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5 best 5G mobile phones to buy in India in 2020: price, features

On: August 27, 2020

5G as a network connectivity standard has been in the works for a while now. We had seen early 5G testing prototypes from brands such as Xiaomi and Vivo a while back. However, it was in early 2019 during MWC that talks about the commercial debut of 5G started gaining momentum. In fact, 5G was the buzz word at the Mobile World Congress held in February 2019.

We saw phone launches like Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G, LG V50 ThinQ 5G, Huawei Mate X and prior to that, the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G at the Galaxy Unpacked Event 2019 event held in San Francisco. Now, here we are in 2020 and nearly every flagship comes with 5G connectivity. Despite the slew of devices that are now 5G-enabled, the bottomline is that 5G networks aren’t ready in India, and won’t be for a while.

5G is the next-gen mobile data connectivity that offers blazing fast sppeds

5G is the next-gen mobile data connectivity that offers blazing fast speeds

It’s therefore natural to ask yourself if it makes sense to invest in a 5G-enabled smartphone, particulary in India. If you have questions about 5G, you are in the right place. Here’s everything you need to know about 5G technology, and the available 5G smartphones you can buy.

What is 5G technology?

As the name suggests, 5G is the 5th-generation mobile network and a new global wireless standard after 1G, 2G, 3G, and 4G networks. The network standard is designed to deliver peak data speeds, ultra-low latency, reliable connectivity, massive network capacity, increased availability, and a more uniform user experience to a large number of users. The 5G network is being designed with an extended capacity by expanding into new spectrum such as mmWave to enable next-generation user experiences including IoT and AR/VR.

In simpler terms, with 5G not only will you get blazing fast download and upload speeds but also low latency. The latter means the time it takes devices to communicate with wireless networks will drastically reduce, ensuring smooth connectivity all along.

What are the advantages of 5G?

As mentioned before, the primary advantage offered by the next-generation network standard is ultra-fast download/upload speeds and lower latency. With 5G, it’s possible to achieve peak data rates up to 20Gbps based on IMT-2020 requirements. Additionally, the X55 modem (integrated into Snapdragon 865 SoC) and the upcoming X60 Modem-RF Systems from Qualcomm can achieve up to 7.5Gbps in downlink peak data rates, which is impressive on a smartphone.

However, there’s an even bigger picture here, when you take into consideration the IoT side of things. The next-generation network connectivity allows a large number of devices to be connected to the network. Every single device connected to the network will have instant connections to the internet and will exchange information with each other in real-time to enable a smooth IoT experience.

The Realme X50 Pro 5G was the first 5G-enabled smartphone to launch in India

In simpler terms, envision a smart home with connected appliances like a smart TV, smart refrigerator, and so on, all connected to a single network. Having 5G connectivity will ensure that all your connected devices have uninterrupted high-speed internet for smoother operation of the ecosystem that you have created. Notably, Realme has already announced that going forward it will focus more upon lifestyle and IoT products, with its smartphones acting as the hub. To this extent, the brand has also launched the Realme X50 Pro 5G as the first 5G-enabled smartphone in India.

In a nutshell, the main advantages of 5G networks are enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services for peak data speeds, and Massive Machine-type Communications (mMTC) for IoT requiring low power consumption and lower data rates for a large number of connected devices.

When will India be 5G-ready?

Speaking of the 5G revolution in India, as mentioned before, we already have a number of 5G-enabled flagships as well as mid-range smartphones in the country. So what’s the status of the 5G itself in India and does it makes sense to buy a 5G smartphone right now? In 2017, the Indian government had set up a Rs 500 crore fund for Research & Development of 5G Technology. The aim of the fund was to roll out 5G by 2020, and the government had plans to auction 5G spectrum by January 2020.

However, the 5G spectrum auction has been getting postponed again and again owing to the bad financial health of the telcos, which have been struggling to pay licensing fees and other penalties they owe to the government. Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea,  the largest telecom providers after Reliance Jio, are both not in favour of the 5G auction yet for several reasons. These include crippling debt and exorbitant pricing of the 5G spectrum.

Are telecom operators ready for 5G in India?

Presently, Reliance Jio is the only provider in India, which happens to not only be profitable but also have network and backhaul in place for 5G. While the Mukesh Ambani-led telco has voiced its disagreement on the spectrum pricing and maintained that a lot depends on the viability of use cases, devices, ecosystem as well as the spectrum, the company claims that it’s 5G-ready already.

In short, there are at least a couple of years to go before 5G is rolled out in the country. Purchasing a 5G-enabled smartphone in the meanwhile makes sense purely from the performance point of view, as most of them are equipped with flagship chipsets.

What is VoNR Calling?

