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10 Jul 2020

Cheap 5G phones on test: Realme X50 Pro 5G and Motorola Edge

On sale for less than £600, these are two of the cheapest 5G phones we've seen yet

5G used to be confined to high-priced premium phones, but Motorola and Realme are helping to make the latest blazingly fast mobile data speeds more affordable.

Eye-watering launch prices of £800 or more for models such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G and Huawei Mate 20 X 5G may have put you off getting involved so far, but things are changing.

The Realme X50 Pro 5G and Motorola Edge both cost around £500, and both boast enviable specs of their own. We've put them through our test lab to see whether they perform well enough as all-rounders to justify taking the plunge.

Want to know which mobile phones receive our recommendation? Browse through our shortlist of the top five smartphones for 2020.

Battle of the mid-range 5G smartphones: Realme X50 Pro 5G and Motorola Edge

Realme X50 Pro 5GMotorola Edge
Screen size6.44 inches6.7 inches
Display resolution (pixels)2,400 x 1,0802,340 x 1,080
Rear cameras64Mp, 12Mp, 8Mp, 2Mp64Mp, 16Mp, 8Mp, TOF
Front cameras32Mp, 8Mp25Mp

Realme X50 Pro 5G (£569)

Realme is best known for cheap and cheerful smartphones that challenge far more expensive rivals with high-end specs. The X50 Pro 5G is more expensive than the sub-£200 devices we're used to seeing from the brand, but it has accordingly upped its game when it comes to features.

A large display is nothing new for a Realme device and this model has a 6.44-inch Full HD+ screen. It has a very impressive 92% screen-to-body-ratio and a 90Hz refresh rate - the number of times the screen refreshes per second - which matches what the OnePlus 8 offers at the same price.

You won't be short on cameras to choose from with this phone, as it features four rear lenses - a 64Mp wide-angle lens, 12Mp tele camera, 8Mp ultra-wide angle lens and a 2Mp depth lens - as well as a dual front camera with a 32Mp wide-angle lens and 8Mp ultra-wide-angle lens.

Inside, you'll find the 5G Snapdragon 865 processor and a reasonably capacious 4,200mAh battery. The X50 Pro 5G has 8GB of Ram and 256GB internal storage, but this can't be expanded with a micro-SD card.

It has a long list of impressive features but does its performance match? Head to our Realme X50 Pro 5G review to find out.

Motorola Edge (£550)

The Edge is more expensive than most of Motorola's other smartphones but the addition of 5G might make it an attractive choice for people loyal to the brand.

One of the USPs of the phone is its 6.7-inch Full HD+ display. Not only does it rival the ultra-premium Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (£1,199) in size but its edgeless design gives you the fullest screen experience. And with a fuller screen you also get an incredible screen-to-body ratio of 95.9%, which beats the X50 Pro 5G's. Like its rival, the Edge also has a 90Hz refresh rate.

The Edge has one less camera than the X50 Pro 5G, but the resolutions of its lenses are very similar. On the rear of the phone, there's a 64Mp wide-angle lens, 16Mp ultra-wide-angle lens, 8Mp telephoto lens and Time-of-Flight (TOF) sensor for portrait mode pictures. There's a single 25Mp front lens.

When it comes to its processor, although the Edge has the Snapdragon 765G (the 5G iteration of the Snapdragon 765) which gives it a couple of extra performance perks compared with the standard 765 chipset, it's still a little way behind Realme's choice of the Snapdragon 865, so that's a sacrifice you'd be making with this phone.

Elsewhere, this smartphone also has less Ram (6GB) and internal storage (128GB) but, unlike the X50 Pro 5G, its memory can be expanded with a micro-SD card by up to 1TB.

Feature-wise, it falls slightly behind its Realme rival but how did it compare in our tests? Our Motorola Edge review will tell you.

How much does 5G data cost?

Cheaper hardware is only half of the battle when jumping on the 5G bandwagon. Unlike 4G data that's now much more affordable, upgrading to 5G data can end up costing you a fair bit more if you don't shop around. Below we've rounded up the best Sim-only deals for data.

Low data usage
ProviderDataMinutesContract lengthMonthly cost
Tesco Mobile5GB5,00012 months£15
O210GBUnlimited12 months£17
Three4GBUnlimited12 months£13
Vodafone5GBUnlimited12 months£16
High data usage

It's worth noting that 5G data isn't available in every area, so even if you get a contract with 5G, you may not be able to use it. Use our mobile network coverage map to see whether you have 5G in your area.

Other 5G phones to consider

If neither of these mid-range models tickles your fancy, there are few other 5G smartphones that may convince you to part with your money. As the technology is still relatively new, you can expect to see more manufacturers launching 5G devices in the coming year.

  • Huawei Mate 20 X 5G (£580) - The Mate 20 X 5G carves a name for itself in a few ways. Not only is it Huawei's first 5G smartphone, but it's one of very few Huawei devices that uses the M-Pen stylus to navigate around its obscenely large 7.2-inch display.
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (£799) - While the 8 Pro isn't as cheap as other OnePlus smartphones, the added bonus of 5G in addition to other noteworthy features, such as its 6.78-inch display, might help you to justify the extra cost.
  • Samsung Galaxy S20s (from £899) - In its 2019 flagship unveiling, Samsung introduced only one 5G smartphone, the Galaxy S10 5G. But in 2020, it launched a 5G version of all of its flagships, so you can choose from the standard Galaxy S20 5G, the bigger Galaxy S20+ 5G and its most feature-heavy Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G.

Not sure what all the 5G fuss is about? Our guide to 5G will tell you everything you need to know.