2018 new phone release calendar
- Huawei P20 (P11)
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
- Xiaomi Mi7
- HTC U12
- Apple iPhone SE 2
- LG G7
- Moto Z3/Z3 Play
- OnePlus 6
- Moto Z3 Force
- Nokia 9
- Nokia 10
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9
- Apple iPhone 2018
- LG V40
- Razer Phone 2
- Google Pixel 3
- Xiaomi Mi Mix 3
- Xiaomi Mi Note 4
- Huawei Mate 11
Apple iPhone 2018
OK, so we don't know what it'll be called. iPhone 11? XS? X Plus? 9? Whatever it's called, you're probably going to want one.
Rumours suggest the iPhone X design could get two more sizes, mini and Plus, with upgrades to the internals of the X itself. Others suggest there could be cheaper alternatives that keep the design.
Either way, expect more than one iPhone this September. Apple had to play catch up with the iPhone X, and it won't want to do that again. Likely with an A12 processor, better battery tech, iOS 12 and faster charging, this is going to be the best iPhone. Again.
Apple iPhone SE 2
The iPhone SE is Apple's small and cheap iPhone, the only one still on sale with a 4in screen but well overdue an update. What on earth is it doing in a round-up of the *best* new phones coming in 2018, you might wonder.
Well, let us explain. The iPhone SE 2 we've all been waiting for may not be the cheap, small iPhone we're expecting. In fact it may be an iPhone X SE, with a larger screen and higher price tag.
According to rumours the new SE will still be cheaper than the iPhone X, but cheap is not a word we'd associate with a phone that might still cost £649.
It's likely the phone will see a 6.01in LCD screen with an iPhone X-like notch, but it will lose 3D Touch to cut down costs.
With no Spring Apple Event it's likely the iPhone SE 2 will be announced at WWDC, which has now been confirmed for 4 June.
Google Pixel 3
Three new Google Pixel phones are expected to land on 4 October 2018, with one of them potentially poised as a rival to the iPhone X.
Codenamed Crosshatch, Albacore and Blueline, we know that these new pure Android phones will run the to-be-announced Android 9.0 P, and that they will likely carry the 10nm (second-gen) Snapdragon 845 processor and feature 18:9 pOLED panels.
Now confirmed for launch at a separate Paris event on 27 March, the P20 will be successor to the company's current flagship, the P10. It will arrive in standard, Lite and Pro models.
In common with the Mate 10 the P20 standard and Pro models will likely get the Kirin 970 chip, which Huawei claims delivers 25 times better CPU performance and 50 times greater energy efficiency.
The P20 Pro is interesting for it's expected to feature a triple camera from Leica at the rear. In other respects it should be very similar to the standard model.
So unloved is HTC these days that we only just noticed we'd forgotten to add the upcoming U12 to our best new phones 2018 round-up. Oops!
Well, that's not fair. HTC is not unloved at all. We're really looking forward to the launch, which might come sometime in May. Rumours are heating up, which certainly would suggest it is imminent.
The HTC U12 will be a competitor to the likes of the Galaxy S9, Sony Xperia XZ2 and Nokia 8 Sirocco, but potentially coming a little too late to truly compete.
The LG G7 did not launch at MWC 2018 as was originally expected, but is instead arrive in June - potentially with a new name. And a notch, allegedly.
Rumours suggest we'll see a new 6.1in FullVision MLCD+ display, along with the Snapdragon 845, 4GB of RAM, 64GB storage, dual-cameras, wireless charging and more.
We noted above that LG's flagship phone launches may no longer be annual, but we're still expecting an update to the V series in 2018.
We've seen an update to the LG V30+ at MWC 2018 in the form of an LG V30S ThinQ, which features enhanced AI. The LG V40 wouldn't be announced until later in the year - potentially September in line with IFA 2018.
Rumours are thin on the ground, though it's likely we're looking at another OLED FullVision phablet here with a 6in screen and some tasty hardware. However, it's worth pointing out that the G7 is now expected to feature a 6.1in MLCD+ display.
The Snapdragon 845 is naturally top of the list, though we could also see some storage and memory enhancements.
