Should you buy a 5G phone in 2020?
Is it worth spending extra money to get a 5G phone? We are told that with 5G speeds we can expect speeds of up to 1.6Gbits/s which of course is just insane, so does that mean we can simply buy a 5G phone and throw out our slow router, dump our sluggish lagging ISP and just get onto the super-fast 5G Network instead?
I set to find out and the results were surprising.
So we know that 5G is the next-generation tech that follows 4G but it’s a little more complicated than that and this is where the 5G marketing hype fails.
What is 5G exactly?
There are different kinds of 5G networks. Depending on your cellular carrier they have very different implementations that impact that speed we are after. When it comes to 5G there are two groups: mmWave and Sub6 networks.
mmWave can also be referred to as High-band, Wide-band, ultra-wideband, and refer to data over 24Ghz.
Sub-6 can be referred to as “mid-band” and “low-band” and that is every sort of mobile data with frequencies under 6Ghz
What’s the difference between mmWave and Sub-6
Millimeter Wave is stunningly fast. It can carry more data on that greater bandwidth BUT it has two MAJOR drawbacks:
- It requires the carrier to have physical mini cell sites as you need to be in close proximity to one of these cell sites for this to work.
- The other downside is that it has a very limited ability to work inside buildings, and even trees and cars impact its ability to work.
Sub 6, on the other hand, travels farther and can pass through a building which means that whether you are indoors or outdoors you get a nice stable connection. However, the speed of the data isn’t so wow.
So if your carrier has 5G – don’t get impressed yet. If they use mmWave and you don’t live by a mini cell site, you are probably going to get only 4G anyways.
What’s the deal with 5G phones?
Now to take advantage of any of the 5G you need hardware that can handle 5G. This is where the cell phone industry is having a field day with their “FAST 5G phones”.
But are 5G phone’s data really that fast? I tested 4G phone and a 5G phone on T-Mobile’s 5G network and the results were not what I expected.
Should you buy a 5G phone today?
As you can see from the test in the video above, 5G is ridiculously sensitive to location. Moving it a couple of feet has a massive impact on the speed whereas 4G was kinda consistent. 5G was sometimes faster than 4G but not consistently faster.
There was also a lot of jitter on 5G and not so much on 4G.
Bear in mind that this is location-specific. So you might get a different reading and that’s exactly the issue with 5G. I love the tech. I love the speed. I love the fact that so many more devices will be able to connect. But it’s not there yet.
Would I spend extra money right now on a 5G phone? Nope. 4G is still perfect and in some case, I wish they would fix the existing 4G network.
Would I replace my home router with a 5G hotspot?
It depends. If you run this test from your home and get faster speed than you can from your ISP then great! Make sure you get an unlimited Data-plan from your cellular provider – and make sure that hotspot is included in that unlimited plan. This should have a vast improvement on your WiFi too!
I am glad the devices like phones, routers, and laptops are gearing up for it but it’s not fully ready.
Not just yet in 2020.