It's easier than ever to find the best 5G phones because 5G service now reaches far and wide. T-Mobile has the largest network, with its 5G service reaching 323 million people, but AT&T and Verizon have been expanding their coverage as well. Even better, 5G speeds are picking up, so it makes more sense than ever to make sure your phone can connect to a 5G network.
Of course, these days, you don't have to look too hard to find a phone with 5G connectivity. It's built into practically ever phone that comes out, from major flagships to budget models. That means for even just a couple hundred dollars, you can get a device that takes advantage of 5G's high speed and low latency.
That's why when you're searching for the best 5G phones, you're really just looking for the best phones. And now that 5G phones are more affordable, we can help you find a device that delivers good value.
Our favorite 5G phones offer more than just speedier downloads. The best 5G phones also feature outstanding cameras, big displays and super-sized batteries. Here are the best 5G phones available right now, at a wide range of prices.
The best 5G phones you can buy right now
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Samsung raises the bar with the Galaxy S23 Ultra, equipping it with a powerful chipset and an impressive camera array. The chipset in question is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and it's customized specifically for Samsung's Galaxy S23 lineup. While the iPhone continues to feature the top-performing silicon, this new Snapdragon chipset closes the gap considerably. Even better, it's exremely power efficient, helping the S23 Ultra last for nearly 12.5 hours on our battery test. That's a big improvement over Samsung's previous 5G phones, which didn't last as long as we would have liked.
As for the camera array, it's highlighted by a 200MP main sensor that gives you greater flexibility when capturing photos. The front camera gets a fast autofocus feature, and Samsung has added an AI-powered algorithm designed to improve low-light photos. We've put the Galaxy S23 Ultra up against the best camera phones and came away impressed by its results.
These days, choosing the best 5G phone comes down to choosing the best phone overall. On the strength of its long battery life and excellent cameras, coupled with returning features like an excellent design and an included S Pen, the Galaxy S23 answers to that description.
If the Galaxy S23 Ultra's $1,199 starting price is too much for your budget, you can turn to the less expensive Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus models. Our Galaxy S23 hands-on shares some initial impressions while we work on our full review.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max may have been overtaken by the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but it's still the 5G phone to get if you prefer that Apple logo on the back of your handsets. The iPhone 14 Pro Max works with the 5G networks of all the major carriers, and a long-lasting battery will ensure that you get through the day and then some on a full charge.
Apple delivers big changes to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, starting with the Dynamic Island feature that replaces the notch, freeing up more space on the 6.7-inch display. An improved dynamic refresh rate also paves the way for an always-on display, a first for Apple’s phones. This edition of the iPhone also boasts the kind of improvements you’d expect from an annual update, like a faster processor and cameras that thrive in low-light conditions.
You can try and find a better phone than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but there are not many options out there that offer everything Apple's top 5G phone delivers.
Read our full iPhone 14 Pro Max review.
The OnePlus 11 marks a great return to form for the upstart phone maker, with this model benefitting from a powerful chipset, impressive battery life and ongoing improvements to OnePlus' cameras. The best feature of all, though, may be the price. Starting at $699 for a model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, the OnePlus 11 proves that top 5G flagship phones don't need to approach $1,000.
Like the Galaxy S23, the OnePlus 11 benefits from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset (though this isn't customized silicon). That results in excellent performance and more than 13 hours of battery life, even with adaptive refresh rate enabled on the phone's 6.7-inch display. The days of 5G phones consuming too much power appear to be over, with the OnePlus 11 as the best example of that on the Android side of things.
We wish the OnePlus 11 supported wireless charging, and while it offers the best cameras we've seen on a OnePlus phone, we wish the telephoto lens offered more than just a 2x optical zoom. Still, these are minor criticisms when compared to the overwhelming value this 5G phone delivers for less than $700.
Read our full OnePlus 11 review.
Not everyone can afford to drop $1,000 or more on their next phone. Enter the iPhone 14, a $799 5G device that still delivers premium experiences, even if it doesn’t see the substantial changes Apple made to its Pro phones.
The iPhone 14 features an A15 Bionic system on chip, the same silicon found on the iPhone 13 Pro models. While not as powerful as the A16 Bionic, the A15 is still a capable chipset that outperforms the silicon found in Android handsets. Camera improvements also improve the iPhone 14’s performance in low-light situations.