Microsoft Surface Phone
Microsoft's Surface Phone has been the stuff of rumours for more than two years, and only a few months ago we believed all hopes were dashed with news that Microsoft was killing Windows Phone.
But the company has filed fresh patents for a foldable mobile device, reigniting rumours on the possibility of a Surface Phone. It's still no more than a maybe, making estimating a release date impossible. But if the Surface Phone does eventually see the light of day, we could see a foldable phablet to rival the Galaxy Note X.
Three new models in the Moto Z family are tipped to arrive this summer, with the Moto Z3 and Z3 Play expected in early June and the Moto Z3 Force in late-July.
All three are thought to have 6in 'borderless' (18:9) displays, though the Force will feature a Quad-HD resolution while the Z3 and Play are stuck on full-HD. It will also have the most powerful spec, with the Snapdragon 845 inside.
No fingerprint scanner is visible on the leaked images - is Motorola ditching it for an iris scanner, or are we finally about to see mainstream phones with fingerprint scanners embedded in their screens?
Support for Moto Mods is a given, but there's talk of a new 5G Moto Mod that lets you bolt on the latest mobile tech.
Nokia 8 Sirocco
A year after Nokia made its return to the Android phone market it has finally announced its flagship. Not called the Nokia 9 as previously expected, the Nokia 8 Sirocco is a high-end phone with a 5.5in Quad-HD+ Plastic OLED 18:9 display, 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
The hardware is all top-level, including support for wireless charging, IP67 waterproofing, a rear fingerprint scanner and USB-C with a 3260mAh battery that will fast-charge to 50 percent in 30 minutes, but there are a couple of catches.
First, there's no headphone jack; second, it's running last year's Snapdragon 835. What?
Fortunately the price is also very 2017, expected in April at 749€ (around £660).
We've literally just told you that the Nokia 8 Sirocco is the Nokia 9 we were waiting for. And it is, kind of. It's the Nokia 9 (2017), while the Nokia 9 (2018) is still to come - likely in August at IFA. Hopefully this one will actually be called the Nokia 9 to save confusion.
It's set to be a great phone, with headline features including a 5.7in Quad-HD+ POLED screen with an in-display fingerprint scanner and iPhone X-style notch.
Powering the show should be the Snapdragon 845 and up to 8GB of RAM, while there's also talk of a 22Mp dual-camera from Zeiss. Looking to the Sirocco for ideas we'd also guestimate USB-C audio (no headphone jack), IP67 waterproofing and Qi wireless charging.
New rumours have surfaced on yet another Nokia flagship, although they're best described as "sketchy".
A Nokia 10 could be released at IFA 2018 (running from 31 August) with a five-lens primary camera and the Snapdragon 845 inside.
The phone company that was once known only by geeks is about to come a lot more popular in the smartphone world, but OnePlus flagships are worth a look for more than their exclusivity.
Once marketed as 'flagship killers', the OnePlus 6 will be the latest in a growing line of premium smartphones that take one look at the best the phone market has to offer and go one better, and at a lower price.
Having already taken Samsung in its sights, OnePlus is on to Apple. Or, more specifically, the iPhone X's Face ID feature. OnePlus is tipped to develop its own version of the face-recognition technology in its upcoming flagship. And though the OnePlus 5T supports face recognition, the OnePlus 6 will make it secure enough for use with mobile payments.
It will also copy the iPhone X's 'notch' display, with a 19:9 panel tipped for the upcoming phone.
Despite likely coming in at a comparatively low £449 when it arrives in June (though we have seen rumours of a March launch), the OnePlus 6 will pack some serious hardware, including the Snapdragon 845.
Razer Phone 2
The original Razer phone, the first smartphone built for gamers and to support a 120Hz refresh rate, was met with huge interest from consumers. So it's good to hear a second version is in the planning, and likely to be with us in September. Its launch may also coincide with the release of Project Linda.
Theories on what to expect are still rather thin on the ground, but there's talk of an improved camera setup.
Samsung Galaxy S9 & Galaxy S9+
At MWC 2018 Samsung has announced its Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9+, which are available to pre-order now and go on sale on 16 March.
The Galaxy S8 and its bigger brother already fly high in our best phones chart, and the Galaxy S9 just got a little bit better.
