The best 5G phones in 2024

Searching for the best 5G phones? These days, that just means you're looking for one of the best phones, as any device worth its salt is going to come with 5G connectivity.

That's not only true of flagship devices, but midrange and budget models as well. And that's good news for consumers, as it means a wider variety of pricing among the best 5G phones, so that you're not forced to overpay for a device that's not in your budget.

There's a reason so many phones offer 5G connectivity these days — it's easier than ever to find 5G coverage from the best phone carriers. T-Mobile has the largest network, with its 5G service reaching 330 million people — of those, more than 300 million can access the carrier's faster Ultra Capacity 5G service. Meanwhile, AT&T and Verizon have been expanding their coverage as well just as 5G speeds are increasing. 

As a result, it makes more sense than ever to make sure your phone can connect to a 5G network.

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 to meet any budget.

The quick list

The best 5G phone

iPhone 15 Pro Max shown in handEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best 5G phone overall

Specifications

Screen size: 6.7 inches
Processor: A17 Pro
Size / weight: 6.3 x 3.0 x 0.32 inches / 7.8 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 14:02
5G networks supported: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
Stronger, lighter titanium design
+
Longer 5x zoom
+
Best-in-class A17 Pro

Reasons to avoid

-
$100 price hike over iPhone 14 Pro Max

For the best 5G phone, turn to the best phone overall — Apple's iPhone 15 Pro Max. This 6.7-inch phone features the best performing mobile chipset that we've tested, the A17 Bionic. Not only can it handle app and task you throw at it, it also delivers top power management, helping the Pro Max last more than 14 hours on our battery test.

It's the improved telephoto lens that really makes the iPhone 15 Pro Max a great choice. Apple replaced the old camera with one featuring a tetraprism design that now supports a longer 5x zoom. (Previous Pro Max models topped out at 3x.) That simply adds the photo capabilities of what was already a great camera phone, and Apple has made improvements to night photos and portrait mode to boot.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max now costs $100 more than previous models, but you get more storage in the base model than before. And other changes, like a new shortcut-triggering Action button, make sure that you're getting plenty of features for your money when you opt for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro Max review.

The best 5G phone for Android users

best 5g phones: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra using S Pen taking notesEditor's Choice

(Image credit: Future)
Best 5G phone you can buy right now

Specifications

Screen size: 6.8 inches
Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Size / weight: 6.4 x 3.0 x 0.35 inches / 8.2 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 12:22
5G networks supported: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful 200MP camera
+
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip beats iPhone on graphics
+
Excellent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
One of the most expensive flagship phones
-
Charging speeds limited to 45W

Normally, the Galaxy S23 Ultra would have this spot on the list locked up. But it's hard to recommend the phone to everyone, considering that the Galaxy S24 Ultra will go on sale January 31, with Galaxy S24 preorders now live. As good as the Galaxy S23 Ultra is, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is newer and introduces new features — plus a larger price tag. (Check out our Galaxy S24 Ultra hands-on for more info.)

Nevertheless, the Galaxy S23 Ultra remains appeal because of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which is customized specifically for Samsung's Galaxy S23 lineup. While the iPhone continues to feature the top-performing silicon, this 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. 

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.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review.

The smartest 5G phone

Google Pixel 8 Pro held in hand.

(Image credit: Future)
Smartest 5G phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.7 inches
Processor: Tensor G3
Size / weight: 6.4 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches / 7.5 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:03
5G networks supported: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
New experiences powered by Tensor G3
+
Brighter Super Actua display
+
7 years of software updates

Reasons to avoid

-
Underwhelming performance
-
$100 price hike

The Google Pixel 8 Pro shows you what AI can bring to a mobile device. The new Tensor G3 chip that powers this phone offers an improved neural engine that delivers AI-driven features to simplify tasks on your phone. Not only can the Google Assistant screen incoming calls, it can also tell you what the call is about so you can pick up if it's an urgent matter. On-device translation and web page summaries are also part of Tensor's bag of tricks.

But the AI really shines when you edit photos on the Pixel 8 Pro. A new Magic Editor feature lets you easily tweak photos to your liking, and Best Take guarantees that everyone in a group shot will be looking at the camera. A Magic Audio Editor that removes unwanted sound from videos you capture also impresses.

There's more to the Pixel 8 Pro's camera setup than just great AI. The ultrawide camera now has a 48MP sensor and the aperture on the main camera is wider for improved low-light photos. Google's reputation for creating excellent camera phones continues with the Pixel 8 Pro.

Read our full Google Pixel 8 Pro review.

The best lower-cost 5G flagship

best 5g phones OnePlus 11 camera

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A great 5G flagship phone for less

Specifications

Screen size: 6.7 inches
Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Size / weight: 6.4 x 3 x 0.3 inches inches / 7.2 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 13:10
5G networks supported: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
Insanely good battery life
+
Vastly improved cameras
+
Flagship-beating starting price

Reasons to avoid

-
No wireless charging

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.

