Best 5G phones 2022

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Review
(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)

New technology works best when everyone commits to it, and over the past couple of years, 5G coverage has reached the masses on every major carrier with speed further speed improvements in the works. If you want to make the most of your phone plan and network, you want a phone that works with 5G. The Samsung Galaxy S22+ hits all the right marks with excellent 5G compatibility and some of the most advanced hardware on any phone you can buy. 

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Review

(Image credit: Michael Hicks / Android Central)
The right balance for Samsung's new Galaxy S line

Reasons to buy

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Gorgeous 120Hz AMOLED display
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Blazing-fast Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
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Great battery life
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Top-of-the-line camera system
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5G support for every carrier

Reasons to avoid

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Doesn't have expandable storage
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Expensive

The Samsung Galaxy S22+ brings software and hardware together in a beautiful design that makes it one of the best Android phones you can buy from any angle. While bigger brother, the S22 Ultra, stole much of the spotlight, the more compact and cheaper S22+ makes more sense for most people. Besides that, it’s still an excellent phone with some of the best specs around including the blazing-fast Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and support for every carrier’s 5G networks.

The S22+ will work great whether you're still relying on low-band 5G or LTE as well as supporting newer mid-band 5G including C-band. Finally, mmWave support means this phone will keep up excellent speeds in dense areas like sports arenas where mmWave networks have been deployed. This phone also supports Wi-Fi 6E so if you’ve upgraded to one of the best Wi-Fi 6E routers, you can get the most out of it.

Camera performance is top-notch with Samsung’s software making the most of the massive 50MP main shooter. It supports fast charging at up to 45W with the 4,500mAh battery easily making it through the day. On the front, you have a vibrant 6.6-inch 120Hz AMOLED display that feels buttery smooth thanks to a 240Hz touch sample rate. It’s also robust with Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and an IP68 rating.

Google's Pixel 6 Pro on a fence with Autumn trees in the background

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Google's most capable phone ever

Reasons to buy

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Large, beautiful 120Hz display
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Great cameras performance
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Excellent battery life
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Fast Google Tensor chip
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Excellent software update support

Reasons to avoid

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The look isn't for everyone

Like all Pixel phones, the Pixel 6 Pro was designed to show off the very best of the Android OS so naturally, we’re fans. The Pro model ships with Google’s own Tensor CPU with plenty of performance for ultra-smooth phone operation. This chip also comes with support for 5G including both sub-6 and mmWave. This phone also works with Wi-Fi 6E so it can make the most of modern 6GHz-enabled routers.  If you’re looking for a phone that will work great on just about any carrier’s 5G network, the Pixel 6 Pro is a great place to start.

On the back, you get a large 50MP camera for the majority of your photos as well as a telephoto camera that sets it apart from the smaller Pixel 6 model. Google’s legendary camera software helps this phone take some astonishing pictures including one of the best night modes around. Some will prefer Google's photos to Samsung's so if you're in it mostly for the cameras, it's worth comparing the S22+ to the Pixel 6 Pro.

All of this looks great on the 6.7-inch OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and you can take photos to your heart’s content with the 5,003mAh battery under the hood. This phone is a great showcase for Android 12 and its Material You theming that allows you to customize the look of your home screen with vibrant color choices. When it comes to updates, the Pixel 6 Pro will more often than not be at the very front of the line for software updates with three platform updates promised as well as five years of security updates.

OnePlus Nord N20 5G in hand

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)
Cheap with plenty of power

Reasons to buy

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Beautiful AMOLED display
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Great camera performance
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Affordable low price
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Headphone jack included
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MicroSD expansion enabled

Reasons to avoid

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Display brightness can be lacking
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Only one major OS update planned

The OnePlus Nord N20 5G is one of the easiest cheap phones to recommend, thanks to its low price, which makes its snappy performance all the more impressive. Our OnePlus Nord N20 5G review left us impressed with just how much power OnePlus was able to pack into this device with a Snapdragon 695 CPU, an AMOLED display, and a large 4,500mAh battery for under $300.

The impressive features don't stop there, with the 64MP rear camera outperforming or matching any other phone you can get at this price and, in many cases, competing with much more expensive phones. No, these aren't the best cameras you can get on a smartphone, but if you're looking for a cheap phone that gets close, the Nord N20 is a great place to start.

With this phone's price, a lot of people will be able to afford it unlocked, meaning they'll be able to take it with them to most carriers so they can further save money with the best prepaid carriers instead of relying on bill credits to afford a phone. It's also worth noting that this phone looks more premium than other cheap phones, so the only thing that feels cheap is the price.

