Pocket-lint is supported by its readers. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

(Pocket-lint) - With the arrival of the 5G iPhones and the continued fast growth of the 5G networks, it’s worth asking whether it’s something worth upgrading for. Although 5G networks in the UK have been growing fast since last year but it feels they’ve now reached a tipping point.

The basics are clear – 5G is much faster, but since 4G is pretty fast, will you notice the difference?

It’s not just the speed

The uptick in speed is important, of course, meaning that you can download a movie, or a box set in a fraction of the time it took before. Or, if you want to stream rather than download, the faster speeds mean that what you’re watching can be at the highest quality, instead of fuzzy and hard to see.

Of course, the speeds are beneficial all across your phone or tablet, meaning delays in receiving or sending other data, from emails to photos, will be minuscule.

Speeds have been recorded on the EE 5G network which at staggeringly fast and make 4G look like a slowcoach.

Latency is crucial

Latency, the time between pressing a button to make something happen and it actually taking place, is incredibly brief on 5G. This is important if you’re playing a video game over the network, for instance, where a fraction of a second’s delay in pressing a trigger can be the difference between survival and losing your in-game life.

On a more serious note, the medical world sees huge benefits in 5G’s low latency. A medic in a hospital advising on an operation taking place remotely needs to be completely up-to-the-second with what they’re seeing onscreen to be able to help, and extremely low latency makes this possible.

The value of a solid connection

A signal you can rely on is also important in the medical example above, and 5G offers robust, solid connections that don’t fade away at the wrong moment. But having a strong, reliable connection is great for peace of mind generally and improves other activities, such as the increasingly ubiquitous video conferencing calls so many of us are involved in now.

EE offers not just the biggest 5G coverage in the UK but extremely reliable connections. Not only does it offer 5G in more places than rivals but has exceptional 5G availability in cities.

In the future, this kind of dependability, combined with fast speeds and low latency, will make possible technologies like self-driving cars, which need the latest up-to-the-second data to work.

No shortage of signals

If you’ve ever been at a music festival or big sports event and just can’t get a decent signal on your phone, you’ll know how frustrating that can be. With 5G, this shouldn’t be a problem as each site is capable of supporting many more connections at the same time.

That’ll be the case even if every single person around you is streaming the exact-same video they’re filming at the same time!

Faster and smarter

As the smart home becomes more sophisticated, lots of Internet of Things devices will talk directly to each other, or to our phones without our input. So, the extra bandwidth and capabilities of 5G will be enough to let them get on with it, without impacting things for the rest of us. The fact that each 5G mast can handle so many more connections, and at speed, will be crucial for this.

Even EE 4G is fast

If you’re in a place where there’s no 5G signal just yet, your 5G device will automatically locate the 4G signal instead. And since EE’s 4G is the fastest in the UK, you can be sure that you’ll still have a great experience.