These are the Best 5G Phones you can buy in August: Samsung, Apple, Google, and more!

These are the Best 5G Phones you can buy in August: 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.

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Best foldable 5G phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2

Even at almost a year old, the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is arguably the most cutting edge phone available worldwide right now. We’ve written plenty about this phone, so let’s keep it short here: the Galaxy Z Fold 2 is a foldable phone that can transform from a narrow tall candy-bar like smartphone into a a gorgeous 7.6-inch tablet with the flick of two wrists. It has all the 5G bands you’d need and despite the year-old internals, they still hold up very well today. With the Galaxy Z Fold 3 on the horizon, this phone may see a nice discount too.

    Galaxy Z Fold 2
    The most cutting edge phone 0f 2020 still keeps that title even in 2021. If money is no object and you need to have the very best that Samsung offers, look no further than the Galaxy Z Fold 2. We love it, and so will you!

Best 5G phone between $1,000 and $1,500: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

the Galaxy S21 Ultra is 5G ready

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.

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
    The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the ultimate overkill in the new 2021 flagship series, packing in a flagship SoC, a premium build, a great display, and an amazing camera setup, as well as all the extras expected on a premium flagship.

Best 5G phone between $800 and $999: Apple iPhone 12

iPhone 12 in blue

Apple released four new iPhones last year but the best one overall for most people is the standard iPhone 12. Starting at $799 at carriers and $829 unlocked, the iPhone 12 is objectively one of the better flagship values on the market, considering it packs a premium build quality, the best-in-class 5nm A14 Bionic SoC, and a very capable camera system.

It’s also one of the few phones to have support for every global 5G band, so you know you’re going to be well connected no matter which part of the world you’re in.

    Apple iPhone 12
    The iPhone 12 is Apple's first 5G device and it's a highly polished and powerful handset that should satisfy every need -- although XDA readers used to Android may find iOS a bit annoying to use.

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.

    OnePlus 9
    The OnePlus 9 is a $729 phone that punches above its weight class and can hold its own against $1,000 phones. It supports 5G networks from Verizon and T-Mobile, but not AT&T, however.

Best 5G phone between $500 and $699: Apple iPhone 12 Mini

I can grip my entire hand around the iPhone 12 Mini

The iPhone 12 Mini is about as good a value as an iPhone can get right now: you’re getting a 5nm SoC that’s more powerful than any chip from Qualcomm right now, a strong dual-camera system consisting of a 12MP main and ultra-wide, and all the usual iOS goodies that Apple fans swear by, like AirDrop, iCloud, instant connectivity with Apple’s ecosystem of products, etc. Even when considering that most XDA readers prefer Android, the iPhone 12 Mini is too good to leave off this list at its $699 price.

    Apple iPhone 12 Mini
    The iPhone 12 Mini is an Apple flagship, but in a petite size and a petite price. It supports 5G and comes in a really one-hand friendly package.

Best 5G phone under $500: Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google Pixel 4a

The Google Pixel 4a 5G is not just the Pixel 4a with a 5G modem in it. It also has a larger 6.2-inch display, larger battery (3,885 mAh to 3,140 mAh), stereo speakers, and of course, a newer Snapdragon 765G chip that supports 5G.

Please note there are two models of the Pixel 4a 5G in the US — the AT&T and T-Mobile model which doesn’t support mmWave high-band; and the Verizon version, which costs an extra $100, that supports all 5G bands.

If that sounds confusing, at least the rest of the package is simple and clean. With the Pixel 4a 5G, you’re getting Google’s vision of how Android should be, so everything, from UI to camera interface, is simple and clean. The camera of the Pixel 4a 5G is also identical to the Pixel 5, so you’re getting the best Google camera performance here.

    Google Pixel 4a 5G
    Want the purest version of Android with the best of Google's camera tech? The Pixel 4a 5G is the phone for you. The main version of Pixel 4a 5G supports low-and mid-band, while a Verizon-exclusive covers the full spectrum -- at a cost.

Also great 5G phone under $500: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

Samsung Galaxy A52 Awesome blue

With a 120Hz OLED display, Snapdragon 750G, and a very capable main camera that can trade blows with the Galaxy S21, the Galaxy A52 5G is one of the best value phones released this year. Yes, you’ll have to deal with more plastic than usual for Samsung devices, but the tradeoffs are worth it to save a few hundred dollars — besides, most people use a case with their phones anyway.

    Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
    The Galaxy A52 5G is one of the best budget Android phones you can buy right now, with a 120Hz screen, 5G connectivity, and Android 11.

Best 5G phone under $450: Moto One 5G

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, does not support high-band mmWave, but the Verizon model does, but it will almost certainly cost a bit more.

    Moto One 5G
    Motorola's latest brings 5G connectivity and high-refresh screen for under $500, making it the best value 5G phone in the US.

Best 5G phone under $300: OnePlus Nord N10

The OnePlus Nord N10 standing straight in an American backyard.

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.

    OnePlus Nord N10 5G
    The OnePlus Nord N10 5G is a budget 5G handset that offers long battery life and a good screen.

Also great at under $300: Samsung Galaxy A22 5G

Galaxy A22 (back)

The newest release on this list is also the most affordable 5G phone, at a starting price of €229 (around $277) in Europe. No availability has been announced outside of Europe yet, but it could hit stateside, and even if not, there’s always the importing option.

The Galaxy A22 5G offers a 6.6-inch screen with a 90Hz refresh rate — although this is the rare Samsung phone with an LCD panel instead of OLED; handling processing and connectivity is the MediaTek Dimensity 700, and you have a camera system that covers the wide and ultra-wide focal lengths (along with the usual depth and macro sensors).

    Galaxy A22 5G
    Samsung's Galaxy A22 5G offers a large battery and 5G connectivity at an affordable price.

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 2 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 12 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 4a 5G is also a worthy choice.

About author

Ben Sin
Ben Sin

I'm a senior editor at XDA Developers. I have been a journalist for a decade, the last five years covering the mobile tech scene closely, reviewing just about every phone and attending trade shows and launches. I also run a gadget review channel on YouTube.