5G is the new standard for mobile network technology and it boasts some incredible download and upload speeds. To use 5G, you’ll need a 5G compatible phone.
Which begs the question, is it worth buying a 5G phone? Most of them cost a premium. Let’s explore our options and see if it’s a good idea.
Is It Worth Buying a 5G Phone?
It’s not worth buying a 5G phone because the technology is still in development, 4G networks offer better coverage, and 5G phones are expensive. When 5G networks are more readily available, and the price of 5G phones decreases, a 5G phone will be worth it.
5G was mainly designed to make cities smarter by connecting multiple devices, machines, and electronics with as little latency as possible. For example, operate machinery wirelessly with no lag or hangups.
Do You Really Need 5G?
When you think about it, what do you need your phone to do? 5G boasts download speeds of up to 10 gigabits a second. Most broadband networks aren’t even that fast.
Chances are you just need your phone to stay connected, browse the internet from time to time, reply to messages, and upload the occasional picture to social media.
4G offers more than enough speed for those simple tasks, even watching HD YouTube videos and streaming 1080P is not a problem for 4G speeds. I certainly don’t see the point in moving to a 5G phone or network yet, not until I absolutely have to upgrade.
On that note, there are some downsides to 5G that you should know about.
1. Not Readily Available
As with most new technologies, it will take some time for mobile network companies to build 5G broadcast stations to provide decent coverage. Currently, most major cities have a handful of stations, but the range is not very far, and there are other issues too.
The broadcast range for 5G is also quite small. I imagine in the next few years many more will be available, but at that point, we might even have a new generation of mobile networks, anyway.
2. Objects Can Block Signals
This is probably the most important. 5G offers incredible latency and download speed but the caveat is your phone needs to have a direct line of sight to a 5G tower.
Obviously, in dense cities, that’s next to impossible, there will almost always be something in the way of the tower, whether it’s a building, trees, or walls. Without a direct line of sight to a tower, your phone will probably still connect to 5G, but the speed will be similar to what you’ll get from 4G.
3. Can Quickly Drain Phone’s Battery
Another downside to 5G that more and more people are noticing is that it drains your phone’s battery significantly faster than other networks. The reason for this is because your phone needs a specific chip to handle 5G networks but that chip also requires more power.
So those are some things to keep in mind about 5G. Honestly, it does have incredible potential, but the average person will probably never use those features.
Any Budget-Friendly 5G Phones?
Most of the time, people will recommend getting a chunky phone like the S20 Ultra to take advantage of 5G but that’s not totally necessary. Don’t get me wrong that’s a great phone with lots of awesome features, but there are budget-friendly 5G phones too.
The good news is 5G will be the standard for all new phones released this year, and the prices will likely drop too.
Here are a few:
1. Google Pixel 4A (Under $500)
The Google Pixel 4A is a nice small phone that backs a lot under the hood. While it’s on 5.81 inches, it has a powerful octa-core CPU and 6GB of RAM. The most notable features would be the camera, with an 8 MP selfie camera, and a 12.2 mp main camera.
It has pretty much all the features you need from a good modern phone, including 5G support, and at a reasonable price.
2. Samsung Galaxy A71 (Under $500)
Here’s another nice mid-range phone that supports 5G. At 6.7 inches, it’s a little larger than the pixel. It’s also one of those phones with 4 cameras on the rear, and one selfie camera that is built-in to the screen, there are almost no bezels on this phone.
The main camera has 64 MP, and the selfie camera has 32 MB. The A71 has 8GB of ram. A very nice phone, the downside is the A series doesn’t support Samsung Dex.
3. Motorola Edge 5G (Under $400)
On a budget but need up-to-date 5G phone? The Motorola Edge 5G is an option. Motorola is making a comeback, and this phone is quite powerful. The most notable feature would the quad 64-MP rear camera.
Another interesting feature is the screen is 90 Hz instead of the standard 60 Hz, so scrolling and games will feel much smoother. The phone is only 6.7 inches and it only has 6GB of RAM but that’s more than enough for basic app use.
Those are three budget-friendly 5G phones, and sometimes you can get a discount by trading in old phones from the same company.
The Bottom Line:
So is it worth buying a 5G phone? Probably not. I wouldn’t purposely buy a new phone solely for 5G unless I felt it was time to upgrade.
From a consumer standpoint, 5G doesn’t really have any uses that the average person will benefit from. Fast downloads? Sure, but what are you downloading anyway? Most people stream movies through Netflix or other websites, and 4G (or Wi-Fi) is more than enough for that.
So you probably shouldn’t worry about buying a 5G phone at the moment. Either way, every new phone released this and next year will have 5G support. If you’re still using a decent phone but it doesn’t have 5G, there’s no rush to upgrade.
Use your phone until you can’t anymore, and only upgrade when you absolutely have to. I’m still using an S8+ from a few years back that works perfectly fine for me.