This content has not been updated since October 2019. For more recent tech advice for your business, why not check out the best phone brands for 2021?
It seems like new phones are coming out all the time. If they're not being announced at a tech show, or in a glitzy reveal event, they're being leaked over the internet.
We're going to try and document all of the most exciting upcoming phones that you can expect within the next six months. Here goes…
iPhone sales have been on the slide for a couple of years now, thanks to consumers upgrading their devices less frequently and iPhones being able to last a few years before really taking a performance hit. Based on rumors, it looks like Apple hasn't really done enough to capture the public's imagination with the iPhone 11 lineup either.
The iPhone 11 should look the same as last year's XR, while the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max are expected to look like the XS and XS Max, respectively. While these phones weren't bad looking, the phone game has moved on a bit. However, these phones should come with improved camera hardware, new processors, and bigger batteries — but this was always a given.
If we're honest, it seems like another iterative iPhone upgrade. That doesn't necessarily mean that they will be bad phones, just that they won't be quite as interesting as newer Android flagships.
When is it out? You can pre-order today. Devices will be available in stores from next Friday: September 20th.
How much will it cost? The iPhone 11 should cost $749 while the 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max should cost $999 and $1,099, respectively.
Should you be excited? Erm, well, we're not particularly excited. It feels like Apple is saving the big upgrades for next year, which is a shame.
Samsung Galaxy Fold 5G
The Samsung Galaxy Fold was announced way back in March but is still yet to be given a full, worldwide release. In fact, the Galaxy Fold had an incredibly troubled birth. Review units sent out to selected journalists and tech influencers suffered a number of pretty catastrophic faults.
Samsung recalled the unit and has, apparently, been working on fixing the problems with the screen and the mechanisms. It's already been released in Korea, and we got some hands-on time with it recently. We loved being able to use the large screen for multitasking or watching videos. However, the smaller screen seemed, well, a bit too small.
Samsung's also suffered a bit of a knock to its reputation in its desire to bring the first folding phone to market — Huawei's Mate X, for example, has taken just as long to go on sale, but doesn't have the associated stigma of broken devices.
After a difficult birth, the Galaxy Fold 5G is finally on sale in the US soon. You can register your interest in the device on Samsung's website ahead of the full release later this month. It'll cost $1,980.
When is it out? Now.
How much will it cost? The 4G version will cost $1,980 while the 5G version will probably cost even more.
Should you be excited? Yes. Even if you don't plan on buying a Galaxy Fold, we should all be excited that a company as large as Samsung is taking such a huge bet on unproved technology.
Huawei Mate X
It turns out that there's more than one way to fold a phone. Huawei's Mate X, which was announced shortly after the Galaxy Fold, takes one screen and bends it, rather than utilizing two separate screens. The Mate X's single screen looks like it could be a slightly more elegant solution than Samsung's, but we don't really know how it'll fare in the real world.
The Mate X's folded screen is 6.6-inches across the diagonal (much larger than the Galaxy Fold's) and measures 8-inches when fully unfolded. However, its time in development has dented some of the shine around its specifications. It uses the Kirin 980 processor which, while not slow, is Huawei's previous generation chip. It also runs Android 9 Pie, rather than Android 10.
Oh, and it's set to be even more expensive than the Galaxy Fold — so upwards of $2,000. We'll have to wait and see whether Huawei's Mate X will be better in the real world than the Galaxy Fold. Either way, though, these two phones are possibly the most exciting new smartphones in over a decade.
When is it out? November, apparently.
How much will it cost? In excess of $2,000. Yikes.
Should you be excited? Again, yes! However, as Huawei phones are experiencing some, erm, availability issues around the world — and particularly in the US — it might be more likely that we have to admire from afar.
Google Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL
It's no secret that we're big fans of Google's Pixel phones here at Tech.co. However, the Pixel 4 series (and the Pixel 4 XL, in particular) look set to up the camera ante even more.
Noted tech leaker Evan Blass released a press photo of the Pixel 4 on October 1. It clearly shows the large top bezel with room for extra sensors and dual rear cameras.
