Flagship phones get better every year, and in 2019 we have some gorgeous handsets to look forward to from the likes of Samsung and Apple, LG and HTC, Huawei and Honor, Xiaomi and OnePlus, Sony, Motorola, Nokia and more.

In the next 12 months you can expect to see the first phones capable of connecting to 5G networks (here's what that means), and the futuristic in-display fingerprint sensor should become commonplace, even trickling down to the mid-range

The processor of choice will be the Snapdragon 855, a 7nm octa-core chip that promises a 45% performance bump and a lot more besides, though the likes of Apple, Huawei and Samsung will continue to build in their alternatives.

Expect phones to get faster, screens to get bigger (and taller, and possibly bendier), and batteries to last longer. Above all they'll become smarter, with AI becoming widespread and implemented system-wide. We'll see new creative ways to get around the screen 'notch', with Samsung trying out a new punch-hole-style Infinity-O display and others sure to follow suit.

Cameras, too, will multiply in number, with the first penta-lens smartphone from Nokia tipped to be imminent. They'll pile on the Megapixels - Xiaomi's upcoming Mi 9 could feature a 48Mp triple-lens camera - and also the quality.

For software the majority will run Android Pie or iOS 12, but both Android 10 Q and iOS 13 are due an autumn launch.

Smartphones due at MWC 2019

MWC 2019 kicks off this weekend, which means we're due an influx of great new phones. But some phone makers just can't wait to tell us all about their new devices.

While LG has already issued a couple of press releases about its upcoming G8, Xiaomi has already announced the Mi 9 in China. Samsung has also jumped the MWC gun with the announcement of its Galaxy S10 and Galaxy Fold.

Sunday 24 February is the busiest day at MWC, kicking off at 10.30am with Xiaomi and it's by then twice revealed Mi 9. This is followed by Nokia, hopefully with the Nokia 9, and LG - and while we already know quite a bit about the G8 it has done a better job of keeping the V50 under wraps. Huawei is also holding a press conference, but it's not for a phone - the P30 line-up will arrive on 26 March.

Sony's conference is not until the morning of Monday 25 February, but it will be worth the wait with the launch of the Xperia XZ4 and XZ4 Compact

OnePlus is not holding a conference, but we understand it will show off a prototype of its upcoming 5G phone (this is not the OnePlus 7).

Top smartphones coming in 2019

Below we've listed the flagships expected to arrive in 2019 from the world's biggest smartphone makers. Though launch dates are yet to be confirmed we've attempted to keep things roughly in date order, so you have a good idea of how long you'll be waiting to upgrade.

There's a chance you could upgrade your contract early, but if you just can't wait you should also check out our guide to the best phones available right now.

Xiaomi Mi 9

The Xiaomi Mi 9 is now official in China, alongside the Mi 9 SE and Mi 9 Explorer. We'll have to wait until the MWC launch on Sunday (10.30am CET) to find out which models are coming to the UK and at what price.

The Mi 9 will be available in Piano Black and two new colours: iridescent blue (Ocean Blue) and pink (Lavender Violet). A 'transparent' option will also be available in the Explorer Edition.

It runs the 7nm Snapdragon 855 processor with Adreno 640 graphics, with 6GB or 8GB of RAM and 64GB, 128GB or 256GB storage. The Explorer Edition features an insane 12GB of RAM, and also upgrades the primary camera.

A 6.4in 19:9 display uses Samsung Super AMOLED tech, and has a new waterdrop-style notch to house the 20Mp selfie camera. The screen-to-body ratio has been raised to 90.7% with a 40% reduction in the size of the chin. The rear camera display has also been tweaked, now a triple-lens model with 48Mp + 16Mp + 12Mp lenses.

An in-display fingerprint sensor is 25% faster than in the Mi 8 Pro and Explorer, and additional new features such as Game Turbo mode, a system-wide dark mode, and a customisable Always-on Display.

Read more about the upcoming Mi 9.

