The hype over 5G (autonomous vehicles and remote surgery) has largely disappeared as reality (and the global pandemic) sets in. But the real work of building Singapore's 5G infrastructure is still happening behind the scenes. Last month, IMDA announced that expiring 3G spectrum will be auctioned and reused for 5G networks. Local telcos M1, Singtel and Starhub have also recently rolled out — in selected parts of Singapore — standalone (SA) 5G networks that are faster and more responsive. More importantly, practically all new mainstream smartphones, not just flagship models, come with 5G now. In short, you don't have to spend over S$1,000 to get a 5G phone. In fact, you can get these 5 affordable 5G smartphones for less than half the price of an Apple iPhone 12:
Vivo X50e 5G
The Vivo X50e 5G was one of the earliest mainstream 5G smartphones to launch in Singapore. Powered by Qualcomm's mid-tier 765G chip, the X50e boasts some flagship features, such as an AMOLED screen and quad cameras. Its best feature, though, is probably the excellent battery stamina — 15.5 hours in our video playback test. Its retail price has also come down by S$100 since its Dec 2020 launch to S$499.
Poco X3 GT
Moving on to the Poco X3 GT, which happens to be one of the newest 5G smartphones on the block. It uses MediaTek's latest high-end Dimensity 1100 5G chip and comes with a fast 120Hz display. It is also Poco's fastest-charging phone yet, with a 67W fast-charging feature that can replenish the battery fully in 42 minutes. At S$429, it's excellent value for those who care about multimedia performance.
Realme 8 5G
The Realme 8 5G is one of the cheapest way to get 5G connectivity now at S$399. Its design and specs are typical of an entry-level device. Cameras are middling and the performance is more than adequate. It also has some handy features like a 90Hz refresh rate display and a 5,000mAh battery.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G
At just S$329, the Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 5G is the 5G phone to get for budget users. It is very similar in design and specs to the Realme 8 5G, but the latter has a slightly better display. But the Redmi's performance and battery life are good for the price. Not to mention it has features like the microSD card and even an IR blaster — the latter is probably extinct outside of Xiaomi devices nowadays.
If you're addicted to taking selfies, the Vivo V21 is the 5G phone for you. This S$599 phone has a 44MP selfie camera with optical image stabilisation, and two front LED flashlights. Coupled with its selfie-enhancing software, the V21 will definitely make you look good. The rest of the phone, such as its triple rear cameras and 90Hz AMOLED screen, are not too shabby either.
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