The next generation of connectivity via mobile data has already begun spreading across Australia. While 5G is not currently available in all areas of the country, those looking to upgrade their phone can future-proof themselves by opting for a 5G compatible device. This exhaustive piece offers all you need to know about the available compatible phones, those to be availed soon, and the state of 5G coverage in the country.
Here are the first 5G mobile devices to hit the market.
It was the first 5G-enabled device to be launched in Australia. The device is not just among the latest 5G mobile has to offer, but is also one of the most reliable phones in general. It is ideal for an early adopter who does not mind parting with their dollars for the privilege.
The certified 6.7 inches Infinity-O display is great for gaming and videos, and the on-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor is equally effective. The phone comes in different futuristic colours, and the front and back sides are made of highly polished and durable Gorilla Glass 6. With a range of connectivity options, Face Unlock feature, 256GB storage, and other attractive features, this is one of the Android 9 devices that you should go for.
Samsung has followed up its Galaxy S10 5G with a second 5G compatible device, the Galaxy Note 10+ 5G. If you thought the S10+ was a little rich for your taste, the Note 10+ takes it to another level.
Samsung's newest phablet (phone / tablet hybrid) is a powerhouse of a phone. With all the features of the Galaxy S10, plus a bigger screen at 6.8 inch display, and a much-needed stylus to make the best use of the extra screen real estate. The Galaxy Note 10+ is Samsung's biggest and most powerful phone to date, packing an octa-core processor, 12GB of RAM and a 4,300mAh battery into a phone that is only 7.9mm thick.
For those looking for a 5G phone with a tonne of power, this is definitely one to grab.
Also among the first 5G mobile devices in Australia, this device can be purchased exclusively via Telstra at $1728. If you find one screen to be limiting, how about two of them?
What sets the smartphone apart is its Dual Screen accessory that adds another 6.4-inch screen for multitasking.
The device also comes with a 6.4-inch OLED display, 4000mAh battery, internal storage of 128GB, and 6GB of RAM.
Similar to most phones in this list, the new release shares incredible similarities with its already-released counterpart Mi Mix 3. Particularly, both of them share a similar slider design. However, the 5G enabled variety uses a different modem and processor. It also preferred due to its larger battery capacity, which is a plus! What gives the device an edge is the fact that it is the country's cheapest 5G smartphone going for $1,399.
Among prominent features of this device include the magnetic slider and a 3800mAh battery. It has two front cameras of 2MP and 24 MP respectively, as well as pair of 12MP rear cameras. If interested in this incredible product from the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, then you will have to grab a Telstra SIM-only plan.
Looking at this device, the first thing that would click on your mind would not be the 5G connectivity, ten times zoom, or the pop-up camera; it is how weighty the phone feels. This is not about the heftiness of the OLED display of 6.6-inches or its 215g weight, but just how the latest instalments match the manufacturers' transformation from being a value-driven upstart to a key player in the Australian market.
The device is more groundbreaking compared to many of its flagship competitors. It is relatively costly but is a worthy investment considering its numerous features. This phone also has a concealed fingerprint unlock with a lightning speed increased by 28.5 percent. Furthermore, the device has an amazing battery life and flexible cameras.
The latest 5G-enabled Samsung release is the impressive S20. Not only is it your pathway to 5G, but it also comes with excellent new camera features and rich video viewing. The most talked about new features in the Galaxy S20 include the 30x space zoom, the stunning night mode to help you capture vibrant low-light images and the HDR display that brings a cinematic viewing experience to video content.
With a quad rear camera supported by a 6.9" Dynamic AMOLED Infinity-O display with 120Hz refresh rate, you won't be disappointed with this state of the art smartphone. And with 5G connectivity, you'll be uploading, downloading and streaming at speed.
The new Oneplus 8 5G is a high-spec, mid-priced smartphone that is sophisticated and sleek. It offers an affordable entry point to 5G connectivity while also being packed full of flagship features. It's highlight features include the 90 Hz fluid waterfall display edges on a sleek curved design, a 48 MP triple camera and a 4,300mAh battery that can be fully charged in an hour.
But if you're looking to enjoy the impressive speeds of 5G on your mobile, you'll be most excited by the X55 dual mode which allows you to connect to multiple networks at the same time for wider coverage and faster speeds.
LG's first entry on this list is the premium V60 Thin Q - a promising android device that ticks all the boxes and features two incredibly unique features. The two standout features are a headphone jack, a notable absentee from most modern devices and a special dual-screen case which doubles the display size for multitasking and viewing.
