The most anticipated smartphones of 2019

UPDATED: The Honor 20, Pixel 3a, and OnePlus 7 may all debut by mid-May

Sure, 2018 was an excellent year for smartphones, but we think 2019 could be even better. Why? Because we've already seen loads and loads of leaks.

They show a next generation of handsets that are sleeker and sexier than before, smoothing out the rough edges of past smartphones while adding more capabilities than ever. And some of them break fascinating new ground, as well, instead of just improving on what's come before.

Want an early look at the next super-phone that'll line your pocket sometime in 2019? Here's what we know so far about the year's biggest and brightest smartphones.

Samsung: Galaxy Fold

Samsung is getting adventurous again, as seen with the long-awaited debut of the Galaxy Fold smartphone. Looking like two flagship phones stacked atop each other, the Galaxy Fold has a compact 4.6in display on the outside – but fold the phone open and you'll find a 7.3in tablet-like Infinity Flex panel inside.

You have to see it to believe it – especially the way that apps seamlessly transfer from one screen to the next depending on whether you want to one-hand the phone or get a better view inside. It's also loaded with top-end tech, including a 7nm processor, 12GB RAM, 512GB of onboard memory, and 4,380mAh between its two battery packs.

The price is as wild as the concept however: it'll start at US$1,980 (about £1,520), and that's surely for the LTE model. We can't even imagine what they'll be asking for the 5G edition. The Galaxy Fold ships on 26 April, and we're definitely looking forward to playing around with it.

Huawei: Mate X

Huawei has already revealed a 2019 phone, however, and it's a big one - both literally and figuratively.

Shown at MWC in late February, the 5G-capable Huawei Mate X is a foldable phone along the lines of Samsung's Galaxy Fold, but it's done in a quite different manner. Rather than have a second screen hidden inside the fold, this one extra-large 8in display is wrapped around the outside.

That means you'll have screen on the front, screen on the back, and then one big conjoined screen when you fully unfold it. The benefit is a slimmer-looking phone; the downside comes with potential scratches, and possibly a flimsier feel than the Galaxy Fold.

In any case, we're super enticed, especially after going hands-on. The Mate X will ship sometime in the first half of this year, but it won't be cheap: in fact, it's hilariously expensive at €2299 (about £1970).

Apple: Next iPhones

We expect to see successors to the iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, and iPhone XR around the same annual September target that Apple prefers.

Purported leaked renders show three awkwardly-arranged back camera sensors in a huge-looking module, and it may use Sony's new 3D camera sensors that can measure distance. Another supposedly leaked render from the same leaker shows a center-mounted horizontal camera array, instead; he says that Apple may be deciding between them. The above concept render from Ben Geskin shows the first design on the iPhone XS Max successor, with a smaller notch on the front.

Other rumours are all over the place as of now. All three phones might use OLED displays… or they may not (the next iPhone XR will probably stick with LCD). The pricier models could follow the iPhone XR's lead and drop 3D Touch support… or maybe not. Apple Pencil support? That's been rumoured, too.

A Bloomberg report suggests that the new 2019 iPhones will not come with 5G network support – so if that's something you want ASAP, you may not get it from the next iPhone. At this point, however, it's too early to put much stock into any of these rumours and reports. We're enticed by the rumour that the iPhone XS follow-up will have a huge 4,000mAh battery, but a 50% boost like that is unlikely given Apple's history in that department.

We'll get juicier and surely firmer details as the year goes on, though. After all, the Apple rumour mill never disappoints.

OnePlus: OnePlus 7

The OnePlus 7 could be launching very soon - leaks currently point to a 14 May debut.

Leaks suggest a handset without a notch, punch-hole, or visible camera on the front - perhaps because it has a pop-up selfie camera. This OnLeaks concept render is based on purportedly leaked data, and he has a strong track record with these things. However, further leaks suggest three different models, including a Pro edition and a Pro 5G model.

We expect another handset that mostly matches flagships on quality and components but still comes a little short on price (hopefully), with a Snapdragon 855 processor and probably another 1080p display. And the Pro versions will reportedly pack a higher-res Quad HD panel with a 90Hz refresh rate. OnePlus has already confirmed that its next flagship will not have wireless charging onboard, although who knows if that applies to the Pro models too.

Google: Pixel 4

It's still very early in the rumour mill, but speculation is already circulating about Google's next major Pixel phones. And they suggest a bit of inspiration from Samsung.

The concept render above comes from Phone Designer, but it's based on a simple diagram that's rumoured to show the Pixel 4 XL's design. We see a wide punch-hole notch like on the Galaxy S10+, built to accommodate two front cameras, along with two back cameras and the familiar two-tone Pixel styling. The standard Pixel 4, meanwhile, is rumoured to stick to one front and one back camera.

Will it actually come to fruition? We haven't a clue at this point. Google's phone designs have consistently fallen short in key ways, and this honestly looks more polished than we'd expect from the company. But it could be on the right track if the diagram is legitimate. We'll surely hear more in the coming months ahead of an expected October debut.

Samsung: Galaxy Note 10

It's not a dramatic leap in logic to assume that the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 will probably look like a boxier, stylus-packing update to the Galaxy S10+. That's been Samsung's approach for a while now, and there's little reason to believe that it'll change too much this year.

Phone Arena mocked up the above concept render, which is purely based on speculation at this point. Previous leaks have pointed to a 6.66in display, and the Note 10 will probably have the Exynos 9820 or Snapdragon 855 chip depending on territory. Reports also suggest a second smaller edition of the Note 10, which would be the first time Samsung's done such a thing.

And four back cameras like the upcoming Galaxy S10 5G? That makes sense. One wild patent application suggests putting a camera into the S-Pen stylus, but we're not convinced that there's enough practical point in that. In any case, we're still waiting on clearer leaks ahead of what's likely to be another August launch.

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