The 5 best smartphones to use the 5G network

Not so long ago they were an absolute novelty: Smartphones with 5G. Today the devices are available in a wide variety of price ranges. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON has selected the best models.

All major network operators now offer a selection of 5G tariffs. In order to be able to use the advantages of fast mobile data transmission, you need a smartphone that supports 5G. The selection is broad and is no longer limited to the manufacturers’ top models. There are already recommendable models in the affordable middle class. TECHNOLOGY BUTTON has therefore looked around the market and presents the best 5G smartphones in this press release.

Pay attention to the 5G frequencies when buying!

The new radio technology is supposed to catapult us into the gigabit age even when we are on the move. Because with the LTE successor 5G, download rates of up to 1 gigabit per second are possible. Many manufacturers already have compatible smartphones on offer. The devices are downward compatible, which means they can transmit via 4G / LTE and 3G / UMTS where 5G networks are not yet available.

The providers are relying on different frequencies for the 5G expansion. When buying a 5G smartphone, make sure that the devices also support the frequencies. In this country, the n78 band (at 3.5 / 3.6 GHz) is particularly important, as it plays a major role in cities due to the rather short radio range. So far it is the only band in which the promised gigabit speeds can be achieved and in which very few 5G smartphones have problems.

For the expansion in rural areas, however, the bands n21 (at 2.1 GHz, especially Deutsche Telekom), n3 (at 1.8 GHz, especially Vodafone) and n28 (at 700 MHz, especially Vodafone) are relevant. The data rates are lower here and usually cannot get over the LTE level of 150 to 500 Mbit / s. The reason for this is the type of network expansion in Germany.

The problem with 5G DSS

None of the 5G networks in Germany is already working independently. Rather, they are dependent on an LTE anchor network. End devices must therefore not only support the 5G frequency, but also the appropriate LTE anchor frequency (5G DSS). Unfortunately, none of the 5G smartphones available on the market has yet fully achieved this. We have explained in detail why this is so in a separate article.

Read about it: Many 5G smartphones have problems transmitting over 5G

First-generation 5G smartphones that do not yet support 5G DSS are particularly affected. These include, for example, the Huawei Mate 30 or the Galaxy S10 series from Samsung. But even newer models with 5G DSS – such as the Galaxy S20 or Apple’s iPhone 12 – can have difficulties dialing into the network in certain regions. When buying a 5G smartphone, therefore, pay attention to the information provided by the network operators who have announced that they will soon be providing the supported LTE / 5G frequency combinations on their websites. If there is no such information, experience reports on the Internet can help.

The best 5G smartphones at a glance

Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro

The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro is one of the best 5G smartphones currently on the market. Because it is one of the models that supports a particularly large number of frequency combinations and can therefore be used particularly well in German 5G networks. But the equipment of the device can also convince apart from the radio features. It is powered by the Snapdragon 865, a particularly powerful chip that is supported by 8 GB or 12 GB of RAM, depending on the model. There is also 256 GB or even 512 GB of internal storage that cannot be expanded. Users don’t even have to do without WiFi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1 and dual GPS.

The AMOLED display of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro measures 6.67 inches diagonally, has a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels and supports playback at 90 Hz. The highlight of the device, however, is the camera, which together with the supported frequencies becomes one of the best 5G smartphones. The Mi 10 Pro has a main camera with 108 megapixels and a bright f / 1.69 aperture. There is also a 12-megapixel telephoto lens, an ultra-wide angle with 20 megapixels and an 8-megapixel long telephoto lens. The quad camera is optically image stabilized, allows saving in RAW or HEIF format and enables the recording of 8K videos. The Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro is delivered with Android 10, but an update to Android 11 is available.

Also read: Xiaomi Redmi Note 9T – the 5G smartphone at a low price in the check

The features of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro in detail:

  • Display:  6.67 inches, SuperAMOLED, 2340 x 1080 pixels, 90 Hz
  • Processor:  Snapdragon 865, Octa-Core with 2.84 GHz
  • Memory:  256/512 GB (not expandable), 8/12 GB RAM
  • Front camera:  20 MP
  • Main camera:  Quad camera 108 MP wide angle + 20 MP ultra wide angle + 12 MP telephoto + 8 MP long telephoto, f / 1.69 + f / 2.0 + f / 2.2
  • Connections:  NFC, Bluetooth 5.1, WLAN a / b / g / n / ac / ax, LTE + 5G, USB C
  • Battery:  4500 mAh, 65 watts, wireless with 30 watts, reverse wireless charging with 10 watts
  • System:  Android 10, update to Android 11 available
  • Other:  fingerprint sensor under the display, no memory card slot, no dual SIM
  • Price:  from 900 euros

Huawei P40 Pro

The Huawei P40 Pro offers very good 5G DSS support in the Telekom and Vodafone networks. The smartphone can also be fully used in the O2 network. It is therefore one of the best 5G smartphones for use in German networks. It also has one of the best cell phone cameras available today. There is one problem, however: Google apps cannot be installed on the smartphone. Huawei uses its own Huawei Mobile Services (HMS) instead. If you have no problem with that, the Huawei P40 Pro is really well equipped.

