The best 5G phones in 2024

The best 5G phones give you rapid downloads speeds on the go. We've tested top smartphones for all budgets from Apple, Samsung, Google and more.

Best 5G phones - a mobile device and its stylus against a purple background

The best 5G phones can access the 5th generation of mobile cellular technology, which brings extra speed and capacity for streaming, gaming, and browsing on the go. The best cell phone providers already have great data plans for 5G phones, but which is right for you?

At Pocket Tactics, we spend hours testing the best 5G smartphones for mobile mavens, camera connoisseurs, and gamers. Whether it’s the high-end luxury of Apple and Samsung’s offerings or the budget brilliance of little-known brands like Tecno and OnePlus, there’s so much available. If you’re specifically looking for a handset to play the best mobile games, check out the best gaming phones.

Why you can trust our advice ✔ At Pocket Tactics, our experts spend days testing games, phones, tech, and services. We always share honest opinions to help you buy the best. Find out how we test.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The best 5G smartphone overall

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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra specifications:
Chipset Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (made for Galaxy)
Display 6.8-inch 120Hz AMOLED (1440 x 3088)
Storage 256GB to 1TB
RAM 8GB to 12GB
Battery Li-Ion 5,000 mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Industry-leading cameras
  • Excellent performance
  • Beautifully well-rounded package
Reasons to avoid
  • Pricey
  • Strong competition

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra tops our list of the best 5G phones by a fair distance. It’s stylish, features fantastic cameras, and is a smooth performer in terms of both day-to-day usage and gaming. Outside of the expensive price, there’s really nothing going against this one.

The main selling point here is the cameras, something only the Xiaomi 13 Pro can compete with. Clean shots, good back-end processing, and excellent zoom mean that this is the best way to get good snaps on the go.

Then there’s the performance. Thanks to the unique Snapdragon chip in the S23 line of Galaxy phones, the gaming performance is near-unbeatable. They’re even capable of ray tracing, amazingly, something you can learn more about in our Samsung’s Won-joon Choi interview.

Beyond that, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is just a well-rounded, premium package. The build quality is excellent, the operating system is as good as it gets on Android, and the display is gorgeous. Combine this with solid battery life and the included stylus, and it’s hard to beat.

The only downsides come down to personal preference. You may prefer the design of another phone like the Xiaomi 13 Pro. You might prefer using an Apple device. But if not, this is the best way to go for a premium 5G smartphone.

Check out our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review for even more of our thoughts.

iPhone 15 Pro Max

The best 5G iPhone

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iPhone 15 Pro Max specifications:
Chipset Apple A17 Pro
Display 6.7-inch 120Hz Super Retina XDR OLED (1290 x 2796)
Storage 256GB to 1TB
Battery Li-Ion 4,441 mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Excellent design
  • Apple ecosystem
  • Near-perfect package
Reasons to avoid
  • Expensive
  • OS bugs
  • Strong competition

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the best 5G iPhone available today, with a strong argument for it being the best of the 5G phones on this list. Boasting a high-refresh-rate screen, a dynamic island, ace cameras, and excellent performance, it’s the best Apple offers at the time of writing.

The main reason to dive in here is because it’s Apple. The integration of iOS with various accounts and other devices you may own is exceptional – no one does an ecosystem like Apple. If you have a Mac, iPad, Apple TV, AirPods, or HomePod, it’d be a bit odd to not own an iPhone.

What the hardware itself offers is also pretty exceptional. There’s a great set of cameras for taking snaps, and Apple’s photo processing is rock solid. Meanwhile, the battery life is decent (if you turn off the always-on display), and the display is a real step up versus previous generations.

Perhaps the biggest draw is the A17 Pro within, giving you excellent power for all your gaming needs, making it the best gaming iPhone, easily. Combine this with all the Apple Arcade games out there, and you’re flying.

The only issue here is also the main benefit: it’s Apple. If you don’t like iOS or want various compatibility and ease-of-use benefits, you might not want to go this way. If you need more details, check out our in-depth iPhone 15 Pro Max review.

Xiaomi 13 Pro

The best alternative 5G phone

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Xiaomi 13 Pro specifications:
Chipset Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display 6.73-inch 120Hz AMOLED (1440 x 3200)
Storage 128GB to 512GB
RAM 8GB to 12GB
Battery Li-Po 4,820 mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Luxurious design
  • Excellent cameras
  • High performance
Reasons to avoid
  • Big, cumbersome design
  • OS bugs

While you might not have heard of this brand, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is a fantastic alternative to the biggest high-end flagships on the market, with a less hefty price tag. If you’re looking to steer clear of Samsung and Apple, this might be the one for you.

As always, these phones compete on the same things. The Xiaomi 13 Pro’s screen is excellent, it has really impressive battery life and fast charging, some of the best cameras we’ve seen on a smartphone, and the latest chip from Qualcomm. Sounds like all the other flagships out there, right?

Well, the big difference is design. The Xiaomi 13 Pro is a gorgeous slab of glass, with curved edges, a gargantuan camera bump, and an overall luxurious feel. It’s big, it’s bold, and it’s lovely. But it’s also a tad slippery.

Beyond design, there’s not much else that sets the phone apart. It performs admirably against the competitors in every single category bar one. And that one category is the operating system.