The phone takes rich photos, has unbeatable battery power and is taller and wider than anything else on the market. That makes the LG V60 Thin Q an excellent contender for 5G-ready devices for effortless work on the go.
The Edge is the first Motorola release that competes with the leading smartphones for some time and holds its own admirably. It features a large 6.7-inch OLED display with curved waterfall sides that Motorola has titled, 'Endless Edge'.
However, the display isn't the only impressive feature. The Motorola Edge Plus has a triple rear camera - including the 108MP main, 16MP ultrawide camera and 3x telephoto. Like others on this list, it can connect to multiple carriers through its sub-6 and mmWave 5G networks. But you'll have to search to find one, the Motorola Edge Plus 5G phones have limited availability.
Google's most recent 5G release is another excellent Pixel release which does exactly what you want and expect from the Google range with the added benefit of 5G connectivity. The basics are covered yet again here with a simple yet functional camera experience along with a fantastic software experience.
Although it's available in just one size, two colours, and one storage configuration, it does boast excellent battery life, wireless charging, an intuitive UI and other specifications. Delivering the 5G compatibility is the Snapdragon 765G chipset (the same configuration as the Pixel 4A) and while the phone has less CPU overall, the performance is still fast and reliable.
If you're looking for an affordable 5G camera, you need to consider the Google Pixel 4A. This compact smartphone is built with impressive cameras, sharp OLED screens and overall strong performance.
Available in three colours - 'just black', 'barely blue' and white - and maximises a 6.2-inch screen with 2,340 x 1,080 pixel resolution, a live HDR+ camera with dual exposure controls and a 3,885-mAh capacity battery which will get you a full day's browsing, snapping or gaming.
It's all the phone you need to take advantage of the work Australian carriers are carrying out to build their 5G networks.
Nokia isn't commonly associated with beautiful design and high functionality phones - at least not anymore - and while the 8.3 doesn't exactly fill you with excitement, it is a new 5G capable option with strong specs.
Firstly, it's affordable. The Nokia 8.3 is a mid-range offering which isn't designed to compete with Apple, Samsung or OnePlus. It's also spec-heavy with It boasts an HD 6.81-inch display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 765G mobile chipset, and a strong rear camera setup.
The 4,500mAh battery will easily get you through the day no matter how you use the new 5G connectivity. It's available in one colour, Polar Blue, and still includes the headphone jack that many brands are phasing out.
At the budget end of the 5G compatible smartphones in Australia - retailing at just $499 in Australia - is the Realme 7. Realme is a brand that's enjoyed huge popularity in India and China and it's easy to see why. For the outlay, you'll get fast charging, a lovely 120Hz display and a more than handy camera configuration.
It may be missing some of the bells and whistles that other manufacturers have, but if connecting to Australia's increasing 5G network is the main purpose of the phone, you won't be disappointed.
For the more tech-savvy, the Realme 7 uses a MediaTek Dimensity 800U chipset with up to 6GB of RAM, boasts a 5,000mAh battery with a 30W Dart Charge and crisp viewing on its 6.5-inch screen (2400 x 1080 pixels, 405ppi).
The Ulefone Armor 10 is marketed as the world's first rugged smartphone and is quickly becoming a category leader in the durable mobile handset space. The latest offering brings 5G to rugged devices, but doesn't skimp on camera, long-lasting battery with wireless charging and more - all for a very reasonable price.
The first thing to note about the Armor 10 is that it's big. A 6.7inch display is reinforced with a metal frame, rubber corners, a metal frame and a large bezel. At 333g it's also heavy. Unsurprisingly for a phone designed to withstand the roughest of conditions.
The 8GB of LPDDR4x memory and 128GB of UFS2 makes the phone fast - perfect for outdoor enthusiasts that want durability and speed.
The beauty of Xiaomi is their ability to combine eye-catching design and exceptional performance to affordable 5G phones. The Redmi Note 9 is no exception - utilising high specs without competing with flagship brands or pushing the price out of reach for everyday Australians.
The Redmi Note 9 Pro has a 6.67inch display which uses a 20:9 aspect ratio, a centrally mounted four sensor back camera panel, a side-mounted fingerprint reader and both USB-C and a headphone jack
The performance is solid, and akin to other mid-market devices, but other web reviews do criticise the default apps and ads within the operating system.
If you're a mobile gamer, the Black Shark 3 Pro might be the device you've been craving. It's specifically designed for mobile gaming, but also includes a very decent camera, top-end specs and an affordable price point.
