Best upcoming smartphones: The future phones of 2017
With the pace of smartphone evolution moving so fast, there’s always something waiting in the wings. No sooner have you spied the latest handset, then there’s anticipation of something else, the next big thing.
We’ve rounded up the best smartphones for 2017, those we consider to be the best across all platforms, and we’ve regularly updated that list as the smartphone world has evolved.
You can find those in our Best smartphones 2017: The best phones available to buy today feature. If your budget is a little smaller, there is also our Best budget smartphones 2017: The best phones available to buy for under £250.
Here we’re looking at those phones that haven’t yet launched, the best upcoming phones for 2017. We’ll be updating this list on a regular basis, with those device rumours we think are credible and exciting, and devices just announced but yet to hit the shelves.
Best upcoming phones 2017
Before we dive into the detail, here are some of the anticipated upcoming handsets for 2017:
- HTC U 11/HTC Ocean
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Motorola Moto X4
- Apple iPhone 8
- Apple iPhone 8 Plus
- OnePlus 5
- Google Pixel 2
HTC Ocean / HTC U 11
HTC’s next flagship handset is thought to be going under the name of HTC U 11, previously known as HTC Ocean. HTC launched its first handsets for 2017 in the form of the U Play and U Ultra, but at the time said this wasn’t the flagship and there was more to come.
It’s now thought this more will be coming on 16 May 2017 after the Taiwanese company sent out a save the date to press. The new device is rumoured to offer new methods of interaction, with suggestions of a touch-sensitive frame called Edge Sense, and HTC’s social campaign promoting squeeze.
According to the speculation, the HTC U 11 will have a 5.5-inch Quad HD display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, a 12-megapixel rear camera, 16-megapixel front-facing camera, 64GB or 128GB of internal storage, microSD card slot, Android 7.1 Nougat and HTC’s own Sense 9 UI.
- HTC U 11 ‘Ocean’: Everything you need to know
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Sure, the Note 7 didn’t go so well, but it seems that the family isn’t dead: the Note 7 is getting refurbished and released as the Note 7R in some territories and it looks like Samsung still has plans for the next model, the Note 8. This was confirmed by Samsung soon after the Note 7 failed, suggesting an upgrade programme to the new model when it launches.
That launch is expected to be some time in August or September, with IFA 2017 getting a recent suggestion. There’s very little detail to go on in terms of what to expect, but we’d expect the S Pen to come back, we’d expect software upgrades and there’s talk of the introduction of a dual camera system.
Exactly how large the Note 8 might be if it adopts the 18.5:9 aspect display like the Galaxy S8, we just don’t know.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8: What’s the story so far?
Motorola Moto X4
Motorola, under the stewardship of Lenovo, is planning to update the Moto X in 2017. Previously called Moto X (2017), it now has some branding in the form of Moto X4. We’re expecting a mid-range handset, which will likely mean a metal body and more powerful hardware, with screen sizes somewhere around 5.5 inches.
There’s no knowing if Moto will include compatibility with the Moto Mods of Moto Z 2016, with early leaks suggesting an entirely different design. Exactly how Motorola will keep distinction between E, G, X and Z remains to be seen, but there’s a growing body of evidence to suggest the Moto X4 is coming.
Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
The iPhone 8 is reported to shake things up completely when it appears later this year. The iPhone 7, surprisingly, didn’t make a huge change over the iPhone 6S, but the biggest hint at what to expect from the iPhone 8 might have come from Apple Watch.
With the release of the Series 2 device, Apple introduced a ceramic version. This, paired with the jet black colouring for the iPhone 7, might point to future changes in materials for the iPhone 8. Some are suggesting that the iPhone 8 will be mostly glass and introduce wireless charging, but there’s expected to be a special edition ceramic version too.
There have also been talks of an OLED curved display for the iPhone 8, as well as a rear mounted fingerprint sensor. Taking it further, it’s suggested that there will be an iPhone 7S and 7S Plus too, alongside this roaring iPhone 8, with the iPhone 8 being the more premium of the three.
- Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus: What’s the story so far?
Wait, what? No, you’re not going mad. There’s a rumour that OnePlus will be skipping the 4 number and heading straight to OnePlus 5.
The OnePlus 5 could land with a glass or ceramic body, moving on from the OnePlus 3T to present something a little different. It wouldn’t be the first time that OnePlus has used something different, as it did in the OnePlus X.
A 5.3-inch display might meet a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset for loads of power. This could all be heading your way in May or June.
- OnePlus 5: What’s the story so far?
Google Pixel 2
The Google Pixel has received great acclaim for it’s pure Google phone approach, with a lot of people really loving the camera experience.
Rumours are light on the Google Pixel 2 – we don’t even have confirmation of the name – but it has been confirmed that there will be a new Pixel device in 2017. That was confirmed by Rick Osterloh, SVP of hardware at Google, i.e., the chap who will be responsible for it. Other details are light, but Osterloh also confirmed that the Pixel 2 would retain its premium positioning.
That’s about all we know so far, but you can expect Android O, and potentially another phone manufactured by HTC. We’d expect it to launch about October time, about a year after the original.
- Google Pixel 2: What do we want to see?
Nokia made it’s play at Mobile World Congress 2017, launching three Android devices. The lead device was the Nokia 6, but notably missing was a true flagship smartphone, colloquially dubbed the Nokia 8.
Originally leaking as the P1, and then finding itself levelled with the name Nokia 8, we’re expecting a premium build, with an IP68 rating, a 5.5-inch display with 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution.
Most of the hardware rumours have said Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, but with plenty of mixed messaging coming from the flagship rumours and those wrapped up in the Nokia 6/5/3, we’re going to be watching and waiting to see how the story of Nokia’s flagship unfolds.
- Nokia 8 Android phone: Release date, rumours and specs
Microsoft Surface Phone
The Surface Phone is something of a Windows phone holy grail. With Nokia then Microsoft Devices producing plenty of Windows Phones, the spectre of the Surface Phone has been hanging around as the idea of the ultimate Windows mobile device. Given the recent sale of virtually all of its phone patents, and announcement that it’s no longer focusing on Windows Phone development, the Surface Phone may never see the light of day.
It’s rumoured that the new premium device will be Surface branded and Intel powered, possibly coming in three different variants. Given the same team behind the Surface Tablets are said to be behind the Surface Phone, you can expect a solid build if it ever does appear.
There’s also the suggestion that Surface Phone will run a brand new update of Windows 10, aiming to capitalise on the branding and offer the ultimate experience. Launch originally wasn’t expected until the latter half of 2016, but this has since shifted to 2017. That’s if it appears at all.
- Microsoft Surface Phone: What’s the story so far?
Upcoming phones already announced…
The Nokia 6 is now a global device, offering a lovely build on mid-range specs. It has an aluminium body, fronted by a lovely 5.5-inch Full HD display. It’s powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset and offers a 16-megapixel camera on the rear, 8-megapixel on the front. Most attractive, however, is that it’s pure Android, with no bloat at all – the only thing Nokia changes is the camera app.
The Arte Black special edition (pictured) is only €299, the normal version is €229, meaning this is a serious bargain for Nokia’s return to smartphones. There are also Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 handsets, which drop the specs down – the Nokia 6 is our star pick, however.
- Nokia 6 preview: A solid start for the new Android Nokia