Google Pixel 6 with Smart Launcher 5 and Material You

(Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)
Perfect balance for Android fans

Reasons to buy

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Great camera performance
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Nice 6.4-inch 90Hz display
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Fast Google Tensor chip
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Solid battery life
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Excellent software update support

Reasons to avoid

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Confusing lack of mmWave in some models

The Google Pixel 6 takes a step back from its larger sibling to offer a more sensible package at a more affordable price. This phone supports low-band and mid-band 5G when purchased unlocked or from T-Mobile or AT&T. If you buy it through Verizon, it will also come with mmWave support. Still, for the majority of people, sub-6 5G makes the most sense with the greatest coverage and more than enough speed for just about anything you need to do on your phone. Where it will miss out is in dense areas with a ton of people all trying to connect at once, like a sports arena.

Like the Pro, this comes with Google’s Tensor CPU, delivering great performance. This phone has a 90Hz 6.4-inch OLED display so navigating Android 12 feels smooth and responsive. The battery is a 4614mAh unit with enough power to get you through the day. This phone doesn’t have the telephoto camera of its older sibling but still has the massive 50MP main camera that delivers some great results. It’s also IP68 rated so you don’t need to worry if you get caught out in the rain with your phone.

As it’s a Pixel, it’s running the latest version of Android 12 and updates are frequent with this phone being among the very first to get security updates. Google has also promised three platform updates and five years of security updates so you can feel confident using this phone for years to come.

OnePlus Nord N200 in a beautiful field of flowers

(Image credit: Jeramy Johnson / Android Central)
5G doesn't have to be expensive

Reasons to buy

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90Hz refresh rate is buttery smooth
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Solid performance
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Large 5,000mAh battery
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Excellent price

Reasons to avoid

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No C-band or mmWave support

The OnePlus Nord N200 is the cheapest phone on this list but it still has a strong set of features. It supports low-band and mid-band 5G, though it lacks c-band support so this phone won’t be a great fit for Verizon or AT&T. On T-Mobile, you’ll get access to the majority of the network including fast mid-band 5G. If you were looking for a cheap 5G phone to try out with a T-Mobile-base carrier like Mint Mobile, this is a solid choice. It also looks nice with an attractive blue back.

The Snapdragon 480 powering this phone can keep up with most Android apps with ease and the 5,000mAh battery means it can easily last the entire day. The display is solid with a 90Hz refresh rate at 6.49 inches and Gorilla Glass 3. This phone comes with 64GB of storage but it's expandable with a microSD card. Around the back, you’ve got a 13MP main camera capable of solid daylight photos and a 2MP macro camera for closeups.

The Nord N200 ships with Android 11 with OnePlus promising an update to Android 12 at some point in the future. While this will be the only planned update, it’s on par with most other phones in this price range. 

Samsung Galaxy A53 5G

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)
Almost a flagship

Reasons to buy

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Vibrant 120Hz AMOLED display
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Solid rear camera performance
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Four Android OS updates
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IP67 dust and water resistant
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Large battery

Reasons to avoid

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No headphone jack
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No bundled charger

The Galaxy A53 5G has served as a benchmark for mid-range phones since it came out, and no other phone has managed to beat it in every category. As we saw in our Samsung Galaxy A53 5G review, the Exynos 1280 CPU performance was decently fast outside of intensive gaming with a battery that should make it to the end of the day without breaking a sweat. As expected with Samsung, this is one of the nicest displays you can get outside of a flagship, with an AMOLED panel running at 120Hz.

The cameras are also good, with some nice shots coming from a wide range of lighting conditions, including low-light shots. While the ultra-wide camera isn't as stellar, it still does a solid job with a 123-degree field of view. Samsung's camera app also includes a respectable number of features and is easy to use if you know your way around a Galaxy.

One of the A53's most unique advantages is Samsung's excellent software support. With Android 12 and OneUI 4.1 out of the box and four Android OS updates planned, this phone will get updates years after many of its competitors. This can also keep the phone up to date with the latest security longer so you can feel confident if you hand it down to a child or other family member.

The best 5G phones aren't just for enthusiasts anymore

5G coverage is growing, but it isn't yet to the point where we can unequivocally say that you have to get a 5G phone. At the same time, most phones launching these days now have 5G as a staple feature. Whether you can take advantage of 5G speeds today or need to wait a little longer, ensuring it's in your next smartphone is a good way to ensure you're prepared for the latest generation of wireless connectivity.

For those who want to get to the best network speeds, the Galaxy S22+ is a clear winner thanks to its impressive hardware design and support for 5G on every carrier. Samsung's commitment to software updates also helps buyers feel confident that they'll be able to use this phone for years to come, not to mention, sell it at a higher price.

The Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro are also excellent options and to some people, the version of Android included straight from Google will be worth any of the top-end specs given up compared to the S22+. Not only that but the base Pixel is one of the most powerful phones you can get under $600.