Google will be launching the Pixel 4 series on October 15, although, given the volume of leaks, it might be quite anti-climactic. According to a variety of leakers, we can expect the Pixel 4 XL to come with a fast 90Hz refresh rate display, a Snapdragon 855 processor, and 6GB of RAM. It's also expected to have quite a large top bezel, something of a peculiarity on modern flagship smartphones, in order to house some new sensors for face-unlocking.
The biggest changes, though, appear to be with the camera hardware. While other companies have slapped as many as five lenses on their phones, Google has resolutely stuck to providing a single rear camera on its Pixel models. However, with the Pixel 4 XL, that appears to be changing. According to leaked images, the Pixel 4 XL will have three rear cameras, housed in a big square camera bump, not dissimilar to the iPhone 11.
The Pixel 4 XL is supposed to arrive packing a 12.2Mp wide-angle lens (like the current Google phones) as well as a 16Mp telephoto lens for zoomed-in shots, and an ultra wide-angle lens. If Google can really leverage the power of these cameras with its impressive software, we might just seen one of the best phones cameras on the market.
When is it out? Google will officially unveil the Pixel 4 series on October 15. We'd expect them to go on sale shortly after, if not the same day.
How much will it cost? We thought the Pixel 4 XL would cost around $900, while the Pixel 4 would be closer to around $800. However, an Irish retailer seems to have accidentally listed the Pixel 4 XL for €1126.68, while the Pixel 4 was priced at €819.98. This makes the Pixel 4 XL around $100 more expensive than the 3 XL, while the Pixel 4 would be slightly cheaper. How these prices will look in USD, though, remains to be seen.
Should you be excited? We're excited for the cameras, let alone the rest of the phone.
Huawei Mate 30 Series
The Mate 30 Series is set to be revealed on September 19, but we've already seen supposedly final versions of the four upcoming models in the series. The leaks, unlike the Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL images above, have come from Evan Blass, a notable ‘tech leaker' on Twitter, with an impeccable accuracy reputation.
The Mate 30 Pro will be the flagship model in the Mate 30 series, and will feature Huawei's new Kirin 990 processor for staggeringly-fast gaming and high-quality photography. It'll pack four rear cameras, including a 40Mp main camera, an ultra-wide angle lens, and a telelphoto lens. The final lens should be a time-of-flight sensor for accurate depth-perception tricks. Apparently, the Mate 30 Pro will also come with a 6.7-inch curved display, and a large 4,000 mAh battery.
There will also be a Porsche Design version of the Mate 30 Pro — yes, Porsche the sports car manufacturer. It should be functionally identical to the regular Pro model, but will feature a metal and leather construction, rather than the glass used on the Mate 30 Pro.
Next up is the Mate 30. This model will supposedly lack the Pro's curved display and no method for face-unlocking. It's also rumored to have a slightly smaller battery than the Pro model, and nor will it charge as quickly.
Finally, there's the Mate 30 Lite. It's expected to be significantly cheaper than the other Mate 30 series models, being powered by the new (but slower) Kirin 810 processor and using an LCD display, rather than an OLED. However, the Mate 30 Lite gets a snazzy punch hole front camere.
When is it out? The full reveal will take place September 19 so, like the Google phones above, we'd expect them to hit the shelves shortly after. Although not in the US, mind.
How much will it cost? We'd expect the Mate 30 Lite to cost around $500, with the Mate 30 closer to $700-800, and then with the Mate 30 Pro topping the range at around $1,000. It's tricky to predict how much the Mate 30 Pro Porsche Design model will cost, but expect it to be well over $1,000.
Should you be excited? Well, they'll be cool phones. But, as you're going to be unable to buy them in the US, we'd say you're better off pining for one of the other phones on this list.
OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro
The OnePlus 7T series is set to be launched on October 10 but, erm, we actually already know everything about the phones — literally everything.
Indian tech site Compareraja managed to find the complete specs list for both phones. You can read the full specs if you're interested, but here are the highlights.
