Samsung Galaxy S10 5G vs. LG V50: Which should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G (Image credit: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

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The Galaxy S10 5G's biggest strength is that it's just a bigger Galaxy S10+. So even when you're not on 5G, you're getting a great phone. But outside of that, considering its price and Verizon's limited 5G network footprint it's tough to recommend over an LTE model.

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Verizon's best

Verizon's best 5G phone
Expecation of vast network expansion
Great hardware and display
Filled with useful features
Strong cameras
Incredibly expensive
Limited network footprint
Very large

LG V50 ThinQ 5G

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The LG V50 is a fine phone, and is relatively competative with the Galaxy S10 5G. That being said, it isn't good enough to warrant switching carriers for — particularly when Sprint's 5G network is still quite small as well. It also is tough to recommend at $1150 when the similar LTE-only LG G8 is available for much less.

LG V50 ThinQ 5G

Sprint's first

Quality hardware and screen
Typical high-end phone features
Solid initial network footprint
Questionable network expansion plans
Weaker camera quality
Subpar software experience

Don't change carriers to get 5G right now

The Galaxy S10 5G and LG V50 are the first fully integrated 5G smartphones for the U.S. market, and for that reason they'll be compared. But in the real smartphone market, nobody should be cross-shopping these phones — and that's purely because you shouldn't be switching carriers to get 5G right now.

5G is appealing, but you really shouldn't be cross-shopping networks right now.

5G is incredibly appealing, and for a very specific set of customers it could make sense to spring to get a new phone in order to have those massive download speeds available to you. But unfortunately, the 5G coverage areas for both Verizon and Sprint are small and still relatively spotty compared to the swaths of LTE available at this point.

Further to the coverage point, Verizon and Sprint don't actually have any overlapping 5G markets yet. So even if you were to cross-shop these phones, willing to switch carriers to get 5G, the choice would have to be made first and foremost based on where 5G coverage was available in relation to where you live, work and travel — not the phones themselves.

If you're on Verizon or Sprint already, have the money to burn, and have a reasonable expectation of spending time in the handful of places where one or the other has 5G coverage, then they're fine phones to buy. But if you don't see the value in spending so much extra for a relatively small benefit, the Galaxy S10+ (opens in new tab) and LG G8 they're based on are great phones that can be hand for hundreds less.

But if you're willing to switch

If you have to have 5G, the Galaxy S10 5G is your better choice here.

With all of that being said, if you understand what you're getting into and are willing to switch carriers to get on the earliest steps of the 5G rollout in the U.S., the Galaxy S10 5G on Verizon (opens in new tab) is likely the better buy for you. With the realization that you may not use 5G for months after buying the phone, the Galaxy S10 5G offers a better daily experience than the LG V50 — it has a better screen, software and cameras, which all make a far bigger difference than network capabilities.

On the network side, Verizon has the advantage in the long run. Even though you may not have access to a 5G network today, there's a better chance on average that Verizon will reach you with a consistent 5G network in the future compared to Sprint. Unless you live in one of the areas where Sprint has already announced its 5G rollout, Verizon's more likely to get that network to you — whether it's actually soon or a couple years from now will depend greatly on where you live. But that Verizon network is also more likely to be there, on average, when you travel as well.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.