The Best Phones to Look Forward to in 2020

Tom Fogden

The year has barely started but we're already starting to see leaks and rumors about the flagship phones we're due to see in 2020.

There will, of course, be regular updates to Samsung's Galaxy S-line, Apple's iPhones, and new versions of cheaper Pixel models. However, 2020 will likely see some brand new and innovative models from the likes of OnePlus and Oppo. We might even seen new versions of Samsung's and Huawei's folding phones.

So, what can you look forward to this year? We take a look at all the rumors and speculation.

Samsung Galaxy S20 series

samsung galaxy s11

Samsung isn't even done with the S10 series yet – it just today announced the S10 Lite and Note 10 Lite phones. These cheaper alternatives to the existing S10 range come with plenty of the same features, but at a cut-down price.

Even with these hot-off-the-press additions to the line-up, the S10 range will be surpassed this year without doubt. We're expecting Samsung to launch the full follow-up to the excellent S10 series during, or slightly before, Barcelona's Mobile World Congress trade show in February.

However, while we're fairly certain when the next S-line phone will be revealed, we don't really know what it'll be called. According to a phone case manufacturer, the models will be called the S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra.

Regardless of its name, we're fairly sure that 2020's Samsung flagship will feature a punch hole front camera similar to 2019's models, and a large housing for the multiple rear cameras – similar to the iPhone 11 range or Pixel 4 series. This info comes from respected tech leaker @OnLeaks, so we're pretty confident in its reliability.

According to @OnLeaks again, all the models in the S11/S20 series will feature a Samsung-designed 108Mp rear lens amongst other cameras and will use the latest Snapdragon 865 chip in the US while EU and Asian models will get Samsung's latest, but slightly lesser, Exynos 990 chip. The S20 Ultra is expected to have a lens that can offer up to a 100x zoom, perfect for serious creeping.

When it comes to specific models, we should expect the S20 to use either a 6.2-inch display, with the S20 Plus and S20 Ultra using 6.7- and 6.9-inch displays, respectively. There are also rumors that the screens on each model might have 120Hz refresh rates for super-smooth scrolling. All the models are expected to feature 5G connectivity, as well.

All told, the S11 series looks set to be one of the most complete smartphones on sale.

Update 1/7/20: Samsung has announced that its next Galaxy Unpacked event will take place on February 11 and we will almost definitely see the successor to the S10 series revealed.

Apple iPhone 12 Seriesiphone 12

When the iPhone 11 series was revealed last year, it's fair to say that we weren't particularly impressed. Sure, there were improvements from the X-series, but nothing remarkable.

So what do we know about the next iPhone lineup? We know that it'll be arriving in September, like almost every other iPhone. However, there are some indications that the iPhone 12 series might be pretty different to 2019's 11 series.

For a start, there are rumors that the 2020 iPhones will do away with the notch, instead placing the front camera underneath the screen. However, there are contradictory rumors suggesting that the phones will get slim bezels all-round, in order to remove the notch – this rumor is based on a patent filing, too, so is likely more reliable.

The iPhone 12 lineup is also expected to have different screen sizes compared to the iPhone 11 series. The iPhone 12 Pro Max could get 0.2-inches larger, while the iPhone 12 Pro could actually get smaller, shrinking to 5.45-inches from 5.8-inches on the 11 Pro. The iPhone 12 would stay the same size as the iPhone 11 but would thankfully get an OLED, rather than LCD, display. Another iPhone tipster suggests that all the phones will get 120Hz refresh screens.

It's also widely expected that the 2020 iPhones will all support 5G connectivity. This, frankly, wouldn't be much of a surprise, given the tech's increasing ubiquity.

OnePlus Concept One

Now, it's unlikely that the Concept One will become a phone that you can actually buy with money, but it's still something to look forward to. OnePlus will show it off at CES next week to preview the tech and design traits we'll be seeing on its regular phones this year.

Some had speculated that the Concept One could be the company's first stab at a foldable phone but, sadly, it looks as though the Concept One will be slightly more conventional. Instead of a folding screen, we'll get some ‘invisible' rear cameras, “color-shifting glass technology,” and what looks like rounded screen edges.

Irrespective of whether it folds or not, the Concept One is certainly whetting our appetite for OnePlus' proper phone reveals later this year.

Google Pixel 4a seriesGoogle Pixel 4a

We loved the Pixel 3a series. The combination of exceptional cameras, impressive build quality, stock Android, and a very low price tag was always going to be a winner.

