The best 5G phones on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or unlocked

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The best 5G phones on Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or unlocked
The move from the previous 4G LTE generation of mobile connectivity to the current 5G era is marked by a transitional period much shorter than the move from 3G to 4G. Pandemics aside, it took just a year for Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile to roll out their nascent 5G networks in earnest, and call it a revolution.

That infrastructure push stems from the fact that, unlike 4G, the 5G rollout is on such a wide range of bands, that each carrier is creating their own unique network, and 5G phones have to work on all of them, raising the number of antennas, modem filters, and 5G-related costs to sights unseen. To help navigate the glut of 5G devices on Verizon, T-Mobile, or AT&T, we are rounding up the best ones you can buy.


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The best 5G phones to buy right now


  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra - the undisputed zoom camera king also knocks it out of the battery life park.
    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
    9.1

    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra


    The Good

    • The longest, cleanest zoom on a phone, and most versatile camera set
    • The best battery life in its class
    • Brightest display with the most granular adaptive refresh rate
    • Stylish Contour Cut design and richer variety of colors
    • Unique 12-bit color RAW capture at 108MP
    • S Pen stylus support
    • Next-gen Wi-fi 6E standard support

    The Bad

    • Still big and bulky to carry and use, especially with an S Pen case on
    • $1200 gets you just 128GB, no charger, earbuds, or memory card slot
    • The new ultrasonic finger scanner is still comparatively slow
    • Softness in the main camera sample edges

  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max - best 5G iPhone.
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
    8.8

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra


    The Good

    • S Pen in a flagship, great for creatives
    • Industry-leading screen quality
    • Faster charging than before
    • 10X zoom camera is improved significantly
    • Video recording gets smoother stabilization
    • 4 years of major software updates!

    The Bad

    • Battery life has gone down from the S21 Ultra
    • You get less RAM than last year
    • No microSD card slot, no headphone jack
    • Loudspeaker quality could be better
    • Jittery swiping, microstutter with gesture nav in One UI
  • Apple iPhone 13 -  almost like the Pro, for much less money.
    Apple iPhone 13
    6.4

    Apple iPhone 13


    The Good

    • Much improved battery life
    • Dynamic and jolly photos in more challenging conditions
    • Easy to view outdoors display with perfect calibration
    • Snazzy Cinematic video mode
    • Double the predecessor storage for the same price

    The Bad

    • Slow display refresh rate for the price point
    • Wired and wireless charging take comparatively long
    • Cinematic video mode is finicky without good lighting
    • Taller notch eats into some video formats
    • Worse value for money ratio than the iPhone 13 Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE - great battery life, telephoto zoom, durable body, all at a great price.
    Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
    8.3

    Samsung Galaxy S21 FE


    The Good

    • Fast performance
    • 120Hz Adaptive refresh rate
    • Excellent camera performance
    • Lightweight construction
    • One of few dual SIM phones in the US

    The Bad

    • Priced very close to flagship models
    • Plastic construction might disappoint some
    • No microSD, no headphone jack
    • Thermal throttling is an issue
  • OnePlus 10 Pro - the 10 Pro model offers great value for its discounted price.
    OnePlus 10 Pro
    8.5

    OnePlus 10 Pro


    The Good

    • Great performance with good thermal management
    • Gorgeous display
    • Nice haptics and lovely sound
    • Premium design
    • Versatile camera
    • You get a charger in the box

    The Bad

    • Sometimes bleak image colors
    • Color temperature inconsistencies between the different lenses
    • No auto Night Mode
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro - great camera and battery life, timely Android version updates.
    Google Pixel 7 Pro
    6.1

    Google Pixel 7 Pro


    The Good

    • Great deal at $900
    • Speedy performance, clean software
    • Powerful zoom camera
    • Guaranteed day 1 software updates

    The Bad

    • Portrait Mode is bad
    • Tensor G2 is not as powerful as rivals
    • Slow-ish charging
  • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G UW
    Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    9.0

    Samsung Galaxy A53 5G


    The Good

    • Great 120Hz screen
    • Dual speakers do a great job
    • Cameras produce solid image and video quality
    • Excellent battery life
    • Clean design
    • Has microSD expandable storage