While you may not notice over a week, a year spent using the Xiaomi 13 Pro may highlight some operating system hiccups that will begin to irritate. Whether it’s the home screen stuttering or hard-to-find settings options, it’s still a bit fresh. It’s also improved loads over the years, so hopefully that won’t be the case forever.

Read our Xiaomi 13 Pro review.

ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro

The best 5G phone for gaming

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ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro specifications:
Chipset Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Display 6.68-inch 165Hz Samsung E6 AMOLED (2400×1080 pixels)
Storage 24GB
Battery 5,500 mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Best-in-class gaming performance
  • Improved cameras from previous model
  • Massive internal storage
Reasons to avoid
  • Expensive
  • Cooling fan isn’t always practical

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro is a phone that has mobile gaming in mind over all else. It features the X Capture and X Sense 2.0. X Capture systems that use AI to detect and record your best gaming moments so that you don’t have to worry about screen-capturing every second you play. This system is also optimized for some of our favorite games, like Genshin Impact and the most popular FPS titles.

With the ROG Phone 8 Pro, you can pick up the separate cooler attachment to keep the phone at a comfortable temperature while gaming, which also has dual triggers so you have a couple of extra buttons to utilize in a pinch. Outside of performance, it has a snazzy, ergonomic design with a mini, customizable LED display on the back.

The ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro does have a slightly lower battery life than its predecessor, but it makes up for this small gripe with its HyperCharge adapter that allows you to get a full charge in just 39 minutes, meaning you don’t have to be away from your game for too long.

Check out our ASUS ROG Phone 8 Pro Edition review for more.

OnePlus Nord 2

The best 5G smartphone for small budgets

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OnePlus Nord 2 specifications:
Chipset MediaTek Dimensity 1200
Display 6.43-inch 90Hz AMOLED (1080 x 2400)
Storage 128/256GB
RAM 6/8/12GB
Battery Li-Po 4,500 mAh
Reasons to buy
  • Great value
  • Nice display
  • Good performance
Reasons to avoid
  • No wireless charging
  • Not waterproof

If you’re looking for a budget pick from our list of the best 5G smartphones, here it is, the OnePlus Nord 2. With a dazzling 90Hz display, solid performance for the price point, and a generous battery life, it might not be as capable as the bigger names, but it’s not far off.

First off, performance. If you’re a gaming obsessive, you may notice some hitches, but the MediaTek Dimensity 1200 is mighty powerful. It can fly through day-to-day tasks with ease and game on the go without too much trouble in most cases. It’s ace.

Then there’s the lovely AMOLED screen, which at 90Hz may sound disappointing, but is good enough at this price range. Add to this a decent camera for snapping shots, alongside OnePlus’ ever-ace fast-charging, and it starts to feel close to a flagship.

The cost-saving comes in quite simple things, however. There’s no dust or water resistance rating, meaning a quick plunge in the bath could spell the end. Meanwhile, it doesn’t offer wireless charging, but that’s unlikely to matter to most people. Overall, it’s an excellently well-rounded handset, and its 5G capability is just an added bonus.

Samsung Galaxy A54 5G

The best mid-range 5G phone

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Samsung Galaxy A54 5G specifications:
Chipset Exynos 1380
Display 120Hz 6.4-inch AMOLED (1080 x 2340)
Storage 128GB-256GB
Battery Li-Po 5,000 mAh
Reasons to buy
  • High-refresh-rate screen
  • Good battery life
  • Samsung reliability
Reasons to avoid
  • More expensive than the competition
  • Slightly barebones design

If the iPhone 15 Pro Max and other high-end devices are a little out of your budget, the Samsung Galaxy A54 5G is a great mid-range option. It might not have all the bells and whistles of the S23, but it’s incredibly impressive for its price range, beating out plenty of other mid-rangers in terms of battery life, display, and reliability.

With a 120Hz display, lovely build quality, and a shared design language with the big boys in the bunch, it definitely feels like a premium product. The battery is nice and big, the main camera is pretty ace for the price, and all around, for day-to-day tasks, this is more than enough.

Still, there are of course drawbacks to buying a phone at a third of the cost of a flagship. The chip inside is nowhere near the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 if you really want to push your phone – the A54 is enough for standard stuff, but don’t expect to max out the graphical settings or do some in-depth photo editing.

That’s the main drawback, mind you. The camera is good enough – nowhere near the low-light or zoom performance of the S23 Ultra, however – while the trusted Samsung software support is a boon against some of the smaller-scale competition. It’s a great deal.

Take a look at our Samsung Galaxy A54 review for more information.

How do I choose the best 5G smartphone for me?

The best 5G phone for you comes down to many aspects. If you don’t have $1,000 to spend, that cuts out almost all the flagships. Don’t sweat though, as the mid-range and budget options on this list are excellent.

Beyond price, you need to look at features. If you’re a camera obsessive, the Samsung Galaxy lineup is well known for its photography features. If you really need gaming performance, the Asus ROG Phone 7 is the ultimate choice. If you just want an all-rounder without spending much money, the OnePlus Nord likely has you covered.

For more beyond the best 5G phones on the market today, check out our guides to the best Samsung phones, best rugged smartphones, and best iPad to pick out even more tech titans.