5G phones available in the UK today are limited to just a handful of models. Xiaomi's Mi Mix 3 5G was first to go on sale in May, though it launched before Vodafone's 5G network and therefore it was actually EE's OnePlus 7 Pro that became the first fully operational 5G phone in the UK.
Since then we've seen 5G phone launches in the form of Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G and Note 10 5G, the LG V50 ThinQ 5G, Oppo Reno 5G and Huawei Mate 20 X 5G. Now, for the first time, there's a mid-range 5G phone that may not command a wallet-crushing asking price - the Galaxy A90 5G does not sit in Samsung's flagship phone family, though it does have a high-end processor as is necessary for a 5G modem.
Getting a 5G phone is only one piece of the puzzle, of course, since to take advantage of the next-gen connectivity you need to:
- Have a 5G-capable phone
- Subscribe to a network that has launched 5G connectivity
- Be in an area with good 5G coverage
EE and Vodafone's 5G networks have already gone live, while Three has already launched its 5G home broadband but is not there yet with the phones. O2's 5G network goes live in October, while we expect to see those virtual operators piggybacking its services (such as Sky) roll out 5G in November.
Coverage even for those who have begun the rollout is described as patchy at best, however. We're going to be some way into 2020 before 5G becomes commonplace.
It will be worth the wait: 5G is around 20 times faster than 4G, with the potential for even better speeds. With 5G, you'll be able to stream video in 4K, and make 4K video calls. There are also benefits for mobile gaming because of 5G's lower latency. For more details on the technology, see our guide to What is 5G?
If you decide to wait, we've tested some great 4G smartphones at various price points. Check out the best flagship, mid-range and budget phones available now, as well as some great phones coming soon (some are even foldable, which for now is arguably more cool than supporting 5G).
Best 5G phones coming in 2019
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
Xiaomi's Mi Mix 3 5G was the first 5G-capable phone to go on sale in the UK, and now you can actually use it on Vodafone's 5G network too (in seven UK cities, in any case). Plans start at £50 a month (£99 upfront), though the best deal is arguably the £58/month 60GB data deal, which has an upfront fee of £49. It will also be available through O2 in August.
This is an upgraded version of the Mi Mix 3 that launched in October (January in the UK), with its Snapdragon 845 chip swapped out for the Snapdragon 855 and X50 modem. It is available in Onyx Black, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage.
Mi Mix 3 is notable as being the best implementation of a slider phone we've seen yet. By hiding the twin (24Mp + 2Mp) selfie cameras behind the screen it is able to achieve an incredible 93.4% screen-to-body ratio.
Mi Mix 3 also includes all the latest hardware you'd expect in a 2019 flagship, with wireless charging now bumped up to a super-fast 20W. All you really sacrifice in return for the lower price is a Quad-HD+ display and waterproofing.
OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
A 5G variant of the OnePlus 7 Pro, the OnePlus 5G phone has the same features, including the pop-up selfie camera, triple-lens rear camera and 6.7in 90Hz all-screen display.
Though it wasn't actually the first 5G phone to go on sale in the UK, it was the first 5G phone you could actually use on a next-gen network. OnePlus 7 Pro 5G is available to buy now through EE, with various plans available starting from £59 a month.
Learn how independent testing found OnePlus 7 Pro 5G to be the fastest 5G phone on download speeds.
Read more about the OnePlus 7.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
The Galaxy S10 5G was announced alongside the standard, Plus and 'e' variants of Galaxy S10 at an Unpacked event on 20 February, and went on sale in South Korea on 5 April. In the UK it went on sale on 7 June, and is available now from EE or Vodafone, coming to O2 on 8 August.
In essence the Galaxy S10 5G is simply a larger version of the Galaxy S10 with 5G support, but it also adds an extra 12Mp camera lens at the rear resulting in a quad-lens setup. The battery is also higher in capacity at 4,500mAh (vs 3,400mAh).
With a 6.7in Quad-HD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O panel, this is the largest Samsung phone to date. It measures 77.1x162.6x7.94mm and weighs a colossal 198g.
The S10 5G has the same core hardware as the rest of the range, with an Exynos 9820 or Snapdragon 855 processor, but a fixed 8GB of RAM and 256GB of non-expandable storage.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 5G
Samsung's £1,099 Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G is now available direct from Samsung or on contract through Three and EE. Three has an incredible deal on the new phone that will cost you just £39 a month for the first six months (£78 thereafter) with unlimited everything.
Note 10 Plus has a huge 6.8in Dynamic OLED display, but it's easier than you might think to hold in the hand with its tall aspect ratio and almost bezel-less design.
The new flagship phablet piles on the performance with a new 7nm processor and 12GB of RAM, adds extra Depth Vision and Time of Flight sensors to the rear camera, and integrates an in-display fingerprint sensor for the first time in the Note series.
