Skip to main content

Best 5G phones 2022: these are the next-gen handsets you should pick up

Best 5G phones
(Image credit: TechRadar / Apple)

The best 5G phones mean you can enjoy the fastest speeds, but they also encompass everything from high-end flagship phones to most mid-rangers, and even a few budget devices. It's a good idea to figure out what you can afford before diving into the options below.

5G is the next generation of mobile data connectivity and it brings with it super-fast speeds along with superior reliability and connection stability compared to 4G. It's perfect for online gaming, streaming movies, or quickly downloading large files. 

While the best smartphones might suit your needs, we've focused on the key uses of 5G here and looked at the best 5G phones for covering those requirements. The following roundup is broken down into categories to help you determine why you might be looking to buy a 5G phone.

Each of the entries include a 'best' model along with a 'runner up' so you know what the highlights are. That's particularly important as not all our best phones picks are available in the US or other regions.

We test every new 5G phone that comes out, so we know exactly what to look for. That also means this list is regularly updated, with new entries like the Black Shark 5 and Sony Xperia 1 IV now featuring.

  • What is 5G? Our full explainer about the next-gen internet tech

Best 5G phones at any price

A Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra against a white background

(Image credit: Samsung)
The new King of the 5G phones

Specifications

Release date: February 2022
Weight: 228g
Dimensions: 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3088
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 / Exynos 2200
RAM: 8GB / 12GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic camera
+
Gorgeous screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive
-
No microSD card slot

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the new leader of the best 5G phones, although it will cost you a fair chunk of change to enjoy its many great features.

Those features are vast at least. It offers a beautiful 6.8-inch AMOLED screen that supports up to 3088 x 1440 resolution and a peak brightness of 1,750 nits. Its refresh rate goes up to 120Hz with the ability to adapt as needed so it always looks great, while Samsung's new Vision Booster technology means visibility is great even in direct sunlight.

Elsewhere, its camera array is fantastic with an array of lenses offering you plenty of options from two 10MP zoom lenses, to a 12MP ultrawide, and 108MP main camera. Great technology further enhances your images. 

Throw in the integrated S Pen, speedy performance, and reasonable if not remarkable battery life, and this is a dream of a device.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review

OnePlus 10 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)
Another top Android choice

Specifications

Release date: January 2022
Weight: 201g
Dimensions: 163 x 73.9 x 8.6 mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3216
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256/512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 50MP + 8MP
Front camera: 32MP

Reasons to buy

+
Cheaper than competition
+
Great display

Reasons to avoid

-
A bit big
-
Cameras aren't perfect

Besides offering crucial 5G connectivity, the OnePlus 10 Pro offers a bunch of features we'd now consider crucial in a flagship phone. 

It's chunky but it has a gorgeous 6.7-inch 2K screen that's perfect for streaming content while on the move or playing online games. 120Hz refresh rate means it can keep up with it all. 

Further helping it is its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip that means powerful performance at all times, ensuring it can keep up with the speed that 5G brings. It even bundles in cooling systems to help ensure your phone won't overheat while you game on your commute. 

Slightly weaker cameras than some, but still reliable, is pretty much the only true downside to the otherwise remarkable performance of the OnePlus 10 Pro. 

Read our full OnePlus 10 Pro review.

Best cheap 5G phones

A OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G against a white background

(Image credit: OnePlus)
A great affordable Android

Specifications

Release date: February 2022
Weight: 173g
Dimensions: 160.6 x 73.2 x 7.8mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.43-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Dimensity 900
RAM: 6/8GB
Storage: 128GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP

Reasons to buy

+
Fast to charge
+
Slim body

Reasons to avoid

-
Middling performance
-
So-so camera

The OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G has mid-range specs but a price that makes it one of the more affordable 5G phones, and it’s an excellent choice if you’re on a budget.

Beyond 5G connectivity, it benefits from fast 65W charging, a slim, lightweight build, and slick software that’s almost entirely free of bloat.

