Home Technology 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet

5G smartphones: A cheat sheet

This complete information covers plans from main smartphone distributors because the business deploys 5G cellular networks and gadgets that use them.

BeeBright, Getty Photographs/iStockphoto

Cell community operators world wide are sprinting to deploy 5G networks to extra effectively serve the growing variety of gadgets customers and companies are connecting to cellular networks. Although smartphones are already ubiquitous, the elevated use of cellular broadband adapters, always-connected computer systems, and shopper and enterprise IoT gadgets would require extra knowledge than present 4G networks can sustainably provide.

Naturally, smartphone producers are desirous to be the primary out of the gate with a 5G cellphone. Due to this, some cellular community operators and smartphone producers might label proprietary or transitional community applied sciences as being 5G, although these gadgets is not going to obtain the entire advantages that “true” 5G affords (or, at the least, guarantees). 

TechRepublic’s cheat sheet for 5G smartphones is an outline of smartphones marketed as being 5G succesful, in addition to a forecast of when producers will launch new gadgets. This text shall be up to date periodically as new bulletins and merchandise are launched. Additionally it is accessible as a obtain, 5G smartphones: A cheat sheet (free PDF).

SEE: 5G expertise: A enterprise chief’s information (TechRepublic Premium)

What’s 5G?

5G refers back to the fifth technology of mobile cellular communications. Strictly talking, the business normal is known as 5G NR (New Radio). In contrast to the fourth technology of mobile cellular communications, which had two competing requirements—LTE and WiMAX—there is no such thing as a competing normal to 5G NR. Nevertheless, the 5G NR requirements are designed to be fairly versatile with a view to accommodate a various vary of use instances.

5G NR permits for networks to function on a greater variety of frequencies, recycling frequencies vacated from the decommissioning 2G and 3G networks, in addition to the digital dividend of spectrum vacated from the transition to digital TV broadcasts, and beforehand unused extraordinarily excessive frequency (EHF) or millimeter wave (mmWave) frequencies, which comprise the 30 to 300 GHz vary. 

The 5G NR normal permits for speeds as much as 20 gigabits per second, although this can be a theoretical most primarily based on laboratory testing of proof-of-concept {hardware}. Whereas preliminary rollouts might solely attain speeds already attainable on present 4G networks, 5G is engineered to reduce latency in comparison with 4G. Additional, mature 5G modems are anticipated to have modestly decrease energy necessities than 4G, thereby extending the battery lifetime of 5G-powered smartphones.

SEE: All of TechRepublic’s cheat sheets and sensible particular person’s guides

You will need to word that 5G shouldn’t be an incremental or backward-compatible replace to present cellular communications requirements. 5G is separate from 4G requirements like LTE or WiMAX, and can’t be delivered to present telephones, tablets, or wi-fi modems via tower upgrades or software program updates. Cell community operators are deploying upgrades to its LTE infrastructure, together with applied sciences like LTE Superior and LTE Superior Professional, which permit for obtain speeds over one gigabit on smartphones. Whereas these are worthwhile and welcome advances, these are in the end transitional 4G applied sciences and don’t present the complete vary of advantages of 5G NR.

For a technical overview of 5G networks, when and the place 5G networks are being deployed, and the way companies and customers can profit from 5G applied sciences, try TechRepublic’s cheat sheet for 5G cellular networks.

Further assets

What are the advantages and disadvantages of 5G smartphones?

The 2 most evident advantages of 5G smartphones are lowered latencies in comparison with 4G networks, and resilience in opposition to efficiency degradation in densely packed areas. Constructions which were traditionally tough to serve by way of mobile networks are sometimes topic to community degradation or service disruption because of the variety of gadgets linked to the accessible infrastructure; examples embody high-rise workplace buildings, that are architecturally tough to serve because of the physics of radio waves, and huge stadiums supposed to accommodate tens of hundreds of spectators. As 5G extensively makes use of small cell towers speaking on millimeter wave frequencies, these towers can extra successfully serve clients in a lot of these constructions.

SEE: Extra 5G protection (TechRepublic Flipboard journal)

The usage of millimeter wave frequencies can also be a big downside, as early antenna and modem designs trigger extreme warmth in smartphones, which might deplete the battery cost rapidly. Likewise, for conventional Lithium-ion batteries, extreme publicity to elevated temperatures can shorten the lifespan of the battery.

Advances in mobile expertise, such because the Qualcomm Snapdragon x60 modem, have been designed to deal with points brought on by high-band 5G, and it is probably that future smartphone innovation may even deal with these issues as 5G replaces LTE and extra time has handed to evaluate its results on {hardware}.

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When will 5G smartphones be launched?

