The most anticipated smartphones of 2019

ONEPLUS: ONEPLUS 7

We're barely a couple months out from the release of the OnePlus 6T, but rumours are already swirling around the incoming OnePlus 7. It's early still, but there are some compelling details worth knowing.

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.

Another intriguing leaked photo shared by Ishan Agarwal shows what appears to be a significant design shake-up for an upcoming handset. It may not be the OnePlus 7, and it may not even reach production – but it appears to show CEO Pete Lau in view, so it's worth considering the possibilities.

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 OnePlus has already confirmed that its next flagship will not have wireless charging onboard.

The OnePlus 7 should roll out around early summer, like the OnePlus 6 did in 2018. Also, OnePlus has said that it will be one of the first companies to release a 5G handset, although the company claims that it won't be the successor to the OnePlus 6T. That's probably because a 5G-compatible phone will be pricier than the standard OnePlus 7, so it may arrive as a special edition or a differently-named variant.

NOKIA: NOKIA 9 pureview

We waited something like a year for this announcement, and it finally happened: Nokia rolled out the Nokia 9 PureView at MWC and it totally matched all of the leaks. And yes, that means it has five back cameras.

Five! That's insanity. With a honeycomb-like design including the flash and sensors, it has five 12-megapixel cameras – two in colour and three in black and white. Rather than swap between them, all five work together to capture a huge amount of data and produce hyper-detailed snaps.

That's by far the most intriguing part of the phone. The design looks a little vanilla and dated, and the phone curiously uses last year's Snapdragon 845 processor instead of the brand new Snapdragon 855.

Still, if the camera is class-leading, then this could be a good pickup – especially at the reasonable asking price of £699 (around 64,000). It was rumoured to cost much more, so hey, that's one rumour we're glad was way off-base. We're expecting to see the Nokia 9 PureView very soon.

lg: G8 thinq

Meanwhile, the LG G8 ThinQ looks an awful lot like the G7 ThinQ before it, but there are some hidden tricks within. The G8 adds the Snapdragon 855 and upgrades to an OLED panel, but the most distinctive additions come with the wave of a hand.

Huh? It's because of the front-facing time-of-flight "Z" camera, which enables touchless gesture controls. And that's not it: the phone can also scan your hand to recognise your veins, opening up another type of security. Sound weird? Maybe a little eerie? Yes and yes. But its also kind of neat.

The LG G7 ThinQ arrived at a compelling price below much of the flagship competition, but we don't know yet what we'll be paying for the LG G8.

SONY: XPERIA 1 + xperia 10

We expected the Xperia XZ4 at MWC, but instead we got the totally reimagined Xperia 1 - and that's a very good thing. Sony's Xperia efforts were much improved in 2018, and 2019's flagship looks even better.

It's an ultra-tall handset with a 6.5in 21:9 display and a little bit of bezel at the top, giving the Xperia 1 a different kind of silhouette than other big phones these days. We called the build "ruthlessly efficient" in our hands-on review, and while not especially flashy, it does have a distinctive allure.

And that screen's a 4K HDR OLED panel, which sounds ridiculously great. On top of that, Sony has tapped its camera division's expertise to build the triple-camera array, which has tech from the company's Alpha line. This phone also packs in the latest Snapdragon 855 processor.

Sony also has a mid-range Xperia 10, which keeps the super-tall screen design while dropping down on specs, using a 1080p panel, losing one of the back cameras, and opting for a lower-end Snapdragon.

LG: V50 THINQ 5G

LG's V Series just got a compelling new twist with the V50 ThinQ 5G – and it's not the titular 5G compatibility that sets this phone apart from the pack (although that's great).

Instead, it's the optional second screen attachment. You can buy a 6.2in 1080p display that hooks onto the V50 ThinQ 5G via a case-like design, augmenting the existing 6.4in Quad HD display on the handset. With two screens, you get something akin to a Nintendo DS.

Why bother? Well, LG points to the ability to use one screen as a controller for a full-screen game on the other, or the possibility of browsing the web on one screen while watching a video on the other. It seems like LG is positioning the phone as its competitor to foldable smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, but at what should be a much lower price.

With the Snapdragon 855 within, a 4,000mAh battery pack, and vapour chamber cooling to keep everything in check, it should be a pretty intriguing handset. We don't know when it'll ship, however, or what the price will be.

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.

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