It does lose the headphone jack, but there's USB-C audio (with bundled AKG earbuds), microSD support and Samsung's famous S Pen stylus, here updated with new Air Actions that allow it to behave almost like a magic wand, triggering actions without it even touching the screen.
Samsung Galaxy A90 5G
The first 5G phone that sits outside a phone maker's flagship family, the Galaxy A90 should command a slightly lower price than some of those listed here.
That said, it does have a flagship processor, in the form of the Snapdragon 855 (necessary for it to have a 5G modem), though Samsung makes some savings elsewhere with a downgraded triple-lens camera and lack of support for wireless charging.
A 6.7in AMOLED screen is interrupted only with a small teardrop notch to house the selfie camera, while a fingerprint sensor is integrated to the display. There's also a high-capacity 4,500mAh battery and 25W fast charging.
Oppo Reno 5G
Oppo announced a 5G version of its Reno smartphone in April, which went on sale in the UK in June, exclusively through EE. You can already buy the 5G Reno, with plans starting at £54 a month.
The Reno 5G has the same high-end specs as the 10x Zoom Reno but is equipped with a 5G-ready Qualcomm X50 modem.
It has a 6.6in AMOLED display, 128/256GB expandable storage and 6/8GB RAM, and dual rear 48Mp and 13Mp cameras on the back.
Read more about the Oppo Reno 5G.
LG V50 ThinQ 5G
The LG V50 ThinQ 5G was something of a surprise when it was announced at MWC 2019: we weren't expecting it to arrive until October. It's available to buy now from EE, with plans starting at £69 a month.
LG has decided to hold off on its proper foldable phone for now, offering its V50 ThinQ as a sort of halfway house that serves up 5G and similar functionality to a foldable device with an optional second display.
Even without the second screen the V50 is something of a chunk, which is necessitated by the extra hardware required by 5G. It also packs a whopping 4,000mAh battery and is fitted with a 6.4in 19.5:9 Quad-HD+ display.
LG's 5G support is provided by this year's flagship processor of choice, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 with X50 modem. In comparison to the 2018 845 it promise a 45% boost in general processing power and 20% uplift in games. This is paired with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage as standard.
Audio is a particular standout for LG, and the V50 ThinQ 5G offers the best wired audio of any smartphone thanks to the high-quality DAC. Photography is also noteworthy, with a triple-lens (16Mp + 12Mp + 12Mp) setup at the rear, and dual-lens (8Mp + 5Mp) at the front.
Huawei Mate 20 X 5G
It is a variant of the Mate 20 X, with the addition of a Balong 5000 chipset and SuperCool graphene heat pipes, but a slightly lower-capacity 4200mAh battery with 40W SuperCharge.
Available in Emerald Green, the Mate 20 X 5G has a 7.2in FullView IPS display and runs the same Kirin 980 chip as all Huawei's current flagships. In common with the rest of the Mate 20 range there's a triple-lens camera at the rear, comprising 40Mp, 20Mp and 8Mp lenses.
Huawei Mate X
The Mate X is Huawei's upcoming foldable phone, and it stole possibly more column inches than any other smartphone following its successful MWC 2019 launch. This phone truly has the wow factor, yet cries of "I want one" are immediately followed by "How much?" The Mate X will cost a staggering €2,299 when it arrives.
The Mate X does not have a confirmed release date, but is expected in November. Originally both EE and Vodafone confirmed that they would be stockists, but that may have all changed now in light of recent disputes.
When laid out flat the Mate X has a magnificent 8in tablet-like display with a 2480x2200 resolution. It folds in the opposite direction to the Galaxy Fold, which has a second display on the other side. This means you have in effect a 6.6in, 2480x1148 (19.5:9) smartphone that has a second 6.4in, 2480x892 (25:9) screen on the rear.
You might be wondering where this leaves space for the four Leica cameras, and the ingenious solution is found in the bar grip to one side.
With so much screen battery life could be an issue, but Huawei specs a single 4,500mAh cell with support with stupidly fast 55W charging.
Vivo Nex 3
It may not ever get a release outside Asia, but if you don't mind importing then the Vivo Nex 3 could be a great 5G option - at least in Europe, where the Sub-6GHz wavelength it uses is more common.
With a super-curved 6.89in waterfall display and a 99.6% screen-to-body ratio the Nex 3 is undeniably a looker, helped by the decision to omit physical buttons in favour of touch-sensitive capacitive spots with haptic feedback.
Vivo didn't skimp on the specs either though: a Snapdragon 855 Plus, 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and 256GB UFS 3.0 storage - not to mention 44W fast charging for the 4500mAh battery and a triple rear camera setup led by a 64Mp shooter.