Best 5G phones in USA for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or unlocked

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Best 5G phones in USA for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile, or unlocked
The move from the previous 4G LTE generation of mobile connectivity to the current 5G era will be marked by a transitional period that is likely to be shorter than the move from 3G to 4G. Pandemics aside, it took just a few months for Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint to roll out nascent 5G networks and call it a revolution.

Somewhat paradoxically, 5G needs cable. Lots and lots of fiber optic cable that needs to be laid in the ground by good old-fashioned ditch-digging. Short of the national highway system and the railroad tycoon era, 5G may turn out to be one of America's grandest infrastructure undertakings, with assorted carrier base stations on buildings, and even lamp posts. 

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, Sprint or AT&T, we are rounding up the best ones you can buy.

The best 5G phones to buy right now


The best Verizon 5G phones



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. Here's a list of the best Verizon 5G phones:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
  • Apple iPhone 12
  • TCL 10 5G UW
  • Samsung Galaxy A42 5G UW

The best АТ&T 5G phones


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. Here's a list of the best AT&T 5G phones:

  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
  • Apple iPhone 12
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
  • Google Pixel 4a 5G


The best T-Mobile 5G phones


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. Here's a list of the best T-Mobile 5G phones:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
  • OnePlus 9 Pro
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
  • Apple iPhone 12
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G
  • Google Pixel 4a 5G

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


  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
  • OnePlus 9 Pro
  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
  • Apple iPhone 12
  • Google Pixel 5
  • Samsung Galaxy A52 5G

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.

Related phones

Galaxy S20

PhoneArena Score:

9.1

User Score:

9.7
  • Display 6.2 inches 3200 x 1440 pixels
  • Camera 12 MP (Triple camera) 10 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 12GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 4000 mAh
  • OS Android 11 Samsung One UI
8
  • Display 6.5 inches 2400 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 48 MP (Triple camera) 16 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 8GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, not expandable
  • Battery 4300 mAh
  • OS Android 11
V60 ThinQ

PhoneArena Score:

9.0

User Score:

8.0
  • Display 6.8 inches 2460 x 1080 pixels
  • Camera 64 MP (Triple camera) 10 MP front
  • Hardware Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 8GB RAM
  • Storage 128GB, microSDXC
  • Battery 5000 mAh
  • OS Android 11

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