Currently, VoLTE is the industry standard when it comes to high-definition and uninterrupted calls. VoLTE stands for voice over LTE, which is a digital packet voice service being delivered through LTE using IMS (IP-based Multimedia Subsystem) technology. The VoNR Calling is short for Voice over New Radio calling, where the new radio refers to the 5G network standard. This is a general term given to voice and video services, which use 5G as the access network as opposed to LTE and VoLTE.

VoLTE vs VoNR

5G still uses the 4G voice and video architecture and provides voice or video communication services based on IMS technology. In the initial days when the 5G is still being deployed, VoNR will depend on 4G technology to make 5G voice (VoNR) calls. Once 5G has been fully deployed, 5G devices will be able to make use of Standalone New Radio (SA NR) to offer voice services on 5G-voice-capable devices as well as enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB) services to consumers. VoNR on the Standalone New Radio will offer less latency and more reliability as compared to VoLTE.

Top 5G phones to buy in India

  1. Samsung Galaxy Note 2
  2. Realme X50 Pro
  3. OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro
  4. Xiaomi Mi 10
  5. Vivo X50 Pro

Now let’s take a look at which smartphones in India are currently 5G-ready and will allow you to benefit from the next-generation network standard once it is available.

Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Ultra 5G

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the first Note series phone to have 120Hz display

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the first Note series phone to have 120Hz display

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G is the first smartphone in the Note series to offer a 120Hz display. It features a 6.9-inch curved S-AMOLED Dynamic display with a 19.3:9 aspect ratio and QHD resolution. The smartphone is powered by the Exynos 990 SoC with 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB of USF 3.0 storage. The Note 20 Ultra 5G has a 108MP triple rear camera setup and a 10MP camera on the front. Other features include 4,500mAh battery, One UI 2.5 based on Android 10, S Pen with 9ms latency, Wireless DeX, and more.

  • 6.9-inch QHD+ S-AMOLED display
  • Exynos 990 processor with Arm Mali-G77 MP11 GPU
  • 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • One UI 2.5 based on Android 10
  • 4,500mAh battery, 25W fast charging
  • 108MP + 12MP periscope lens + 12MP wide-angle
  • 10MP front camera

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G  has been priced at Rs 1,04,999 in India. The smartphone is being offered in Mystic Bronze and Mystic Black colour options. It can be picked up from Samsung.com and across leading retail stores.

Realme X50 Pro

The Realme X50 Pro 5G is one of the first smartphones to offer 5G in India

The Realme X50 Pro 5G is one of the first smartphones to offer 5G in India

The Realme X50 Pro 5G packs flagship-level specifications and was the first smartphone to be launched in the country with support for next-gen 5G networks. The device offers a 6.44-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate and in-display fingerprint scanner. In the performance department, the handset offers Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 processor, the latest LPDDR5 RAM technology and UFS 3.0 storage. Other features of the Realme X50 Pro 5G (review) include 64MP quad cameras on the back, 32MP dual cameras on the front, Android 10 based Realme UI and a  4,200mAh battery unit with support for 65W SuperDart Charge technology.

  • 6.44-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display
  • Snapdragon 865 processor with Adreno 650 GPU
  • Up to 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • Realme UI based on Android 10
  • 4,200mAh battery, 65W fast charging
  • 64MP + 13MP telephoto lens + 8MP wide-angle + 2MP Mono
  • 32MP + 8MP front camera

Realme X50 Pro price and availability

The Realme X50 Pro 5G is being offered in 6GB + 128GB, 8GB + 128GB and 12GB + 256GB configurations priced at Rs 39,999, Rs 41,999 and Rs 47,999, respectively. The device can be picked up from Realme’s official website and Flipkart in Moss Green or Rust Red paint jobs.

OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro

The OnePlus 8 Pro is the most ambitious smartphone from the brand

The OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro are the latest flagships from the brand

The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are the latest and most powerful flagships from the brand so far. Both smartphones come with Fluid AMOLED displays, but while the OnePlus 8 gets a 90Hz FHD+ panel, the Pro variant gets a 120Hz refresh rate and QHD+ screen resolution. These smartphones are also powered by the flagship Snapdragon 865 SoC ticking at their cores with an X55 modem for the 5G connectivity. Other features of the OnePlus 8 duo include  Android 10 with OxygenOS on top, 48MP primary camera on the back, Warp Charge 30T fast charging and a punch-hole cutout housing a 16MP selfie camera.

  • 6.55-inch/6.78-inc FHD+/QHD+ Fluid AMOLED display
  • Snapdragon 865 processor with Adreno 650 GPU
  • Up to 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
  • Oxygen OS based on Android 10
  • 4,300mAh / 4,510mAh battery, Warp Charge 30T
  • 48MP + 16MP + 2MP / 48MP + 48MP + 8MP + 5MP
  • 16MP front camera

OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro price and availability

The OnePlus will retail in India for Rs 41,999 for the 6GB + 128GB variant (Glacial Green), Rs 44,999 for the 8GB + 128GB model (Onyx Black/Glacial Green) and Rs 49,999 for the 12GB + 256GB model (Onyx Black, Glacial Green, Interstellar Glow). The Pro variant, on the other hand, costs Rs 54,999 for the 8GB + 128GB variant (Onyx Black/Glacial Green), and Rs 59,999 for the 12GB + 256GB option (Onyx Black/Glacial Green/Ultramarine Blue). These handsets will go on sale in the country in May via OnePlus’ website and Amazon.

