It's the year 2020 and it looks like the biggest smartphone trend we can anticipate, especially here in Malaysia, is the rise of 5G smartphones. With Malaysia getting 5G soon, we can also expect more 5G smartphones to hit the Malaysian market.
But that's not all to be excited about - there's been a flood of rumours and leaks about this year's set of incoming heavyweights that are bound to take smartphone tech to the next level. These include the Galaxy S20, iPhone 12, OnePlus 8, and P40 Pro, along with a handful of other intriguing-looking handsets.
As such, here's a look at our most anticipated smartphones of 2020, with the list being updated should more catch our eye.
SAMSUNG GALAXY S20
The Galaxy S20 is pegged to be a "revision model" following the familiar tick-tock pattern and the S10's own design overhaul, but leaks suggest that Samsung isn't kicking back and taking it easy for 2020.
Reports claim a slightly trimmed-down bezel and a Note 10-esque centered punch-hole camera cutout, with screen sizes of 6.4in, 6.7in, and 6.9in across the line. The screen might be a bit less curvy than before, with no plans for a Huawei Mate 30 Pro-esque waterfall display. Also, the 6.4in model (the Galaxy S10e successor) reportedly won't have a flat screen this time around.
And the back of the 6.9in Galaxy S20 Ultra (shown) could have a very noticeable change with an enormous camera module that packs five cameras. Add more power to the equation and it should be a plenty desirable handset, but we'll have to see how the price point shakes out.
Samsung has officially dated a new Galaxy Unpacked event for 11 February, where we fully expect to see the Galaxy S20 and its myriad variations.
APPLE IPHONE 12
After three versions of the bold and inventive iPhone X design, will 2020 see Apple shake things up? Rumours point to yes, but it's still very early.
Reports suggest an iPhone 12 that keeps the all-screen face while adopting a flattened metal frame that's more akin to the classic iPhone 4, not to mention the current iPad Pro. Screen sizes could shift a bit too, going to 5.4in, 6.1in, and 6.7in (as opposed to the 5.8/6.1/6.5in of now).
As for the notch… well, there's no consensus there yet. We've seen concepts suggesting no notch at all, with all of the sensors packed into the slim upper bezel, while others claim Apple will redesign the notch. It's TBD at that point, in terms of what we know. Rumours also point to a four-eyes design on the back, with a time-of-flight camera added to the current trio of the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max.
We should see the iPhone 12 models launch in September, and there's no indication yet on pricing… probably not cheaper than the current models.
(Concept render via Ben Geskin)
HUAWEI P40 PRO
Early leaks suggest that the Huawei P40 Pro will continue the design evolution seen since the P20 Pro and Mate 20 Pro, mixing and matching to create what might ultimately be the company's best flagship hardware to date.
This purported leaked render from Evleaks offers a look at what we're expecting the P40 Pro to look like. Leaks point to a waterfall-style curved "Horizon Display" (around 6.5in) at QHD+ resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. You'll see a dual-camera punch-hole cutout there, too – but more noticeably, a huge back camera module with five total cameras. And a rumoured 5,500mAh battery would be absolutely enormous. Yes, please.
The Mate 30 Pro was fantastic from a hardware standpoint, but the lack of Google services essentially killed it… and reportedly, Huawei won't have them on the P40 Pro unless the situation with the United States clears up quickly. A Huawei rep reportedly pointed to a late March debut in Paris, so it shouldn't be long before we see the real deal.
With a new phone out every five or six months, it's no surprise that we've already heard some things about the OnePlus 8. Expected to launch in late spring, the standard OnePlus 8 looks to swap the current waterdrop notch for a Galaxy S10-like punch-hole camera in the upper left of the screen.
We're not sure yet whether the OnePlus 8 Pro will stick with the pop-up selfie camera from before, but we're eager to find out. And rumours suggest that the OnePlus 8 will finally incorporate wireless charging, one of the only flagship features that the company has skipped to date, but we'll have to see how that impacts price if true.
As usual, OnePlus is drip-feeding official details - and the first is a confirmed, super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate for the screen, beating the excellent 90Hz screens of its 2019 models.
(Concept renders via OnLeaks/CashKaro)
SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FLIP
Samsung isn't one-and-done with foldable smartphones after the extravagant Galaxy Fold, apparently. Detailed leaks from WinFuture and others point to the impending announcement of a Galaxy Flip Z, a phone that folds in half to a more pocketable size.