The OnePlus 11 has another similarity to the S23 lineup — it's getting replaced very soon. The global launch of the OnePlus 12 happens January 23.

Read our full OnePlus 11 review.

The best 5G value

Google Pixel 7a

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Google's Tensor features for less

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1-inch OLED (2400 x 1080)
Processor: Tensor G2
Size / weight: 6 x 2.8 x 0.4 inches / 6.8 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:05
5G networks supported: T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
Tensor G2 chip
+
Bright 90Hz dispaly
+
Big camera upgrade over Pixel 6a

Reasons to avoid

-
Colors in photos skew toward darker tones
-
Phone gets warm when playing demanding games

You don't have to pay up for a Pixel flagship if you're impressed by what the Tensor G2 chipset can do. The Pixel 7a runs on the same silicon supporting the exact same features, and it costs hundreds of dollars less.

You're not sacrificing much to get the lower priced Pixel 7a. Like the Pixel 7 before it, the Pixel 7a offers a display with a 90Hz refresh rate and wireless charging suport. The cameras have gotten an upgrade, too, led by a 64MP main shooter. And best of all, the Pixel 7a features above-average battery life, at least when its display refresh rate is set to the default 60Hz. This is a very strong budget option if you're looking for a 5G phone.

Read our full Google Pixel 7a review.

The best 5G iPhone for most people

Apple iPhone 15 review.

(Image credit: Future)
Best 5G iPhone for most people

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1 inches
Processor: A16 Bionic
Size / weight: 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches / 6 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 11:05
5G networks supported: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent main camera performance
+
Strong battery life
+
Very bright Super Retina XDR display

Reasons to avoid

-
Refresh rate stuck at 60Hz
-
No change to slow charging speed

If you were underwhelmed by the lack of changes for the iPhone 14, the iPhone 15 will have you rethinking your opinion about Apple's entry-level flagship phone. Yes, the Pro models continue to get the more extensive updates, but there are plenty of changes introduced to the iPhone 15.

Start with the camera setup, where the iPhone 15 has adopted the 48MP main camera previously introduced to the iPhone 14 Pro phones. The result is a much more flexible camera producing more detailed shots. The Dynamic Island feature moves over to the iPhone 15 as well, putting an end to a notch on the phone's display.

All these changes, which include a switch from Lightning to USB-C connectivity, occur without any change to the iPhone's $799 starting price. People who's been holding onto older Apple phones waiting for big changes will be pleased with what the iPhone delivers.

Read our full iPhone 15 review.

The best low-cost Samsung 5G phone

best 5g phones Samsung Galaxy A54

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Samsung's best low-cost 5G phone

Specifications

Screen size: 6.4 inches
Processor: Exynos 1380
Size / Weight: 6.2 x 3.0 x 0.32 inches / 7.1 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:20 (adaptive); 11:46 (60Hz)
5G networks supported: T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
Good battery life
+
Excellent 50MP main camera
+
Bright, colorful display

Reasons to avoid

-
No wireless charging
-
Noticeable bezel

The Samsung Galaxy A54 is a great choice for a 5G phone if you don't want to pay flagship prices. For less than $500, you can get a device that features the same 50MP main camera as the more expensive Galaxy S23 for photos that stand up well against the competition. Samsung's midrange phone holds up well against the power demands of 5G connectivity, beating the average smartphone's result on our battery test. And if you turn off the phone's 120Hz refresh rate, you can eke out even more battery life.

Other phones offer more powerful performance, even those in the midrange category. But the Galaxy A54 ticks off the key features for smartphones in terms of camera, battery life and a bright display. It's definitely one of the best bargains among 5G devices.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy A54 review.

The most affordable Samsung 5G flagship

best 5g phones Samsung Galaxy S23

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best 5G Samsung phone for most people

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1 inches
Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Size / weight: 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches / 5.9 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:27
5G networks supported: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
Much improved battery life
+
Powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset
+
Bright display

Reasons to avoid

-
Disappointing front camera
-
Capped at 25W charging

Both the  Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S24 Ultra may have flashier features, but it's the Galaxy S23 that has the friendlier price tag — especially now that Samsung is taking $100 off with the arrival of the Galaxy S24. You won't get the 200MP main camera that the Ultra phones offer, and the Galaxy S24 delivers AI-enabled features. But the Galaxy S23 remains good value for money thanks to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset.

Qualcomm's silicon not only helps the Galaxy S23 outperform most other Android phones but it 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. 

As for the newer flagship from Samsung, you can read our Galaxy S24 hands-on for some initial impressions.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S23 review.

Best 5G foldable

OnePlus Open

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best foldable 5G phone

Specifications

Screen size: 7.82 inches (main), 6.31 inches (cover)
Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Size / weight: 6 x 5.6 x 0.22 inches (open), 6 x 2.9 x 0.46 inches (closed) / 8.4 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 11:31
5G networks supported: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
Outstanding thin and light design
+
Dynamic Open Canvas multitasking
+
Long battery life paired with fast charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak low light camera performance
-
No wireless charging

This has been a great year for foldable phones, and none has made a better impression than the OnePlus Open. This phone opens up to reveal a larger 7.82 internal display, but a thin design makes this a lot skinnier than rival foldables. 

