The Best 5G Phones to Buy in 2021

Best 5G Phones to Buy: Phone carriers are rolling out their 5G networks. It will take years before 5G coverage is available everywhere, but this new network will deliver better speed and improved coverage. Now is the perfect time to invest in a flagship phone that supports 5G, even if you don’t necessarily buy a phone just for its 5G support. Think of it as future-proofing yourself.

We’ve been reviewing 5G phones since the start, and have spent countless hours testing all aspects of 5G phones — including their performance, display quality, battery life, and their connectivity to 5G networks. And, we’ve covered 5G as a whole, from the rollout of 5G networks, to the development of 5G mobile modems. Here are the best 5G phones available. Right now, the best 5G phone you can get is also the best overall smartphone: The iPhone 12 Pro.

Here are the best 5G-capable phones out there. Once you know which phone you want, you can check out the latest 5G phone deals for savings.

Best 5G smartphones at a glance

Best 5G phone overall: Apple iPhone 12 Pro

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Why you should buy this: The iPhone 12 Pro offers a beautiful display, stunning new design, and the 5G support you would expect from a phone that’s going to last for years to come.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants a high-end phone — unless they’re firmly in the Android ecosystem.

Why we picked the Apple iPhone 12 Pro:

The Apple iPhone 12 Pro represents a shift in design for the iPhone series, blending the much-loved iPhone 5 design with the edge-to-edge display found on iPhones since the iPhone X. Of course, it’s more than just pretty though — it offers the best performance you can get in a phone, with an awesome camera and a range of premium features.

But we’re here to discuss 5G, so 5G is what we’ll highlight first. The iPhone 12 Pro supports all the different kinds of 5G, from sub-6 through to mmWave. That sounds like technical jargon because, well, it is — but the upshot is the iPhone should be able to take advantage of 5G on every major U.S. network as they continue to be built up and developed. Even if you can’t really take advantage of 5G just yet, the iPhone 12 Pro means you’ll be ready when it’s available near you.

Like the previous-generation iPhone 11 Pro, the iPhone 12 Pro offers an OLED display that meets Apple’s “Super Retina XDR” standard. Tech specs of the display aside, it offers a sharp image with bright vivid colors and deep black levels. It looks great. Apple has also revived MagSafe for the iPhone 12 series, and as such, you’ll be able to take advantage of the new ecosystem of magnetic accessories, including faster wireless chargers.


The camera is a step up this year too, though perhaps not as much of a step up as the iPhone 11 Pro was compared to the iPhone XS. The device offers a triple-lens camera with one wide, one ultrawide, and one telephoto lens. You’ll get a wider f/1.6 aperture on the primary lens, which means that the camera can let in more light than before — essentially meaning you’ll get better low-light shots. It’s an iterative update to the camera, but you’re still getting among the best you can get in a smartphone camera.

The Apple A14 Bionic chip in the iPhone 12 Pro is Apple’s most powerful chip to date. It’s easily powerful enough to handle all the mobile gaming and multitasking you can throw at it, and it should remain so for at least three or four years before it even starts to slow down. In classic Apple fashion, we expect the iPhone 12 Pro to stay up-to-date with new versions of iOS well into the next four or five years.

Best 5G Android phone: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

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Andy Boxall/Digital Trends


Why you should buy this: If you prefer to stick within the Android ecosystem, then the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has a beautifully huge display, excellent multitasking features, and a high-end camera.

Who it’s for: Anyone who wants the best Android phone they can get, that also happens to support 5G.

Why we picked the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra:

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the latest high-end phone in Samsung’s bestselling series, offering a sleek new design, a great camera, and a beautiful display with a variable refresh rate. The phone is perfect for both work and play, and it’s a perfect choice for mobile gamers thanks to its huge display.

Samsung has been bundling 5G into its flagship phones for a while now, so it’s no surprise the S21 Ultra comes bundled with every current 5G network compatability, including sub-6 and mmWave. That means it’ll work with every 5G network at the moment, so you can rest assured it’ll work with any network if you choose to buy unlocked.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor

Under the hood, the phone offers everything you would expect from a flagship Android device in 2021. There’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, coupled with up to a massive 16GB of RAM, and a hefty 5,000mAh