We’re midway through 2017, and the list of smartphones released in the past six months is an extensive one. However, if the Galaxy S8 doesn’t cut it for you and the LG G6 is too similar, you may have found yourself holding out for a handset that inspires you and forces you to part with your hard-earned money. With that, you may be looking forward to one or two of the best upcoming smartphones that are yet to arrive this year. Here’s our breakdown of what you can expect.
Best upcoming smartphones
If you’re looking for something that’s altogether new, we’re sorry to say that 2017 won’t be the year for that. Instead, this year promises to be one of almost bezel-free handsets, VR, AR, and more. So while we’re half-way through the year, you can bet some surprises still remain, like will Apple and Samsung manage to embed a fingerprint sensor in their displays?
Of course, we can’t answer that yet, but what we can do is provide you with a brief overview of what to expect. So without further ado, let’s begin.
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Probably the most highly-anticipated of the best upcoming smartphones is the iPhone 8. We’ve been reporting about it since before the release of the 7 and 7 Plus, so as you can imagine, it’s already popular. However, Apple itself has remained tight-lipped about its existence, so rumors and leaks are all we have to go on.
What you can probably expect is a tenth anniversary device that will blow Apple fans away. According to rumor, it will feature a new display technology for the first time. It has been rumored that Apple purchased millions of OLED panels from Samsung to meet perceived demand. As such, you can expect a 5.8-inch edge-to-edge screen with a much higher pixel-per-inch ratio than ever before. Additionally, if the company can overcome technical difficulties, Touch ID could be embedded beneath that OLED panel.
Want to find out the very latest information? Take a look here
Galaxy Note 8
If you didn’t know, Samsung has not given up on its Note phablet. After 2016’s battery issues, many thought the Note 7 would be the last and that the South Korean firm would focus on its Galaxy S line. However, the company was relatively quick to quash such ideas and has even gone so far as to release a new version of the Note 7. But as for the Galaxy Note 8, it is undoubtedly one of the best upcoming smartphones of 2017.
It’s thought that it will arrive before the iPhone 8, maybe toward the end of August or beginning of September. What can you expect? Unfortunately, what we can say with some certainty, thanks to Mobilefun.co.uk, is that Samsung has not managed to overcome its fingerprint sensor problems, meaning that its sensor will appear on the rear of the handset like it did on the S8. Find out more here.
As for other features and specs, like the S8, it too will probably have an Infinity display, although it’s expected to be a slightly larger one than on the S8+. Additionally, it will likely be almost bezel-free and come in two storage variations: 64GB and 128GB. Depending on where you live, the Note 8 will likely have either the Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 895 chipset, again like the S8 models. Rumors suggest it could be the first Samsung device to feature a dual-lens camera setup, and it could have 6GB of RAM.
There’s more detail here if you want to see whether this is the handset for you.
Google Pixel 2
Next on the list of the best upcoming smartphones for this year is the sequel to what many believe to be a line of handsets that could challenge Samsung’s and Apple’s dominance. October 2016 saw Google fill a space left by the recalled Note 7; as such, it showed the world, with the help of HTC, that it could compete. In fact, at the time, the company was bold enough to dispute the iPhone 7 Plus’ title as having the best camera. It openly boasted that it was better in all respects! But will the Google Pixel 2 continue the fight?
Unlike its predecessors, you can expect some waterproofing this year and an improvement to the camera, plus a Snapdragon 835 chip. That’s pretty much all that is known, apart from that there may be more than one model. If we were to guess a little, there could be an increase in screen size. We expect somewhere in the region of a 5-inch to 5.99-inch OLED panel, and LG is the supposed supplier. Additionally, there may be a boost in onboard RAM. Last year’s featured 4GB, so it’s possible that 6GB could make an appearance.
As for the operating system, it goes without saying that Android O will appear. It’s in public beta right now, so it’s edging closer to being officially launched. We think a late September/early October launch date is likely.
