The best affordable 5G phones out right now in 2021

The 5G race is heating up in the world of smartphones, with both Android and Apple devices now bringing out mid-tier 5G-ready sets to prepare for faster speeds. The past few years has been defined by a somewhat transition period between the two Wi-Fi standards, but now that we’ve tipped towards the future-ready side of scale, there is a healthy amount of choice out there for those looking at buying a true 5G smartphone without having to fork out for the top-shelf flagships.

Here are some of relatively cheap 5G smartphones on the market that you can buy right now.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

Google’s ‘a’ variants have always sold quite well when compared to the more powerful and expensive pixels, aligned with an emerging mid-range market. What Google has done, then, with the Pixel 4a 5G is incredibly smart, paring things down from the XL variant (goodbye radar) but still offering enough power to blur the lines between affordable and high-end. Plus, it’s one of the best 5G phones on the market right now.

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Storage: 128GB
Memory: 6GB RAM
Display: 6.2″ Full HD+ OLED
Rear Cameras: 12 MP dual-pixel and 16 MP ultrawide
Battery: 3,885mAh

Price: $799
Buy: store.google.com

Google Pixel 5

The Google Pixel 5 may be outshone by the 4a, but the beautifully built phone is an important statement from the company and a flagship that continues their desire to approach smartphones a bit differently than the competition. There’s no Pixel 5 XL (yet), rather positioning the newest Pixel squarely for the mid-range market to go against the grain of flagship phones getting bigger and more expensive. Google is stubborn here, sure, but when a phone has such a gorgeous texture, display, and is still a formidable powerhouse, all is forgiven.

Read the review here.

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G
Storage: 128GB
Memory: 8GB RAM
Display: 6.0″ full HD+ OLED Smooth Display
Rear Cameras: 12 MP dual-pixel and 16 MP ultrawide
Battery: 4,080mAh

Price: $999
Buy: store.google.com

Apple iPhone 12 mini

Apple is not about to let Android dominate the emerging 5G market without bumping out a nifty mid-market phone like the 12 mini. For iPhone users, power is usually the way to go, but the mini is such a beautiful little phone that it’s hard to pass up if you haven’t got the cash to fork out the its larger siblings.

Processor: A14 Bionic chip
Storage: Up to 256GB
Memory: 4GB RAM
Display: 5.4″ Super Retina XDR display
Rear Cameras: Dual 12-megapixel camera system: Ultra Wide and Wide cameras
Battery: Capacity not specified (but it’s fairly poor)

Price: From $1,199
Buy: store.google.com

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

Samsung’s ultra-powerful (and popular) S20 was distilled down into its most essential parts for the Fan Edition, with more colour options as well. The decision to cut the price down hasn’t compromised on some of the series’ best specs, offering one of the best affordable 5G phones you can buy right now, and one of the largest.

Processor: Samsung Exynos 990
Storage: Up to 256GB (expandable up to 1TB)
Memory: 8GB RAM
Display: 6.5″ Super AMOLED
Rear Cameras: 12 MP ultrawide, 12mp wide angle, and 8mp telephoto
Battery: 4,500mAh

Price: $999
Buy: store.google.com

Oppo Reno4 5G

Oppo has knocked Huawei off the top podium to claim biggest phone brand in China, and that’s no simple feat. A strong focus on value propositions and powerhouse flagships has led them to this point, where they are obviously confident enough to now play around with a competitive mid-tier 5G phone. The Reno4 5G makes some clever compromises to get to an attractive price point, while still offering excellent performance and some seriously impressive night photography.

Read the review here

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 756G
Storage: 128GB
Memory: 8GB RAM
Display: 6.4″ AMOLED display
Rear Cameras: 48MP primary, 8MP ultra-wide, 2MP mono
Battery: 4,000mAh

Price: $799
Buy: oppo.com

Chris Singh

Chris Singh is the Deputy Editor of the AU review and a freelance travel writer. You can reach him on Instagram by following @chrisdsingh.

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