Top five 5G phones to expect in 2019: Galaxy S10, OnePlus 7, Huawei P30 and more

The 5G phone wars are coming. See which devices are leading the vanguard now

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5G smartphones are going to be taking over in 2019, with many of the biggest names in the business confirming 5G-ready handsets are scheduled for next year. We're already eager to see what's around the corner.

Add in some extra leaks and hints to the official confirmations, and it's clear that 2019 is going to be the year when 5G tech arrives in our mobiles... and there are plenty of reasons to get excited.

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 every day.

Think augmented reality (computer graphics merging with the real world), virtual reality, improved streaming resolutions, holographic displays, enhanced power and next-gen cloud computing – 5G is going to be significant jump forward for phones.

With so much bandwidth available, we'll see plenty more gadgets and devices getting online too (self-driving cars and so on).

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 or Galaxy X

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

Samsung Galaxy S10 5G

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. We know that Samsung has got the 5G tech in place to make this happen.

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, taking 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, of the rumoured S10 models 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.

Sadly, Samsung has recently poured cold water on the idea that the Galaxy S10 will be its 5G debut: while that's disappointing, the company is still insisting that a 5G phone is on the way. Could it be the famous, foldable Samsung Galaxy X perhaps?

2. Huawei P30

Huawei foldable phone

Huawei foldable phone concept (credit: TechConfigurator)

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.

We've been impressed with the P20 phones and the Mate 20 handsets that Huawei has put out this year, and its 5G-ready 2019 offerings should definitely be worth a look too, with improved speeds and connectivity.

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.

Even better, recent comments from Huawei boss Richard Yu have confirmed that Huawei's 5G phone will be foldable too. He didn't specify a time frame but we reckon that 2019 is a good bet for this particular handset.

3. OnePlus 7 or OnePlus 7T

5G OnePlus 7

5G 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.

That means the OnePlus 7 or possibly the OnePlus 7T is set to be that 5G phone – the sequels to this year's OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T.

Those claims have since been backed up by more comments from the OnePlus executive team, reaffirming the company's commitment to getting a 5G handset out in 2019. 

This all makes a lot of 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 main phone refresh in May or July, so the OnePlus 7 would likely be among the second wave of 5G devices, potentially following Samsung, Sony and Huawei.

4. Sony Xperia XZ4

Sony Xperia XZ3

The 2019 Xperia should have 5G.

This year's Sony Xperia XZ3 has come and gone without 5G but we think it's almost certain that the Xperia XZ4 (or whatever it ends up being called) is going to have the super-fast technology.

"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 at least one of the company's 2019 phones will feature 5G.

We've already heard a few rumours and hints trickle out: here's everything we know so far about the 5G Sony Xperia phone for 2019.

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)

5G iPhone

The iPhone XS and XS Max stick to 4G.

Now that we've got over the excitement of the iPhone XS, the iPhone XS Max, and the iPhone XR arriving, it's time to turn our attention to what Apple might have planned for 2019 – and that might include a phone with 5G.

That's the rumour from the supply chain anyway, with reports that Apple is in talks with MediaTek about sourcing a 5G modem for the 2019 iPhones.

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.

Apple certainly won't want to be left behind here – the iPhone is due a major overhaul next year, considering the 2018 handsets were very similar to their predecessors, and we've already seen some leaks.