The year 2020 is earmarked to be the time when 5G hits its stride, but has the technology actually lived up to the industry hype? More importantly, for the average consumer, is this the right time to upgrade to a 5G-enabled smartphone? We can think of a few reasons why you should jump into the 5G bandwagon, along with more reasons why you need to wait.
3 reasons why a 5G smartphone is a smart choice today
You want a future-proof phone
A wise gadget purchase involves considering hardware specs that don’t become irrelevant in just a short amount of time. Getting a 5G phone ensures you have a device compatible with a new wireless standard that’s expected to be around for most of the next decade.
5G is better than 4G
This is a no-brainer: 5G is truly in a different league than 4G. It boasts greater bandwidth and faster download speeds (up to 10 gigabits per second, at least theoretically). It also promises a more reliable mobile connection, which means you can stream videos, make video calls and play games with fewer disruptions.
You save time and increase productivity
As the superior tech, 5G allows you to make the most of your time. Imagine all those times wasted on waiting for a download to complete or videos to finish buffering when you could have been doing something more useful.
4 reasons why now’s not yet the time for a 5G smartphone
You have limited choices of 5G-enabled smartphones right now
With 5G, you don’t have a lot of choices. If you’re constrained money-wise, you’ll have to wait some time before 5G modems are featured in budget-friendly phones. Also, the choices are all Android phones; you’re out of luck if you’re an avid iPhone user (though the iPhone 12 will have 5G if the rumors are true.)
You might pick the wrong 5G smartphone
The 5G modem in the phone you buy today may not be compatible with the 5G that will be deployed in your area. The term ‘5G’ actually encompasses various kinds of next-gen mobile networks.
There’s low-band or vanilla, there’s the midband, and then there’s high-band or mmWave 5G. They perform differently, which means certain phones may be restricted to certain bands. Phones that can support all bands may become widely available in the future, but expect them to be quite expensive, at least initially.
5G coverage leaves much to be desired
Perhaps the biggest letdown is, save a few urban locations, the Philippines has negligible 5G coverage. It will take some years before Globe and Smart can deploy the tech at a national scale. Adding more to the delay is the ongoing pandemic. It’s possible your newly bought smartphone goes out of commission, maybe either due to normal wear and tear or some mishap, before 5G arrives in your location.
4G is good enough already (for now)
The multi-gigabit speeds of 5G are mouthwatering indeed, but the chances of experiencing it are quite low in the next few years, let alone in 2020. Besides, what do you need the speed for?
In most cases, 4G already satisfies our needs. It’s also worth noting that if future 5G towers in your area were to support dynamic spectrum sharing, then they could still operate on 4G. That means your 4G phone won’t necessarily become obsolete.
Admittedly, there’s only so much praise we can give for 5G technology right now. If you really want it, and can afford it, then buy a 5G-capable smartphone. On the other hand, there are problems that early adopters can and will experience, and they’re troublesome enough to dissuade smartphone buyers from getting 5G smartphones this year (or even in the next few years).