The UK’s 5G networks are finally going live for everyday users, with EE becoming the first operator to offer this capability, while Vodafone is set to join it later this week (Wednesday July 3rd). But taking advantage of this technology won’t simply be a matter of switching to a new tariff – you’ll also need a new smartphone in order to access it.
Fortunately, there are a range of devices with 5G-ready chips either already on the market or set for launch in the coming months, and we’ve rounded up some of the most impressive options below.
One thing that’s important to note is that if you want to be among the first in the UK to enjoy 5G, you’ll need an Android device, as so far, Apple hasn’t given any indication as to when it’s first 5G-capable iPhone will be released.
Though its possible that such an offering will be unveiled in the firm’s traditional September reveal, most industry commentators believe the firm won’t launch its 5G device until 2020, or perhaps even as late as 2021, as the firm looks to reintegrate Qualcomm chips into its devices.
Therefore, Google’s operating system will be the only option for the foreseeable future. Here are some of the key choices you’ll have available in the coming months.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Samsung confirmed it would launch a 5G version of its latest flagship earlier this year, and with the standard 4G offering already well-received by reviewers, it’ll likely be high on the list for many prospective buyers. Other than the 5G chip, it’s more or less identical to the existing device, but it does come at a premium for that faster connectivity – the 5G will set you back £1,099 for the 256GB version, compared with £799 for the 4G-only equivalent.
For this, however, users get to enjoy Samsung’s industry-leading technology, including a 6.7-inch QHD+ screen, a 4,500mAh battery, 8GB of RAM, and a total of six cameras – two on the front and four on the rear.
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G
With Huawei recently becoming the world’s second-largest smartphone maker and the biggest competitor to Samsung, it’s no surprise the Chinese manufacturer also has a 5G offering. The Mate 20 X, like its Samsung equivalent, is a 5G-ready version of its existing Mate 20 X flagship. It’s even bigger than the Korean model, with a 7.2-inch screen, and also features a Leica Triple Camera.
Things are still a bit uncertain for Huawei, with some operators pressing pause on offering the firm’s products due to its recent troubles, but with the US seemingly lifting a ban on American companies – such as Google – doing business with the firm, this could be a powerful premium option.
LG V50 ThinQ 5G
Introduced at this year’s Mobile World Congress, LG’s V50 ThinQ is also getting a 5G version, while the firm’s flagship G8 remains on 4G for now. Size-wise, it’s a little smaller than the Samsung or Huawei offerings, with a 6.4-inch display, but you can choose an optional second screen that effectively turns the device into a twin-screen design. While not a true foldable phone like the Samsung Galaxy Fold or Huawei Mate X – it’s more like a Nintendo DS portable games console – its a unique offering that could interest buyers.
OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
OnePlus made its name by offering high-performance devices without the premium price tag. These days, it’s flagships aren’t quite as affordable, but it still comes in a little bit cheaper than the likes of Samsung and Huawei. The 7 Pro 5G has all the features of the existing device – including an innovative pop-up selfie camera that means the display isn’t interrupted by an intruding camera lens.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
The Mi Mix 3 has been around for a while and boasts all the features you’d expect from a mid-market smartphone – including a Snapdragon 855 chipset, 6.39-inch AMOLED screen, 256GB of storage, and a dual-lens 12MP rear camera. But where it really stands out from the pack is in terms of price.
In Europe, it starts at just €599 (£536), though things aren’t quite so simple if you get it through a UK operator. However, Vodafone is offering the device for £50 a month, plus £45 upfront. That’s £20 less per month than the Samsung Galaxy 5G, making it one of the cheapest ways to access the power of 5G.