We've seen some impressive flagship phones hit the market already this year, including handsets from LG, Samsung, and HTC, but there's much more to come. Here are the big-name phones we're still expecting before the end of the year, and the stand-out features they're likely to bring with them.
Some of what we've included below is rumor and speculation, so don't take it as confirmed just yet – while online leaks have become more common and more reliable in recent years, company plans can change quickly. That said, given the number of corroborating tips that have appeared, we're fairly confident about most of this info, and these all look like phones worth waiting for.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 8
First up is Samsung, which has scheduled a press event for August 23 where we're almost certainly going to see the Galaxy Note 8, even if Samsung itself hasn't mentioned it by name yet. Despite the recall fiasco surrounding the Galaxy Note 7, Samsung knows these super-sized phablets are popular, and will continue to churn them out.
In fact the problems that plagued the Note 7 might work to the advantage of the Note 8 if it can tap into that unmet demand from last year. The Note series has established itself as a bigger version of the standard Galaxy phones, complete with stylus for that power-user vibe. This year's model looks like being a serious upgrade too.
We're expecting to see a 6.4-inch screen that follows the same 18.5:9 aspect ratio of the Galaxy phones that came before it, possibly as well as a 4K (3,840 x 2,160 pixel) resolution. That might not make too much noticeable difference when looking at your phone normally, but it will of course help with Samsung's ongoing efforts in mobile virtual reality.
The Infinity Display, with its minimal bezels, should make a return and there's talk that a big camera upgrade is on the cards, with Samsung using a dual-lens setup for the first time to enable some fancy effects like 3x optical zoom. As for whether the fingerprint sensor will be on the front or the back, the jury still seems to be out on that.
Iris scanning should make a return after being included in the Note 7 and Samsung's own Exynos 8895 processor is tipped to be paired with as much as 6 GB of RAM. Add in the S Pen and we're looking at a powerhouse of a phone that beats even the very impressive Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus handsets in terms of performance and features.
The iPhone 8
There's always a huge amount of interest every time Apple launches a new handset, but it's been cranked up a notch this year as the company prepares to launch its 10th anniversary iPhone, having debuted the device in 2007. The consensus seems to be that we'll see a special anniversary iPhone 8 along with more regular upgrades in the shape of the iPhone 7S and iPhone 7S Plus.
We'll focus on the iPhone 8 here, which is set to follow the 2017 trend of ditching the standard bezels and making the whole of the front of the device a screen. That might cause problems for Touch ID, which is possibly going to be included around the back instead, or perhaps on the power button.
As well as its distinctive looks, the iPhone 8 is also going to come with a vertically aligned dual-lens camera that has special 3D depth-sensing features – that would fit in very nearly with the AR tricks Apple has already announced for iOS 11. As for resolution, the camera lenses will probably stick with the 12 MP level most manufacturers have settled on.
With a rumored 5.8-inch screen, the iPhone 8 would carry Apple's biggest iPhone display yet, and on top of that it's going to switch to the AMOLED screen tech favored by Samsung, too. With the reduction in bezels, however, it might be physically smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus. Another rumor says Apple is going to add face-scanning technology to the iPhone 8, maybe to make up for the Touch ID positioning.
Other than that, there's strong talk of native support for wireless charging coming to the iPhone for the first time, while other rumors suggest one of the new phone colors will have a mirror-like finish. Apple's iPhone launch events are always held in September, like clockwork, and this year should be no different – though because of all the tech packed into the iPhone 8, it may only be available in limited numbers to begin with.
The Google Pixel 2
The Google Pixel and Pixel XL were well-received last year, and we're likely to see follow-ups to both around October time. With the launch further off, we've seen fewer leaks and rumors about these devices that the Note 8 and iPhone 8, but it seems likely that Google will again unveil two handsets of differing sizes.
The word on the (Google Pixel) street is that the phones will come with 4.97-inch and 5.99-inch displays, and they could also be the first phones to make use of the latest Snapdragon 836 processor if early leaks are too be believed. It won't be hugely faster than the Snapdragon 835 inside many of this year's handsets, but it will be faster.
There's talk that LG rather than HTC is going to be working on the phones with Google, and that the handsets are in line to get screens that are slightly curved around the edges, like the Samsung Galaxy devices. One or two rumors point to the new phones also opting for the 18:9 aspect ratio that's in fashion this year, but that seems less certain.
What we do have thanks to the rumor mill is a rather stylish-looking render of what the Pixel XL 2 is going to look like, based on insider sources. Apparently the phone is going to take its cues from last year's model in terms of design, but add a few extra visual flourishes, like a big reduction in bezel size to give more room for the screen.
The phones should be waterproof, unlike last year's handsets, and we've seen claims that Google is going to follow Apple in ditching the 3.5 mm headphone jack. Finally, one of the more unexpected rumors suggests the Pixel 2 handsets are going to follow the HTC U11 in offering "squeezable" sides as a way of interacting with the phone.
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