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Best 5G phones in the UAE for 2021: these are the next-gen handsets you should pick up

Best 5G phones
(Image credit: Motorola, Apple, Samsung)

In 2021, the best 5G phone for you won't just be the latest top-price flagship, as it would have been in past years when 5G was still new. No, now that most phones released connect to the next-gen cellular networks, there's a lot of choice for you.

5G is the next generation of mobile data connectivity, bringing super-fast speeds along with improved reliability and connection stability over 4G, making it great for tasks like online gaming, streaming movies and downloading large files quickly.

Now that 2021 has shown its smartphone hand, so to speak, this list is likely going to stay the same until 2022 - that is, unless any last-minute handsets show up. 

This round-up isn't just a replica of our standard best smartphones guide. Instead, we've considered the key uses of 5G, and brought you a list that focuses on these key points. The following roundup is broken down into categories to fit the reasons you might be looking to buy a 5G phone.

Each of these entries has a 'best' model and a 'runner up' to give you a choice even within the categories, which is especially important given that not all of our best phone picks are available in the US or other regions.

At TechRadar, we test every new 5G phone that comes out, so we've got a good idea of how they all run, work, and compare. We've used that knowledge to create this buying guide to help you work out which 5G phone is best for you.

  • What is 5G? Our full explainer about the next-gen internet tech

Best 5G phones

An iPhone 13 Pro Max in gold, against a white background

iPhone 13 Pro Max (Image credit: Apple)

1. iPhone 13 Pro Max

The biggest iPhone with a great display

Release date: September 2021
Weight: 240g
Dimensions: 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.7mm
OS: iOS 15
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1284 x 2778
CPU: A15 Bionic
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB
Battery: 4,352mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP + 12MP + TOF
Front camera: 12MP
Reasons to buy
+Great screen+Powerful camera
Reasons to avoid
-Almost too large-Most expensive iPhone

The iPhone 13 Pro Max inherits its predecessor's lauded display, so it's no wonder the newest and biggest Apple phone makes its way onto our 5G phone list in the 'screen' category.

With its big 6.7-inch OLED screen, great contrast and sharp visuals, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is great whether you're using Apple's own services like Apple TV Plus or any of the other streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu. It's also good for watching YouTube, checking TikTok, or anything else that benefits from so much screen real estate.

The phone also has even better battery life than its predecessors, so watching shows during your commute to work won't stop you being able to stream on the way back. The presence of 5G also makes downloading movies on the go super easy.

Read our full iPhone 13 Pro Max review

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)

2. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

A top tier smartphone

Release date: January 2021
Weight: 227g
Dimensions: 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
OS: Android 11
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3200
CPU: Snapdragon 888 / Exynos 2100
RAM: 12GB / 16GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 108MP + 10MP + 10MP + 12MP
Front camera: 40MP
Reasons to buy
+The best camera zoom+Mesmerizing design
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive at any level-No microSD card slot

If you prefer Android, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is equally as impressive as the iPhone 12 Pro Max and just like Apple's offering, it doesn’t come cheap either.

Still, you get a decent amount for your money, with a 6.8-inch 1440 x 3200 curved AMOLED screen (that also has a 120Hz refresh rate), a top-end chipset, up to 16GB of RAM, and a quad-lens camera, with a 108MP main shooter, a 12MP ultra-wide, and a pair of 10MP telephotos snappers – allowing for up to 10x optical zoom.

The design impresses too, with a stylish matte glass back and an edge-to-edge display. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra also has a big battery, so you can make use of 5G (and everything else) for longer, and there’s support for the S Pen stylus, making this better for art and productivity than most smartphones.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra review

Motorola One 5G

(Image credit: Motorola)

3. Motorola Moto G 5G Plus

Or Moto G 5G Plus, depending on where you live

Release date: July 2020
Weight: 207g
Dimensions: 168.3 x 74 x 9.7mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2520
CPU: Snapdragon 765
Storage: 64GB/128GB
Battery: 5,000mAh
Rear camera: 48MP + 8MP + 5MP + 2MP
Front camera: 16MP + 8MP
Reasons to buy
+Feels snappy to use+Long-lasting battery
Reasons to avoid
-Temperamental fingerprint sensor-Irritating Google Assistant button

The Motorola Moto G and Moto G Plus are extremely affordable 5G phones that are our budget picks.

The Moto One 5G is a big phone with a 6.7-inch display and a side-mounted fingerprint sensor, and its processor, camera capability, and screen are all better than you'd expect for its low price.

Sure, it's not a perfect phone, and the signs of its low price (and some of Motorola's quirks) bring it down in a few departments. But if you're looking for a 5G phone without a high price, you should start here.

Read our full Motorola One 5G review

Nubia Red Magic 5G

(Image credit: Nubia)

4. Nubia Red Magic 5G

Magic on the gaming front

Release date: March 2020
Weight: 218g
Dimensions: 168.6 x 78 x 9.8mm
OS: Android 10
Screen size: 6.65-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2340
CPU: Snapdragon 865
RAM: 8GB/12GB/16GB
Storage: 128GB/256GB
Battery: 4,500mAh
Rear camera: 64MP + 8MP + 2MP
Front camera: 8MP
Reasons to buy
+Great 144Hz display+Handy shoulder triggers
Reasons to avoid
-Software bugs-OS lacks customization options

The Nubia Red Magic 5G has all you'd want from a gaming phone - a FHD+ AMOLED screen with a 144Hz refresh rate, a top processor paired with plenty of RAM, and a long-lasting battery with fast charging capabilities.

You won't be able to pick up the Red Magic 5G in all regions, but if you can get it, and you're looking for a 5G gaming phone, it should definitely be your first pick.

We found some software issues with the phone, but if you're a mobile gamer it'll handle anything you throw at it with ease, especially if you want to play games online while out and about (thanks to the 5G connectivity).

Read our full Nubia Red Magic 5G review

iPhone 12 Mini

5. iPhone 12 mini

The most pocketable 5G phone around

Release date: November 2020
Weight: 135g
Dimensions: 131.5 x 64.2 x 7.4 mm
OS: iOS 14
Screen size: 5.4-inch
Resolution: 1080 x 2340
CPU: A14 Bionic
Storage: 64GB/128GB/256GB
Battery: 2,227mAh
Rear camera: 12MP + 12MP
Front camera: 12MP
Reasons to buy
+Smaller design looks great+Fantastic display
Reasons to avoid
-Middling battery life-Wireless charging is slow

The smallest of its line, the iPhone 12 mini has a relatively tiny 5.4-inch display. It's easily totable, fitting in your pocket or hand with ease.

The phone gets most of the specs of its bigger iPhone 12 sibling though, including the same processor, cameras, 5G and MagSafe technology. It's a veritable powerhouse, so you shouldn't judge it based on its size.

That dainty design does pressent one or two issues, especially in the battery department - the battery life isn't great and wireless charging is a touch on the slow side. Overall, though, if you're looking for a small 5G phone this is the one to go for.

Read our full iPhone 12 mini review