
Best 5G phone between $500 and $699: Apple iPhone 12 Mini
Since the iPhone 12 Mini has been replaced by the iPhone 13 Mini, it’s made the 12 Mini an even greater value since Apple slashed another $100 off its price. And while the 13 Mini is a better device than the 12 Mini, we don’t think the improvements are great enough to justify the extra $100. So at this price range, the iPhone 12 Mini is still the best price-to-performance ratio.
Best 5G phone under $500: Google Pixel 5a
The brand new Google Pixel 5a takes everything great about the Pixel 5 and improves it even more (larger battery, larger screen) while shaving a couple of hundred dollars off the price. So expect one of the best cameras around and clean, smooth software as Google intended.
However, the Pixel 5a in its current form can only support low band 5G from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. It doesn’t support higher-frequency mmWave, but for a phone at this price range, it’s not a major issue. The Pixel 5a at this price with its camera and software performance is worth it.
Best 5G phone under $450: Moto One 5G
Motorola re-entered the flagship phone scene in 2020 with the Motorola Edge+, but it isn’t leaving the mid-range affordable scene behind. The Moto One 5G is the cheapest 5G-ready phone sold in the U.S, and it’s got quite an impressive list of specs. You’re getting a 90Hz LCD with a dual hole-punch cutout for two selfie cameras, a large 5,000 mAh battery, 48MP main camera, and a Snapdragon 765G.
The cheaper AT&T model, just like the Velvet, doesn’t support high-band mmWave, but the Verizon model does, but it will almost certainly cost a bit more.
Best 5G phone under $300: OnePlus Nord N10
With a Snapdragon 690 and a plasticky body, no one’s going to confuse the OnePlus Nord N10 as a flagship phone; but it’s got the required modem for connectivity to 5G and still sports a rather lively 6.5 inch, 90Hz AMOLED display. And despite the older SoC, the phone still performs at a satisfactory level thanks to the super clean and smooth OxygenOS software.
For optics, the 64MP main camera gets the job done, but the 8MP ultra-wide camera can be hit or miss. But that 4,300 mAh battery can power the phone all day with ease.
Ultimately, if money is no object, my pick of the best 5G phones right now is a two-way tie between the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and the Galaxy S21 Ultra — but I understand the price makes either a no-go for many people. For most people, I think the iPhone 13 or OnePlus 9 are excellent purchases; you’re getting basically as good a smartphone as last year’s technology allows, at a reasonable price under four digits. Of course, if you’re on a tighter budget, then the Google Pixel 5a is a good choice as well.