Finally, 5G in the UK is up and running as EE and Vodafone now have live networks in select regions, which leads us to the obvious question: which 5G phone should you get?
Well as it turns out this is a tricky question to answer as, despite the new networking tech being in its very early stages, there are already more 5G blowers than you can shake a stick at on the market.
These include everything from super-swish flagships to surprisingly affordable phones, which is fairly impressive given how little time 5G’s actually been active in the UK.
Scroll down to find out more about all the confirmed 5G phones on and coming to the market.
Samsung 5G phones – Samsung Galaxy S10 5G and Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G is one of the most common 5G phones at the moment. The company unveiled the 5G phone in February 2019 alongside the regular Galaxy S10. But don’t be fooled by the naming, the Galaxy S10 5G is a very different phone to the regular Galaxy S10. It’s an absolute monster, featuring a 6.7-inch display, triple rear cameras, dual front cameras, a 4500mAh battery and all the trimmings.
Related: 5G in the UK – All you need to know
The handset can be had in Majestic Black and Crown Silver colour schemes and is initially available on both EE and Vodafone.
While neither carrier is offering standalone handset pricing, both offer the S10 5G on a number of 5G or 5G-ready plans (Vodafone UK’s 5G network doesn’t launch until July 30.
EE’s most affordable monthly plan for the S10 5G comes in at £69 a month, plus a £130 upfront handset cost and includes 10GB of data. Vodafone’s most affordable monthly plan costs £62 a month, with a £149 upfront handset cost and includes 5GB of data.
In South Korea, the Galaxy S10 5G can be purchased outright in a couple of storage configurations: 1.39 million KRW (~£900) for 256GB SKU, 1.55 million KRW (~£1000) for 512GB model, while in parts of the US, the 256GB version can be had for $1299.99 (~£1000), while the 512GB build sells for $1399.99 (~£1100).
The latest 5G phone from the Korean brand is the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus. This is available to pre-order across all the big UK 5G networks and comes packing a 6.8-inch OLED display, Exynos 9825 chipset and a triple-lens camera (with added ToF sensor).
Also potentially on its way is a 5G version of the Samsung Galaxy Fold. It features a 4.6-inch, HD+ Super AMOLED outer display and a 7.3-inch, QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED inner ‘Infinity Flex’ display that opens up like a book. When the Fold is closed, it essentially looks like two phones stuck together.
Back in February, Samsung said that 5G and LTE versions of the folding handset will be made available but after review units started breaking after just two days of use, the release of even the basic (£1800) model is now slated for September.
Huawei 5G phones – Huawei Mate 20 X 5G
Huawei was (and technically still is) one of the companies at the forefront of producing 5G-capable smartphones. The first of its lineup is the Mate 20 X 5G. It retains the vanilla Mate 20 X‘s super-sized display but trades its capacious battery for a far smaller cell in the pursuit of squeezing in that all-important 5G modem.
The Mate 20 X 5G was originally touted as one of the first 5G phones to be made available in the UK, on EE’s new 5G network. However, the US government’s block on Huawei by way of Google delayed the company’s chances of making a play for dominance as one of the first big brands with 5G phones on sale. However, the Mate 20 X is now on sale and will be one of the flagship devices for Three’s upcoming 5G network.
Before originally being pulled, the Mate 20 X 5G was already up for pre-order, with EE citing a June ship date. For the privilege of 5G, you have been expected to pay a £200 premium on top of the price of the standard Mate 20 X, which retails for £799.
Another 5G phone that we’re still looking forward to is the Huawei Mate X. However, 5G support is just one of its tricks. The Mate X is a folding phone, which features a 6.6-inch, 2480 x 1148 front display and another 6.38-inch, 2480 x 892 display around the back. When unfurled, these combine to form an 8-inch, 2480 x 2200 screen.
Unsurprisingly, it’s expensive. The Mate X will start at €2299 (~£1995), and it’s coming to the UK in Q3 (with a newly-revised launch month of September, shifted on June).
OnePlus 5G phones – OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
Alongside the launch of the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro, the Chinese phone maker also let loose the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G. Despite sporting near a near-identical design and specifications as the 4G LTE-capable 7 Pro, OnePlus stated that the internal arrangement of the 5G model is entirely different, as a result of needing to accommodate that all-important 5G modem.
It’s also a member of EE’s first wave of 5G handsets (and a carrier-exclusive at that), meaning it’s available to purchase on-contract right now, starting at £59 a month, plus a £170 upfront handset cost. This plan includes 10GB of data a month.
