India today officially announced 5G network services in the country after Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the next-generation network during the Indian Mobile Congress 2022 event. The next step is for telecom players to launch their services and launch their new data plans for customers in India to use.
But before you dive into what 5G plans your telco offers, you’ll need a 5G-compatible smartphone. With many phone manufacturers launching 5G phones for about two years now, choosing a new 5G smartphone can be an overwhelming task.
However, here’s a quick guide to choosing the best 5G smartphone for your needs. We continue by focusing on a few key factors to consider when choosing a phone.
1. 5G chipset
To support 5G networks, your phone must first have a 5G chipset. The 5G chipset will have a built-in 5G reception detection module. The good news is that most newer chipsets support 5G in the mid-range and flagship segments. For Qualcomm technology phones, new chips like Snapdragon 695 and above, Snapdragon 765G and above, and Snapdragon 865 and above will support 5G by default.
When it comes to MediaTek phones, any MediaTek Dimensity series chipset will be a 5G enabled phone. This includes lower-end phones like the Dimensity 700, as well as the top-of-the-line Dimensity 8100 and Dimensity 9000, the older G-series and Helio phones don’t support 5G.
2. 5G bands
While it’s the phone’s chipset that determines whether a device will support 5G networks or not, it’s the 5G band support on the device that will determine how reliable your next-generation connection will be. It is not uncommon to find “5G phones” on the market with only one or two 5G bands. These are not the best options.
Always check the support of 5G bands on any phone you want to buy. The bands should be visible on the device’s product page on the website under the specifications section. If you want to have a good, stable and reliable 5G connection, look for a phone that has 8-12 5G bands – these will give you the most versatile use.
3. Timely updates
A number of phones will support 5G, but may run with software limitations for SA (Standalone) networks. These brands will be pushing out OTA (over-the-air) updates in the coming weeks to ensure seamless 5G reception. To get fast access to 5G networks and ensure you’re getting the most out of your phone’s 5G capabilities, you should look at devices from brands that have a good track record of timely updates.
This will ensure that the phone you’re using comes with updates to enable/unlock full 5G support in time for you to use the service, as well as the required hotfix updates to fix any 5G network reception issues. While timely updates are something you should generally look forward to when buying any smartphone, they become an even more important factor when choosing a 5G phone.