There is loads of hype built up around the upcoming 5G phones and the high speed 5G networks. Its advent has even been touted as the fourth Industrial revolution. This is indeed exciting technology, and there is something thrilling about being on the ground floor. But 5G is still very new. In all of the hype, some of the downsides of a 5G phone seem to be missing.
It’s worth discussing the pros and cons of buying a 5G phone so early in the game.
Pros of getting a 5G phone
- Faster upload and download speed. Compared to 4G, you can expect up to a 20-fold increase in speed. Which is kind of bonkers, since I currently wait almost no time at all for anything on my 4G LTE phone.
- Shorter latency period. Latency is essentially the gap between request and response. Instead of typing a url into your browser and waiting an average of 50 milliseconds for your browser to respond, you’ll only wait 1-2 milliseconds for a page to load. This might sound frivolous, but it could be a huge game changer for autonomous cars, traffic systems, medical equipment, and games.
- Less speed downgrades. 4G LTE networks have become overloaded in some busy urban areas. This means that people see the speed of their service decline in peak hours. 5G not only works on unique radio frequencies, but it wastes less time and energy doing so. It has a larger frequency that can support more users when demand surges.
Cons of getting a 5G phone
- Potential reception issues. The frequency range which 5G uses is especially susceptible to reception issues from obstacles and bad weather. It works particularly bad in rain or fog. There are also a few “grades” of 5G, so your speed will largely be determined by which technology your urban center upgrades to.
- Lower battery life. This will most likely improve as the technology advances, but for now, 5G versions of phones will most likely have a lower battery life because they will have significantly smaller batteries. Space is at a premium in small, hand-held computers, and this new technology requires new components. It will also use more power, meaning you will be tied to your charger.
- Price. In 2019, many manufacturers will offer a 4G and a 5G version of phones. The price difference will be significant – in the hundreds of dollars. At this point in development, the price tag most likely won’t be worth it.
Are you going to get a 5G phone in 2019? We’d love to hear about your experience.