These are the Best 5G Phones you can buy in 2022
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 money can buy: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
- Best 5G phone between $1000 and $1,500: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Best 5G phone between $800 and $999: Apple iPhone 13
- Best 5G phone between $700 and $800: OnePlus 10 Pro
- Best 5G phone between $500 and $699: Google Pixel 6
- Best 5G phone under $500: Samsung Galaxy A53
- Best 5G phone under $300: OnePlus Nord N10
Best 5G foldable phone money can buy: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4
If you want the most capable and flashiest 5G phone, it’s got to be the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 right now. A mini tablet that can fold in half to become a pocketable form factor, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 is the most cutting-edge smartphone in the world right now.
This year Samsung added more durable build materials, improved ergonomics, and increased screen brightness, making it a very capable productivity machine. Some of us at XDA have used this device to do work, including writing articles for this website. Sure it will never beat working off a proper laptop, but it’s a heck lot easier to type/write and multi-task on the Z Fold 4 than on a typical slab phone.
But if you want this machine for fun, you can do so too. The Galaxy Z Fold 4 offers a 7.6-inch large screen with 120Hz that is ideal for gaming and video watching, and “Flex Mode,” aka the ability for the hinge to stay halfway folded, allows the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to sit in an L-shape, like a laptop. This means hands-free video calls or group selfies or time-lapses. The outside “Cover Screen” measure 6.2-inches, and while it’s a bit narrow, is still very usable and great for one-hand use as you’re out and about.
With a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 and a 4,400 mAh battery, the Galaxy Z Fold 4 can handle anything you throw at it, including marathon gaming sessions.
The Galaxy Z Fold 4 finally addresses one of the biggest drawbacks of previous Folds: cameras. The new model borrows the same camera hardware as Galaxy S22 Plus and together with improved image processing, it finally delivers a camera experience you can rely on. The new 50MP primary shooter is far better than the 12MP shooter of the Galaxy Z Fold 4 while the 10MP telephoto lens also delivers good results, though it’s still no match for the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s zoom camera.
Best 5G phone between $1,000 and $1,500: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is arguably the best slab phone in the world right now, In addition to top-notch network connectivity, you’re getting the best screen possible on a mobile device right now, a 6.8-inch Samsung AMOLED screen with an adaptive refresh rate that can max out at 120Hz, with the punchiest colors and 1,750 nits of maximum brightness. We are also fans of its Galaxy Note-inspired design.
The camera system is also the most versatile around: it’s headlined by a 108MP camera with a relatively large image sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP 10x Periscope zoom lens, and another 10MP 3x telephoto zoom lens. Having two zoom lenses gives the S22 Ultra the most versatile focal length range in smartphones today, and the main camera also captures punchy, bright, and vibrant images. The ultra-wide camera doesn’t reach the standards of the other cameras but nothing is of major concern.
With a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and a 5,000 mAh battery, the S21 Ultra is one of the longest-lasting phones around, able to go at least a full 12-hour of heavy use and much longer for casual users. The charging speed has also been bumped from 25W to 45W.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra also comes with a built-in S Pen for the first time in the S series, so you can sketch or jot down notes as you see fit.
There’s also Samsung DeX, which lets you connect the phone to an external monitor and use it like a “real” computer — provided you have a Bluetooth keyboard. All these features make the S21 Ultra one of the more productivity-driven slab phones on the market. If you want a 5G phone that checks all the boxes, it’s hard to top the S22 Ultra — unless you want your phone to fold.
Best 5G phone between $800 and $999: Apple iPhone 13
The standard iPhone 13 is about as good as it gets in this $800-$1,000 price range — and bonus points for sitting firmly at the low end of the range too. The iPhone 13 runs on the same processor — Apple A15 Bionic — as its bigger, more expensive siblings the Pro series, which means the iPhone 13’s processor is the best mobile processor on the market right now.
The iPhone 13 also has a capable dual-camera system with larger sensors compared to previous iPhones, so still photos have better light intake ability, as well as superior depth-of-field. The ultra-wide-angle camera is also among one of the best in the industry, without the noticeable color shift that you find in some Android phones. And the iPhone 13 also has the best-in-class video recording ability, capturing the most stable footage, with proper dynamic range and even the option to add semi-convincing artificial bokeh.
With a 6.1-inch OLED screen and tipping the scales at 174g, the iPhone 13 is also among one of the lightest and smallest phones around. And although many of us find the curvier design of previous iPhones slightly more comfortable to hold, there’s no denying the flat sides, hard angled design of the iPhone 13 has a professional, mature vibe. This is a phone that looks less like a gadget than a real machine.
And of course, you have to factor in software and eco-system when buying Apple. The iPhone 13 runs on iOS 15, a smooth and intuitive operating system that works seamlessly with other Apple products. For example, if you record a voice memo on your iPhone 13, you can find that same memo on your Mac (if you use one). Or you can easily send files to other iPhones or Apple devices via AirDrop. We also love that, if you log into wifi with one Apple device, all your other Apple devices will automatically know the password and log in without needing you to do the process again. It’s the little things that make the iPhone so popular around the world.
Also great between $800 and $999: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
If you know you don’t want to use an iPhone, then the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 is an excellent alternative option in this price range. The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is at once a throwback and a look at cutting-edge futuristic tech: it’s a 6.4-inch, ultra-thin slab smartphone that folds in half to become something much more compact.
