Now that all the major carriers—T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon—have launched their 5G networks, 5G phones have grown in popularity. That’s because you need a 5G phone to access your carrier’s 5G network. Thankfully, there are plenty of 5G phones to choose from, including smartphones made by Samsung, LG, OnePlus, Motorola, and more. Does that mean you should run out and buy a 5G phone today? Well, the answer depends on your budget, phone habits, carrier, and 5G coverage.
In this 5G phone guide:
- What 5G phones can I buy?
- Do you need a 5G phone?
- Why you should buy a 5G phone
- Why you shouldn’t buy a 5G phone
- How to choose a 5G phone
- What 4G phone should I get?
What 5G phones can I buy?
Many carriers, major and small alike, sell 5G phones, which range in price from several hundred dollars to well over $1,000. Brands including Samsung, LG, and OnePlus currently have various 5G phones to choose from, while we’re still waiting for Apple to release its first 5G model.
Do you need a 5G phone?
Before running out and buying a 5G phone, you’ll want to first consider how good your carrier’s 5G coverage is where you live. If your carrier doesn’t have 5G coverage in your area then there’s no need to buy a 5G phone that you won’t get to take full advantage of—it would make more sense to wait until your carrier has reliable 5G coverage near you.
Conversely, if your carrier has solid 5G coverage in your area and you want the benefits of a faster and more reliable network then you may want to consider a 5G phone. You can compare Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T’s 5G coverage maps below to learn more about which 5G network covers which parts of the U.S.
Verizon 5G coverage map
T-Mobile 5G coverage map
AT&T 5G coverage map
Why you should buy a 5G phone
Now that you’ve determined that your carrier has excellent 5G coverage in your area, there are a few other things you’ll want to consider before buying a 5G phone. Here are some reasons a 5G phone might be a great idea for you:
You want the fastest speeds available
If you frequently use your phone to download large files, play online games (especially first-person shooter games), make a lot of Zoom and FaceTime calls, and stream HD movies and shows on Netflix and other streaming platforms, 5G might be worth it for you.
You’re willing to spend the money
While there are a few affordable 5G phones on the market, overall 5G phones are fairly pricey, with the most expensive ones costing nearly $1,600. If you like having the latest and greatest phones and don’t mind forking over the cash, a 5G phone might be right for you.
You want an unlimited data plan
All of the major carriers require you to sign up for an unlimited plan in order to gain access to their growing 5G network. If you’re already on an eligible unlimited plan, then this won’t affect you, but if you’re currently on a limited data plan, you’ll have to upgrade. And unlimited data plans don’t exactly run cheap, with prices between $60/month and $90/month through the majors. Some MVNOs, or small carriers, offer 5G access with a wider variety of plans, even the limited data plans. You can compare 5G phone plans below.
Why you shouldn’t buy a 5G phone
A 5G phone isn’t for everybody, especially not right now while the 5G networks are still in relatively early days. Here are a few reasons you might want to forgo buying a new 5G phone:
You’re happy with your 4G phone & speeds
The truth is, most people don’t necessarily need a 5G phone or 5G speeds. Standard 4G LTE speeds are more than enough for HD video streaming, online gaming, and downloading apps, music, podcasts, audiobooks, and more.
You’re on a budget
As we noted, 5G phones can be expensive, even with the monthly installment plans. It’s understandable if you don’t want to spend over $1,000 on a new 5G phone. If a 5G phone doesn’t fit into your budget, you may be better off keeping your current phone until 5G becomes more mainstream. Plus, you can save hundreds of dollars per year when you switch from an unlimited plan to a limited data plan.
5G networks are still expanding
5G technology is still fairly new, and Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T’s 5G networks still have plenty of room to grow. Even if you happen to get great 5G coverage where you live, you may not be able to say the same for when you travel, whether for work or vacation. If you’d rather wait until your carrier’s 5G network has expanded, we wouldn’t blame you.
How to choose a 5G phone
If you’ve decided that you do need a 5G phone, then you’ll want to weigh your options before making a decision. You know that you want 5G data speeds and you’re willing to pay the money for a 5G phone, but what other features are important to you? Here are some questions you’ll want to consider when choosing a 5G phone:
- What is the maximum price you’re willing to pay?
- What size 5G phone do you want?
- How important is the display quality to you?
- Do you want to take professional-quality photographs and videos?
- Do you need a long battery life? (for all those who forget to bring their chargers with them!)
- Do you plan on using your 5G phone’s virtual assistant?
- Are you interested in a foldable phone?
- What storage capacity do you need?
- What other phone features are important to you?
What 4G phone should I get?
If you opt out of buying a new 5G phone, there are countless quality 4G phones available, and carriers may even have deals for these phones as they unveil new 5G phones. You can browse these awesome phone deals:
Apple, Google, Samsung, LG, Motorola, and many more brands sell excellent 4G LTE phones. You can compare popular smartphones below and find the one that works best for you.