The majority of phones sold today are still just enabled for 4G connectivity, but if you’re looking to get yourself a new phone with the money you’ve just gratefully received in envelopes from your less imaginative relatives, we advise you to bide your time and get yourself a 5G phone.
Here’s five of the best reasons why:
1. 5G networks are better than ever, and keep improving
When launched earlier this year, 5G was limited just to a few of the busiest areas of the UK’s biggest cities, including the capitals along with second cities such as Birmingham and Glasgow. But now, 5G is present in many more locations than before and will soon spread further.
For instance, EE boasts that it is expanding its coverage to reach towns and cities such as Hamilton, Clifton, Lichfield, and Solihull. It’s clear that this year we’ll see far greater coverage of the British Isles and also abroad, so that the new data speeds won’t just be limited to a few city streets — and this wider coverage will make 5G tech far more useful and worthwhile than previously.
2. 5G phones will be far more widespread this year
It’s not just the networks that will see significant expansion this year; we also expect to see a far greater number of the devices themselves becoming available. Qualcomm has unveiled its two latest top-of-the-line processors, the Snapdragon 865 and the Snapdragon 765, and both of them have 5G enabled.
That means there’s no option for a 4G flagship running Qualcomm this year, which is undoubtedly significant news when one considers the ubiquity of the chipsets among Android-sporting brands such as OnePlus, Sony, Motorola, Asus, and more. You’ll have a far greater choice of a 5G phone if you wait for 2020, and depending on your commitment to your favoured brand, you might not even have the option to stick to 4G this year.
3. iPhones will (almost certainly) adopt 5G, so no need to switch to Android
It was mildly surprising that the biggest tech brand in the world didn’t offer the option of a 5G handset last year, and we don’t expect Apple to repeat the decision this year. What’s more, a report has indicated that 80 million 5G modems are being readied for the September launch of the iPhone 12, so there’s strong evidence that the whole range will be enabled for 5G.
If you’re an Apple devotee, this will finally let you join the 5G revolution without having to switch to Android — so it might be worth your while to skip the iPhone 11 in favour of next-gen connectivity.
4. 5G phones will become more affordable
Also at the Qualcomm conference, Xiaomi announced that they will release a minimum of 10 new 5G phones over the course of 2020, but more crucially, that these new devices would fall in the mid-range and possibly even budget segments of the market.
We’ve been impressed by Xiaomi’s recent devices and in particular its well-honed bang-for-buck formula, so this is exciting news if you haven’t got a huge amount of money to spend (what with previous 5G handsets being ruinously expensive).
Moreover, we doubt that Xiaomi will be the only brand to do this; now these intentions have been unveiled, we hope to see significant competition for the first generation of affordable 5G devices, making 2020 a good year to take the plunge into the next generation of mobile data.
5. 5G’s excellent performance means it is the future of mobile tech
The most persuasive argument in favour of 5G comes not in the form of words, but in numbers. Qualcomm’s latest X55 modem promises top download speeds of 7Gbps, and upload speeds hitting 3Gbps.
As for ‘real-world’ experience, in the early days of EE’s 5G network we hit speeds of 410Mbps in our tests on the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G. What 4G did to popularise music streaming, the next generation could do for video games, with the likes of Google Stadia poised to take advantage. This massive performance improvement to your daily usage would be reason enough to adopt 5G, but it’s the implications for future tech that mean you’ll want to be a part of this new revolution.