Samsung’s made a bunch of improvements over previous Galaxy Z Flips — the folding screen feels sturdier and less plasticky than before, thanks to a new film material that covers the screen. Animations also appear ultra-fluid thanks to that 120Hz refresh rate. And the outside “Cover Display” has gained new tricks, allowing you to send quick replies to notifications and
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 is more durable than ever, packing Gorilla Glass Victus Plus on the casing, a 45% stronger main display, IPX8 water resistance, and an improved Aluminium Armor hinge. And we’re huge fans of “Flex Mode,” which allows the Galaxy Z Flip 4 to stay half folded at any angle, which means you can make hands-free video calls or selfies, along with a bunch of other possibilities. The upgraded dual 12MP camera system does a great job too, producing sharp and vibrant wide and ultra-wide images. And thanks to its foldable design, you can use these cameras to take selfies too. Of course, there is a more traditional 10MP selfie camera located on the main screen too.
Powered by a Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 is among one of the most powerful Android phones around. Whether it’s gaming or Netflix, productivity tasks, or social media, the Galaxy Z Flip 4 can handle anything you throw at it.
The Galaxy Z Flip 4 packs a 3,700mAh battery, a step up from a 3,300mAh cell on the Galaxy Z Flip 3. The charging speed has also been increased from 15W to 25W.
Between $700 and $800: OnePlus 10 Pro
If you want a phone that offers powerful performance and a QHD+ display for under $800, then the OnePlus 10 Pro is a good bet. It offers several specs that match the top-end Galaxy S22 Ultra, such as a 120Hz OLED screen, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, premium glass and aluminum construction, and a very good main camera with a large sensor.
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. And it lacks the crazy zoom lens of Samsung’s top dog phone. Still, for most people to whom the most important things about a phone are the screen, main camera, and processor, the OnePlus 10 Pro can absolutely keep up with anyone.
We are also a fan of OnePlus’ software skin, OxygenOS, which is clean and appears stock Android-like but with tons of customization options, as well as the various fun colors the phone comes in, like the Emerald Forest color seen in the photo above.
The 5,000 mAh battery is also large enough to power the phone for more than a day, and if you need to top up, OnePlus has one of the fastest charging tech around: a 65W charging brick is included with the phone, and it tops the phone from 0-100% in 29 minutes. This means even an eight-minute charge mid-day should add enough juice to the phone for overnight use.
Best 5G phone between $500 and $699: Google Pixel 6
At $599, the Google Pixel 6 takes this category easily. In fact, the Google Pixel 6 may be the best value phone on this market. Running on Google’s own SoC Tensor, with 8GB of RAM and a 6.4-inch 90Hz OLED screen, and a really good camera system, this is a phone with almost flagship hardware that delivers the definitive Android experience — exactly the way Google wants it.
The Pixel 6 can obviously connect to 5G but the big reason to get this phone, in addition to the software, is the camera. This 50MP camera can capture stunning photos thanks to its faster aperture and large image sensor, the latter allows the camera to take in more light naturally so it doesn’t have to resort to night mode as often, as well as produce natural-looking real bokeh in certain shots.
The 16MP ultra-wide doesn’t quite reach the same heights but is still a very capable lens, however, the field-of-view is narrower than most ultra-wide shooters on the market. Beyond hardware though, Google’s computational photography is what enables this phone to grab shots that punch way above its price class. One of our favorite features is Magic Eraser, which leverages Google’s machine learning to digitally remove unwanted people or elements from a photo. It doesn’t always work, but when it works, it really does seem like magic.
The Pixel 6 Pro’s 6.4-inch screen is also an ideal size in our opinion, as it’s not too large to be used by one hand. And the 4,614 mAh battery is quite large for a phone of this size, so expect all-day battery life, easily.
Best 5G phone under $500: Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
With a 120Hz OLED display, Exynos 1280 SoC, and a very capable main camera that can trade blows with the Galaxy S22, the Galaxy A53 is one of the best mid-tier phones released this year.
We love the bright pastel colors the phone comes in, and how good it feels in hand despite its plastic back. The 64MP, f/1.8 main camera, as mentioned earlier, is very capable, producing shots with proper dynamic range and punchy colors more often than not. The other lenses range from solid to mostly useless. The 12MP ultra-wide sits in the former camp, a capable shooter that produces shots with sweeping field-of-view, although details are a bit soft if you zoom in. The pair of 5MP sensors for depth and macro, however, are more decoration than real cameras, as they supposedly help with portrait and macro shots, but the results are mediocre. Still, considering the price of this phone, you’re still getting two very capable cameras, plus a 32MP selfie camera too.
The A53 also runs on Samsung’s One UI which is one of the more mature software skins around, with an excellent set of features and regular security updates.
And yes, the body is crafted out of mostly plastic, and the in-display fingerprint reader isn’t the fastest, but the tradeoffs are worth it to save a few hundred dollars — besides, most people use a case with their phones anyway.
The Galaxy A53 packs a large 5,000mAh battery with 25W fast charging. In all, this is one of the better value mid-rangers in the US.
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 LCD 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 because it uses pixel binning technology, you’re getting 16MP shots that pack a lot of details. But the 8MP ultra-wide camera can be hit or miss. Also serviceable is the 16MP camera which tends to blow out highlights if you’re shooting in sunny conditions but at this price range, you can’t expect too much.
A 4,300 mAh battery can power the phone all day with ease, and there’s a 30W fast charging brick that comes included with the phone. Then there’s the software, a fast and reliable OxygenOS that will serve basic usage needs without issues. The only gripe we have with the software is it lacks a one-hand mode. The OnePlus Nord N10 also packs stereo speakers so this is a fine movie-watching machine. For gaming, however, you will have to set realistic expectations because the processor is not powerful enough to run graphically intensive games at maximum settings — you’ll have to lower graphics settings to get proper performance.
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 4 and the Galaxy S22 Ultra — but I understand the price makes either a no-go for many people. For most people, I think the iPhone 13 or OnePlus 10 Pro are excellent purchases; you’re getting basically as good a smartphone as last year’s technology allows, at a reasonable price under four digits.