Xiaomi 5G phones – Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
Xiaomi unveiled the 5G version of the Mi Mix 3 in February, and the best thing about it might just be the price. Not something we think we’ll say about too many 5G phones. Not yet, anyway.
The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset and the Snapdragon X50 5G modem. Otherwise, it’s the same as its predecessor. There’s the same 12-megapixel dual camera setup around the rear, the same 24-megapixel and 2-megapixel cameras on the front, and the same 6.39-inch slide-down display as before too.
But the price is, of course, different. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G costs €599 (most likely £599 in the UK) – that’s only €100 more than the non-5G model, which isn’t too bad at all.
In the UK, it’s a Vodafone exclusive for the time being, available on a number of 5G-ready plans, starting at £50 a month, with a £99 upfront cost and 5GB of data a month.
LG 5G phones – LG V50 ThinQ
LG’s first 5G phone is the LG V50 ThinQ. It’s got five cameras − three on the back and two on the front − a 6.4-inch OLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 modem and a hefty 4000mAh battery.
The equally-new LG G8 does not support 5G, so the V50 is there to go up against the likes of Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G and the Mi Mix 3 5G.
In South Korea, it costs 1,199,000 KRW (~£780), while in the UK, EE’s most affordable monthly plan (10GB data, £69 a month/£170 upfront cost) is available to potential LG V50 owners.
ZTE 5G phones – ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G
The ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G also launched in February, though no price or release details were revealed at launch. Fast-forward to June and the phone is now available in China (alongside a non-5G version) priced at ~€899 (~£800). The phone is also destined to arrive in Austria soon, with local carrier Three.
The Axon looks a lot like last year’s Huawei P20 Pro and is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 and X50 5G modem. It also features a 6.47-inch AMOLED display, an in-display fingerprint sensor and a triple camera setup around the back − combining a 40-megapixel f/1.8 main sensor, a 20-megapixel, 125-degree wide angle lens and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens.
Oppo 5G phones – Oppo Find X 5G
Oppo pulled the covers off a prototype 5G handset, the Oppo Find X 5G, in late 2018 at the China Mobile Global Partners Conference, serving as a direct follow-up to the Oppo Find X. The prototype happened to be powered by the Snapdragon 855 and X50 5G modem.
Deep into 2019, the Find X’s successor, the new Oppo Reno 10x Zoom has also been given the 5G treatment as a device dubbed the Oppo Reno 5G. The Reno 5G sports the same Snapdragon 855 processor as the 10x Zoom, plus that all-important Snapdragon X50 modem. Like the 10x Zoom it also boasts a triple rear camera array with a periscopic telephoto sensor, granting the phone up to 10x near-losseless zoom and a 60x maximum zoom.
In the UK, the Oppo Reno 5G is available on EE starting at the same price as the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G; £59 a month, plus £170 upfront for the handset. This plan includes 10GB of data per month.
Motorola 5G phones
While none of Motorola’s phones support 5G out the box, the company has skirted around this issue with its innovative modular accessories – Moto Mods. Motorola partnered with Verizon in the US to launch a 5G-capable Moto Mod in 2018.
It initially only worked with the company’s Moto Z3 handset (and the Verizon-specific model at that) but the phone’s 2019 successor is also supported and there’s word that Motorola is working on bringing support for the Mod to the older Moto Z2 Force as well.
The magnetic modular attachment, which clips to the back of compatible Moto Z phones, features the ingredients necessary to access 5G services. It contains a Snapdragon 855 SoC, and the all-important Qualcomm Snapdragon X50 5G modem as well.
The Moto Z3 shipped with the ageing Snapdragon 835 chipset, so this mod is designed to allow owners to retrofit their phone, rather than buying a brand new 5G handset.
HTC 5G phones
Poor old HTC hasn’t yet given up on high-end smartphone production just yet. On the contrary, the Taiwanese firm has reportedly claimed that its 2019 flagship will focus on 5G connectivity, artificial intelligence and blockchain capabilities.
We believe this device will land as the HTC U13. We don’t know very much about it yet but one thing we can assume is that it will feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 CPU.
Unfortunately for Apple fans, it looks like the first 5G iPhone is still a year and a half away. It’s looking increasingly unlikely that the company will launch a 5G mobile this year.
According to a Fast Company report, Apple plans to release its first 5G iPhones in 2020, which will be some time after 5G networks go live. These iPhones will reportedly use the Intel 8161 5G modem rather than Qualcomm’s X50 modem. If the report proves accurate, that could be a huge black mark against the company’s 2019 models.
Related: Is 5G dangerous?
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