Samsung Galaxy S10

The Galaxy S10 is now official, launching at an Unpacked press conference ahead of MWC on 20 February. It was announced alongside the cheaper S10e and top-end S10 Plus, with a 5G version also promised.

The S10 is available to pre-order now (see the best deals) and goes on sale on 8 March. Those who pre-order before 7 March will get a free pair of wireless Galaxy Buds.

The 10th smartphone in the series, the S10 is quite the upgrade over its predecessor. The screen now occupies 93% of the front surface of the device, with a new Dynamic OLED Infinity-O panel using a punch-hole style notch for the 20Mp selfie camera. Those screens are getting larger, too, with 5.8in, 6.1in and 6.4in displays.

All but the S10e integrate an in-display fingerprint sensor, and run on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 or Samsung's own Exynos 9820 chip. There are more cameras, with two at the front of the S10 Plus and three (or even four in the 5G model) at the rear.

Storage and RAM options now go as high as 512GB and 12GB respectively, and there's a microSD slot to add a further 512GB.

You can pre-register your interest now at Carphone Warehouse for the chance to win a £1,000 Currys/PC World gift card.

Read more about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.

Samsung Galaxy Fold

Samsung's upcoming foldable phone is one of many such devices expected to hit the market in 2019, with Xiaomi, Huawei and others also said to be working on the format.

Pricing is naturally outrageous, and the Galaxy Fold will cost a staggering 2000 Euros/$1980 when it goes on sale on 3 May (26 April in the US).

There's a 4.6in HD+ Super AMOLED screen on the outside of the device, which can be unfolded to reveal a larger 7.3in QXGA+ Dynamic AMOLED display that can display three apps at once. The exterior screen is not usable in this position, but App Continuity allows you to continue what you were doing on the smaller screen on the larger display.

Galaxy Fold has a total of six cameras, with three (16Mp + 12Mp + 12Mp) on the back, two inside (10Mp + 8Mp) and one (10Mp) on the front in its folded position.

The new Samsung phone features 12GB of RAM, 512GB of storage and a fast 7nm 64-bit octa-core processor. The battery is rated at 4,380mAh.

The phone uses a new custom operating system called One UI, which is much more simplified than what we are used to seeing on Samsung devices, and optimised for one-handed use.

Read more about the Samsung Galaxy Fold here.

Nokia 9 PureView

At 4pm CET on Sunday 24 February Nokia is holding a MWC press conference, and after a very long (two-year) wait, this could be the day we are finally rewarded for our patience with the Nokia 9 PureView.

That it's expected to feature last year's Snapdragon 845 rather than the brand-new 855 is disappointing, if not at all surprising, though the Nokia 9 could wow in other ways: it's thought to feature a penta-lens rear camera with Zeiss branding.

The Nokia 9's 5.99in Quad-HD screen could also see an in-display fingerprint sensor integrated, and we expect to find Android One and a capacious 4,150mAh battery running the show. Waterproofing and wireless charging should also be standard.

Read more about the upcoming Nokia 9 PureView.

LG G8 ThinQ

LG is holding a MWC press conference on Sunday 24 February at 7.30pm CET, and it's already confirmed that the G8 ThinQ will be announced.

Surprise, surprise, this 2019 flagship will also carry the Snapdragon 855 processor, but it's unlikely to support costly 5G - LG is expected to announce another phone for this.

Whereas the G8 was originally thought to be a foldable phone, LG has now put to bed rumours that its foldable device will launch this year. Instead it will be another notch-screen full-display smartphone, with confirmed features including sound on display and a time-of-flight camera.

That screen could go 4K, but perhaps with LCD rather than AMOLED tech to keep down costs. A triple-lens camera is also rumoured, but just a dual-lens camera is depicted in renders.

One of two LG flagships anticipated in 2019, also expect an LG V50 to launch before the end of the year.

Read more about the upcoming LG G8 ThinQ.

LG V50

Though we weren't expecting the V50 until October 2019, fresh rumours from South Korea suggest the V50 will be LG's first 5G smartphone, and that it will arrive at MWC 2019 alongside the LG G8.