We're particularly impressed with Open Canvas, OnePlus' approach to multitasking on your foldable. It lets you run three apps at once, and you can dynamically shift your view as you switch from one app to the other. You can also save up to nine multi-app presents to really kickstart your multitasking.

At $1,699, the OnePlus Open cost less than similar foldable phones, and a deal through OnePlus essentially drops the price to $1,499. While not cheap, that's the best value we've seen yet on a foldable phone.

Read our full OnePlus Open review.

A lower-cost 5G iPhone Pro

iPhone 15 Pro shown in hand

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Apple’s Pro features for less

Specifications

Screen size: 6.1 inches
Processor: A17 Pro
Size / weight: 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.32 inches / 6.6 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 10:53
5G networks supported: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
Stronger, lighter Titanium design
+
Super fast A17 Pro chip
+
Handy Action buttonEmpty List

Reasons to avoid

-
Doesn't get the Pro Max's improved telephoto lens
-
Same charging speeds as before

Now that the iPhone 15 Pro Max costs more, the iPhone 15 Pro is your best bet for getting Apple's Pro phone features at a more reasonable cost. Like the Pro Max, the iPhone 15 Pro uses titanium instead of stanless steel for a more durable design that's lighter than before. There's a new Action button, too, for triggering shortcuts with a press.

Perhaps the most important addition is the A17 Pro chip that powers the iPhone 15 Pro. You get the best performance we've seen from a mobile chip, plus more efficient power management that helps this phone last longer on a charge than its predecessor.

By opting for the iPhone 15 Pro, you lose out on the iPhone 15 Pro Max's more powerful telephoto lens. But for $200 less, you're still getting a very powerful phone that's easier to tote around.

Read our full iPhone 15 Pro review.

Big screen 5G iPhone

Apple iPhone 15 Plus review.

(Image credit: Future)
A big iPhone without the Pro features or pricing

Specifications

Screen size: 6.7 inches
Processor: A16 Bionic
Size / weight: 6.3 x 3.1 x 0.31 inches / 7.1 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 14:14
5G networks supported: AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon

Reasons to buy

+
Longest lasting battery life in an iPhone
+
Excellent 48MP main camera
+
Charming design and color options

Reasons to avoid

-
Still locked at 60Hz refresh rate
-
No improvement to charging speeds

The iPhone 15 Plus is the all-time battery life champ among iPhones, just edging out the iPhone 15 Pro Max on our battery test. If you want a long-lasting phone with a big-screen, this model costs $300 less than the Pro Max.

You won't have a telephoto lens at your disposal, but you do have a pretty powerful main camera now that Apple was adopted a 48MP sensor for all of its phones. The iPhone 15 Plus even has more screen real estate to work with, now that the notch is gone in favor of the Dynamic Island cutout. And like other iPhone 15 models, the Plus switches from Lightning to USB-C connectivity.

Read our full iPhone 15 Plus review.

The most compact 5G phone

Asus Zenfone 10 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
The best compact 5G phone

Specifications

Screen size: 5.9 inches
Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Size / Weight: 5.8 x 2.7 x 0.37 inches / 6 ounces
Battery life (Hrs:Mins): 12:34 (adaptive), 12:37 (60Hz)
5G networks supported: T-Mobile, AT&T

Reasons to buy

+
Compact frame
+
Excellent performance
+
Epic battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
No telephoto lens
-
Limited software support

If you want a compact phone that still delivers top performance, Asus' Zenfone is the model to turn to. The latest version continues to deliver a great 5G experience (provided you're using AT&T or T-Mobile) in a tiny 5.8 x 2.7 x 0.37 package.

While the 5.9-inch screen will appeal to people who don't care for oversized smartphones, the real appeal of the Zenfone 10 is its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which delivers great performance without consuming too much power. In fact, the Zenfone 10 held out for a little more than 12.5 hours on our battery test — a terrific time that places it among the longest-lasting phones we've tested.

The cameras could be better — there's no telephoto lens here, for instance. But at $699, this is a way to get a 5G flagship phone without having to spend big bucks on a big screen.

Read our full Asus Zenfone 10 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 in the process of 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 July 2023 5G experience report, OpenSignal ranked T-Mobile tops for 5G download speed while also praising the carrier's live video experience. Verizon pulled ahead of T-Mobile for upload speeds and won high marks for its video, voice and gaming experience over 5G. OpenSignal says T-Mobile has the best 5G availability at 57.9% — 2.8x the amount of time AT&T customers are connected to 5G. Rootmetrics' latest report, which covers the first half of 2023, awards T-Mobile for offering the best 5G availability and fastest 5G speeds; Verizon gets credit for 5G reliability. Meanwhile a report from Ookla covering performance at the end of 2023 has T-Mobile with a significant lead over second-place Verizon. 

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 5 continuing to cost $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.