Read our full iPhone 14 review.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra may have the flashy features, but it's the Galaxy S23 that has the friendlier price tag, and in this economy, we're guessing that the latter will have a wider appeal. You won't get the 200MP main camera that the S23 Ultra offers, though the Galaxy S23 cameras are formidable in their own right (except for maybe the front camera.) But other key features are included in this less expensive flagship — most importantly, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset.
Qualcomm's latest silicon not only helps the Galaxy S23 outperform other Android phones but also narrow the performance gap with Apple's iPhone. Even better, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 along with a 3,900 mAh battery that's bigger than what the S22 offered helps the Galaxy S23 last longer on a charge, posting an above-average result on our battery test. That's the kind of longevity we like to see in the best 5G phones.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy S23 review.
The Pixel 7 Pro is Google’s best phone yet, and certainly the most iconic. It features a refined design, brighter display, more powerful Tensor G2 chipset and stronger cameras. We just wish it had better battery life, though it has improved this year.
The Tensor G2 offers some nice upgrades across the board, such as Photo Unblur, Cinematic Blur, and Active Stabilization. Google Assistant has also gotten a lot smarter, offering improvements to Direct My Call, transcription for voice texts, and better contextual understanding for voice typing.
With 5x optical zoom, the Pixel 7 Pro can pull off some fancy zoom tricks in combination with the enhanced Super Res Zoom. But we think the colors are a bit dull on the telephoto shots, certainly less vibrant than the iPhone 14 Pro in our testing. Regardless, the Pixel 7 Pro is the Android phone to get if you want the best cameras. And with support for all major U.S. carriers, you can take it wherever you want.
Read our full Pixel 7 Pro review.
If you’re willing to overlook its disappointing battery life, the Google Pixel 6a is hard to beat as the best cheap 5G phone overall. Credit the cameras, which always stand out on Google’s budget devices.
Like its predecessors, the Pixel 6a’s cameras can challenge much more expensive phones. And unlike the iPhone SE (its closest competitor on the cheap camera phone front), the Pixel 6a supports a night mode. And it has an ultrawide camera for those sweeping landscape shots. You’ll also find a Tensor chipset powering the Pixel 6a. That’s the same silicon inside Google’s Pixel 6 flagships.
For $449, you get a lot of value with the Pixel 6a. It has support for sub-6GHz 5G networks.
Read our full Google Pixel 6a review.
Everything you get with the iPhone 14 Pro Max — the Dynamic Island feature, always-on display and beefier A16 Bionic processor — you get with Apple’s iPhone Pro. Only with this device, you pay $100 less, making the iPhone 14 Pro a more affordable option for anyone who still wants a premium 5G phone.
The screen isn’t as large as the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s — you get a 6.1-inch display versus the massive 6.7-inch panel. But that also allows the iPhone 14 Pro to be relatively compact, making it a better choice for people who find big-screen devices too much to handle.
At $999, you can expect top-tier performance and big improvements to the iPhone’s already impressive cameras. The iPhone 14 Pro is tough for other 5G phones to beat.
Read our full iPhone 14 Pro review.
Like Apple's other recent iPhones, the iPhone 14 Plus has a 5G-enabled chipset, here in the form of the A15 Bionic. However unlike before, you can now get an iPhone the same size as a Pro Max iPhone, but for quite a bit less money.
The A15 provides the iPhone with lots of computing power and works with the spacious battery to give the phone genuine all-day battery life. We like the cameras a lot too, although it's a shame there's no telephoto camera like many Android phones of an equivalent price. This is still a great deal for a large iPhone though, and particularly if you know you won't get much use out of the Pro Max's fanciest features.
Read our full iPhone 14 Plus review.
The Zenfone 9 proves that good things can come in small packages. WIth its 5.9-inch display, the latest phone from Asus packs a punch without overstaying its welcome. We definitely think it’s a great 5G phone, giving you all the performance you could want with excellent battery life to match.
Unfortunately, there’s no support for Verizon’s mmWave network. That would make this phone even better. However, you still get a great CPU, seriously long battery life, and solid cameras — even if the photos can be a bit too warm sometimes.
Read our full Asus Zenfone 9 review.
