Best 5G phones to buy in 2023
Most of the latest flagship ranges from Apple, Samsung and Google, including the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 ProTHE Galaxy S23 range, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro — are 5G compatible to provide the fastest possible data speeds on your wireless network. And although they tend to be expensive, there are plenty of affordable 5G options like the Google Pixel 6A and the cheapest from Apple iPhone SE 2022. Rest assured, you should be able to find a good 5G-enabled phone at a price that suits you.
But it will not replace 4G in its entirety, 5G is the next generation of mobile connectivity. 5G works fast and many sectors and products can benefit from it of the upgraded network, including drones, self-driving cars and Internet of Things devices. It’s been growing rapidly in the US, UK and the rest of the world, but it’s not quite everywhere yet, so make sure 5G coverage is available – or at least coming soon – in your area before spending your money on a 5G-enabled Handset.
Remember that a 5G phone will still work normally on a 4G network (albeit at lower speeds), so don’t be afraid to buy a 5G phone like the S23 Ultra or iPhone 14 even if you are not in a 5G area. It is good practice to prepare for the future; you may not be in a 5G area right now, but 5G may be coming to your area within about three years of having your phone, so at least you’ll be ready to take advantage of it when it arrives .
With 5G handsets offered by all major phone makers, it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you. We’ve done some of the hard work and put together a list of our best 5G-enabled phones you can buy right now.
Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce a variety of changes, like the Dynamic Island instead of the old notch, a new 48-megapixel camera system that seriously impressed us, and the new A16 processor. Bionic. All of these upgrades come together to deliver a new and fast experience compared to older generations.
It’s the most expensive iPhone you can buy, especially if you go for the larger Max version, but if you want the high performance and amazing camera quality of Apple’s best phone, then the iPhone 14 Pro is for you.
Read our Apple iPhone 14 Pro review.
Google’s Pixel 7 line seriously impressed us with the combination of a refreshed and sleek design, great cameras and an overall smooth experience that makes both of these phones a joy to use. At $599, the base Pixel 7 is an affordable option for those of you looking for a solid Android phone for all your day-to-day needs.
The Pixel 7 Pro has a higher price tag of $899, for which you get a bigger screen and a more comprehensive camera system that includes a superb telephoto zoom. Otherwise, its processor and interface are the same as the cheaper model, so it’s worth considering the importance of additional camera features.
Read our Pixel 7 Pro review.
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The Galaxy S23 is a lot, But in the right way. That’s more than most people need in a phone, but that doesn’t make it any less impressive. Samsung has improved camera resolution (200 megapixels versus 108 megapixels), color tones and dynamic range, while retaining the same cutting-edge design and massive 6.8-inch screen as its predecessor. There’s also a new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor that’s been optimized specifically for Samsung phones, which delivers faster performance compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
With a starting price of $1,200, it might be an understatement to call this phone expensive. But those who are willing to pay more for a huge screen and a high-quality, versatile camera won’t be disappointed. Read our full Galaxy S23 Ultra review.
The Pixel 6A is Google’s most affordable phone, replacing the Pixel 5A as the $449 device in its lineup. CNET’s Lisa Eadicicco called it “the best Android phone under $500” in her Pixel 6A review, explaining how it retains the same Tensor chip found in the $599 Pixel 6 and many of its features.
The phone is slightly smaller than the Pixel 6, with a 6.1-inch OLED display and 60Hz refresh rate. And it has a similar camera to the Pixel 5A, including a 12.2 main camera megapixels and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera. But by including the Tensor chip, photos can benefit from its Real Tone skin tone feature, Face Unblur, Night Sight for darker photography and Magic Eraser to remove unwanted elements from a photo.
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The iPhone SE may be the cheapest phone produced by Apple, but it still comes with super-fast 5G. While it lacks the camera prowess of the much more expensive iPhone 13 Pro, it runs the latest iOS 15 software and uses the same processor found in the higher-end models, making it a great phone for everyday use and light gaming.
Read our Apple iPhone SE (2022) review.
The $700 OnePlus 11 is a powerful phone that’s well-equipped to handle gaming, video streaming, and other common tasks. In typical OnePlus fashion, this phone is also cheaper than the Galaxy S23 and Pixel 7 Pro. The cameras aren’t the best, but they’re fine for casual photographers who just want to capture their next vacation or a night out. What sets the OnePlus 11 apart from most of its rivals is its 100-watt Super Fast Charging, which can top up the battery in just 25 minutes. (The US version only supports 80-watt charging, but that’s still an improvement over the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 45-watt charging). Overall, the OnePlus 11 is ideal for those looking for a powerful phone that charges quickly and doesn’t break the bank. Read our full OnePlus 11 review.
Although Apple’s new iPhone 14 lineup didn’t bring a new iPhone Mini, last year’s iPhone 13 Mini was offered at a lower starting price of $599. If you’re someone who prefers smaller, user-friendly devices, this is a good option to consider. The 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Mini is easy to use with one hand and even fits in tight jeans pockets. While battery life isn’t as strong as others in the line, this little Apple iPhone doesn’t sacrifice camera capabilities or processing power.
Samsung’s new Galaxy A53 5G has a lot to offer for the price. With a spacious 6.5-inch screen, a camera with cameras for wide, ultra-wide and macro shots, and long battery life, it’s easy to forget this phone only costs $450. $. That also makes it $50 cheaper than its predecessor, and the Galaxy A53 5G is guaranteed to get at least four generations of Android updates. It supports all three versions of 5G: sub-6 GHz, C-band, and millimeter wave.
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The Z Flip 4 is a phone that folds in half to become a smaller phone. When opened, this Samsung Galaxy phone has a large 6.7-inch screen, but fold it in half and it becomes a small square that’s easy to slip into a jeans or jacket pocket. This latest generation of compact foldable phone from Samsung brings various improvements to the table, including a sturdier hinge and improved cameras.
The price of these original foldables is always higher than that of a regular smartphone, so you are certainly paying a steep premium for this folding novelty. Still, if you like the idea of having cutting-edge foldable mobile technology in your pocket, the Z Flip 4 is one of the best options to go for right now.
Read our Galaxy Z Flip 4 review.
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The Moto G Stylus 5G (2022) for $500 is one of the best stylus-equipped phones you can get right now, especially for the price. You get Android 12, 5G connectivity, a large 6.8-inch screen and a spacious 256GB of storage. Unfortunately, the phone is only promised one upgrade. software update and three years of security updates, which is much shorter than the four years promised by Samsung for the Galaxy A53.
Still, if you want a stylus-equipped phone, the next advanced option is the much more expensive Galaxy S22 Ultra at $1,200. Read our Moto G Stylus 5G review.
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OnePlus’ Nord range is sold exclusively in Europe, so folks in the US will have to look enviously at this capable, budget-friendly 5G phone. The Nord 2T has enough power for all your daily essentials, handles games just fine, has a decent camera setup for the price, and comes with some extra features including 80W fast charging, 80W refresh rate, 90Hz and, yes, 5G speeds.
It’s a solid phone to consider if you’re looking for a flagship experience without spending high-end cash.
Learn more about the OnePlus Nord 2T.
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