These are the best 5G phones you can buy right now in July 2021: 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.
Navigate this article:
- Best 5G foldable phone: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2
- Best 5G phone between $1000 and $1,500: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
- Best 5G phone between $800 and $999: Apple iPhone 12
- 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 4a 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 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.
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 12
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.
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
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.
Best 5G phone under $500: Google Pixel 4a 5G
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.
Also great 5G phone under $500: Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
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.
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, does not 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.
Also great at under $300: Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
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).
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.