If you’re interested in Google’s handsets, here is more information.
iPhone 7s And iPhone 7s Plus
If you believe what Apple’s Taiwan-based suppliers recently said, an iPhone 7s and 7s Plus will indeed arrive. As this is the pattern Apple would usually stick to, the only difference is the iPhone’s anniversary. That’s why the iPhone 8 is tipped to lead the line with a more expansive list of features and improved display.
The lesser models will likely stick to 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screen sizes, as we’ve seen before. Additionally, it’s likely that LCD panels will again be used, leaving OLED for the premium flagship model.
In the middle of June, we reported that leaks had revealed that the 7s and 7s Plus will look completely different. The leaks included images of a glass-based design, so it’s likely the aluminum chassis will be scrapped. However, this move could mean that both devices will get wireless charging, which was previously thought to be reserved for the iPhone 8.
You can discover more about these handsets here.
Galaxy S8 Mini
Could one of the best upcoming smartphones of 2017 be the Galaxy S8 Mini? Rumors of its existence are rife, even without the South Korean company confirming it. Why it would introduce one with that name now when the last handset in the line was the Galaxy S5 Mini is anyone’s guess. However, with the company’s flagship handsets getting bigger, it’s likely that some consumers will prefer a more compact option with similar performance.
Rumors are suggesting a 5.3-inch AMOLED screen with curved edges. We don’t know yet whether it will be bezel-free, although one thing we’e heard is that last year’s Snapdragon 821 chipset is likely to be powering it, along with 4GB of RAM. Some rumors, although not many, point to an iris scanner making an appearance, which, if true, will be a welcomed addition, offering a better way of accessing the device beyond a fingerprint sensor.
There’s little to go on as far as a release date, but most assume Samsung will announce it alongside the Note 8. When we know more about this device we will publish it.
You may be surprised to read that a Nokia could be among the best upcoming smartphones. Earlier this year, we reported that the company had struck a deal with compatriot firm HMD. This deal allows the company to produce Android handsets using the Nokia brand name, so as such, the former industry leader is back. But what about the rumored Nokia 9?
Unlike the S8 Mini, we’ve seen some solid leaks about the Nokia 9, and the rumor mill is hot on its trail. So it’s pretty certain that this flagship will make an appearance at some point in the second half of 2017. Because it’s a flagship, you shouldn’t expect it to have less power. According to the rumors we’ve seen, like the two S8 models, it is expected to sport a Snapdragon 835 with at least 4GB of RAM. When combined, this means that the device should be formidable.
Recent image and video leaks clearly show a USB Type-C port on the bottom of the device. However, we’ve also seen what looks like a 3.5mm headphone jack, meaning that HMD is either undecided or that it wants to give users as much choice as possible. Current thinking on the screen size points to a 5.3-inch display with an 18:9 aspect ratio; right now, we’re not sure of its resolution or what kind it is. An OLED display has been indicated by some industry insiders, but when we know more, we will inform you.
You can find everything we do know about it here.
Weekend bonus: this is an old-ish mockup of Project Joan, a.k.a. the LG V30. Not clear if the project is still headed in this direction.  pic.twitter.com/k5jNJ7DyLz
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) May 27, 2017
For quite some time, LG has been releasing two flagships per year, with the V-series being limited to the U.S. and Asia. However, there has been rumors that this could be about to change, in the form of the V30. Some question why the company would release another flagship with the G6 being so good. Apparently, the two Galaxy S8 models have put a dent in LG’s plans for dominance. So it feels the need to upgrade faster and launch much more widely.
At the time of this writing, there isn’t much being said about its features and specs. However, Evan Blass has managed to tweet some concepts via his @evleaks account. The image above shows what looks like a sliding display that moves upward from the main body. We’re not sure whether this is what LG really has in mind. However, Blass has indicated that it may very well have been considered. We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Best upcoming smartphones
So there you have eight handsets the rumor mill is going crazy over, and each of them offers something different. As this is our selection of the best upcoming smartphones, it’s subjective. So let us know what you think of our choices and feel free to suggest other models.
In the meantime, we will keep you updated on the latest from each manufacturer, including specs, prices, and release dates.