2020 is the year of the 5G smartphone, with all the major players releasing devices that are able to take advantage of the latest cellular technology. Here are 5G smartphones worth checking out.
5G smartphones have been around since 2019, but 2020 is the year that all the biggest smartphone manufacturers got in on the game and made 5G devices the gold standard in mobile technology. These 5G smartphones stand out as some of the best available.
Apple’s first 5G smartphone comes as part of a major upgrade to its iPhone design, with new flat aluminum edges in place of the iPhone 11’s curved ones. The iPhone 12 also has a new Ceramic Shield screen that Apple claims can handle drops four times better than previous iPhones. Also available is the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max, the larger, even more specced out versions, which start at $999 and $1,099, respectively, for unlocked models. The standard iPhone 12 starts at $829 unlocked.
Google Pixel 5
Google’s 5G flagship phone can reportedly last 48 hours on a charge and can adapt its battery to reduce power to certain apps while giving extra juice to others, all in the name of extending its battery life. It also pre-screens unknown numbers and can wait on hold for you, calling you back when someone answers the phone. These features are neat, and can be especially useful for business users. The Pixel 5 starts at $699 unlocked.
Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, S20 Ultra – Front
Image: Larry Dignan/CBS Interactive
There are quite a few Samsung Galaxy S20 devices to choose from, and all of them offer 5G connectivity. Other top-of-the-line features like a 120Hz screen refresh rate are available on all of the Galaxy S20 devices. The Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+ both start at $999, while the Galaxy S20 Ultra starts at $1,099. The latest edition to the lineup, the Galaxy S20 FE, starts at just $699. All prices are for unlocked devices.
Samsung Galaxy Note 20
For those wanting a bit more from their 5G Samsung smartphone, there’s the Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, both of which come with the S Pen stylus. The Galaxy Note 20 can be great for those who need to take quick notes at work or for on-the-go design professionals, and with 5G they can be more convenient than ever before. The Galaxy Note 20 starts at $999 unlocked, and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra starts at $1,099, also unlocked.
Google Pixel 4A 5G
Google has a midrange 5G device, the Pixel 4A 5G, that it calls “the essential 5G smartphone,” and it may just be that. The Pixel 4A 5G is an upgrade on the Pixel 4A, which is itself a mid-year step up from the Pixel 4. It boasts decent hardware, but what’s even better is the price: $499 when purchased directly from Google. There is currently a waiting list to purchase a Pixel 4A 5G, but you can join for updates at its product page.
Apple iPhone 12 Mini
The iPhone 12 Mini is essentially the same device as the iPhone 12, at least internally. Externally, it’s the smallest iPhone Apple has made in some time, with a screen just 5.4″ on the diagonal. For those unhappy with the current size of smartphones, the iPhone 12 Mini will be the device you’ve been waiting for: Flagship specs, 5G, and a size that can (once again) easily fit in the palm of your hand. The iPhone 12 Mini starts at $729 unlocked from Apple.
LG Velvet 5G
The LG Velvet 5G is a good-looking phone, but it’s also tough, with IP68 and an MIL-STD-810G impact rating. All in all, it’s a competitive flagship smartphone that can hold its own against other big brands, all while only costing $588 at T-Mobile, $599 at AT&T, and $699 at Verizon. No unlocked version is available.
The entirety of the OnePlus 8 line merits mention, but the OnePlus 8T, its latest release, stands out as a better 5G option than the OnePlus 8 or OnePlus 8 Pro. Designed to sit in the middle ground between the two other OnePlus 8 devices, the OnePlus 8T has hardware specs mostly in line with the OnePlus 8 Pro but with a weaker camera. The one big area the OnePlus 8T stands out is its Warp Charge 65, which OnePlus says can take the devices from drained to full power in just 39 minutes. The OnePlus 8T starts at $749. (This device is not available in all regions yet.)
Motorola Edge Plus
The Motorola Edge Plus is pricey at $999 (it’s also a Verizon exclusive), but it counters the price tag with an impressive camera setup: It has a 108MP main lens, 8MP telephoto, and 16MP ultra wide lens. Motorola also markets the Edge Plus as being a “more pure version of Android,” with no software skins or duplicate apps.
LG V60 ThinQ 5G
The ThinQ 5G isn’t in and of itself a mind-blowing phone, but it does have a cool feature that makes it a standout 5G device: An optional case with a secondary screen. The potentially dual-screen device can do a lot of what other experimental folding screen devices can do, but with the added ability of splitting in half and not worrying about screen wear from folds.
The ThinQ 5G isn’t available unlocked, but it can be purchased from carriers for varying prices: It starts at $899 at AT&T, $699 at T-Mobile, $799 at UScellular, and $949 at Verizon. The dual-screen case doesn’t come with the phone and costs an extra $199.