The performance and camera are more middling but far from disasters, and while the screen is similar to the one on the original OnePlus Nord CE 5G, it’s still pleasant to use.

Read our full OnePlus Nord CE 2 5G review

Realme 9 Pro Plus

(Image credit: Realme)
A mid-range champion

Specifications

Release date: February 2022
Weight: 182g
Dimensions: 160.6 x 73.3 x 8mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.4-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G
RAM: 6/8GB
Storage: 128GB/246GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic value
+
Perfect for low-light photography

Reasons to avoid

-
Display is only 90Hz
-
Heart monitor is hidden in menus

The Realme 9 Pro Plus is one of the cheaper 5G phones available, yet it has a lot going for it, including surprisingly good low light photography capabilities, which is something you usually have to pay a lot for.

With 60W charging this phone also powers up fast, and it has a striking design, with direct sunlight causing the rear panel’s color to gradually change.

Plus, its camera is reasonably accomplished beyond its low light skills, performance is strong for the price, and it has a built-in heart rate monitor, which is something you don’t often see on phones. There’s quite a lot of pre-installed bloat, but that’s our only significant complaint.

Read our full Realme 9 Pro Plus review

Best 5G gaming phones

Asus ROG Phone 6

(Image credit: Asus)
The best gaming phone right now

Specifications

Release date: July 2022
Weight: 239g
Dimensions: 173 x 77 x 10.3mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.78-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2448
CPU: Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1
RAM: 8/12/16GB
Storage: 128GB/256/512GB
Battery: 6,000mAh
Rear camera: 50MP + 13MP + 5MP
Front camera: 12MP

Reasons to buy

+
Powerful while staying cool
+
Fantastic screen

Reasons to avoid

-
Weak camera for price
-
No wireless charging

If you're serious about mobile gaming, you'll love the Asus ROG Phone 6. It has a striking style that looks great while also including a 3.5mm headphone jack and even a second USB port for accessories. Alongside that, its 6.78-inch Samsung AMOLED display looks gorgeous with a 165Hz refresh rate ensuring it can cope with the fastest of games with no risk of motion blur.

Performance is powerful with the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 controlling the action and ensuring that the Asus ROG Phone 6 is fast while also staying cool thanks to Asus moving the processor. The only thing that heats it up is 5G downloads but it's worth it with the phone providing excellent results when streaming or downloading.

While photography isn't the Asus ROG Phone 6's strong point, for gaming and downloads, you can't beat it. 

Read our full Asus ROG Phone 6 review

Black Shark 5 Pro

(Image credit: Black Shark)
Speedy performance in every way

Specifications

Release date: March 2022
Weight: 220g
Dimensions: 163.9 x 76.5 x 9.5mm
OS: Android 12
Screen size: 6.67-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2400
CPU: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM: 8/12/16GB
Storage: 256/512GB
Battery: 4,650mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 13MP + 5MP
Front camera: 16MP

Reasons to buy

+
Useful retractable triggers
+
Fast performance 

Reasons to avoid

-
Lackluster battery life
-
Gets hot

5G may mean the Xiaomi Black Shark 5 Pro isn't the longest lasting of phones, needing a top up charge from time to time, but it flies elsewhere. Thanks to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, it's well designed for gaming on the move, whether streaming or downloading.

Even better, it has some pop-up physical triggers along one side, turning the phone into a gaming controller.

It gets a bit hot while you play and we'd have liked to have seen an AMOLED rather than OLED display, but the Black Shark 5 is still a great bet for gaming while connected to 5G.

Read our full Black Shark 5 Pro review

Best 5G phones for watching and streaming media

An iPhone 13 Pro Max in gold, against a white background

iPhone 13 Pro Max (Image credit: Apple)
The biggest iPhone with a great display

Specifications

Release date: September 2021
Weight: 240g
Dimensions: 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.7mm
OS: iOS 15
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1284 x 2778
CPU: A15 Bionic
RAM: 6GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 4,352mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP + TOF
Front camera: 12MP