With the accelerated tempo of 5G deployments by community operators, smartphone producers are working to catch up. In February 2018, 18 producers introduced plans to launch 5G-capable gadgets in 2019 powered by Qualcomm’s X50 5G modem, although this comes with important caveats. Of the 18 firms talked about within the announcement, seven produce solely cellular broadband adapters or IoT gadgets, and 5 have restricted to no gross sales infrastructure outdoors of Asia.

Under is a forecast of when 5G-capable telephones from standard distributors shall be launched.


Traditionally, Apple has taken a really conservative stance towards networking applied sciences within the iPhone. The unique iPhone, launched in June 2007, lacked 3G capabilities regardless of 3G networks being widespread on the time. Likewise, the iPhone 5, launched in September 2012, was the primary LTE succesful iPhone, making Apple barely greater than a 12 months late to introduce 4G in comparison with Android smartphones.

For that cause, it’s protected to presume that Apple will proceed its conservative stance towards cellular requirements, making the prospect of a 5G-capable iPhone in 2019 unlikely. Additional, rumors point out that Apple is planning on a 2020 launch for the primary 5G iPhone.

The iPhone XS and XS Max are able to Gigabit LTE, permitting these telephones to take full benefit of upgrades in present LTE networks. 

It’s believed that the iPhone 12 collection can have 5G capabilities, and it is probably it will likely be revealed in September 2020.


ASUS has not introduced a 5G cellphone but, although the Taiwanese large is often the primary to undertake new networking applied sciences. The ZenFone Four Professional and the ROG Telephone each assist 802.11advert—often known as WiGig—permitting for high-speed wi-fi communication over the 60 GHz frequency band, giving ASUS expertise in designing cellphone antennas able to utilizing ultra-high frequencies.

ASUS’ ROG Telephone 3, scheduled for US launch in September 2020, is its first 5G smartphone.

SEE: Mini-glossary: 5G phrases it is best to know (free PDF) (TechRepublic)


It’s tough to foretell if Google shall be able to launch a 5G-capable cellphone in 2019. Traditionally, new Google telephones are launched in October, giving a modest quantity of lead time for a 5G Pixel Four and Four XL. 

The Nexus 4, launched in October 2012, was broadly criticized for missing LTE. At an entry-level worth of $299 for the Eight GB mannequin, the Nexus 4 (and arguably the Nexus collection) was positioned as a budget-minded choice, which the Pixel was decidedly not, previous to the launch of the price range Pixel 3a and 3a Max.

Just like the the iPhone XS and XS Max, the Pixel Three and three XL are able to Gigabit LTE, permitting these telephones to take full benefit of upgrades in present LTE networks.

The Pixel 5 will characteristic 5G, as will the Pixel 4A 5G, each scheduled for launch someday within the fall of 2020.


HTC is without doubt one of the firms that signed a pledge to launch a Qualcomm-powered 5G cellphone in 2019, although the probability of HTC releasing a brand new flagship cellphone is uncertain, because the once-top Taiwanese agency offered half of its design and analysis staff, in addition to non-exclusive rights to smartphone patents, to Google for $1.1 billion USD in a deal that closed in January 2018.

HTC has launched a 5G-capable cellular hotspot, utilizing sub-6 GHz frequencies, within the US, Europe, and Asia.

SEE: How 5G will remodel enterprise (ZDNet particular report) | Obtain the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

In July 2018, HTC introduced layoffs of 1,500 workers (about 22%) from its workforce. Days later, the corporate introduced a 68% drop in gross sales in June 2018, year-over-year, to $72 million USD ($2.23 billion NTD).

HTC does have a 5G smartphone, the U20, scheduled for launch within the latter a part of 2020, however information about its launch outdoors of Taiwan, the place the system is manufactured, is difficult to return by. It is attainable the system might not make it to the US.


As a serious vendor of networking tools to community operators, in addition to manufacturing its personal Kirin SoCs to be used in smartphones, Huawei would theoretically be properly positioned to be among the many first distributors to launch 5G-capable merchandise. 

Huawei’s capability to ship merchandise is unsure, resulting from sanctions from the US authorities successfully prohibiting firms that commerce in US-origin expertise—together with norminally international companies—from working with Huawei. This has stymied 5G deployments by community operators world wide. Notably, Google has suspended Huawei’s Android license, which might consequence within the firm deploying its “plan B” smartphone OS

The Huawei Mate 20 X 5G is the primary 5G-capable cellphone from Huawei. It has a 7.2″ OLED show, with a 1080×2244 decision, Eight GB RAM and 256 GB flash (a rise from the Four GB of RAM and 128 GB flash from the non-5G mannequin) and 40 MP wide-angle lens, 20 MP extremely wide-angle lens, and eight MP telephoto rear cameras, in addition to a 24 MP selfie digital camera, powered by a 4200 mAh battery.

