The big 5G rollout is underway in the UK, and like the United States the first batch of smartphones that support the new super-fast data speeds are hitting the market. As is often the case with something brand new like this, there are price premiums involved. But, if you’re keen to join the bleeding edge, these are the phones to do it with.
Big and beautiful
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
The non-5G version of this phone is currently our pick as the best Android phone so far this year, and the 5G version just adds to it. That starts with the massive 6.7-inch “Infinity-O” display out front, a virtually frameless design punctuated only by the dual-camera array. Plus, the triple-lens setup on the back is one of the very best smartphone cameras around. With a 4,500 mAh battery, 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, fast and wireless charging, the S10 5G is well equipped for today’s superfast world.
£1099 at Carphone Warehouse
OnePlus 7 Pro 5G
The OnePlus 7 Pro is one of the best looking phones on the market right now, but it’s not all for show. The front is a frameless 6.67-inch 3120×1440 resolution 90Hz AMOLED display, and has no notches or hole punches thanks to the pop up selfie camera. It’s a truly special display, and the high refresh rate will blow you away. The OnePlus 7 Pro 5G is based on Oxygen OS with Android 9 Pie underneath, and remains one of the best manufacturer versions out there.
From £59 per month at EE
Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G
Xiaomi’s Mix Mix 3 is another incredible looking phone with a front almost entirely filled with screen. That’s thanks to its old-school slider mechanism that pops the front camera up when you need it. Xiaomi is fairly new to the U.K. market still, but the Mi Mix 3 is one of its top phones right now, and the 5G version comes with 128GB of storage, 6GB of RAM and a large 3,800 mAh battery with fast charging. The Mi Mix 3 5G is exclusive to Vodafone at this time.
From £50 per month at Vodafone
LG V50 ThinQ
Compared to the rest, LG’s first 5G phone may look a little dated thanks to its notched display, but it has a party piece that none of the others do. In the box with the V50 ThinQ you get an entire second display. It isn’t a true foldable phone, but hey, you get two screens! That, plus 5G support is really what makes this phone stand out. The V50 ThinQ 5G is currently exclusive to EE.
From £69 per month at EE
OPPO Reno 5G
The new kid on the block for both 5G and the U.K. market in general, the OPPO Reno is making waves not only for its innovative design, but its aggressive price and strong camera. The Reno has no notch or hole punch, instead opting for a wedge-styled popup for the front-facing camera. Around back you get three camera sensors, along with a top-notch AMOLED display and stellar battery life. As long as you’re OK on EE, it’s well worth a look.
From £54 per month at EE
Where you can get 5G right now
Before choosing a phone it’s important to know which carriers currently have 5G available and where you can use it. The rollout is staggered across the country, and each of the carriers has a different schedule.
Right now, you can buy phones with 5G plans on both EE and Vodafone, while Three and O2 are due to launch their own 5G networks later this year.
In the case of EE, the rollout is initially limited to London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast, Manchester, and Birmingham, with 10 more cities confirmed for 2019 and a further 10 already committed for a 2020 rollout. You can keep tabs on the latest through EE’s 5G hub
Vodafone switches on its 5G on July 3 but you can order a phone and a 5G tariff already. The launch will be limited to seven cities — Glasgow, London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Cardiff and Bristol, with a further 12 locations confirmed before the end of 2019. Keep up with the latest from Vodafone’s own 5G hub.
More to come
5G is still very much in its infancy, and there will be plenty more great phones announced in the coming months as the U.K. carriers continue their respective rollouts.
Right now, the Galaxy S10 5G is the best phone of the bunch, not least because you can buy it SIM-free as well as on both Vodafone and EE, giving you more freedom over your choice of data plan. It’s also a truly remarkable phone with a gorgeous display, amazing camera, solid all day battery life, and more features you can shake a stick at.
If you’re OK dealing with carrier exclusivity, both the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G are worth a go on EE and Vodafone respectively. Both do things a little differently, but you get a frameless display, incredible hardware and battery life, and a truly flagship class phone for the new 5G era.