The best 5G phones in 2024

The best 5G phones give you rapid downloads speeds on the go. We’ve tested top smartphones for all budgets from Apple, Samsung, Google and more.

The best 5G phones can access the 5th generation of mobile cellular technology, which brings extra speed and capacity for streaming, gaming, and browsing on the go. 5G turned up just a few years ago, and while everyone said we wouldn’t see benefits for a very long time it’s inevitable that 5G can bring lightning-hot speeds to all the best 5G phones out there. The best cell phone providers already have great data plans for 5G phones, but which is right for you?

At Pocket Tactics, we spend hours testing the best 5G smartphones for mobile mavens, camera connoisseurs, and gamers. We use phones daily, review them often, and have a full view of the smartphone landscape.

Whether it’s the high-end luxury of Apple and Samsung’s offerings or the budget brilliance of little-known brands like Tecno and OnePlus, there’s so much available. If you’re specifically looking for a handset to play the best mobile games, check out the best gaming phones.

Why you can trust our advice ✔ At Pocket Tactics, our experts spend days testing games, phones, tech, and services. We always share honest opinions to help you buy the best. Find out how we test.

Here are the best 5G phones in 2023:

  1. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra – best 5G phone
  2. iPhone 15 Pro Max – best 5G iPhone
  3. Xiaomi 13 Pro – alternative 5G smartphone
  4. Asus ROG Phone 7 – best 5G phone for gaming
  5. OnePlus Nord 2 – best budget 5G smartphone
  6. Samsung A54 5G – best mid-range 5G smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The best 5G smartphone overall.

Prices last refreshed: Mon, 01 Jan 2024 17:08:41 GMT

                    Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra specs
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 2 (made for Galaxy)
Display6.8-inch 120Hz AMOLED (1440 x 3088 pixel)
Storage256GB to 1TB
RAM8GB to 12GB
BatteryLi-Ion 5000 mAh

Pros:

  • Industry-leading cameras
  • Excellent performance
  • Beautifully well-rounded package

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Strong competition

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra tops our list of the best 5G phones by a fair distance. It’s stylish, features fantastic cameras, and is a smooth performer in terms of both day-to-day usage and gaming. Outside of the expensive price, there’s really nothing going against this one.

The main selling point here is the cameras, something only the Xiaomi 13 Pro can compete with. Clean shots, good back-end processing, and excellent zoom mean that this is the best way to get good snaps on the go.

Then there’s the performance. Thanks to the unique Snapdragon chip in the S23 line of Galaxy phones, the gaming performance is near-unbeatable. They’re even capable of ray tracing, amazingly, something you can learn more about in our Samsung’s Won-joon Choi interview.

Beyond that, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is just a well-rounded, premium package. The build quality is excellent, the operating system is as good as it gets on Android, and the display is gorgeous. Combine this with solid battery life and the included stylus, and it’s hard to beat.

The only downsides come down to personal preference. You may prefer the design of another phone like the Xiaomi 13 Pro. You might prefer using an Apple device. But if not, this is the best way to go for a premium 5G smartphone.

Check out our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review for even more of our thoughts.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

The best 5G iPhone.

Prices last refreshed: Mon, 01 Jan 2024 17:45:21 GMT

                    iPhone 15 Pro Max specs
ChipsetApple A17 Pro
Display6.7-inch 120Hz Super Retina XDR OLED (1290 x 2796)
Storage256GB to 1TB
RAM8GB
BatteryLi-Ion 4441 mAh

Pros:

  • Excellent design
  • Apple ecosystem
  • Near-perfect package

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • OS bugs
  • Strong competition

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best 5G iPhone available today, with a strong argument for it being the best of the 5G phones on this list. Boasting a high-refresh-rate screen, a dynamic island, ace cameras, and excellent performance, it’s the best Apple offers at the time of writing.

The main reason to dive in here is because it’s Apple. The integration of iOS with various accounts and other devices you may own is exceptional – no one does an ecosystem like Apple. If you have a Mac, iPad, Apple TV, AirPods, or HomePod, it’d be a bit odd to not own an iPhone.