For 2020, it looks like Google is set to up the ante in the mid-range sector again. According to renders, again from @OnLeaks, we can expect the Pixel 4a series to feature a punch hole front camera with slim bezels. It also looks set to include a headphone jack and a rear fingerprint sensor — the search company's benevolence seems unbounded when it comes to the cheaper Pixels.

Sadly, the Pixel 4a also looks set to receive the unnecessarily large rear camera housing from the Pixel 4 series, despite only housing a single rear camera. The punch hole front camera would also suggest that the new cheaper Pixel would eschew the array of sensors a gadgets found on the Pixel 4 series, such as the radar sensor for changing songs. When it comes to screen tech, rumors suggest the Pixel 4a will have a flat 5.7- or 5.8-inch OLED display — that's a small bump from the Pixel 3a.

Update 1/20/2020: Details revealed by XDA Developers show that Google is currently testing three versions of the Pixel 4a models. One features a new Snapdragon 730 processor — again showing that these will be mid-range phones. However, another version uses the Snapdragon 765 chipset which has an integrated 5G modem. Looks like a 5G-enabled Pixel could be on the cards — exciting stuff.

We're expecting the Pixel 4a series to be revealed at Google's I/O developer conference in May this year. Watch this space.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10 LiteSamsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite front

Yes, another Samsung phone on our list — and it won't be the last, either.

The Note 10 Lite was revealed by Samsung just ahead of CES in Las Vegas along with the S10 Lite, and both look set to be brilliant cut-price flagship phones. The Note 10 Lite essentially takes the best productivity features from the Note 10 series but trims the fat in order to reduce the price.

Find out more – Note 10 Lite and S10 Lite Reveal

For example, the Note 10 Lite has a 6.7-inch display which makes it larger than the Note 10, but slightly smaller than the Note 10 Plus. However, it has a lower resolution than either of those phones and does without the curved sides. It also has three rear cameras, including a 48Mp wide angle lens for super-detailed shots. Plus, it has an enormous 4,500 mAh battery which should make it a battery life powerhouse.

The Note 10 Lite was speculated to have a 3.5mm headphone jack, another feature no other Note 10 model has. However, we've had no confirmation from Samsung on this yet. The Note 10 Lite does pack Samsung's S Pen stylus, so you'll still be able to take notes, sketch, and more.

We've got no official word on prices yet either, although the Note 10 Lite was rumored to start at around $700, significantly less than the existing Note 10 models and cheaper than the already cut-price S10e. All told, the Note 10 Lite looks like a very impressive bit of kit for not that much money.

Samsung Galaxy Z Flip

Spare a thought for the original Galaxy Fold, it was bold, ambitious, and ultimately doomed to fail.

However, 2020 should see Samsung attack the conundrum of folding screens with renewed vigor. We're fairly sure that we'll see a new folding Galaxy this year, although it will likely have a major redesign compared to last year's effort. Much like the Moto Razr, the Galaxy Z Flip will resemble a noughties flip-phone rather than a foldable tablet.

The images from Ice Universe also match up with some official renders from a Samsung developer conference last year. However, according to Bloomberg, Samsung might actually release two foldable devices this year with potentially differing designs.

Admittedly, the details here are sketchier than the other phones on this list. But there's no way that Samsung would back away from the folding phone issue, especially given the PR disaster is was for them in 2018. We'd be surprised if we don't see some sort of reveal at MWC next month. Stay tuned.

However, we've also recently (01/21/19) seen a leaked image showing the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip featuring two hinges. This means that the device's screen(s) fold on-top of one another, giving the impression of a ‘Z'.

samsung galaxy z flip promo

 

Admittedly, this is a sketchy image but it's definitely interesting.

Huawei Mate Xshuawei mate x

While Huawei's Mate X folding phone hasn't actually become available in the West yet, the Chinese giant is set to launch a revised version at CES this year ahead of, hopefully, a wider launch.

According to Huawei's CEO, the Mate Xs will have a number of improvements compared to last year's model. For instance, it will use the company's latest Kirin 990 processor for extra oomph as well as 5G connectivity.

The Mate Xs will also apparently have an improved hinge mechanism (which is reassuring) although it won't have access to Google apps or services such as the Play Store. Expect a March launch in Huawei's homeland, although there's no official word on a worldwide launch.

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Tom Fogden is a writer for Tech.co with a range of experience in the world of tech publishing. Tom covers everything from cybersecurity, to social media and website builders when he's not reviewing the latest phones, gadgets, or occasionally even technology books.

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