The gaming features on this device include a top-of-the-range processor, generous RAM, large display and in-built game launcher. Even the look and feel of the device with its largest black design is tailored to the gaming demographic.
We know you gamers like to know the details, so here are the specs for the Xiaomi Black Shark 3 Pro: 177.8 x 83.3 x 10.1 mm (7.00 x 3.28 x 0.40 in), 253 g, AMOLED, 90Hz, HDR10+, Li-Po 5000 mAh with fast charging 65w and Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 (7 nm+).
Rather than just another release with incremental improvements, the Apple iPhone 12 was actually a huge release with two impressive innovations. The first of course, is 5G. While 5G isn't an innovation in itself and networks are still being built globally, the speeds the iPhone 12 achieved in testing - 200Mbps - are exceptional.
The second initiative is the MagSafe. MagSafe is a magnetic connection at the back of the phone that allows you to attach charging and wallet accessories to your phone. In the future these could be printers, gaming consoles or controls, or extended batteries.
In addition to the game-changers, the Apple is of course beautiful, albeit with squared-off edges that were used in the iPhone 4 and smaller dimensions than recent Apple mobiles (it also comes in a mini size). It boasts a new OLED screen and an impressive 12MP duo of the wide and ultra-wide cameras.
Apple lovers will flock to this, especially as Telstra and Optus expand their 5G networks.
Put the Samsung Galaxy S21 in the highly capable category. Samsung's former darling is feature-rich and functional - perfect for Android fans looking for a quality camera, powerful internals and great battery life.
The Galaxy S21 is no longer the top dog in Samsung's lineup, but it's still 5G compatible with a robust chipset, excellent camera software and fast, wireless charging.
If you opt for the S21, you'll have a delightful phone to connect to 5G and three models and five colours to choose your perfect setup. It's perfect for Samsung fans that haven't upgraded in a while or those who want a smaller display but big performance.
Huawei have continued to evolve their flagship offering over the years and the P40 represents another excellent release with exceptional hardware improvements. The Huawei cameras continue to get better and better, the chipset is powerful and the battery life is better than most other brands on the market.
However, Huawei devices do not have Google Services, which means the Android OS is limited. This might be a deal-breaker. If it's not a dealbreaker for you, enjoy the incredible rear camera technology, 5G connectivity on a compatible plan and the Full HD 6.1-inch display.
Vivo comes from the makers of OnePlus, so there's a huge amount of experience and innovation excellence behind the brand and the device. Their new X50 Pro 5G device is savvy.
Yes, the OLED screen, computational power and battery are all there, but the star of the show is the camera. The main camera is a 48MP sensor mounted on a gimbal - a steadying device that helps you capture amazing snaps on the go. Supporting the main shooter is a 13MP wide-angle camera, an 8mp specialised portrait camera and an 8MP sensor with 5x optical zoom.
Given most smartphone buyers prioritise the camera, this could be incredibly popular in the Australian market. It currently retails for $999.
Unless your phone is included on the list above, the phone you own at the moment is not compatible with the 5G phone network. With 5G compatibility only just beginning to be included in smartphones, manufacturers are certainly charging for the privilege. As the technology becomes more widespread, we should see competition in the market and efficiencies in production lower the cost of 5G compatible phones.
Telstra is the clear leader in 5G coverage. They've already released more than 2,000 5G stations, providing coverage to 41% of Australia. They aim to cover 75% of the population by June this year.
Optus on the other hand has launched just 900 stations to bring cover to 426,000 households across Australia. Optus are, however, investigating mmWave technology for even quicker 5G speeds.
TPG Telecom is the final provider with big ambitions. Although they have limited coverage at the moment - they cover some areas in Sydney, Brisbane, Canberra, Adelaida, Gold Coast and Perth - they aim to serve 85% of the population by the end of the year.
It sounds crazy that for less than 30 years, we have evolved from the humble SMSs to streaming anything you would like to watch. With mobile data speed kicking up a notch with Telstra's and Optus' 5G networks, more 5G-capable devices will continue to enter the Australian market.
Still, if you intend to acquire any of these revolutionary devices specifically for the fast speeds, you must ascertain whether your current location has 5G connectivity. But it might still be the best move to wait for this network to be made available broadly.
So unless you require a new device right away, you are better off waiting for some time - at least until the network becomes more widely adopted and the devices fall in price. At the moment, you can do as many things with your 4G device as those of the latest connectivity, and save some money on the new device.