What the hardware itself offers is also pretty exceptional. There’s a great set of cameras for taking snaps, and Apple’s photo processing is rock solid. Meanwhile, the battery life is decent (if you turn off the always-on display), and the display is a real step up versus previous generations.

Perhaps the biggest draw is the A17 Pro within, giving you excellent power for all your gaming needs, making it the best gaming iPhone, easily. Combine this with all the Apple Arcade games out there, and you’re flying.

The only issue here is also the main benefit: it’s Apple. If you don’t like iOS or want various compatibility and ease-of-use benefits, you might not want to go this way. If you need more details, check out our in-depth iPhone 15 Pro Max review.

Xiaomi 13 Pro

The best 5G phone for anyone not happy with the two above.

Prices last refreshed: Mon, 01 Jan 2024 17:45:21 GMT

                      Xiaomi 13 Pro specs
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display6.73-inch 120Hz AMOLED (1440 x 3200)
Storage128GB to 512GB
RAM8GB to 12GB
BatteryLi-Po 4820 mAh

Pros:

  • Luxurious design
  • Excellent cameras
  • High performance

Cons:

  • Big, cumbersome design
  • OS bugs

While you might not have heard of this brand, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is a fantastic alternative to the biggest high-end flagships on the market, with a less hefty price tag. If you’re looking to steer clear of Samsung and Apple, this might be the one for you.

As always, these phones compete on the same things. The Xiaomi 13 Pro’s screen is excellent, it has really impressive battery life and fast charging, some of the best cameras we’ve seen on a smartphone, and the latest chip from Qualcomm. Sounds like all the other flagships out there, right?

Well, the big difference is design. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is a gorgeous slab of glass, with curved edges, a gargantuan camera bump, and an overall luxurious feel. It’s big, it’s bold, and it’s lovely. But it’s also a tad slippery.

Beyond design, there’s not much else that sets the phone apart. It performs admirably against the competitors in every single category bar one. And that one category is the operating system.

While you may not notice over a week, a year spent using the Xiaomi 13 Pro may highlight some operating system hiccups that will begin to irritate. Whether it’s the home screen stuttering or hard-to-find settings options, it’s still a bit fresh. It’s also improved loads over the years, so hopefully that won’t be the case forever.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

The best mid-range 5G phone.

Prices last refreshed: Mon, 01 Jan 2024 17:45:21 GMT

                         Samsung Galaxy A54 5G specs
Display120Hz 6.4-inch AMOLED (1080 x 2340)
BatteryLi-Po 5000 mAh
ChipsetExynos 1380
RAM6GB-8GB
Storage128GB-256GB

Pros:

  • High-refresh-rate screen
  • Good battery life
  • Samsung reliability

Cons:

  • More expensive than the competition
  • Sightly barebones design

If the iPhone 15 Pro Max and other high-end devices are a little out of your budget, the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G is a great mid-range option. It might not have all the bells and whistles of the S23, but it’s incredibly impressive for its price range, beating out plenty of other mid-rangers in terms of battery life, display, and reliability.

With a 120Hz display, lovely build quality, and a shared design language with the big boys in the bunch, it definitely feels like a premium product. The battery is nice and big, the main camera is pretty ace for the price, and all around, for day-to-day tasks, this is more than enough.

Still, there are of course drawbacks to buying a phone at a third of the cost of a flagship. The chip inside is nowhere near the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 if you really want to push your phone – the A54 is enough for standard stuff, but don’t expect to max out the graphical settings or do some in-depth photo editing.

That’s the main drawback, mind you. The camera is good enough – nowhere near the low-light or zoom performance of the S23 Ultra, however – while the trusted Samsung software support is a boon against some of the smaller-scale competition. It’s a great deal.

Take a look at our Samsung Galaxy A54 review for more information.

How do I choose the best 5G smartphone for me?

The best 5G phone for you comes down to many aspects. If you don’t have $1,000 to spend, that cuts out almost all the flagships. Don’t sweat though, as the mid-range and budget options on this list are excellent.

Beyond price, you need to look at features. If you’re a camera obsessive, the Samsung Galaxy lineup is well known for its photography features. If you really need gaming performance, the Asus ROG Phone 7 is the ultimate choice. If you just want an all-rounder without spending much money, the OnePlus Nord likely has you covered.

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