Do I need to buy a 5G Smartphone in 2019

ByLinky Johnson 2019-04-19 896

Smartphones manufacturers will multiply ads and launches of 5G-compatible smartphones in 2019. Before making an investment in a new smartphone, it seems to us legitimate to ask the question of 5G. Do I need to buy a 5G Smartphone in 2019? In fact, the answer to this question is not so simple to give.

Different steps needed to deploy 5G

The deployment of 5G is going to start in 2019 in France, but this is only the first step of a long path that will last several years. Currently, mobile operators are still awaiting the allocation of new frequencies in the bands 3.4-3.8 GHz, 26 GHz and 1.4 GHz. The call for applications will be launched from mid-2019.


The various experiments of Orange in France in Marseille, Nantes, Lille and Paris have already started, they consist of deploying a few dozen antennas for a few hundred lucky sorted on the shutter. Unfortunately, as long as the frequency bands are not allocated, there is no question for operators to launch commercial offers.


This 5G is called sub-6 because it uses high frequencies. For operators, this is the simplest step, as they can replace the antennas currently used for 2G-3G-4G. This deployment is expected to be fast enough in 2020, but there is no need to expect a significant improvement in network performance. The first users will be able to expect 200 Mbit to 1 Gbits in downflow and 20 to 60 Mbit in amount for latency of about 10-15 Ms.


And again, experiments are necessary because the configuration of the wave spectrum is different depending on the countries. In Spain, for example, the 3.5 GHz band of Orange is decomposed into several blocks of strips (20 – 40 – 20), and these blocks are not equidistant between them which is complicated to exploit for the operator.


The second step is to deploy new antennas that will allow the use of the frequency bands beyond 24 GHz in millimetre-wave (few things). This is called the 5GmmWAVE. At this point, we will be able to reach similar flows to what we usually get with fiber optics: 1 to 10 Gbits for the downflow and a latency of 2 to 5 Ms.


On the other hand, the 5G mmWAVE requires smaller antennas. An orange official explained to us that it would be almost necessary to install antennas on all bus shelters and in every corner of the street. These are not hundreds of antennas that are going to be deployed, but thousands. Moreover, the experiments continue, because the performance is still very sensitive to the environment. Between the seasons and the weather, when the leaves of the trees appear or when it rains, the impact is enormous on the performance achieved with millimetre waves.

Smartphones already compatible soon on the market

Smartphone manufacturers responded quickly to the 5G call. Environmental specialists, such as Qualcomm, Intel, Huawei and MediaTek, have already made available 5G modems. So we find SoC variants with 5G modems, like the Snapdragon 855 with the X50 modem.


Xiaomi announced the commercialization of an MI mix 3 5G to 599 euros, Samsung announced the Galaxy S10 5G (below), Huawei also added the 5G to mate X, Orange also developed its own Smartphone with the help of a partner, oppo is also ready... All these devices are compatible with 5G sub-6, this 5G that will be deployed from the start. They are also compatible with 4G + +, like other high-end 4G smartphones.


Sony, for its part, is the only one to have announced a 5G Smartphone (the Sony AG1) compatible with both the 5G sub-6 and the 5GmmWAVE, which is a feat. Many media have mocked the Sony prototype with these large screen borders, but Sony has succeeded in integrating antennas compatible with very many frequency bands.


The first 5G smartphones seem to be very similar to 4G smartphones, but there are a few things that differ. First, antennas take up more space than 4G smartphones. Fortunately, these are versatile antennas that use a low-pass filter to use low and high frequencies. Unfortunately, these integrations have an impact on the weight of the device, its size and its autonomy. It is for this reason that the 5G smartphones of Xiaomi or Samsung, for example, are larger, large and heavy. For autonomy, manufacturers have also made the choice to use larger batteries.

Do I need to buy a 5G Smartphone in 2019?

The question is legitimate, because investing in a Smartphone with several hundred euros is not anecdotal.


To answer simply: we advise you to avoid 5G smartphones in 2019. Although 5G finally arrives in 2020, the deployment will be gradual and it is not said that the current 5G smartphones are fully compatible with the 5G network deployed in France.


The case of the Xiaomi MI mix 3 5G (599 euros) remains interesting, because only 100 to 150 euros separates it from the classic MI mix 3 (about 450 euros). Especially as the MI mix 3 5G takes advantage of the Snapdragon 855, the latest chip from Qualcomm. For this specific case, without having tested the MI mix 3 5G, it might be interesting to directly invest in the MI mix 3 5G (attention, also look at the side of the Xiaomi MI 9, alternative to MI mix 3). This question can surely arise with future announcements at OnePlus, Huawei, honor... but we will update this article at that time.



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