The most anticipated smartphones of 2019

Motorola: Moto G7

Moto's G series has continually ruled the budget roost, and the G7 line looks poised to continue that trend in 2019. Nearly everything leaked in advance, but now it's all official.

The Moto G7 and G7 Plus (shown) both feature waterdrop notches and 6.2in 1080p displays, with modest differences in processing power and dual-camera setups (the G7 Plus adds optical image stabilisation, for example), while the Moto G7 Play and G7 Power each have a 720p display, a single back camera, and a larger front notch. The G7 Power sports an enormous 5,000mAh battery, while the other three models stick to 3,000mAh.

All four models release in the UK on 1 March, with the top-dog Moto G7 Plus at £269, the standard Moto G7 at £239, the bulging-battery Moto G7 Power at £179, and the smaller and simpler Moto G7 Play at just £149.

Sony: Xperia XZ4 + Xperia XA3

Sony has adopted a seemingly rapid-fire rollout for its Xperia XZ flagships, with 2018's excellent Xperia XZ3 following the very good Xperia XZ2 by just six months. And the Xperia XZ4 might repeat the feat with an early 2019 debut.

Speculative renders based on CAD data leaks show an even more refined handset than the XZ3, with a super-tall 21:9 display and a fingerprint sensor in the side-mounted power button (rather than an awkward back position as on the XZ3).

Most likely, the XZ4 will use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 processor, and leaks point to a 6.5in display – hopefully another stunning Quad HD OLED like on the XZ3. It could also pack a trio of back cameras, following the growing trend in the Android flagship space.

Rumours suggest a February launch at Mobile World Congress, will a full release to follow soon after. We suspect the price will rise above the £699 tag of the XZ3, but we'll see how it shakes out.

(Leaked image via Ice Universe)

The mid-range Xperia XA3, meanwhile, looks to keep the same kind of screen dimensions while trimming down the tech. This leaked render from WinFuture shows what we're apparently working with: it's not quite as sleek or curvy as the Xperia XZ4 concept render, but is still very striking with that ultra-tall display.

WinFuture expects a Snapdragon 660 chip inside, a 1080p screen around 5.9in, 23MP/8MP cameras on the back, and a 3,500mAh battery pack within. Like the Xperia XZ4, we should see this one at MWC later in February.

LG: G8 ThinQ + V50 ThinQ 5G

LG has had a tough time keeping up with the premier flagships of the world over the last few years, although maybe the LG G8 ThinQ will be different.

Here's a proper leaked render via XDA Developers, which closely matches the previous concept renders based on CAD data. And yes, it's nearly identical to the LG G7 ThinQ, curiously enough. However, CNET suggests that the G8 ThinQ's most compelling feature is one we haven't seen leaked yet: an optional, attachable second screen via a case-like peripheral.

That could position the LG G8 ThinQ as an alternative to incoming foldable phones, but we haven't yet seen any visual indication of what that offering might look like. And curiously, the concept renders only show two back cameras, whereas the LG G7 ThinQ had three. We should find out all the details at MWC 2019 in February, though - and the LG G8 ThinQ isn't expected to launch with 5G support, by the way.

But the LG V50 ThinQ 5G would, as the name suggests. First word of that device comes from ETNews, which says that it will pack a 6in display, vapor-chamber cooled Snapdragon 855 processor, and a 4,000mAh battery pack. It's also expected to debut at MWC.

Google: Pixel 3 Lite

Remember how we knew essentially everything about the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL several weeks before the phones were actually announced? Well, it looks like history is about to repeat itself again, as purported Google Pixel 3 Lite and Pixel 3 Lite XL handsets have seemingly leaked.

Unless this is an elaborate hoax, an extensive hands-on video was posted to YouTube showing the device in action, and there have been other leaked photos as well. Both phones look nearly identical to the standard Pixel 3 (no notch!), but feature some lower-end specs. They sport plastic instead of glass on the back now, use a mid-range Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 chip, and have 1080p LCD panels. The Pixel 3 Lite is said to come in at 5.5in, while the Pixel 3 Lite XL goes for 6in.

On the upside, it purportedly has the same kind of excellent single back camera as the other Pixel 3 phones, which could make it the mid-ranger of choice… depending on price. No word yet on when we'll see the official launch, assuming it's real, but MWC 2019 is coming right up in February.

Of course, there's sure to be Pixel 4 handsets later in the year, but we haven't heard much substantial on that front just yet.

(Leaked Pixel 3 Lite photo via Rozetked)

Vivo: The V15 Pro

Last year's Vivo Nex kicked notches to the curb, instead implementing a pop-up selfie camera that emerged only when needed. Now Vivo looks poised to improve on that concept with the V15 Pro, which keeps the concept but drops in a 32-megapixel selfie camera this time around.

On the back, you'll find a triple-camera setup, the company's V15 Pro teases so far look pretty slick. Aside from an in-display fingerprint sensor, that's about all we know right now, but Vivo has announced a full reveal on 20 February - the same day as Samsung's Galaxy S10 event. Vivo must be feeling pretty confident, then...

Energizer: So many phones

Battery giant Energizer obviously isn't a major player in the smartphone scene, but that's not stopping the company from making an enormous push at MWC later this month. How enormous, you ask? They're bringing 26 phones. (Seriously!)

Some will have notches, others will have pop-up cameras, and at least one will have a currently-unbelievable 18,000mAh battery pack. That's almost 4x the current top-end capacity for smartphones, and could provide several days of solid uptime. We can't wait to see what kind of phone is attached to that cell, and how large it is.

What you're seeing above is the Energizer Ultimate G620S Pop (via GSM Arena), which will also debut at MWC and doesn't have a gargantuan battery pack. Still, it's an unexpected offering from this company, so we're curious to see the full lineup unveilled.

Already released in 2019

Those are the phones still on the horizon, but 2019 has already seen some stellar smartphone releases. Here's a look at the phones that we've reviewed so far this year, along with a quick verdict and a link to the complete appraisal.

Honor View 20: This dazzling mid-ranger shows the strength of a hole-punch cutout and is one of the best phones in its class.

Huawei P Smart (2019): You can't do too much better for £200, as the new P Smart has a great screen, a sleek look, and solid battery life.

Honor 10 Lite: It's a good-looking budget handset, but with performance hitches and a cheap-feeling build, it's beaten by the P Smart.