As 2015 gets underway, it is set to be another important and eventful twelve months in the mobile market. A wide range of interesting smartphones are scheduled for release, so here ValueWalk counts down the top 10 devices to look for during the calendar year.
10 Best smartphones of 2015
HTC One M9
The HTC One M8 was a particularly impressive smartphone, and one that received a strong critical reception when it was released. Unfortunately, HTC has yet to really match this with commercial success, and it will be hoping that 2015 is the year that it becomes a household name.
Whether or not this is achievable in the face of the strong competition from the likes of Apple and Samsung is highly debatable, but we can say with some certainty that the HTC One M9 looks to be a highly impressive device based on what we know about it so far. According to early rumors, the HTC One M9 will feature a 5-inch full-HD Super LCD3 display, a Snapdragon 810 processor, Adreno 430 graphics and 3GB of RAM. There is a 13-megapixel front camera expected to be included, which would be an industry-leading device, while the 20-megapixel rear camera is extremely competitive.
Design parameters suggest that this will be an extremely slim smartphone as well as a powerful one, and although it won’t appear in time for the 2015 edition of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, it certainly sounds as if this latest HTC device will be worth waiting for.
Sony Xperia Z4
Sony had a very difficult time economically in 2014, and publicly attributed this to its mobile phone division. Thus, the Sony Xperia Z4 is swimming against the tide to a great extent, but anything like a creditable performance will be acceptable for Sony. Speculation has been mounting that there will be a James Bond tie-in with this device, but gimmicks aside, an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB of RAM and a Quad HD screen have been mooted for what could be an extremely powerful handset.
Many people consider the LG G3 to be the ultimate smartphone available on the market, so LG has a lot to live up to with this handset. There isn’t too much information available about the LG G4 as of yet, with a summer release date likely, but what can be said is that previous iterations of the series have placed an emphasis on photography, so expect a smartphone to suit keen photographers.
Microsoft Lumia 940
With Nokia finally having bitten the dust, Microsoft can begin to create its own distinct smartphone brand, and this Lumia 940 release will come in a year which can be considered critical for Microsoft, with its imminent release of Windows 10 also a headline feature. This smartphone is thus expected to collaborate with Windows 10, as Microsoft is strongly expected to produce an operating system which can be utilized across all phones, tablets, PCs and laptops.
It will be fascinating to see how this turns out, as the Lumia range hasn’t really caught the imagination of the public yet, and Windows 8 was a pretty disastrous operating system release for Microsoft.
Any Apple release in any marketplace is, of course, massive news, and the latest iPhone in the iconic rage will be no exception. Apple has a bit of a conundrum to solve with the Apple iPhone 7, given that the iPhone 6 was hugely successful commercially, but somewhat criticized for being ambitious in its scope.
This may see a truly revolutionary rebooting of the iPhone concept with the iPhone 7, and rumors are already circulating that this device will have an incredible camera at its heart, as well as being constructed to some degree from Sapphire Glass. The latter of these murmurings was perpetually linked with the iPhone 6, but never actually occurred, so we’ll have to wait and see whether it has any credibility this time.
Apple will also be under pressure to improve the display quality of the iPhone 7 considering that Samsung is being rumored to launch a 4K resolution mobile at some point during 2015. Apple does not want to be left behind in this department, so we could see the first ever full HD smartphone from Apple, as well as a quad HD phablet version.
What is almost an absolute certainty is that this will be the highest selling smartphone of the next generation.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
The Samsung Galaxy Note 4 was one of the most impressive devices released in 2014, and it to some extent enabled Samsung to regain some of the lustre which it lost during a disappointing year overall. Arguably the outstanding phablet available on the market, the Galaxy Note range has established itself as an important part of the Samsung portfolio, and the Galaxy Note 5 will be an equally critical release for Samsung as it tries to re-establish its position in the market in 2015.
It is already rumored that the Galaxy Note 5 may be the first 4K resolution mobile to ever appear on the mass market. Certainly, given the extremely high-quality Super AMOLED display that Samsung included in the Galaxy Note 4, it will be essential for Samsung to produce something outstanding with this device’s screen.
In addition, Samsung will likely continue its predilection for curved displays with this device, and although a significant rebooting of the Galaxy Note series is unlikely with this device, expect increased specs and improved power saving functionality to enhance the the already excellent reputation of the Note series in this department.
The original OnePlus One staggered a lot of people when it was released at a price point which many considered to be about half of its market value. Thus, the OnePlus Two is one of the most anticipated releases of this year, as people are wondering how the company can possibly improve on the previous device in the series while keeping it at its extremely affordable price point.
According to early rumors related to this device, this smartphone could feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, 4GB of RAM, a 3300mAh battery and a 5.5-inch 2K screen. These are the sort of specifications which are associated with smartphones in the Samsung and Apple price range of devices, but the OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has stated publicly that this will be another affordable device. Certainly one to look out for in 2015.
Samsung Galaxy S6
The Samsung Galaxy S series is due for a radical overhaul, as the 2014 Galaxy S5 was not particularly well received. The build of the device should be switched to a fully metallic exterior this time out, which will enable Samsung to more readily compete with the iPhone. It is probable as well that there will be curved versions of the Galaxy S6, and that at least one model will feature Quad HD resolution.
Google may be one of the world’s most powerful corporations, but breaking into the ultra-competitive smartphone niche is far from easy. Thus, the Nexus range has yet to really create a consumer buzz, but Google will be hoping to change this with the Nexus 6. This device will likely deliver flagship specifications, but could be more expensive than previous versions of the series.
Finally, rumors persist that Apple will release a smaller iPhone companion device for the Apple Watch either late in Q1 or early in Q2. This has yet to be confirmed, but it would to some extent be return to the company’s roots should it come to fruition.