The device’s display, which is curved to the sides, has a diagonal of 6.58 inches and has a resolution of 2640 x 1200 pixels. Thanks to OLED technology, the contrasts are very pronounced and the colors intense. The Kirin 990, together with 8 GB of working memory and 256 GB of internal memory, which can be expanded using Huawei’s NM card, provides the drive even for demanding tasks. The battery has a capacity of 4200 mAh and also allows other devices to be charged wirelessly.

With the P40 Pro, Huawei pays particular attention to the camera, which is one of the top 3 currently best cell phone cameras . The main sensor is a 50 megapixel ultra-vision lens. There is also a telephoto lens with 12 megapixels, 5x periscope zoom and OIS (optical image stabilizer). This is followed by a Cinelens ultra-wide angle with 40 megapixels and autofocus as well as a ToF depth sensor for better bokeh.

Also read: Huawei P40 Pro in the first test – camera miracle with app problem

The features of the Huawei P40 Pro in detail:

  • Display:  6.58 inches, OLED, 2640 x 1200 pixels, 90 Hz
  • Processor:  Kirin 990, Octa-Core with 2.86 GHz
  • Memory:  256 GB expandable, 8 GB RAM
  • Front camera:  Dual camera 32 MP + ToF, f / 2.2
  • Main camera:  Quad camera 50 MP wide angle + 40 MP ultra wide angle + 12 MP periscope + ToF, f / 1.9 + f / 1.8 + f / 3.4
  • Connections:  NFC, Bluetooth 5.1, WLAN a / b / g / n / ac / ax, LTE + 5G, USB C
  • Battery:  4200 mAh, 40 watts, wireless with 27 watts, reverse wireless charging
  • System:  Android 10 without Google apps
  • Other:  fingerprint sensor under the display, IP68
  • Price:  from 539 euros

Motorola Moto G 5G Plus

The Moto G 5G Plus from Motorola does very well in the 5G network of Deutsche Telekom. There are hardly any problems in the network of Vodafone and O2. Although the smartphone is only in the middle class overall, most users should hardly be bothered by this. Especially since the 5G smartphone from Motorola has a very attractive price.

For a price of well under 300 euros, the Motorola Moto G 5G Plus not only offers a 6.7-inch display with Full HD + resolution and 90 Hz. It also has a long-life battery with 5000 mAh. The Snapdragon 765G ensures solid performance. Depending on the model, it has 4 or 6 GB of RAM and 64 or 128 GB of storage. There is even a quad camera on board, the main sensor of which takes pictures with up to 48 megapixels. There is also a dual front camera on the front. Android 10 is used as the operating system. There is criticism for the mono speaker.

The features of the Motorola Moto G 5G Plus in detail:

  • Display:  6.7 inches, LTPS, 2520 x 1080 pixels, 90 Hz
  • Processor:  Snapdragon 765G, Octa-Core with 2.3 GHz
  • Memory:  64/128 GB expandable, 4/6 GB RAM
  • Front camera:  Dual camera 16 MP wide angle + 8 MP ultra wide angle, f / 2.0 + f / 2.2
  • Main camera:  Quad camera 48 MP wide angle + 8 MP ultra wide angle + 5 MP macro + 2 MP depth sensor, f / 1.7 + f / 2.2 + f / 2.4 + f / 2.2
  • Connections:  NFC, Bluetooth 5.1, WLAN a / b / g / n / ac, LTE + 5G, USB-C
  • Battery:  5000 mAh, 20 watts
  • System:  Android 10
  • Other:  fingerprint sensor, jack socket
  • Price:  from 232 euros

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

The Galaxy S20 series has some major problems in the Telekom and Vodafone network, transmitting over 5G. Most of these models do not even dial in via 5G, which is due to the lack of combination of some 5G frequencies and LTE anchor frequencies. However, Samsung has improved this with the Galaxy S21 series. The three models in the series now get along much better in the 5G networks of German providers.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the top model in the range. The huge camera on the back, which has a lot to offer, catches the eye in particular. In addition to a 108 megapixel wide angle, it also offers an ultra wide angle with 10 megapixels, a Preiskop camera with 10 megapixels and a telephoto camera with 12 megapixels. The Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn’t have to hide in terms of performance either. Powered by an Exynos 2100 and, depending on the model, 12 or 16 GB RAM, it offers absolute top performance. There is also 128 GB to 512 GB of memory, but it cannot be expanded.

The AMOLED display is particularly large at 6.8 inches and slightly curved towards the edges. It is also extremely bright and has a very high resolution of 3200 x 1440 pixels. The refresh rate can be increased dynamically up to 120 Hz. Samsung is already delivering the 5G smartphone with Android 11. The device also supports the new WiFi 6E standard.

