back to article Xiaomi and Samsung go head to head with new phones in bargain-basement 5G battle

It only took a year for 5G devices to begin their downward trajectory into "affordable" territory. Samsung and Xiaomi both look set to continue that southwards march, with both brands unveiling bargain-basement 5G blowers set for a release in the coming months. First, Samsung. Amid a slew of new personal tech devices announced …

  1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

    Might as well wait...

    Over here on this side of The Pond we've got SFA for a 5G availability, making getting a 5G phone a bit of a stupid idea.

    Verizon offers the fastest 5G speeds (something like a few hundred MBps) but only to zero-point-zero-four percent of the nation. T-Mobile has much lower speeds (~50MBps IIRC) and only to 19% of North America. AT&T had speeds even worse & only to 10% of the U.S.A... So unless you lived in one of the few spots that had it at all, you were better off sticking with a 4G/4GLTE unit & getting a signal at all.

    I'd like 5G with the highest speeds possible, but until the various carriers pull their heads out of their asses & actualy deliver what our tax dollars have paid for a zillion times over, there's no point to buying a 5G device.

  2. 0laf Silver badge

    Had a quick look for 5G coverage, appears to be fuck all fo the moment.

    In 3 or 4 years it might be worth getting a 5G phone but not right now

  3. JDPower

    Someone let El Reg know what "bargain basement" actually means, they seem confused.

    1. Hubert Cumberdale Silver badge

      Quite. With their combined cost, you could get a fairly decent second-hand car.

  4. Richard Jones 1

    If there was some expectation that the phone might last long enough to be usable should 5G service ever become available at a price that does not require a mortgage, there might be a point in replacing my old Motorola-by-Lenovo phone. Samsung's offering might not be built in China which would be a small plus point for me, but a 24 month life expectancy for updates, no, thank you. I will stick with the crap Motorola which is already out of OS updates and just not put anything important on its increasingly slow frame.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    5G ?

    We have heard of it .

    4G is between 1.5 and 4 Mbps on a good day in London.(Three network) (only 4 miles form the iconic Wembley stadium - go figure).

    All the networks are waiting for Govt handouts after the Huawei shenanigans. Not that they have invested much in 5G infra anyways, except buy and hold the spectrum for the past 4 years and singing and dancing about it. Ground reality is totally different and seriously lacking. Call centres in customer services have no clue what 5G is. One tried to sell me a 5Ghz wifi (with 2.4 Ghz wifi) router as a 5G router ! HOw dumb can it get.

    A con is being played on the masses.

    And 5G is only another chip. Should not cost any more than regular phones. Except bragging rights.

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: 5G ?

      Yep, once they introduce new radios on the supply chain it gets added to every device. And the whole point of LTE was that this would be pretty easy to do: 5G radios work fine with 4G networks.

    2. DS999

      Re: 5G ?

      No 5G isn't "just another chip".

      It is also a shitload of new radios to cover all those higher frequencies they are using to be able to get 5G to actually be faster than 4G. If you have bands below 3 GHz that have traditionally been used for cellular and convert them from LTE to 5G, you don't really gain much. 5G allows for using more bands at once than LTE but no one was using even all the LTE bands possible (that allow speeds of over 2 Gbps)

      To get the even higher (7 Gbps is as high as I've seen claimed so far) numbers for 5G you need much higher frequencies where you can use a lot more bandwidth at once. Problem is all those bands at 3.5 GHz, 6 GHz, 28 GHz, 40 GHz, 60 GHz and so on require adding new antennas (and associating hardware like filters, LNAs and so forth) to a phone.

      1. ivan5

        Re: 5G ?

        All this speed not withstanding does it improve the phone calling ability of the phone or is it just for those that have to have a fondle slab with them all the time?

        1. DS999

          Re: 5G ?

          If you have VoLTE like most newer deployments and phones, then it won't make any difference. Calls are data, so if you have 5G and there is more data available due to the extra bands maybe your calls have a better chance of getting through. In reality I assume that calls are prioritized over generic data by the system so it probably doesn't matter.

  6. mark l 2 Silver badge

    Unless you are buying a new phone because your old one is EOL, then I see no point in spending extra to get a 5G capable handset at the moment with barely any 5G network in the UK.

    Better waiting another couple of year until the network is actually there and the tech is ubiquitous enough that even the proper bargain-basement phones that you can get for sub £100 have it.

    Although personally I have no pressing need for those sort of download speeds that are advertised for 5G when I am mobile. Even the 4G speeds I currently get seem quick enough for the sort of web browsing and app usage that I do on the move.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      >>>then I see no point in spending extra to get a 5G capable handset at the moment with barely any 5G network in the UK.

      It'll be great to annoy the anti-vax/5G/climate/mask brigade.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why buy one?

    5G needs a lot many more masts, base stations and micro cells to be ubiquitous (pure physics). The UK 5G band (34-3500) just doesnt travel well inside walls and built up areas. It needs many many microcells/repeaters in the form of street furniture masts/lampposts et al to achieve blanket coverage and networks are balking at those necessary investments. They also need to upgrade their backhaul to support this.

    So they are happy to just drag their heels and have token postage stamp sized launches per street per city for brownie points.


    And OFCOM eats out of their hands, which doesnt help. They have found a very handy and timely excuse with the Huawei drama. (Thanks, The White house Gangster)

  8. Klimt's Beast Would

    Spirit in the Sky

    I bought the 75% a nice Xiaomi (which apparently also means 'little secretary' slang for a laptop & 'little mistress'*) with its nice headphone jack, IR blaster etc. as a b/p and get her off her expensive phone contract here in Brussels. I bought a cheapoid Nokia for myself. I'm still jealous but that is probably because I'm a git.

    5G? I'm happy to wait two or three years.The only way to get me off my pay & go is when I'm cold and dead.

    * according to Qiu Xiaolong, the author of the Inspector Chen detective novel in 'When Red is Black.' The BBC has produced a bunch of his novels for the radio.

  9. airbrush

    Norfolking way

    Seems North Norfolk has good 5G coverage, guess they know where the early adopters have holiday homes!

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