The 7T gets the faster-refreshing 90Hz screen which OnePlus debuted on the 7 Pro. It also will use the new Snapdragon 855+ processor, and will come running OnePlus' version of Android 10 out of the box.
The OnePlus 7T Pro, on the other hand, won't receive an almost complete overhaul like the 7T. But it'll get the new 855+ processor, a slightly larger battery, and Android 10.
When is it out? The phones will likely hit the shelves shortly after the October 10 unveiling. However, the 7T Pro sadly won't be making it to the US.
How much will it cost? OnePlus phones are known for being cheaper than flagship competitors, but prices have been creeping up over the years. We'd expect the 7T to cost around $600, while the 7T Pro will likely cost closer to $700.
Should you be excited? Yes, the 7T looks set to have some great specifications for the price and it should be a noticeable upgrade over the OnePlus 7 that preceded it.
Motorola One Zoom
The Motorola One Zoom was announced in Berlin at the IFA trade show last week and it looks set to be a pretty great cheap-ish phone. Costing around $449, the One Zoom packs four rear cameras including an ultra-wide angle lens, a depth sensor, and a telephoto lens — will it challenge the Pixel 3a for the best cheap phone camera? Only time will tell.
Aside from the cameras you get a Snapdragon 675 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a sizeable 4,000 mAh battery. The One Zoom uses a 6.4-inch 1080p LCD display — so it's unlikely to be quite as sharp as the OLED panels found on the cheap Pixel phones, but it should be decent enough for most uses.
Oh, and the Motorola logo on the rear panel lights up when you get a notification — which is neat.
When is it out? September
How much will it cost? It will cost $449
Should you be excited? Yep, the One Zoom will use Android One for speedy updates and it should have great cameras, and great value for money.
Sony Xperia 5
The Sony Xperia 5 is another phone that was unveiled at IFA, and should sit below the flagship Xperia 1 but above the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus. Compared to the Xperia 1, the Xperia 5 gets a slightly smaller, lower-resolution screen. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 855 processor and higher-quality materials put it above the Xperia 10 and 10 Plus.
The Xperia 5 uses a 6.1-inch, 21:9 aspect ratio screen, with a 1080p resolution. The Xperia 1 has a 6.5-inch 4K OLED display (a first for any phone, ever). We're not massively keen on 21:9 aspect ratio screens, as they're occasionally too tall for regular one-handed use. However, it should be a pretty decent mid-range phone when it arrives in the Fall.
Sony reckons the tall aspect ratio makes the Xperia 5 perfect for multimedia use. Most films are shot in the 21:9 aspect ratio, for example, so you should get a properly-immersive experience with no black borders in sight. What's more, the Xperia 5 works with the PlayStation's DualShock 4 controller, so it might be a good fit for gaming-on-the-go.
When is it out? Fall of this year. Probably October.
How much will it cost? Speculation says around $800
Should you be excited? We wouldn't start counting down the days until it launches, but it should be an decent-enough phone.
The Nokia 7.2 is a cheap phone, also announced at IFA, but with strong specs for the cost. Like the Motorola above, it uses Android One for speedy updates, and promises great photos. It's the first Nokia phone to use triple rear cameras (ignoring, of course, the Nokia 9 PureView which had five rear cameras) and features a 48Mp lens with quad pixel tech for better lighting, as well as a depth sensor and ultra-wide angle lens.
It should hit the shelves at the end of September and will cost either $330 for the version with 4GB of RAM and 64GB storage, or $385 for the version with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage.
So, why buy the 7.2 over other great mid-range phones such as the Samsung A30? Well, for a start, Nokia is one of the fastest companies to issue OS updates, and the 7.2 will arrive running Android 10 out of the box. Plus, with 6GB of RAM it should be quicker than its low price suggests. Of course, for $399, you could always get the Pixel 3a…
When is it out? End of September
How much will it cost? $330 or $385
Should you be excited? Maybe. While it doesn't seem likely to blow other phones out of the water, it certainly seems like it will be a strong cheap to mid-range option.
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Top image: iPhone 11 via WCCFTech