The 5G phones are coming. Since 2018, many smartphone manufacturers have claimed that they are going to launch the world’s first 5G phone. Now, some have been shown and can be expected to launch this year, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G, vivo iQOO Pro 5G, Huawei Mate X, ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G, OPPO 5G, etc.
What is 5G?
But before we get to the smartphones, let’s simply figure out what 5G is. The 5th generation of mobile networks or 5th generation wireless systems, abbreviated as 5G, is the fifth generation of mobile communication systems. It is the successor to 4G and will be 20 times faster than a 4G device. Once the phones and the network infrastructure support 5G, we can enjoy faster upload and download speeds than we could with 4G or even WiFi .
What can we expect from 5G?
5G will bring faster speeds, higher capacity, stronger signal and connectivity, faster cloud processing and lower latency. Many industries will benefit from 5G, like self-driving cars, drones, the Internet of Things (IoT), the gaming industry, VR/AR, AI, etc.
A 5G phone will enable users to always stay connected wherever they go. Even when traveling in high speed trains or planes, you can play games in real time and watch 360-degree virtual reality videos.
Best 5G Smartphones in 2019
Smartphone giants have spent lots of money and energy studying 5G phones. In 2018, China’s 5G development was all over the news: ZTE’s “World’s first 5G phone call” , OPPO’s “World’s first 5G WeChat video call”, OnePlus’s “World’s first 5G tweet” , Xiaomi’s “World’s first Weibo post”, etc. China’s leading smartphone companies are really trying their best to get a leg up in the 5G race.
Yet, we never got to see a real 5G phone in 2018. But now, during 25-28 February 2019 at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona, many companies showed off their newest 5G products and future 5G devices. Let’s check out the best 5G phones to be released in 2019.
Vivo’s iQOO Pro 5G
On August 22, vivo’s sub-brand IOQQ launched its flagship iQOO Pro in Beijing. Available in both 4G and 5G variants, the premium device features a 6.41 inch display with a water-drop notch, Snapdragon 855+ chipset, a 4,500mAh battery and 12GB RAM.
The iQOO Pro 5G phone is based on the Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC and the Snapdragon X50 5G modem. It’s sold at 3,798 yuan ($535) for 8GB+128GB, 3,998 yuan ($563) for 8GB+256GB and 4,098 yuan for 12GB+128GB ($577). It might be the cheapest 5G smartphone in the market so far.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 plus 5G smartphone
On August 21, Samsung officially released its latest flagship phone Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Note 10+ and Note 10 Plus 5G in China. Priced at ¥7999 ($1130), the Note 10 Plus 5G is Samsung’s first 5G handset in China, 12+ 256GB, only supports Non Standalone (NSA) mode.
This 5G phone has a big 6.8-inch Infinity-O Display, a whopping five cameras, and an improved S-Pen, which can let users turn their phone into a PC using DeX.
Huawei Mate X
During the MWC 2019, Chinese smartphone giant Huawei announced the Huawei Mate X, which is the brand’s first foldable 5G smartphone.
“HUAWEI Mate X combines 5G, foldable screen, AI and an all-new mode of interfacing to provide consumers with an unprecedented user experience. ” Its 5G connectivity is provided via Huawei’s own Balong 5000 5G modem rather than the Qualcomm models, Huawei claims it to be the world’s fastest 5G foldable phone, with an amazing 5G download speed that reaches 4.6Gps on the Sub-6GHz band (theoretical).
Huawei Mate X is the first 5G device where both price and release date have been announced . It’s said that the phone will be released in June this year, at a price of €2,299 ($2,600).
ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G
ZTE launched Axon 10 Pro 5G, its first 5G smartphone, on Feb. 25 at MWC 2019.
It is powered by Snapdragon 855, features a 6.47-inch OLED display with a waterdrop notch, a triple-camera set up, 6GB of RAM, and a 4,000 mAh battery. Price, on the other hand, has yet to be confirmed, and the phone is expected to be released at some point during the first half of 2019.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G phone, unveiled on Feb. 20 at the MWC, has a 6.7-inch display, three rear cameras and the ability to wirelessly charge other devices. Samsung is yet to announce its release dates and prices for the S10 5G but we’re expecting a quite hefty price tag. Also, the Galaxy S10 5G won’t be the only 5G phone from Samsung.
OnePlus 5G phone
Early in October of 2018, OnePlus had celebrated its success of making the world’s first 5G tweet, according to a tweet by Pete Lau, the company’s founder and CEO.
On Feb. 25 at the MWC 2019, OnePlus showed its first 5G prototype smartphone for the first time, which was hidden inside a thick protective case and locked inside a plastic cube. It will come equipped with a Snapdragon 855 processor, OnePlus is yet to confirm the price, but it’s likely to cost as much as $200 to $300 more than 4G equivalents.
OPPO 5G flagship
At MWC19, OPPO also demonstrated its first 5G smartphone at Qualcomm’s booth playing Soul Calibur VI over a 5G network. Just like almost all the other 5G devices, it is based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 and is expected to hit the market later this year. More details about pricing and specs are yet to be disclosed.
Way back in 2015, OPPO set up its 5G standardization team to study 5G. The hard work and effort has paid off. In November of 2018, OPPO established the world’s first 5G WeChat video call, which is an important milestone for the 5G industry to move from technical standards to real life application.
On March 21, OPPO announced that its first ever 5G smartphone has successfully passed 5G CE tests and OPPO was awarded a 5G CE certificate by CTC Advanced GmbH.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G flagship
As we know Xiaomi unveiled Mi Mix 3 in October of 2018, at the MWC Xiaomi brought a 5G version of it. The Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G sports the latest Snapdragon 855 processor instead of the Snapdragon 845 for the 4G version — the Snapdragon X50 5G modem is a highlight. Xiaomi said the 5G Mi Mix 3 will sell for just €599 (or around $680) when it hits the market in May, which is a whole lot cheaper than we expect many of the first 5G phones to be.
LG V50 ThinQ 5G
Like Xiaomi’s 5G version phone, the LG V50 ThinQ is a 5G version of its existing phone LG V40. It’s the first 5G phone from the company, and the dual screen has it competing with the foldables.
There are some differences between the V50 and its predecessor V40. The key feature is of course the 5G connectivity.To fit its larger 5G antennas, it’s a bit bigger and thicker than previous generations in the V series. The V50 is equipped with the new Snapdragon 855, a bigger Snapdragon X50 modem and a bigger battery of 4,000mAh. It is expected to launch by the end of March, but pricing is still a mystery.
Should I buy a new 5G smartphone now?
Almost every famous Android phone maker has made plans to release a 5G phone, but only Huawei and Xiaomi clearly announced how much they are going to cost.We can be sure that 5G won’t be cheap! Not until the 5G infrastructure is highly advanced, will 5G phones be actually useful.
At the MWC 2019, Qualcomm President Cristiano Amon declared with confidence, “The phones are ready; we’re just waiting for the networks.” While AT&T CTO Andre Fuetsch said, “The issue is the devices. Frankly, we’re waiting on the devices.” Through the conflicting comments, we can see that 5G phones still need time.
It has been predicted that 2020 will be the year of 5G’s extensive launch. 5G, at its current state, means limited coverage and expensive costs. Supposedly, we have a few more years to go before 5G coverage can compete with 4G. Now, carriers need to spend billions of dollars to expand the 5G networks. Phone manufacturers need to use pricier components like 5G radios and bigger batteries. Handset companies still need some time to lower the 5G phone costs. But thanks to the fast development of technology, we can expect a new 5G world in the near future.
Featured photo credit to 5g.co.uk