Testing 5G: Hype vs. Reality

GSMArena team, 15 June 2020.


If you've been anywhere near the techy parts of the internet for the past few months, you surely have read about 5G this, 5G that, "5G is here", "5G is here, now", all that buzz. It's even being tacked onto the end of phone names left and right, as a way for manufacturers to let you know that they're in the 5G game too.

But what game is this? What's behind the buzzword? Should you take all this talk of revolutionary this and revolutionary that at face value? Or is 5G just the latest way carriers and phone makers have found to milk you of even more of your hard earned cash?

5G test

The truth, as always, is complicated and in dire need of contextualization, and it's not as simple as "5G is amazing" or "5G is useless". We're going to take a deep dive to try and give you a fuller picture of what's actually going on, without getting too technical or discussing the nonsense that 5G radio waves caused the current COVID-19 pandemic.

We've come a long way since the days of GSM networks, and the improvements that 5G brings to the table need to be acknowledged. At the same time, downsides do exist, whether it be the fact that 5G isn't actually one thing, or how adding 5G to them has recently made some smartphones more expensive than their predecessors.

5G test

Speaking of smartphones, we'll show you 5G speed tests from the Kirin 990 powered Huawei P40 Pro, the Exynos 990 powered Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, and the Snapdragon 865 powered Realme X50 Pro 5G. We consider these to provide an interesting assortment of three different chipset families, and we were curious to see if there would be any differences between them in real world use. Spoiler alert: not all 5G chips are equal.

Then, we'll be talking about 5G phones in general, trying to answer what may turn out to be one of the most important questions of the year: should you buy a 5G phone right now or hold off?

So please join us over the next few pages as we try to separate 5G marketing hype from 5G reality, both for the present moment, as well as the near future.

Reader comments

  • Romeo

WOW, you must be living in a good spot

You’re capping bro

I've been subscribing to 5G from last year already. Average monthly usage is between 1.5 to 2 terrbytes per month only streaming between 4 user's. Got my S20 Ultra around 2 month's ago and got an add on 5G Sim in it. I've never go...