Best budget 5G phones in 2021
2020 was the year of 5G. Or at least it should have been if a bunch of other, way more important things didn’t happen. Nevertheless, mobile carriers around the world are expanding their 5G networks at a rapid pace and 5G devices are now far from the niche products they were in 2019, even going down market as low as the Galaxy A32 5G in 2021. That’s largely thanks to Qualcomm’s efforts to pair its 5G modem with some mid-tier system chips, giving manufacturers more flexibility in terms of pricing.
Samsung Galaxy A51 5G
For now, the Galaxy A51 5G is the entry level Samsung phone in the US that comes with 5G capabilities. This year, that perch gets knocked by the A32 5G but even now the A51 is a pretty good deal at sub-$400. For one, the phone doesn’t look cheap at all. In fact, this year Samsung made its A-series phones even more similar to its flagships with added cameras and a centered hole-punch camera.
OnePlus 8 5G
What’s an $800 phone doing here, you ask? Well, it’s not that much any more, and can be found for as little as $549 on places like Amazon, plus OnePlus often has promos. Great display, excellent battery life and decent camera round up this great 5G offing. If you want a version that will work on Verizon, you’d have to shell out a bit more for the exclusive mmWave model.
Google Pixel 4a 5G
Google entered the 5G scene with two new phones and the cheaper Pixel 4a 5G is an awesome value proposition. It comes with the Snapdragon 765G SoC paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. But you’re not buying a Pixel phone for the specs sheet. You’re getting it for the software features and the camera. While the camera hardware might be inferior to that of the Galaxy A71, it more makes up with the software and is perhaps the best camera phone on this list.
OnePlus Nord N10 5G
Motorola One Ace 5G
TCL 10 5G UW
The TCL 10 is another sub-$400 5G, this time to fulfil the affordable 5G needs of Verizon customers, and is packing pretty decent specs for the price. The Snapdragon 765G is back, paired with 6/128 RAM/Storage combo and 4,500mAh battery. The display is a 6.5-inch IPS LCD with a hole-punch for the selfie camera, just as you’d expect from a phone in 2020. A feature that not many budget phones have but this one does is face unlock. Of course, there’s also a fingerprint reader if you want that extra security.
LG Velvet 5G
LG also has a contender in the budget 5G phones fight with, surprise, the LG Velvet. Great design and very good camera meet 5G connectivity courtesy of the frugal Snapdragon 765G that is easy on the battery. It can now be found for $400-$500 in its non-Verizon version, and checks all marks for an affordable daily 5G driver.
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