Improvements include a new Snapdragon 845 processor, what Samsung refers to as its most advanced camera ever thanks to its low-light capabilities, Super Slow-mo video and personalised AR Emoji, a refined Infinity Display, more powerful stereo speakers and a new Lilac Purple colour option.
In the UK, the Galaxy S9 costs £739, while the S9+ carries a price tag of £869.
Samsung Galaxy S9 Mini
You may have read rumours about a Galaxy S8 Mini. However, with the Galaxy S9 having just beem announced it's looking more likely that if such a phone exists it will be the Galaxy S9 Mini, not the Galaxy S8 Mini.
There's very little to go on right now, but one mobile leakster has suggested Samsung is working on a 5in screen phone with a full-screen Infinity Display.
It sounds a lot like a potential Galaxy S9 Mini, but it could equally be an update to the Galaxy A series. We'll have to wait and see.
Samsung Galaxy Note 9
When it launches in August the Samsung Galaxy Note 9, codenamed 'Crown', could really steal the Android Crown. It's expected to feature some of the tech we didn't get to see in the Samsung Galaxy S9, such as an under-glass fingerprint scanner.
More interestingly, the Note 9 could be the phone to offer a truly bezel-less display, with patents suggesting Samsung is experimenting with an all-glass front into which the camera and sensors are also built-in.
Samsung Galaxy Note X
The bendable phone will finally become a reality in early 2018 if rumours are to be believed, though Samsung suggests we may be waiting a bit longer.
The Galaxy Note X, previously known as Project Valley, is thought to be a smartphone with a dual-screen (one on each side) that folds out to reveal a 7in tablet. An 8in tablet that folds up into a 5in phone has also been rumoured.
Okay, let's be honest here, we're not actually entirely convinced that a Snapchat smartphone will ever exist, let alone become a reality in 2018. We think it more likely the company is working on a connected camera, but there is certainly talk of a Snapchat phone.
Should a Snapchat smartphone come to reality it will likely be the ultimate selfie phone, and perhaps the first phone to feature a 360-degree camera.
Sony Xperia XZ2
Six months earlier than anticipated Sony has announced its Xperia XZ2 and Xperia XZ2 Compact at MWC 2018, with both phones going on sale in March.
What we love about Sony's 'Compact' line is the fact opting for a smaller size doesn't mean you have to miss out: both phones run the Snapdragon 845 and 18:9 HDR displays (5.7- and 5in), along with IP68 waterproofing. That said, only the larger model gets Qi wireless charging.
Sony has finally updated its design with a new 'Ambient Flow' look, which is all about breaking up the straight lines and blocky housings that have dominated recent Sony phones.
There are some unique features here, too: these are the first phones to support 4K HDR movie recording, and in general the entertainment experience should be top-notch. Sadly, though, the headphone jack is no more.
This is Xiaomi's upcoming flagship. The Mi7 should arrive in March or April 2018, undercutting the price of its UK rivals and offering much the same hardware - perhaps even better.
We know the Mi Mix 2S will launch on 27 March, and our money is on Xiaomi using the same event to announce the Mi7.
While flagships popular in the UK such as the upcoming Galaxy S9 are expected to stick with a fingerprint scanner, the Xiaomi Mi7 could be one of the first phones to embed a fingerprint scanner directly in the screen.
Other firsts for Xiaomi will likely include the addition of wireless charging, and the Mi7 could see an 18:9 panel with a full-HD (2160x1080) resolution.
There's likely to be both a standard and Plus model, with both running the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845. The base models will feature 6GB of RAM and 64GB storage, so performance should be mind-blowing.
Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S and Mi Mix 3
We're still a long way from the potential Mi Mix 3 release date, but we will see an updated version of the Mi Mix 2 on 27 March it has been confirmed. The Mi Mix 2S will be more or less identical to the Mix 2 but with the Snapdragon 845 inside.
The Mi Mix 3 will come later in the year - likely October - and we could see a new design if a leaked image of a rear panel is anything to go by.
This may be nothing more than a prototype, but if it sees the light of day we will see a Mi Mix with more rounded corners than ever, and a vertical dual-camera and central fingerprint scanner at the rear.
Recently leaked information suggests the Mi Mix 3 will come with the 10nm (second-gen) Snapdragon 845 processor.