    The Bad

    • Disappointing haptics
    • Slow fingerprint reader
    • No more headphone jack
    • Gaming experience is a bit of a let down

The best 5G Verizon unlocked phones


Here's the list of the best Verizon 5G phones:
    • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
    • Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
    • Google Pixel 7 Pro
    • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
    • Apple iPhone 14
    • TCL 20 5G UW
    • Samsung Galaxy A43 5G UW


    Verizon called dibs to 5G fame claims, initiating a commercial connection a few days before Korean carriers: "for the first time ever, customers can access a commercial 5G network with the world’s first commercially available 5G-enabled smartphone." Granted, at one lamp post near a Chicago stadium, and just with a Motorola Moto Z3 add-on, but who's counting.

    The millimeter wave networks like the current 5G one that Verizon uses, offer the fastest speeds and thus marketing bombast at their initial rollout, yet on the other hand mmWave spectrum has very low penetration rates. So low, in fact, that the signal can get easily dispersed by the phone's glass body, and it has trouble getting through your hands holding the phone, let alone trees, buildings, and even windows. 

    Thankfully, Verizon is also advancing with its Nationwide 5G efforts on the lower bands, which, however, produce speeds that are often slower than on its best-in-class 4G LTE network.

    The best 5G АТ&T unlocked phones


    Here's a list of the best AT&T 5G phones:
    • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 
    • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
    • Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
    • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
    • Apple iPhone 14
    • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    • Google Pixel 6a 5G

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    Verizon may have shouted "first" on the 5G connection switch, but AT&T was the one with the first commercially available 5G device a few months prior, albeit it was actually not a phone, but a "puck," the Netgear Nighthawk 5G Mobile Hotspot.  Well, the carrier that delivered the "world’s first millimeter wave mobile 5G browsing session" has since added a lot of other gear and even a Nationwide 5G network on the low bands. 

    The best 5G T-Mobile unlocked phones


    Here's the list of the best 5G phones on T-Mobile:
    • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
    • OnePlus Nord N200 5G
    • T-Mobile REVVL V+ 5G
    • OnePlus 10 Pro
    • Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
    • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
    • Apple iPhone 14
    • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G
    • Google Pixel 6a 5G

      After its merger with Sprint, the new T-Mobile is very well positioned across the 5G spectrum, and the synergies of its 600MHz band with Sprint's 2500MHz, and whatever it can scrape off in the mmWave bands, are undeniable. There's barely a 5G phone under the sun that T-Mobile doesn't carry, but we've set our sights on a few deal-friendly ones to help your choice.

    The best unlocked 5G phones you can get in the US


    • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
    • OnePlus 10 Pro
    • Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
    • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
    • Apple iPhone 14
    • Google Pixel 7 Pro
    • Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

    If you don't want to be tied to a carrier save for the cell phone plan, Samsung's unlocked Galaxies are usually the go-to choice in the US, as well as Apple's iPhones, Google's Pixels, and Motorola - all of these are made to work with any carrier although you do have to register them on Verizon, and make sure you've brought a model with a mmWave modem.

    In the end, what's the best 5G phone?


    Whether you are searching for the best Verizon 5G phones, the best phones on AT&T or the best T-Mobile phones, most of those will now be 5G models, sign of the times. Even the best budget 2021 phones are now 5G-capable, so whichever your favorite brand or carrier, you will be covered with the next gen network connectivity.

    As you can see, the Apple-Samsung duopoly has the lion's share of the best 5G phones in the US, but thanks to their value-for-money street cred, the OnePlus 5G phones are encroaching on their turf with the best phone displays at the moment. 

    If you are looking for the 5G phone with the best camera, though, look no further than the Galaxy S22 Ultra as it also has an adaptive refresh rate display, but also a stellar battery life and ultrafast charging. 

    These important criteria are rarely found together in any phone, so we can easily declare the Galaxy S22 Ultra to be the best 5G phone money can currently buy in the US. Unless you are in the iOS camp, of course, then the best 5G iPhone for you would be the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Given that both best 5G phones on iOS and Android are available on all carriers and with all sorts of deals and promos, there's no need to look for much else. Unless you are cash-strapped, of course, then our best budget 5G phones roundup is for you.

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