CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert deal-hunting staff showcases the best price drops and discounts from reputable sellers daily. If you make a purchase using our links, CNET may earn a commission.

Best 5G devices this holiday season

While you should probably wait until 2020 for 5G, if you want 5G now here are the devices worth buying.

Eli Blumenthal Senior Editor
Eli Blumenthal is a senior editor at CNET with a particular focus on covering the latest in the ever-changing worlds of telecom, streaming and sports. He previously worked as a technology reporter at USA Today.
Expertise 5G | Mobile networks | Wireless carriers | Phones | Tablets | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms | Mobile | Console gaming
Eli Blumenthal
3 min read

5G phones are real in 2019, but for many 2020 is still the best time.

Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

5G  connectivity in 2019 was the launch of the first step in what's shaping up to be a long game. All four wireless carriers began to launch their 5G network offerings in earnest and unveiled their first devices capable of tapping into the technology -- new, faster wireless networks. 

A lot will change next year as coverage and chips radically improve with the addition of the "sub-6" mid-band and low-band flavors of 5G connectivity that will offer much better network coverage than the current flavor, known as the higher frequency millimeter-wave. The problem is that most phones today can only tap into one flavor, with devices with the technology to use all three varieties not expected to launch until early next year. It is for this reason that most people are still better off waiting until at least 2020 to upgrade their wireless network. Plus, until then, you've got a modem and a wi-fi connection.

But what about those looking to launch into in the network of the future this holiday season, and bring their wide-angle lens selfie camera, AMOLED screen, or OLED display with them? You do have a few solid network options with faster speeds to choose from depending on your carrier. 

ReadWhen will cheap 5G come to the masses?

Sarah Tew/CNET

A Verizon exclusive for now, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus 5G takes everything that's impressive about the most recent Note 10 Plus (like the amoled display, camera, and high speeds) and adds support for the company's 5G millimeter wave network. If you're looking for the most powerful 5G phone, the Note 10 Plus 5G is for you. 

AT&T and T-Mobile will be launch the Note 10 Plus 5G later this year, but those phones will only work with their respective, new sub-6 5G networks and not the current millimeter wave each carrier has started to deploy around the country. No timing has yet been giving for when the multiple network version will be available. 

Galaxy Note 10 Plus review.

Sarah Tew/CNET

If you're on a T-Mobile or Sprint network and looking for a 5G phone, you really can't go wrong with Samsung's flagship Galaxy S10 5G. Unlike the Note 10 Plus 5G, which is just connectivity on top of the Note 10 Plus, the company actually upped the features and specs on the S10 5G compared to its S10 siblings. It has an extra camera in the front, an extra camera in the back, a bigger battery (with greater battery life) and a larger 6.7-inch display. 

Verizon also sells the S10 5G to consumers, though the company's users may be better off going with the faster, more powerful and similarly priced 5G Note that runs at higher speeds. AT&T has the S10 5G as well, but it does not offer it to consumers. 

Read more about the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Sprint's 5G network currently has the best coverage among the four major networks and if you are in one of its first nine cities then the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G is a compelling alternative to the Galaxy S10 5G. At $840 it is significantly cheaper than the Galaxy, and while you lose wireless charging and official water resistance you do gain an impressive all-screen design, a slick blue color, the signature camera, and quick Android phone updates that have made OnePlus a popular, fast-growing brand. 

Read more about the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G.

Sarah Tew/CNET

HTC's 5G Hub for Sprint isn't your traditional hotspot: The $600 Android-powered device is instead meant to work in your home as well as on the road. Unfortunately, the company's pricey hotspot data plans and 100GB monthly data caps will kill the dream of making this a full substitute for a home modem and broadband plan. Still, for those with good network coverage who want a mobile alternative for super high-speed data on multiple devices, the HTC 5G Hub is an interesting option.