If you're strapped for cash, then be sure to check out the OnePlus Nord N20. This is a sub-$300 phone that looks like it'd cost way more. It has a beautiful AMOLED display, even though it's locked at 60Hz. There's also an in-display fingerprint sensor, not something you typically see on a phone this cheap.
Sure, the cameras are pretty underwhelming, but for $282, you can't expect too much. You do, however, get 33W fast charging, which outpaces even some of the top flagships like the Galaxy S23 and iPhone 14 Pro Max. That's saying something.
Obviously, there are better phones under the $500 mark, but if $300 is your cap, then the Nord N20 should be your top consideration if you're comfortable using T-Mobile's 5G network.
Read our full OnePlus Nord N20 5G review.
When it comes to 5G Android phones, Samsung has some of the best compatibility with all of the major carriers. You can use the Galaxy Z Flip 4 on practically any network in the US, which is awesome because it’s a good little phone and one of the best foldable phones you can buy. With huge improvements to battery life and strong performance, this foldable is worth considering.
The display crease interrupts the otherwise beautiful 6.7-inch Super AMOLED display. The cameras didn’t see a huge bump hardware-wise, but the night mode got a big upgrade. If you want to join the foldable revolution, the $999 Galaxy Z Flip 4 might be the way to go.
Read our full Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 review.
How to choose the best 5G phone for you
When looking for a 5G phone, you'll want to consider which wireless carrier will be providing your cell phone service. Different service providers are taking different approaches to their 5G rollouts.
Verizon, for example, placed an initial emphasis on mmWave-based technology, so if you wanted phone service from Big Red, you had to make sure that your 5G phone could connect to mmWave towers; Verizon is expanding that coverage through C-Band 5G, which most phones support. Likewise, while T-Mobile and AT&T have a few mmWave deployments, the vast majority of their network relies on sub-6GHz technology for initial coverage. That's not as fast as mmWave, but it covers a wider area. (AT&T is expanding its mmWave-based coverage, though, for faster performance.)
In its January 2023 5G experience report (opens in new tab), OpenSignal ranked T-Mobile tops for 5G download and upload speeds — the seventh consecutive time the Uncarrier took top honors. T-Mobile also has the widest 5G reach by OpenSignal's calculations, while Verizon wins on 5G video and gaming experiences. Rootmetrics' latest report (opens in new tab), which covers the second half of 2022, gives T-Mobile top 5G honors for the third consecutive time.
Apart from what 5G networks a phone supports, the criteria for picking a 5G phone is about the same as it would be for any handset. Consider the processor, screen size, cameras and other features. Battery is especially important — 5G can draw some serious power, and you'll want a phone that's able to handle the added demands on its battery.
Price remains an important distinguishing factor, and it's going to get more so as lower-cost 5G phones roll out later this year. In 2019, you had to pay anywhere from $700 to $1,200 for a flagship 5G phone. Even with the Galaxy Z Fold 4 costing $1,799 — a price that has more to do with its foldable design than its 5G support — the price range for 5G phones has begun to fall with a rapidly increasing number 5G models available for $500 or less.
How we test 5G phones
We test 5G phones the same way we test any phone we review. At this point in 5G's evolution, we merely confirm that a 5G phone can connect to a carrier's 5G network. We don't run performance testing for 5G speeds, as those say more about a carrier's network than the phone itself. Also, 5G performance can vary widely depending on your location.
As for other tests, we rely on such synthetic benchmarks as Geekbench 5 and 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited to measure graphics performance. These tests allow us to compare performance across iPhones and Android devices. We also run a real-world video transcoding test on each phone using the Adobe Premiere Rush app and time the result.
To measure the quality of a phone's display, we perform lab tests to determine the brightness of the panel (in nits), as well as how colorful each screen is (DCI-P3 and sRGB color gamut). In these cases, higher numbers are better. We also measure color accuracy of each panel with a Delta-E rating, where lower numbers are better and score of 0 is perfect.
One of the most important tests we run is the Tom's Guide battery test, which has become especially important for 5G phones given how power-hungry they are. We run a web surfing test over 5G at 150 nits of screen brightness until the battery gives out. In general, a phone that lasts 10 hours or more is good, and anything above 11 hours makes our list of the best phone battery life.
We also perform camera testing, comparing shots taken by each phone we test with similar phones. This part of our testing is less relevant to our 5G phone evaluations, though.
For more information on phone testing, check out our how we test page for Tom's Guide.