The Most Exciting Phones Coming In 2017: iPhone 8, Galaxy S8, OnePlus 5 and Google Pixel 2...
Samsung. Apple. Pixel 2. Huawei. OnePlus -- a sneak peak at 2017's most exciting releases
The big difference that most will notice in 2017 is how much more expensive phones are going to be. The Samsung Galaxy S8 will cost around $100/£100 more than the Galaxy S7 did and the iPhone 8, well, that's going to be VERY expensive – $1000+.
The reason for this, I believe, is that Samsung and other players in the space knew that Apple was going to hike its prices, so they acted accordingly. Component costs haven't gone up that much year on year, so the idea that the Galaxy S8 should cost £100 more than the Galaxy S7 is frankly ludicrous.
Perhaps Samsung is attempting to recoup its losses from last year's Galaxy Note 7?
If you can swallow the higher prices, though, you're in for a treat. And if you can't, well, you still have plenty of other options in the form of new OnePlus, Sony, Oppo and Nokia releases.
Indeed, these firms and their ilk may be poised to clear up in the smartphone space if a new report from IDC is anything to go by. According to the analysis firm, the first three months of 2017 (Q1) have shown that Samsung and Apple shipments are flat year-on-year despite the fact that both are in the top-two rankings for global OEMs. This is juxtaposed with the fact that the smartphone market appears to be growing while Apple and Samsung remain fairly fixed, on the same note, the remaining top 5 firms; Huawei, Oppo, and vivo (all Chinese) all showed signfiicant growth in the quarter.
Global shipment growth stands at 4.3%, up on 2016 to nearly 347.4 million units.
Sony Xperia XZ Premium
The Sony Xperia XZ Premium launched at MWC 2017 and, quite simply, blew my socks off. I didn't think Sony had a handset like this in them after years and years of mediocre releases and languishing market share.
I wasn't expecting much and Sony delivered WAY more than anyone expected. Not only is this handset stunning to behold, but it also features a brilliant camera and a 4K display with HDR.
I think Sony might just have a hit on its hands here, as there appears to be rather a lot of hype and interest around this phone. Way more than usual. Also: the price is decent too €649 – that's A LOT cheaper than the incoming Galaxy S8 and iPhone 8.
Could 2017 be the year Sony returns to form? The Sony Xperia XZ Premium certainly looks like a handset that could turn things around.
Nokia is officially back in the phone scene. Nokia, now owned by HMD, returned to the fray at MWC 2016, where it launched a trio of Android-powered smartphones as well as rebooted version of the Nokia 3310.
The Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6 are all mid-range handsets, designed for taking control of the lucrative mod-range segment of the mobile space. Priced aggressively and featuring eye-catching designs, the Nokia Android phones are decent and will no doubt make a lot of friends when they get a release later this year.
All eyes are on the Nokia 8, however, which is also known as the Nokia P1. This is Nokia's flagship handset, the handset that will do battle with Apple's iPhone 8 and Samsung's Galaxy S8.
We have a full article on the Nokia 8 already, so if you're interested in that handset make sure you check that article out, as the handset is shaping up to be quite a beast.
Apple iPhone 8
No phone attracts more attention than a new iPhone, and 2017's release looks set to be a stunner. Word on the street suggests the iPhone 8 – or whatever it is eventually called – is the handset Jony Ive has always dreamed of making a commercial reality. Expect big design changes, the removal of the Home key, new display tech and BIG improvements in the imaging department.
Apple might be releasing three iPhone 8 models in 2017: the iPhone 8, iPhone 8 Plus and a third model known as the iPhone 8 Pro. The latter of which will feature a 5.8in OLED panel and likely no bezel whatsoever.
Rumours suggest a grand redesign that will see Apple do away with the Home key and instead focus on creating an all-screen phone. Whether this design language is featured on all three models remains to be seen; it could well be present on only the iPhone 8 Pro model, which, of course, will be the most expensive and where all the innovation is.
Apple's 2017 iPhone needs to be a rather big deal as well for the company after this year's iPhone 7, which left a lot of consumers, well… a little less than impressed.
The move to switch to a three-year hardware cycle was a little odd for Apple, as it means the company is now retailing a design it first launched WAY back in 2014. To the untrained eye it is kind of difficult to tell the iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone 7 apart.
Apple also removed the headphone jack on this year's iPhone 7 as well and that move, while very controversial indeed, is not something the company will likely go back on, so DO NOT expect to see the headphone jack return on 2017's iPhone.
Expected Launch: Late Q4 2017
Samsung Galaxy S8
Now the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ are officially out and much of what was promised has become reality. It doesn't pack a dual-camera or a fingerprint scanner under the display glass, but aside from this we've got a lot from the pre-launch rumour checklist. A huge and curved Super AMOLED display with an 18.5:9 aspect ratio, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 OR Exynos 8895 processors (region dependent), waterproofing, Bixby AI, and tons more.