It was introduced as a launch system for the rollout of 5G by Vodafone and EE within the UK, although these plans have been scrapped in Could 2019. Regardless of that, the Mate 20 X 5G is accessible in a number of nations, together with China, the UK, and the UAE. For the reason that launch of the Mate 20 X 5G, Huawei has added a number of new 5G gadgets to its lineup: The Huawei Mate 30 5G and Mate 30 Professional 5G, in addition to its total Huawei Mate 40 technology of gadgets are 5G succesful.

The Huawei Mate X was beforehand introduced at Cell World Congress as a 5G-capable foldable Android smartphone, with a versatile OLED show. Contemplating the problems with the foldable show within the Samsung Galaxy Fold, Huawei quietly introduced a delay for the Mate X. The Mate X, full with 5G, launched in early 2019. Since then, Huawei has launched an up to date model of the system, the Mate XS, and prolonged its launch to nations outdoors of China.

Regardless of Huawei’s appreciable lineup of 5G smartphones, you will be exhausting pressed to search out them in the USA: Even Huawei’s US web site has no point out of its smartphones. As Enterprise Insider factors out, Huawei smartphones have been negatively affected by US/China tensions, and the one manner to purchase them within the US is unlocked via third-party websites like Amazon.


Launched in Could 2019, the LG V50 ThinQ is a 5G-capable android smartphone. It has a 6.4″ P-OLED show, with a 1440×3120 decision, 6 GB RAM and 128 GB flash (expandable utilizing microSD) and a triple important digital camera that includes a 12 MP normal lens, 16 MP ultra-wide angle lens, and 12 MP telephoto lens, with a twin Eight MP normal and 5 MP wide-angle selfie digital camera. It’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset, particularly the Snapdragon 855 paired with the X50 5G modem. Relying on provider, the V50 ThinQ makes use of both sub-6 GHz or mmWave frequencies for 5G.

Within the US, the V50 ThinQ is out there on Verizon or Dash. In South Korea, it’s accessible on  KT, SK Telecom, and LG U+.

For the reason that 2019 launch of the V50, LG has launched a number of 5G-capable smartphones, together with the LG V60 ThinQ 5G Twin Display screen smartphone.


The midrange Moto Z3, which was launched as a Verizon unique in August 2018, is touted as being “5G succesful” via the usage of an add-on. CNET’s Jessica Dolcourt examined the Z3 and 5G add-on in Chicago throughout Verizon’s 5G launch in April 2019, noting that “one thing is not working properly—the community, the cellphone, the Moto Mod attachment or the way in which all of them come collectively,” including that “It is an ungainly place to be for a community boasting to be the world’s first reside 5G community.”

The Moto Z2 Power and the Moto Z3 (with out the usage of add-ons) assist Gigabit LTE, permitting these telephones to take full benefit of upgrades in present LTE networks.

Motorola’s G 5G Plus and the Motorola One 5G accessible in Europe and coming to the US this fall, respectively, are almost an identical 5G gadgets, and their greatest characteristic are their costs. The G 5G Plus is priced at a mere 349 euros, and the One 5G is predicted to be lower than $500 USD when it comes out in October 2020.

Motorola additionally has the Motorola Edge Plus, the Moto Z4, and the most recent model of the Motorola Razr all have 5G capabilities.


Nokia (technically, HMD World) is one other firm that introduced plans to launch a Qualcomm-powered 5G cellphone in 2019, nevertheless it took till early 2020 for it to launch the Nokia 8.3, which is the primary 5G smartphone able to roaming on 5G whereas touring overseas.

OnePlus (Oppo)

Oppo, which sells telephones within the west below the OnePlus model, introduced a 5G variant of the OnePlus 7 Professional, which is anticipated for launch in 2019.

The OnePlus Eight collection additionally assist 5G, as does the European-exclusive OnePlus Nord.


Samsung’s first 5G cellphone was the Samsung Galaxy 10 5G, launched in Could 2019, powered by a Snapdragon 855 and X50 modem, and is the primary to characteristic Samsung’s dynamic AMOLED display screen expertise.

For the reason that launch of its first 5G cellphone, Samsung has launched various high-end 5G gadgets. The second technology of each foldable Samsung telephones, the Z Fold 2 and Z Flip 5G, assist 5G, as do the Galaxy S20 collection and Galaxy Be aware 20 collection.

SEE: Samsung Galaxy Fold, S10, S10 Plus and S10e: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)


Sony is without doubt one of the firms that signed a pledge to launch a Qualcomm-powered 5G cellphone in 2019, and it launched its first 5G smartphone, the Sony Xperia 1 II in early 2020. Sony additionally affords the 5G-compatible Sony Xperia Professional as properly.

TCL (Alcatel)

The Alcatel 7 5G is predicted from TCL for launch in Europe in late 2019 or early 2020, to coincide with wider deployment of 5G cellular networks within the area. t has since launched the TCL 10 5G, its first 5G system. The 10 5G is out there within the UK and Europe for 399 euros.