Available in the US and Europe from March, the same source says we'll see a 6in QHD display, Snapdragon 855 processor and 4,000mAh battery.

Read more about the upcoming LG V50 here.

Sony Xperia XZ4

Launching on 25 February 2019 (8.30am CET) at the MWC tradeshow, the Xperia XZ4 will be Sony's latest flagship. It's likely to look an awful lot like the XZ3, though perhaps with a flatter screen.

Leaked renders of screen protectors suggest there will be no notch, but a very tall 21:9 aspect ratio. Case renders also point to at least two cameras at the rear, but potentially three.

In common with the Huawei P30 Pro there is some talk of Sony reversing its decision to remove the headphone jack, though we think this unlikely.

The Snapdragon 855 will also feature, and Sony fans will be pleased to learn a Compact version of the XZ4 is also expected to be announced.

Read more about the upcoming Sony Xperia XZ4.

Huawei P30 Pro

The first Huawei flagship of the year will be the P30 Pro. But while Huawei is holding a launch event at MWC on Sunday 24 February, the P30 will arrive at a separate event on 26 March.

The latest renders of the upcoming phone point to the return of the headphone jack, as well as an in-display fingerprint sensor and new waterdrop-style screen notch. Though there may again be a triple-lens rear camera on the standard model, the Pro could see a four-lens assembly.

We anticipate the new Huawei phone will use the same Kirin 980 seen in the Mate 20 Pro, and we'd also expect it to 'borrow' features such as the curved screen and 3D face-scanning camera.

Read more about the upcoming Huawei P30 Pro.

Xiaomi Mi Mix 3S (& Mi Mix 4)

Although the Mi Mix 3 is only going on sale in the UK on 16 January (priced at £499), we can expect to see two more Mi Mix phones heading our way in 2019. The first, the Mi Mix 3S, likely around March time, and the second the Mi Mix 4, arriving around October.

Changes thought to be coming to the line include the possibility of a foldable screen (don't hold your breath for this in the 3S, where we expect to find a refined version of the existing magnetic sliding screen), as well as an update to the Snapdragon 855 and addition of a third periscope lens to the rear camera assembly.

With flagship specs the anticipated price of the upcoming Mi Mix phones is outrageous: around £500.

Read more about the Mi Mix 3S & Mi Mix 4. 

Honor 11

A Huawei spin-off, Honor is becoming increasingly popular with consumers in the UK. Its 2019 flagship is the Honor 11, which we expect will be announced in China in April, and possibly the UK in May.

Its predecessor (pictured) had an attractive £399 price tag, which is something we hope Honor will stick to this time around. As a result you get some top-level specs, but not as much as you might expect from the likes of the Galaxy S10.

Following on from the already announced Honor View 20, which is one of the first phones we've seen to use a punch-hole-style selfie camera cutout, the Honor 11 will likely get the same treatment.

We'd expect a largely similar spec to the Huawei P30, which means there could be a powerful Kirin 980 inside.

Read more about the upcoming Honor 11.


HTC used to be big news in the Android market, but these days less so. Despite some rumours before Christmas that there would be no HTC U13, the company has insisted that its future flagship smartphone efforts will focus on 5G, artificial intelligence, blockchain and virtual-reality applications. 

We don't expect the next flagship from HTC to arrive until at least late-May 2019, and thus there is little right now to go on in the way of rumours. A few early concept videos have leaked and, worryingly, all point to a mid-range Snapdragon 660 processor rather than a chip worthy of a flagship.

We'd like to see the U13 reduce its screen bezels, move to AMOLED tech, and integrate an in-display fingerprint sensor. It proved its worth with the camera on the U12+, so let's see it do that again here.

Read more about the upcoming HTC U13.

OnePlus 7

One of two new OnePlus flagships expected to arrive in 2019 (with a 5G phone also promised to launch before the end of May), the OnePlus 7 will see a summer launch around May-June time.

Tipped to be another flagship killer at an affordable price, anticipated specs include the Snapdragon 855, fast UFS 3.0 storage and the triple-lens rear camera that was rumoured for the OnePlus 6T before it, as well as that phone's in-display fingerprint sensor.