It's the same kind of approach as the new Motorola Razr, albeit with Samsung's design DNA onboard. As these detailed, seemingly legit renders show, the phone has the look of a makeup compact when folded, and then unveils a large 6.7in 1080p display with a huge 22:9 aspect ratio.
WinFuture points to a speedy Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ chip inside, an "Ultra Thin Glass" screen cover, a small 1.06in external display for notifications, and a Galaxy Note 10-esque centered punch-hole selfie camera on the main display (and two cameras on the outside).
Leaker Max Weinbach of XDA Developers suggests a price point of US$1,300 and a launch at Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event alongside the Galaxy S20 line. He points to a 14 February release, at least in the States.
We're expecting more foldable smartphones in 2020, and the new Motorola Razr is one that we're really keen to see come to this side of the world.
Unlike the Samsung Galaxy Fold and Huawei Mate X, this isn't a smartphone that unfolds into a larger-screened tablet – it's a smartphone that folds in half to fit into you pocket or the palm of your hand. It's obviously inspired by the classic Razr design (there's even a classic UI option), and the hinge is a modern marvel of engineering. It's especially satisfying to flip the phone closed to end a call, just like you would've a decade or more ago.
That said, this very expensive (~RM6233) phone goes surprisingly modest on specs, with a 6.2in main screen that's sub-1080p in resolution, a mid-range Snapdragon 710 processor, a meagre 2,510mAh battery, and no wireless charging.
As cool as the Razr looks and feels, will you really want to spend that much on a handset specced more like a budget/mid-range phone? We're eager to spend more time with the new Razr and see if it's worth those trade-offs. Still no word yet on the possibility of it coming to Malaysia though.
GOOGLE PIXEL 4A
While we know it's not making its way to the Malaysian market, we're still keen to see what Google has to offer! The Google Pixel 3a was one of last year's most surprising phones, bucking Google's high-end trend to deliver a flagship-quality camera paired with mid-range specs – at a reasonable price.
We're expecting that trend to continue in 2020 with the release of a Pixel 4a, and OnLeaks and 91mobiles have produced concept renders based on what they're hearing. The images show a phone that skips the huge, sensor-packed "forehead" bezel of the standard Pixel 4 and instead opts for a Galaxy S10-like punch-hole camera cutout on the front. OnLeaks pegs the screen size at 5.7 or 5.8in for the standard model (the Pixel 3a was 5.6in).
The back has what looks like a smaller square camera module, and the fingerprint sensor returns. It's like a hybrid of the Pixel 3a and Pixel 4, really, which sounds pretty appealing. Most likely, it will launch in early summer like the Pixel 3a did last year, and we're hoping to see similar mid-range price points again.
APPLE IPHONE SE 2 / IPHONE 9
Haven't been keen on Apple's recent shift to extra-large devices? You might be in luck in 2020, as the rumour mill suggests that Apple will finally, finally release a successor to the smartly pint-sized iPhone SE 2.
However, this one will reportedly take after the iPhone 8 instead, which means you'll get a 4.7in LCD display, the familiar rounded shape of Apple's last-gen handsets, and a Touch ID sensor. At least it's expected to pack Apple's latest and greatest processor, the A13 Bionic, so it will be comparable in performance to the iPhone 11 models.
These concept renders from OnLeaks and iGeeksBlog offer a good idea of what to expect. Look familiar? Leaks point to a release this spring and potential "iPhone 9" branding rather than iPhone SE 2, with a price point that we'd guess to be in the RM2000 range. That's a total guess, however.
Oppo Find X2
We're just a few weeks away from the launch, which gives us more reasons to look forward to it once it arrives in Malaysia. Oppo's flagship smartphone will come with its 120Hz display, and will also have a Snapdragon 865 chip packed in and ready for 5G technology. Some rumours also state that the device might add support for 65W SuperVOOC flash charging technology.
We're expecting to find out more on 22 February 2020 so stay tuned.
Mi 10 Pro
After the launch of the Mi Note 10 series, we're excited to see what Xiaomi has in store with the Mi 10 series which will also have the 108MP camera that's well known with the Mi Note 10. This time, we're looking forward to a much faster device, as well as 5G, thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 packed in.
Xiaomi will be unveiling this soon, despite the challenges they have with the Coronavirus so there will be more exciting specs to look out for in the near future.
realme X50 5G
We really loved the realme X2 Pro so it's no wonder we're excited about what realme has to offer next. The X50 Pro 5G will also be powered by the Snapdragon 865 SoC and run Android 10 with Realme UI on top. It will come with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, though that's likely to change at some point. Everything else is set at rumours but we can expect great things (and even a great price) from realme.