Here's a quick excerpt from our full review, which you can read here.
"I'm rather fond of this phone. My overall impression is very positive. I liked using it, I found it easy and seamless, rather refreshing really. It feels thoughtful and clever, though one or two bits are still glaringly missing, we are promised they'll be patched in later.
"From a hardware perspective it's an absolute diamond. The camera is incredible and you really must try this, even if you've no intention of buying this phone I heartily encourage you to get down to a showroom and try the camera out if only to show you what's possible and what we should be expecting of future flagships as some kind of baseline. Meanwhile, on the display and processor front, Samsung continues to push boundaries and deliver excellent quality.
"And on the subject of design and build, well, it's a matter of taste but I think Samsung has gone from strength to strength and here has delivered something very refined indeed.
"The real icing on the cake, however, is that battery life. It's just phenomenal. This is easily the best phone on the market when it comes to battery life, so if you're looking for a handset that will go the distance - look no further."
Launched: March 2017
OnePlus 4 – Or, OnePlus 5
OnePlus has been steadily making a name for itself in the mobile space with solid, reliable and, most importantly, inexpensive flagship-grade smartphones. Each new iteration of the OnePlus range takes things a step further, adding in new features, more value and increased performance.
The OnePlus 3, for its price, was an exceptional handset. Easily one of the best Android phones of 2016, the handset can be had for just over £300 – way less than any of its competitors' offerings.
Things have been quiet on the OnePlus front for a while now, but I would expect a focus on display technology, imaging and software inside 2017's OnePlus 4.
One interesting twist to the OnePlus 4 rumour mill concerns the name of the handset. According to multiple sources, OnePlus might skip the number 4 for its next handset, apparently its unlucky in China, and skip ahead to 5, meaning the handset would be called the OnePlus 5.
Rumours suggest the handset will feature a ceramic body, big updates in the specs and hardware department, as well as a bump to the display resolution, meaning this could be the first OnePlus release to embrace QHD panels. The latest rumours also suggest it may feature a curved display along both edges like the Samsung Galaxy S7 EDGE.
Expected Launch: Q2/Q3 2017
Over the past two years, Huawei has slowly but surely grown its brand in the UK and US. Previously an unpronounceable mid-range-totting Chinese phone maker, Huawei is now one of the biggest phone makers on the planet and it has achieved this with its extensive range of Android phones from budget offerings right up to stellar flagships, like the Huawei Mate 9 and Huawei P9.
Huawei has now launched the Huawei P10 at MWC 2017 and it's a bit of a corker it must be said!
The Huawei P10 is sleek, well styled and effortlessly premium. It has an air of iPhone about it, but Huawei has always borrowed style elements from the best in the business, so I don't think anyone will mind too much.
Like the Huawei P9, the P10 is available in two sizes: 5.1in display for the P10 and 5.5in for the P10 Plus.
The handsets feature what Huawei calls a "sand-blasted" finish and both are available in the following colours: Dazzling Blue, Rose Gold, Prestige Gold, Ceramic White, Mystic Silver, Dazzling Gold and Graphite Black. Here's the spec sheet:
Display: 5.1in display with a 1920×1080-pixel resolution at 432ppi
Dimensions: 145.3 x 69.3 x 7 mm
Weight: 145 grams
Storage: 64GB, plus support for microSD cards up to 256GB
Memory: 4 GB RAM
Processors: Kirin 960 2.4GHz 64-bit Octa-core processor
Google's first foray into mobile phones – the Pixel and Pixel XL – made a HUGE splash in late-2016. I reviewed the Pixel XL and it quite literally blew my socks off – this phone is incredible. Yes, it costs A LOT but what you get is arguably the best phone on the market right now.
You can check out the full review here: Google Pixel XL Review: The Best Goddamn Phone In The World.
Google has now confirmed that it will indeed be making a sequel to the Pixel and Pixel XL, as well as another, potentially cheaper version for emerging markets.
Design gripes aside it is very hard not to like Google's Pixel phones. The software is spot on. Ditto overall performance, imaging quality and battery performance. Couple this with first in-line status for Android updates and you're looking at one hell of a compelling proposition.
The price of these handsets is rather high, however, and that will definitely put off some users. But for those that see phones as an investment -- or those that have the spare cash -- the Pixel phones, notably the Pixel XL, are very hard to fault.
Expected Launch: Q4 2017
The LG G5 was one of my personal favourites of 2016. I loved that phone. It performed great, had a lovely UX, the camera was brilliant and it had decent battery life.
LG has now launched the LG G6 at MWC 2017, following a long period of leaks, tip-offs, and official teasers from the manufacturer itself! It's safe to say that most of what was rumoured has turned out to be true. It's a sleek, premium, unibody device with water and dust proofing - an LG flagship first. It's also loaded with amazing camera tech.