We'd love to see the OnePlus include proper waterproofing and wireless charging, but only time will tell.

Read more about the upcoming OnePlus 7.

Moto Z4 Play

Motorola's upcoming flagship may not be a flagship at all, with a mid-range processor inside, potentially the Snapdragon 710. The 2018 flagship (the standard Moto Z3) never made it to the UK, so it's likely we'll see only the cheaper Play model again in 2019.

We've seen some CAD-based renders of the upcoming Motorola handset, which is expected to arrive in June, and they point to a move from a dual-lens camera at the rear to a single-lens model. Odd, but perhaps a cost-cutting exercise in order to squeeze in an in-display fingerprint sensor, with a rear-facing version nowhere to be seen on the images.

This is one of several changes likely to come to the display, and we may also see a new waterdrop-style screen notch to house the selfie cameras and sensors.

Read more about the upcoming Moto Z4 Play.

Samsung Galaxy Note 10

The third Samsung flagship to arrive in 2019, the Note 9 will mark itself out with an even larger screen (now up to 6.66in), a higher-capacity battery and an S-Pen stylus.

Almost certainly arriving in August 2019, the Galaxy Note 10 is said to offer 8% more usable screen area, and will also feature Samsung's new Infinity-O display (with punch-hole-style cutout for the selfie camera).

We can expect to see all the same improvements that come to the Galaxy S line in February with the S10, including the in-display fingerprint sensor, Snapdragon 855/Exynos 9820, UFS 3.0 storage and Samsung's new OneUI.

Read more about the upcoming Galaxy Note 10.

Apple iPhone 2019

iPhone 11, iPhone XI, iPhone XS 2019... for now no-one really knows what to call the next iPhone, though history tells us it will be announced in September 2019. Once again there will likely be three models, in essence standard, lite and plus versions.

As always there is an awful lot of speculation over what will feature in the next iPhone, but chief among those rumours is a triple-lens camera, a reduced screen notch, even tougher screen protection with Sapphire glass, and a move from Lightning to USB-C (which will be sure to annoy a lot of Apple fans and delight the rest of the world).

The next iPhone could also see the return of the fingerprint sensor, with an in-display Touch ID module, and a move to OLED panels on all models.

Read more about the upcoming 2019 iPhone on our sister site, Macworld.

Google Pixel 4

Google's annual own-brand smartphone release will come in early October 2019, running new Android 10 Q

Early rumours suggest the company will push the boundaries of the all-screen front, with a dual-lens selfie camera and dual speakers built directly into the display and no notch in sight. With more focus on the front we could see a jump up in size from 5.5in to around 6in on the standard model, and from 6.3in to something closer to 6.6in on the Pixel 4 XL.

Another thing Google will work to improve is photography, with a dual-lens camera with 2x optical zoom expected to feature. And performance will improve, with the Snapdragon 855 onboard (which could also pave the way to 5G support), though we'd like to see Google go beyond 4GB of RAM as standard.

Read more about the upcoming Pixel 4.

Huawei Mate 30 Pro

Unlikely to arrive until October 2019, the Mate 30 Pro could be Huawei's most expensive phone to date. 

Some things are a given, like the fact it will see a processor bump to the Kirin 990. Others, we can speculate on, and some leaked case renders suggest a much larger camera cutout on the Mate 30 Pro. It already had three camera lenses at the rear, so in 2019 we could see four or even five.

Huawei's CEO Richard Yu says the company will continue to focus on AI this year. 

Read more about the upcoming Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

Like the mysterious Mate 30 Pro and Pixel 4, Razer's third-gen Razer Phone is rumoured to be released in October 2019. The Razer Phone 2 is one of the best gaming-focused smartphones on the market right now, boasting a 120Hz display and RGB lighting on the rear.

How will Razer improve?

It's hard to say beyond upgraded internals, but we're holding out hope for the introduction of a suite of mobile gaming accessories alongside the Razer Phone 3. 

Read more about the Razer Phone 3 here. 

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