5G Phones in Australia: What are your options?
Telstra, Optus, and Vodafone have all kicked off their 5G rollouts across Australia. While Optus and Telstra have made significant progress already, Vodafone’s rollout will hit its stride mid-2020. Widespread 5G in on the horizon. It’s still a ways off, but it’s coming, and many cities already have limited access to the super-fast mobile network.
It’s not quite time to put all your chips on 5G, but those expecting coverage might be considering their next smartphone upgrade. Even if you struggle to get a 5G signal at your address, a 5G phone will revert to regular 4G coverage, where the reception isn’t strong enough. So you’re free to upgrade and future-proof your handset even if the next-gen network is still a pipedream in your area.
Here are the phones already available in Australia that offer 5G connectivity.
Samsung Galaxy S20 range
The entire 2019 Samsung Galaxy S20 range offers 5G variants; the Galaxy S20 Ultra is only available in 5G. If you don’t need Samsung’s premium S20 Ultra, your options are the S20 and the S20+, but the 5G variants of those handsets will cost you a little extra, $150 to be exact.
In our opinion, most smartphone users should save some money and opt for the Galaxy S20+ 5G model over the Galaxy S20 Ultra (find out why in our comparison).
Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G
Don’t be fooled by the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s “Premium” marketing; the Galaxy S20+ is a true successor to the S10 range without any of the unnecessary gimmicks, like Space Zoom.
The Galaxy S20+ boasts a 6.2-inch OLED display and an impressive lens array that features a 12MP ultra-wide lens, a 12MP wide-angle lens, a 64MP telephoto lens, and a DepthVision camera for measuring depth of field, which should help take awesome portraits among other things. Under the hood, it utilises the same Exynos 990 processor as the S20 and S20 Ultra, though a little less RAM than in the Ultra model.
You can buy the S20+ outright for $1,649 (128GB) or $1,899 (512GB), or purchase it on a plan through a participating telco. Here are a few of this week’s popular Galaxy S20+ plans.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G
If you don’t mind spending a little extra for the top-tier handset, the Galaxy S20 Ultra will get you a larger 6.9-inch OLED display, a higher resolution camera array (with a 108MP Wide Angle camera and a 40MP front-facing camera), and the heavily-marketed Space Zoom feature, which gives you a 10x hybrid zoom and a 100x digital zoom.
The Ultra 5G 128GB will set you back $1,999 outright, or you can pick it up on a plan through a telco that stocks it. Here are this week’s most popular Galaxy S20 Ultra plans.
Samsung Galaxy S20 5G
If you’re a Samsung fan strapped for cash, you might be eyeing off the base S20 model. Opting for the S20 is a slight downgrade from the S20+ and S20 Ultra in a few ways; it has a smaller 6.2-inch OLED displays, and its one camera-lens shy, ditching the DepthVision lens that’s featured in the S20+ and S20 Ultra. Overall, those missing features won’t be a deal breaker for most, especially considering what you can save.
The S20 5G 128GB model will set you back $1,499 outright, but you can score a deal if you opt to purchase it on a plan through select providers. Here’s a small selection of popular Galaxy S20 plans from telcos that stock it.
Samsung Galaxy A90 5G
If you’re genuinely looking to cut down your monthly phone bill, Samsung has also released a mid-tier 5G handset with its Galaxy A90. The Galaxy A90 has a 6.7-inch AMOLED display, which is the same size as the Galaxy S20+ but not quite as vibrant, a triple-lens camera array, and a downgraded processor.
We’ve been impressed with Samsung’s mid-tier efforts, and though we haven’t tested the A90 as such, it’s still a safe bet if you’re looking to upgrade on a budget.
You can pick up a Galaxy A90 5G 128GB for under $690 if you’re lucky to find a deal, but Australian mobile providers also offer it if you don’t want to fork out the cost upfront.
Here’s a small selection of popular Galaxy A90 plans currently available.
Samsung Galaxy S10 5G
If you don’t mind stepping back a year or two for the sake of a bargain, you can still get your hands on 2019’s 5G iteration of the Samsung Galaxy S10. However, the savings aren’t that significant. At the time of writing, the 256GB Galaxy S10 5G will still set you back $1,299 through JB HI-FI (and that’s with a $300 discount). But for the sake of comparison, here’s what it will cost you on some of the most popular plans of the week.
Samsung Galaxy Note 10+ 5G
There are Samsung fans, and there are Note fans; power users for whom bigger is better and a stowable stylus can’t be beaten. The Note 10+ released as a 5G handset in 2019, and it’s more on par with Samsung’s S20 range than the S10.
Its Dynamic AMOLED display measures at 6.8 inches, so only a fraction larger than the Ultra. With that said, what most people are after in a Note is the stylus, and the Note10+ S-Pen is its most advanced yet, with its own Bluetooth connection, as well as an accelerometer and gyro-sensor for motion-based gestures.
The Note10+ 5G 512GB will set you back $1,999 outright through Samsung’s store, which is what you pay for half the internal memory with the Ultra.
Again, if you’re looking to grab the Galaxy Note10+ 5G on a plan, Australian telcos are still offering it as a plan add-on.
Here’s a small selection of popular plans, and what you will pay every month.
Other 5G phones available in Australia
By now, you’re probably sick of seeing Samsung. There’s no doubt the manufacturer has made short work of dominating the 5G market early, but there are other Android options if you’re not partial to Samsung’s smartphones.
Oppo Reno 5G
For example, there’s Oppo. The smartphone manufacturer, most commonly known for its competitive low to mid-tier handsets, has been having a real crack at the premium market over the last few years, and the Oppo Reno 5G (an early contender in the 5G race) exemplifies its push to premium best.
A fast successor to the already outstanding Oppo Reno Z, the Oppo Reno 5G sports a suave 6.6-inch notch-less display, decent battery life, and a quality triple-lens camera array (48MP + 8MP + 13MP).
Australian mobile providers do not currently offer it, but you can score a decent discount off the outright price if you shop around ($1,006 at the time of writing).
Xiaomi Mi MIX 3 5G
If you’re looking to upgrade to 5G, but want to trim the price back as much as possible, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G is currently the cheapest 5G smartphone available in Australia. It’s very much a mid-tier offering, with specs that track with the budget price tag, like its Snapdragon 855 and dual-lens 12MP rear camera. That said, Xiaomi fans stand by the discount manufacturer’s hardware, and it’s hard to argue with 5G access on a notch-less smartphone for less than $600.
5G Huawei phones
Lastly, there’s the ever unfortunate Huawei. After truly hitting its premium stride with the P30 Pro, Huawei had its wings clipped by the widely covered U.S. trade ban. In Australia, Huawei has soldiered on, releasing its 5G Huawei P40 Pro range Down Under, despite the absence of Google services (e.g., the Google Play store where Android users get their apps). This hasn’t stopped our friends at WhistleOut reviewing it.
While you can technically purchase a 5G Huawei handset outright in Australia, including the fancy but pricey foldable Huawei Mate XS, we can’t in good faith recommend these smartphones as a good investment (at least for the foreseeable future).