Also read: Galaxy S21 in the test – great smartphone with annoying savings

The features of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in detail:

  • Display:  6.8 inches, Dynamic AMOLED 2x, 3200 x 1440 pixels, 120 Hz
  • Processor:  Exynos 2100 Octa-Core with 2.9 GHz
  • Memory:  128/256/512 GB (not expandable), 12/16 GB RAM
  • Front camera:  40 MP, f / 2.2
  • Main camera:  Quad camera 108 MP wide angle + 12 MP ultra wide angle + 10 MP periscope + 12 MP telephoto, f / 1.8 + f / 2.2 + f / 2.4 + f / 2.9
  • Connections:  NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, WLAN a / b / g / n / ac / ax, LTE + 5G, USB-C
  • Battery:  5000 mAh, 25 watts, wireless with 15 watts, reverse wireless charging with 4.5 watts
  • System:  Android 11
  • Other:  fingerprint sensor, IP68
  • Price:  from 949 euros

Also read: Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra in comparison

Oppo Find X3 Pro

The Oppo Find X3 Pro was presented in March 2021 and is the successor to the Find X2 Pro, which has already proven itself through its good compatibility in the German 5G networks. The new model connects here and can also be used without major restrictions. The Find X3 Pro will be available from April.

With an MSRP of 1149 euros, the Oppo Find X3 Pro is one of the most expensive 5G smartphones on this list. But it also offers excellent facilities. As is so often the case, the focus is on the camera. It relies on an exclusive sensor from Sony and offers a total of four sensors. There is a wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle with 50 megapixels each, a telephoto camera with 13 megapixels (2x optical and 5x hybrid zoom) and a macro lens with 3 megapixels. The latter ensures unusually good and detailed close-ups in the microscopic range.

Oppo already ships the Find X3 Pro with Android 11. The AMOLED display of the 5G smartphone has a diagonal of 6.7 inches, triggers with 3216 x 1440 pixels in QHD and offers a dynamic refresh rate of 5 to 120 Hz.Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, and Wi-Fi 6E are also available Board like stereo speakers and a 4500 mAh battery. Thanks to SuperVOOC 2.0, it can be charged particularly quickly with 65 watts. The Oppo Find X3 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 888. There is also 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, which, however, cannot be expanded.

The features of the Oppo Find X3 Pro in detail:

  • Display:  6.7 inches, AMOLED, 3216 x 1440 pixels, 5-120 Hz
  • Processor:  Snapdragon 888, Octa-Core with 2.8 GHz
  • Memory:  256 GB (not expandable), 12 GB RAM
  • Front camera:  32 MP, f / 2.4
  • Main camera:  Quad camera 50 MP wide angle + 50 MP ultra wide angle + 13 MP telephoto + 3 MP macro, f / 1.8 + f / 2.2 + f / 2.4 + f / 3.0
  • Connections:  NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, WLAN a / b / g / n / ac / ax, LTE + 5G, USB C
  • Battery:  4500 mAh, 65 watts, wireless with 30 watts, reverse wireless charging with 10 watts
  • System:  Android 11
  • Other:  fingerprint sensor under the display, IP68
  • Price:  from 1149 euros

Exception: Apple iPhone 12

The iPhone 12 series is the first in which Apple relies on 5G. Both the iPhone 12 mini, the iPhone 12, the iPhone 12 Pro and the iPhone 12 Pro Max support the new data standard. However, we must also point out at this point that these devices are among the models that sometimes have difficulties transmitting via 5G. Because the iPhones cannot handle the combination of 5G at 2100 MHz and anchor LTE at 1800 MHz, which is often used by Telekom. The result: Wherever Telekom relies on this combination – this is mostly the case in cities – the iPhone falls back on LTE.

Nevertheless, the iPhone 12 series is so far the only choice for Apple users to even use their smartphone to transmit via 5G. In addition, the devices can score points with good equipment. We would therefore like to mention the iPhone 12 as a representative in the list of the best 5G smartphones.

The iPhone 12 has a 6.1-inch OLED display with full HD + resolution. Apple has therefore replaced the LCD screen in the standard model. The processor is the A14 Bionic, which is supported by 4 GB of RAM. At Apple, hardware and software are very well coordinated, so the iPhones offer very solid performance. The manufacturer has also improved the camera compared to its predecessor. It is made up of two 12 megapixel sensors, whereby the aperture of the wide angle lets in a lot of light. The iPhone 12 delivers good photos even in the dark. Videographers can also record 4K HDR films in Dolby Vision with 10-bit color depth. Magnets on the back of the new smartphones allow accessories such as the MagSafe charging system to be connected.

The features of the Apple iPhone 12 in detail:

  • Display:  6.1 inches, OLED, 2532 x 1170 pixels, 60 Hz
  • Processor:  A14 Bionic, Hexa-Core
  • Memory:  64/128/256 GB (not expandable), 4 GB RAM
  • Front camera: 12 MP, f / 2.2
  • Main camera:  Dual camera 12 MP wide angle + 12 MP ultra wide angle, f / 1.6 + f / 2.4
  • Connections:  NFC, Bluetooth 5.0, WLAN a / b / g / n / ac / ax, LTE + 5G, Lightning
  • Battery:  2775 mAh, wireless with 7.5 watts, MagSafe wireless with 15 watts
  • System:  iOS 14
  • Other:  Face ID, IP68, dual SIM
  • Price:  from 725 euros
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