Last year was a fantastic one for phones. We got skinnier screen bezels than ever, cameras that took better pictures than dedicated compacts, and better-than-all-day battery life.
But we want more, and that's exactly what we're getting in 2018. We're only a couple months into the year, but we've already seen a heap of new handsets – including the Samsung Galaxy S9, Sony Xperia XZ2, and a heap of Nokia options.
And there's only more to come, as Apple, Google, OnePlus, and others ready their next respective big things. Curious what's coming before 2019 rolls around? Here's what we know about 2018's hugest phones, from what's already been announced to what's pouring out the rumour mill.
Additional words by Tom Morgan
APPLE: IPHONE 9, IPHONE X 2?
The iPhone X is Apple's most beautiful handset to date, and a nicely daring twist after a few years of diminishing returns on the same design – but it's also incredibly expensive, putting it out of reach of a lot of prospective iPhone buyers.
What will happen in 2018? If one analyst is to be believed, Apple may extend the full-face screen approach – complete with that divisive notch – to the entire line. Ming Chi-Kuo of KGI Securities believes that Apple will launch an updated 5.8in OLED model, an "iPhone X 2" or whatever you want to call it, along with two other models.
One would be a larger model with a towering 6.5in OLED display, and the other would fall right in the middle of the two, purportedly carrying a 6.1in display. The difference is that it would be a lower-resolution LCD screen, with that version acting as the entry-level, slightly cheaper model under the iPhone X 2. That might be the new iPhone 9, essentially.
Confusing? Yeah, just a bit – but it does seem likely that the notch-centric, Face ID-packing design is the way of the future for Apple, and it'll only be a matter of time before all of its phones scrap the old 16:9/Touch ID approach. Whether that will all happen this year remains to be seen, but we certainly expect some big developments from Apple sooner this year. September is usually when we see these things, although the iPhone X didn't actually release until November last year.
OnePlus: OnePlus 6
The OnePlus 6 is officially on the horizon. Also official? An iPhone X-like notch at the top of the display. You're looking at it!
OnePlus boss Carl Pei shared that partial image of the new handset to The Verge, along with an explanation about how they're approaching the design. Love it or hate it, notches are becoming commonplace now.
Quite likely, they'll stick to a 1080p panel to keep the phone more affordable than most flagships, although given the ₹37,999 price of the OnePlus 5T, they're inching closer and closer. Otherwise, we'll see a Snapdragon 845 chip inside with configurations up to 8GB RAM and 256GB internal storage, plus there will reportedly be a special Avengers: Infinity Waredition.
We saw the OnePlus 5 last June, so a OnePlus 6 debut around then makes sense. However, given the recent ramp-up in official details, we wouldn't be surprised to see it debut sooner - perhaps later in May.
Samsung: Note 9
The Samsung Galaxy S9 (seen here) has arrived, and it holds the top spot on our list of the greatest smartphones in the world today.
What about the Galaxy Note 9, then? Given Samsung's approach of late, we'd expect it to bear more than a passing resemblance to the Galaxy S9, which means it shouldn't be too far off from the Galaxy Note 8 in design - but rumours suggest potential tweaks.
For example, one of the larger rumours pegs an in-screen fingerprint sensor instead of a back-mounted one, which could free up a bit more room inside for a larger battery. That battery could be as large as 4,000mAh, which is the same size as the Huawei P20 Pro, plus a recent rumour suggests a slightly larger 6.4in display this time around.
It's relatively early still in the rumour rounds, so plenty more info could emerge in the coming months. We'd expect to see the phone launch around August again, as the Note 8 did last year.
LG: The G7 THINQ,
Where is the LG G7? Well, LG didn't show it off officially at MWC, opting to avoid getting caught up in Samsung's spotlight… but it was reportedly there behind closed doors. A journalist claims to have seen the phone, and shared photos of the handset marked the "LG G7 Neo."
And now it will be officially announced on 2 May as the LG G7 ThinQ, carrying the branding of the upgraded LG V30S ThinQ that actually was shown off widely at MWC. This purported leaked render comes from Android Headlines.
So what's the deal with the G7? Leaks suggest that it has an iPhone X-like notch, with a full-frame 6in (or 6.1in) screen aside from the cutout for the camera/sensors, as well as a Snapdragon 845 chip and dual f/1.6 16MP back cameras. Supposedly, the cameras use a new "superpixel" technology that combines pixels to boost the brightness during low-light shooting scenarios. Additionally, it'll shoot HDR10 video and display it as well.
All of that remains speculation for now, but we know for sure that we'll see the LG G7 ThinQ in some form in mere weeks. So if you're an LG fan waiting for their real 2018 flagship, it won't be much longer now.