When people ask me which ultra-affordable phone they should buy, I usually tell them to avoid anything with gimmicks like giant camera arrays or 5G support. These features are often poorly executed in budget phones, yet they come at the expense of battery life or other important specs. But AT&T may have completely flipped the script.
Update, 1/4/22 7:53 pm Eastern: An AT&T representative has reached out to let us know that the Fusion 5G’s original marketing material was incorrect. The budget handset does not support mmWave connections and instead relies on Sub-6 5G. With this in mind, we suggest looking at the Moto G Power or the Samsung Galaxy A13 instead.
Update, 1/4/22 2:39 pm Eastern: AT&T confirmed my suspicion that the Fusion 5G runs on a MediaTek chip. Unfortunately, the company doesn’t seem too sure about what chip it runs on. “It should be MediaTek Dimensity 700,” AT&T tells us. Okay, cool.
Additionally, A previous version of this post pointed towards Samsung as the manufacturer of the Fusion. This was incorrect. The post has since been updated with the clarification that AT&T solely created the handset.
Launching this month, the AT&T Fusion 5G is a $220 phone
with proper 5G support. Unlike other budget 5G phones, it isn’t just stuck on the slower sub-6 spectrum. It also works with mmWave networks, which offer the crazy wireless speeds that are faster than most home internet connections.
The AT&T Fusion 5G also packs a large 6.82-inch 900p display, an impressive 4750mAh battery, and wireless charging support. And although the Fusion 5G only packs 64GB of internal storage, you can add on to it with a microSD card. These are pretty solid specs for a budget phone.
That said, I do have a few worries about the AT&T Fusion 5G. It features a crazy 48MP quad-camera array, and based on my experience, cheap phones with tons of cameras tend to take bad pictures—it’s nice in an iPhone, but it’s a gimmick in a budget device. Not to mention, these excessive camera arrays cost money, which means AT&T had to cut corners somewhere.
I’m also worried about the phone’s performance, as AT&T hasn’t announced which processor it uses. My best guess is that the Fusion 5G runs on a MediaTek chip, much like Motorola’s new budget devices or the new Samsung Galaxy A13. (We’ve reached out to AT&T for clarification.)
Either way, the AT&T Fusion 5G looks like a solid option for those who want speedy wireless networking on an affordable device. AT&T offers 5G at no extra charge to its Unlimited customers, who can purchase the AT&T Fusion 5G for $220 or $6.12 a month starting January 7th.