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Why You Should Not Buy a Budget 5G Android Phone in 2023

If you’re looking to buy a new budget Android phone, 5G is perhaps the last thing that you should look for. Unless you’re willing to buy upper mid-range or flagship phones, we suggest you avoid 5G entirely and look for good 4G budget phones instead.

We’re not saying 5G is bad, but putting it inside a budget phone makes no sense and is actually wasting your money as a price-conscious buyer. In this article, let’s understand the key reasons why you should avoid buying budget 5G Android phones.

5G Infrastructure Will Take Time to Set Up

Switching to a new generation of cellular technology takes a lot more than just clever marketing and fast modems. For context, the world’s first 4G phone was released back in 2010 but 4G technology took until 2019 to get adopted by about half the global population.

Even our most optimistic projections for global 5G adoption hint at 2025. And given how most people carry their phone for two to three years, it’s very likely that you’ll want to buy a new phone by 2025 anyway, so it doesn’t make sense to buy a new 5G Android phone right now.

Two cell towers and blue sky.

Also, budget Android phones are made of cheaper, less durable materials and are hence more likely to become obsolete quickly, so the 5G capability that you paid for will ultimately be left unused due to the lack of proper 5G infrastructure.

On the other hand, flagships are made of high-quality materials and are far more durable and can hence be used for many years, so you can actually use 5G on them when the tech eventually becomes mainstream after a couple of years.

Some 5G Plans Are Unnecessarily Expensive

If you’re buying a budget phone, your priority is to get the most value for your money. And since 5G is still in its infancy, 5G plans are often far more expensive. So, you’re probably better off sticking to 4G for the foreseeable future.

Even if you buy a 5G plan, you’re not necessarily getting significantly faster speeds. When service providers claim that they offer country-wide 5G coverage, they mostly refer to Sub-6GHz 5G which is only slightly faster than 4G.

5g versions

The true blazing-fast mmWave 5G will remain inaccessible and unaffordable for most people until 2025. What makes things worse is that service providers are pushing confusing 5G standards such as 5G, 5G+, 5G UW, and 5G E which makes it harder for the average Joe to compare plans.

Budget 5G Phones Have Big Compromises

Perhaps the biggest reason why you should avoid budget 5G Android phones is that they come with a lot of compromises. The profit margin on budget phones is already too low, and adding 5G modems inside a device only increases its cost of production.

So, in order to retain their profit margin, smartphone manufacturers have to compromise on other features. Perhaps the camera hardware is outdated, the build quality is poor, the software isn’t optimized, or the battery hasn’t undergone enough quality control tests.

Person using a Samsung Galaxy smartphone

The other option is to offer two different versions of the same phone: one with 5G and one without 5G. For instance, the Galaxy A13 costs $189 but the Galaxy A13 5G costs $249.

Not only is the 5G model more expensive, but it also lacks an ultra-wide lens and Gorilla Glass protection, and comes with no Dual SIM support, thicker bezels, and—get this—a 720p HD display! If it wasn’t obvious enough already, these specs are completely unacceptable according to today’s standards.

For more info, check out our guide on how much should you spend on a phone.

Avoid 5G if You’re Buying a Budget Phone

When you buy a budget 5G Android phone, you’re paying extra for a service you’re probably never going to use on a device that is made worse because it supports said service. It’s a lose-lose situation.

If you’re looking for value above all else, your money would be much better spent if you just buy a cheap 4G phone. If your budget is flexible, consider upgrading to a premium or flagship Android phone, so you can actually take advantage of its 5G capability.

Android,Android 13,5G,Buying Tips

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