The best upcoming smartphones from Samsung, Apple, Sony, LG, Huawei and all the big names
2016 was a great year for smartphones, with OnePlus, Samsung and Apple leading the way with our favourite handsets. Others, like HTC, LG, Huawei and Lenovo made great phones too, but what’s around the corner in 2017? It’s worth knowing before you commit yourself to that 24 month contract.
Everything is going to become a lot more clear soon. Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 is kicking off at the end of February, and historically big players like Samsung, LG, Sony and HTC have used the show to reveal their upcoming cellular beauties.
Where possible, the list below will contain official release dates, but if we’re using guesswork or internet rumours then the date/month will be marked TBC – and we’ll be keeping the list up to date with the latest information we can get our hands on.
Upcoming smartphones 2017: The release dates you NEED to know
- Samsung Galaxy S8 – March/April 2017 TBC
- HTC 2011 – March/April 2017 TBC
- LG G6 – April 2017 TBC
- OnePlus 4 – June-July 2017 TBC
- Lenovo Moto Z 2017 – mid 2017 TBC
- iPhone 7s – September 2017 TBC
Upcoming smartphones 2017
Samsung Galaxy S8
First out of the blocks will likely be Samsung, fresh off the back of having to cease production of one of the most anticipated smartphones of all time: the Galaxy Note 7. Assuming the Galaxy name lives on, we’re likely looking at the Samsung Galaxy S8 as early as March or April. Alongside the usual cutting-edge speed boost, rumours abound about an iPhone-style home button, a rear fingerprint sensor and a 4K screen to really make the Gear VR pop. We should know more about this handset sooner, rather than later.
That said, given the issues Samsung has had with batteries and embarassing product recalls, it’s likely that Samsung will be inclined to delay release for extremely thorough testing. So even if the S8 is announced at MWC 2017, you probably won’t be able to buy one until April at the earliest.
HTC U Ultra
Surprise! After ditching the “One” and “M” from last year’s flagship (the HTC 10), HTC has switched to another naming convention: 2017’s flagships will be the HTC U Ultra and U Ultra Play handsets.
What do we know about them? Quite a lot, in fact. You can find our full hands-on review here, but the main headline is it has not one but two screens. The second screen is a bar that sits along the top of the main screen to display notifications and shortcuts to frequently used apps. Handy.
Elsewhere, it’s a 5.7in 2,560×1,440 handset packing a quad-core 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor and 4GB RAM. The 5.2in 1080p Play version is considerably weaker, with an octa-core MediaTek Helio P10 processor. Oh, and both phones are following Apple’s lead and ditching the headphone jack.
The phone is likely to go on sale in mid February, so keep your eyes on Alphr for our full review then.
LG made the most interesting handset of 2016 hands-down, with its interesting modular design that allowed you to upgrade elements. We wouldn’t count on the firm doing that again, judging by the way extra modules have been thin on the ground and hastily bundled free of charge, but in an industry that’s stagnating, it’s hard not to admire this kind of new thinking.
The teaser above suggests the wait may be over and a new phone from LG could be with us as soon as next month. You can read all the latest LG G6 rumours here, but the TL;DR version is that you can expect a waterproof 5.7in 1,440 x 2,880 handset with typically beefy specs.
The OnePlus 3 and 3T have shaken up the whole industry. It’s our favourite handset of 2016 by far, managing to shake up not just the high-end market by undercutting the big boys, but also eclipsing the midrangers its price suggests it is.
The OnePlus 4 is very likely to continue this trend, but we likely won’t see a new one until June 2017 at the earliest. Early rumours point to a glass body, 8GB RAM and a QuadHD screen.
Lenovo Moto Z (2017)
Not a great deal is known about the future of Lenovo’s top-end Moto range, but the Moto Z was the first hard proof we’ve seen that modular handsets have a future. The MotoMods just clip on and work: whether they’re an extended battery, or an external speaker.
The good news is that it looks like Lenovo are sticking to their guns. The company says they’re looking to make at least 12 mods per year. And they’re supposed to be forwards compatible too: “Moto Mods developed today are designed to work with future generations of Moto Z phones,” the company wrote in June, so feel free to buy now if you’re happy to commit to the Lenovo ecosystem.
Apple iPhone 7s
Finally, there’s Apple. The iPhone 7 was a quality smartphone, but it was overshadowed by the deliberate omission of the headphone jack for the first time.
We’re hoping that the ‘s’ version of the iPhone puts things right, but it’s very early to tell at the moment. There are rumours of wireless charging and an OLED screen for the first time, but so far it looks like anyone wishing for the headphone jack to return will be disappointed.
We likely won’t see it until September 2017 though, so you’ve got a long wait ahead of you if your handset simply must have an Apple logo on it.