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The best smartphones to make the leap from 4G to 5G

With India rapidly transitioning from 4G to 5G, here are the best smartphones to take advantage of the blazing-fast speeds

The iPhone 14, released a couple of months ago, finally got the software update enabling access to 5G networks in January

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In the latter half of 2022, telecom leaders Airtel and Reliance Jio flipped the switch on broadband cellular networks’ fifth-generation (aka 5G) technology. It’s January of 2023 and 5G has come alive and how. With 5G speeds of up to 900Mbps as compared to a piddly 50-100Mbps on 4G networks, Indians are experiencing the thrill of speed.

Most of the country though isn’t able to connect to and access these blazing-fast speeds. That’s because the smartphones they’re using don’t have the necessary capabilities and can only, at the maximum, connect to 4G networks. With 2023 being the year of 5G in the Indian telecom space, we look at smartphones across price brackets for those seeking an upgrade.

Budget and mid-range smartphones

1. Redmi Note 12 series: On 5 January, Xiaomi made a big bang announcement. Not only were they streamlining the Note series (now consisting of only three devices) but each of them is getting 5G capabilities. The vanilla Redmi Note 12 starts at 17,999 for the 4GB+128 GB model. On the other end, the Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus tops out at 32,999 for the 12GB+256GB model. 

All three smartphones pack a punch. The vanilla Redmi Note 12 rocks a Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 processor and a 48MP main sensor. 

The Redmi Note 12 Pro and Redmi Note 12 Pro Plus have 50MP and 200MP main sensors respectively with each coming with super fast charging capabilities.

2.  realme 10 Pro Plus 5G and realme 10 Pro 5G: The realme 10 Pro comes with a MediaTek Dimensity 1080 processor while the realme 10 Pro has Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 695 processor under the hood. They’ve both got large displays, 108MP main sensors, and beefy 5,000mAh batteries (with super-fast charging to boot) to power you through a full day. The realme 10 starts at 18,999 while the realme 10 Pro Plus is available for 25,999.

3. OnePlus Nord 2T and OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite: Let’s start with the OnePlus Nord 2T. It has a MediaTek Dimensity 1300 processor, a 6.43-inch AMOLED display, 50MP main sensor and a 4,500mAh battery. The Nord CE 2 on the other hand comes with a Snapdragon 695, a 6.59-inch LCD display, a 64MP main sensor and a 5000mAh battery. Both come with OnePlus’ Super VOOC charging technology. The OnePlus Nord CE 2 Lite starts at 18,999, while the Nord 2T starts at 28,999. There’s a Nord CE 2 in between these two models as well.

4. Motorola Edge 30 series: Motorola’s Edge 30 series consists of Edge 30, Edge 30 Pro, Edge 30 Fusion and Edge 30 Ulta. All of them are compatible with 5G networks. One can find the Edge 30’s starting price at 24,999, while the Edge 30 Ultra’s starting price is 54,999. The company billed the Edge 30 Ultra as the world’s first 200MP camera. Others like Xiaomi have now joined the fray.

5. OnePlus 11: The OnePlus 11 (launching on February 7th in India) is shaping up to be the company’s best smartphone in years. The OnePlus 11 has got a slight redesign, compared to its predecessor, the largest vibration motor among Android smartphones, a top-of-the-line display, new and improved camera sensors, and much more. Most importantly, it has all the 5G goodies under-the-hood and can seamlessly connect you to the closest 5G towers and provide you with breathtaking download speeds. The price is set to be under 50,000 when it launches in India.

Flagship smartphones:

1. iQOO 11: The most recent of the smartphones on the list to launch is the iQOO (a sub-brand of Vivo) 11 in India, just a month after its debut in China. The iQOO 11 is one of the first smartphones to debut with the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. There’s the latest vivo V2 ISP as well. There’s a 6.78-inch 2K AMOLED display, a 5,000mAh battery and 120W FlashCharge fast charging and of course, support for 5G! The smartphone has a starting price of 59,999 (8GB+256GB).

2. Google Pixel 7 series: The Pixel 7 series hasn’t gotten support for 5G yet but it's available in a beta build and is expected to come in a public release within a month or two. The Pixel series of smartphones (Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro) are amongst the best that Android represents. The Pixel 7 and 7 Pro come with stock Android, a best-in-class camera, a good display and all-day battery life. 59,999 gets you the Pixel 7, while the Pixel 7 Pro will set you back 84,999.

3. Samsung Galaxy S22/S23 series/Galaxy Fold 4/Galaxy Flip 4:These are some of the most expensive smartphones on the list and all have different USPs. The Galaxy Fold 4 unfolds into a tablet-like device for more screen real estate. The Galaxy Flip 4 is the most pocketable smartphone in recent times. It’s a flip phone and has a tiny outside screen. The Galaxy S22 series launched early in 2022 and quickly became a favourite amongst the Android crowd thanks to its blazing-fast performance and insanely good camera setup.

Finally, the Galaxy S23 series is slated to launch globally on February 1st and is expected to come with a 200MP sensor and many other features to keep it at the top of the flagship crowd. The Galaxy S22 is the cheapest of the smartphones mentioned above. The vanilla Galaxy S22 can be had for 52,999.00. The Galaxy Fold 4, by far the most expensive, comes in at a whopping 1,54,999.00. The Galaxy smartphones offer the best and most stable 5G speeds.

4. iPhone 14 series: The iPhone 14, which was released a couple of months ago, finally got the software update enabling access to 5G networks in January. The iPhone series runs on iOS (Apple’s alternative to iOS) and has excellent cameras, retina displays, best-in-class batteries and more. The iPhone 14 series consists of four smartphones: iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. The starting prices are 79,900, 89,900, 1,29,900 and 1,39,900 respectively.

Plenty of other 5G-capable smartphones, already exist, and many are on the horizon as the Mobile World Congress is happening in Barcelona at the end of February. Most, if not all smartphones launched in 2023, will have full access to 5G networks. 2023 is the perfect time to jump on the 5G bandwagon!

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