A 5G variant of the Xiaomi Mi Combine 3 was anticipated for launch in Could 2019, nevertheless it wasn’t till September 2019 that it launched the Mi 9 Professional with 5G.

Xiaomi’s newest 5G system is the Mi 10 Professional 5G, which grew to become accessible in Could 2020.


The ZTE Axon 10 Professional 5G was launched in Could 2019, with an in-display fingerprint sensor and AMOLED show. The 5G capabilities within the ZTE Axon are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC. Launch of the Axon Professional began in Germany, as the corporate is targeted on Europe. In response to CNET, “an organization spokesman mentioned ZTE is watching the US market and if it does launch the cellphone, it’s going to most likely be later in the summertime priced appropriately for the US market.”

ZTE is on uneven floor, as stress from the US authorities left it unable to buy chips from Qualcomm for an prolonged time frame in 2018. Whereas the corporate was granted a reprieve, it’s unclear how this disruption has impacted ZTE’s product launch schedule.

Its embargo troubles appear to have lifted, as ZTE introduced the Axon 20 5G in September 2020, which ZTE claims is the world’s first cellphone to characteristic an under-display digital camera that eliminates the notches and pinholes that characterize most present smartphones.

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Who’s making 5G modems for smartphones?

5 firms are publicly recognized to be creating 5G modems to be used in smartphones. MediaTek, Qualcomm, and Samsung will produce modems accessible for system producers. Samsung telephones offered in North America use Qualcomm modems, although Samsung’s internally-developed elements are utilized in telephones offered in Asia. Historically, Samsung does present entry to elements to third-party producers, whereas Huawei’s HiSilicon division—which can also be producing 5G modems—doesn’t. 

The fifth producer, Intel, was all-in on 5G as late as MWC 2019, although scrapped your entire division in April instantly following a settlement in Apple’s lawsuit in opposition to Qualcomm over patent licensing royalties. With that settlement, Apple introduced a shock multi-year chipset provide settlement, making the announcement on July 25 that Apple is buying the majority of Intel’s 5G modem enterprise a big shock. 
Huawei’s first-generation Balong 5G01 modem was introduced in February 2018, and claims to be able to 2.Three Gbps obtain speeds. In January 2019 Huawei introduced the Balong 5000, a 5G smartphone chipset able to 6.5 Gbps obtain speeds. Huawei’s Kirin SoCs aren’t offered to third-party cellphone producers; because of this, they solely seem in Huawei telephones, as properly in its Honor sub-brand. 

SEE: The 5G revolution is upon us. Here is every part it’s good to know (CNET)

MediaTek’s Helio M70 launched in Could 2019, although is prone to be featured extra in telephones destined for the Chinese language market, because the M70 is constructed for sub-6 GHz frequencies, whereas cellular community operators like AT&T and Verizon deal with mmWave frequencies. In response to CNET, the M70 “has obtain speeds as much as 4.7 Gbps and add speeds of as much as 2.5 Gbps. It might probably run on mobile networks from 2G to 5G.” Since then, MediaTek has made its Dimensity SoC chip collection its flagship 5G line, the most recent of which is the Dimensity 1000 collection.

Business chief Qualcomm launched its newest 5G modem, the Snapdragon X60, in early 2020, which it touts as being able to as much as 7.5 Gbps obtain speeds. Qualcomm is mostly the SoC (system on a chip) vendor utilized by most mainstream Android system producers in the USA.

Samsung introduced the Exynos Modem 5123, which the corporate signifies is able to 5.1 Gbps obtain speeds for sub-6 GHz networks, and seven.35 Gbps in millimeter wave networks. Samsung makes use of Exynos SoCs for world unlocked smartphones, although North American fashions typically use Qualcomm Snapdragon SoCs since these characteristic fallback compatibility with Verizon and Dash’s CDMA networks. It’s unclear if there are ancillary causes for these adjustments, and in addition unclear if Exynos-powered 5G telephones will ultimately be offered in North America, as this compatibility shouldn’t be vital to be used with T-Cell and AT&T.

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How do I get a 5G smartphone?

It is solely a matter of time earlier than 5G smartphones are the de facto normal in cellular gadgets. The truth is, in case you plan to purchase a flagship system within the subsequent 12 months you are prone to have solely 5G gadgets to select from. 5G networks, at the least within the case of AT&T and T-Cell/Dash, have principally unfold nationwide (at the least in additional populated areas), so it is a good risk that in case you reside in an city or suburban setting that you’ve got the flexibility to learn from 5G service.

When you’re on the lookout for a price range system you will want to take a look at your provider’s web site to see what they provide and whether or not the system in query is 5G-capable.

Further assets

Editor’s word: This has been up to date to incorporate the most recent info on 5G smartphones.


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