Xiaomi Mi 10

The Xiaomi Mi 10 is the first in the world to use the new LPDDR5 RAM technology

The Xiaomi Mi 10 is the first in the world to use the new LPDDR5 RAM technology

The Xiaomi Mi 10 is the 108MP camera flaunting flagship from the brand that’s set to launch in India shortly. The smartphone features a 6.67-inch AMOLED Full HD+ display with 90Hz refresh rate. As is the case with every other smartphone on the list, the handset is powered by Snapdragon 865 accompanied by up to 12GB of LDDR5 RAM and 256GB storage. Other features of the device include 108MP quad rear cameras, 20MP front camera, Android 10-based MIUI 11, and a 4,780mAh battery with 30 watts fast charging.

  • 6.67-inch FHD+ AMOLED display
  • Snapdragon 865 processor with Adreno 650 GPU
  • up to 12GB RAM and up to 256GB storage
  • MIUI 11 based on Android 10
  • 4,780mAh battery, 30W fast charging
  • 108MP + 13MP + 2MP + 2MP
  • 20MP front camera

Xiaomi Mi 10 price and availability

The Xiaomi Mi 10 India launch was expected on March 31st but has been postponed until the lockdown lifts. In China, the starting price has been set at RMB 3,999 (~Rs 41,000). We should know Xiaomi Mi 10 price in India soon.

Vivo X50 Pro

The Vivo X50 Pro is the world's first smartphone to come with a gimbal camera

The Vivo X50 Pro is the world’s first smartphone to come with a gimbal camera

The  Vivo X50 Pro marks the comeback of Vivo’s X-series in India after almost two years. The smartphone comes with a 6.5-inch FHD+ AMOLED display. Powering the performance of the device is the Snapdragon 765G processor backed by 8GB RAM and 256GB storage. The handset boots Android 10-based FunTouch OS and is backed by a 4,315mAh battery with 33W fast charging. There is a quad-camera setup on the back housing 48MP IMX598 primary sensor backed by an 8MP periscope telephoto lens with 60x superzoom, an 8MP super-wide lens and a 13MP bokeh sensor. There’s a 32MP camera on the front.

  • 6.5-inch FHD+ AMOLED display
  • Snapdragon 765G processor with Adreno 620 GPU
  • 8GB RAM and 256GB storage
  • FunTouch OS based on Android 10
  • 4,315mAh battery, 33W fast charging
  • 488MP + 8MP periscope telephoto lens + 8MP super-wide + 13MP bokeh sensor
  • 32MP front camera

Vivo X50 Pro price and availability

The Vivo X50 Pro is being offered in 8GB+256GB configuration and will set you back by Rs 49,999. The handset can be bought from Amazon and Flipkart.

Smartphones Key Specs
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G6.9-inch QHD+ S-AMOLED display, Exynos 990 processor, 12GB LPDDR5 RAM, 256GB UFS 3.1 storage, One UI 2.5 based on Android 10, 4,500mAh battery, 25W fast charging, 108MP quad cameras, 10MP front camera
Realme X50 Pro6.44-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED display, Snapdragon 865 processor, up to 12GB LPDDR5 RAM, up to 256GB UFS 3.1 storage, Realme UI based on Android 10, 4,200mAh battery, 65W fast charging, 64MP quad cameras, 32MP + 8MP front camera
OnePlus 8 and 8 ProHigh refresh rate Fluid AMOLED displays, Snapdragon 865 processor, up to 12GB LPDDR5 RAM, up to 256GB UFS 3.1 storage, Oxygen OS based on Android 10, 48MP primary camera, 16MP selfie camera
Xiaomi Mi 106.67-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, Snapdragon 865 processor, up to 12GB RAM, up to 256GB storage, MIUI 11 based on Android 10, 4,780mAh battery, 30W fast charging, 108MP quad cameras, 20MP front camera
Vivo X50 Pro6.5-inch FHD+ AMOLED display, Snapdragon 765G processor, 8GB RAM, up to 256GB storage, FunTouch OS based on Android 10, 4,315mAh battery, 33W fast charging, 48MP quad cameras, 32MP front camera
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Abhiman Biswas

Abhiman is obsessed with all things tech. His hobbies include reading on his Kindle and clicking random pictures on his phone. His secret superpowers happen to be mixing great cocktails and lip reading. In his spare time, you are likely to find him cleaning his aquascape, researching new species of aquatic fishes and planning which aquatic plants to buy next.