5G smartphones are coming in 2019.
We know this as a series of leaks, hints and confirmations have dropped over the past month, with either official spokespeople for phone makers admitting they are working on 5G phones, or official documentation seemingly proving as much.
You should be excited, as the next-gen data tech will not only absolutely smoke 4G and 3G in terms of speed, but it also has the potential to radically alter how the world's best smartphones are used.
From augmented reality applications, with apps using a phone's camera lens to overlay information on our view of the world, to virtual reality, massive resolutions, holographic displays, enhanced power and next-gen cloud computing, 5G is going to be an order of magnitude jump forward for smartphones.
Here we're going to run through the five most exciting 5G smartphones we're expecting in 2019, with massive makers like Apple, Samsung, Sony, OnePlus and Huawei already chomping at the bit to launch astounding 5G-enabled flagships.
1. Samsung Galaxy S10
The Samsung Galaxy S10's 5G credentials come from reports detailing how Qualcomm and the South Korean maker have recently announced a 'strategic relationship' agreement, which specifically mentions the "transition to 5G".
A transition to 5G for the S10 would make perfect sense for the flagship, and add to its list of features that will have Apple worried.
A 5G connection on the S10 would allow users simply incredible download and upload speeds, while also opening the gateway to play AAA games via streaming services like PS Now, as well as stream high-fidelity 4K movies.
With the S10 slated for launch at Mobile World Congress 2019, which takes place at the end of February, it would also cement Samsung's position at the fore of the 5G charge, leaving many of its rivals playing catch up.
If we were to make a call, though, we would expect only the "Beyond 1" and "Beyond 2" models to have a 5G connection, not the entry level "Beyond 0" model.
Still, the idea of holding a 5G-equipped smartphone as early as February next year, if not earlier (see Sony's 5G phone below) is a mouth-watering proposition.
2. Huawei P30
We know Huawei is working on 5G smartphones as Walter Ji, President of Huawei's Western European Consumer Business Group spoke to T3 about it in an exclusive interview.
The senior Huawei exec confirmed that 5G would feature "if not for P30, then for sure it will be in the Mate series next September.”
As to why it could arrive in either device, Mr Ji said that:
“We have two flagship products. In March, we have the P series, and in October, we have the Mate series. So it will depend on how the chipset develops, because the 5G needs high power consumption”.
And, that's an interesting consideration to process in regards to 5G, with the tech needing both more space physically, as antennas need to be larger, as well as power.
Considering that battery life is one of the smartphone industry's biggest issues right now, with most flagship phones delivering at most a day and half of battery life between charges, clearly makers are going to have to find ways to increase their handsets' internal power banks, or streamline and optimise how energy is used.
Either way, if these comments from Huawei hold true, then either the P30, P30 Pro or next Mate device will be 5G-enabled.
3. OnePlus 7
OnePlus CEO Pete Lau recently confirmed at Mobile World Congress Shanghai that the company is "working with US carriers" to bring a 5G smartphone to market next year.
And as OnePlus only launches one main flagship refresh per year that means the OnePlus 7 is set to be that 5G phone.
This makes sense as 5G would be a perfect fit for the cult Chinese maker, with its penchant for crazy speed and performance syncing well with the rapid data transfer speeds of 5G.
Considering that OnePlus knows what it is doing in terms of hardware, too, with this year's OnePlus 6 flagship absolutely smoking rivals in benchmark tests, a 5G-enabled device next year would make it a no-brainer insta-buy.
OnePlus usually releases its phones in May/July, so the OnePlus 7 would likely be among the second wave of 5G devices, potentially following Samsung, Sony and Huawei.
4. Sony Xperia XZ3
"Smartphone innovation has always been at the core of Sony Mobile engineers’ design philosophy," said Sony as it recently talked up its heritage of world firsts in smartphone technology.
It made these comments mere days after rival makers OnePlus and Huawei confirmed they were working on 5G phones.
A coincidence? We think not.
In fact, going off what we know already about Sony's commitment to 5G, as well as Sony's track record, it does indeed look like the new Sony Xperia will be the world's first 5G smartphone.
If it is to launch the first 5G phone, potentially with a battery that can last an entire week, then it looks like Sony is going to be launching it before the end of February 2019, which is when the Samsung Galaxy S10 is slated for an unveiling.
5. iPhone X (2019)
Finally, only this week did a report surface that claims that Apple is currently in talks with MediaTek over the supply of a 5G modem.
Now, it has to be said that Apple isn't usually a maker that adopts new technology first (even the iPhone X didn't come with LTE-Advanced, for example), but considering that its flagship new phones tend to ship late on in the year, that would theoretically leave the company the most time to deliver a 5G handset.
It would also give Apple time to really evaluate the possibilities of 5G technology and deliver that trademark Apple magic, maybe with a truly astounding "one more thing…" reveal.