Best smartphones to look forward to in 2014

With the pace of smartphone evolution moving so fast, there's always something waiting in the wings. No sooner have you spied the latest handset, then there's anticipation of something else, the next big thing.

We've rounded up the best smartphones for 2014, those we consider to be the best across all platforms, and we've regularly updated that list as the smartphone world has evolved over the last year from 2013 in to 2014. You can find those in our Best smartphones 2014 feature.

READ: Best smartphones 2014: The best phones available to buy today

Here we're looking at those phones that haven't yet launched, those we know are coming, or are anticipated. Some will be rumour, some will be fact, but here we'll cut through the speculation to highlight those phones we really want to see.

We'll be updating this list on a regular basis, with those device rumours we think are credible and exciting, and devices just announced but yet to hit the shelves.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime/LTE-A/Galaxy F

When the SGS5 (pictured) launched, there was a sharp exhalation as a slew of expected spec points weren't met. Enter the Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime, stage left.

Rumours have started circulating of a second, higher-spec, Samsung Galaxy S5, known as Prime. This model claims to have a metal back, but critically take the display up in resolution to 2560 x 1440 pixels, as found on the recently-announced LG G3.

Well the SGS5 Prime didn't launch, but the Samsung Galaxy S5 LTE-A did. It's a handset that goes some of the way towards stepping Sammy's models upwards. The name puts an emphasis on the fast data connection, but it does have that 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution display on it.

It also has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset, so is likely to be an incremental step faster than current devices, but it isn't quite the Prime people were hoping for - there's no metal back, for example. 

Prime or Galaxy F remains a pipe dream for now, while the SGS5 LTE-A remains a Korean exclusive device.

READ MORE Samsung Galaxy S5 Prime rumours

Apple iPhone 6

There's little to nothing that we know about the iPhone 6, except that there will be one, or two. Following Apple's patterns of iPhone naming, the next iteration of device should take the name up to iPhone 6, and we should be looking at a new design to move beyond that of the iPhone 5 family.

There's rumour of two devices, one measuring 4.7-inches and one at 5.5-inches. There's little to substantiate these claims, except for some leaked case shots, which are still a little suspect.

However, the chap who has leaked a number of recent devices - popstar Jimmy Lin - has just posted pictures of what he claims is the iPhone 6 on his Weibo page. We're inclined to believe it.

What also know that the iPhone 6 will launch with iOS 8, previewed at WWDC 2014, bringing with it a whole new range of features, like enhanced notifications and widgets, support for third-party keyboards and more functions for Siri.

The iPhone 6 launch is likely to be in October 2014 if Apple sticks to its release cycle. But unlike other manufacturers, Apple tends to stay on top of leaks, so you're likely to be in for a long wait before there's anything solid to go on.

READ MORE Apple iPhone 6 rumours

Sony Xperia Z3

 

That's right, there's a Sony Xperia Z3 in the works, as Sony Mobile continues its aggressive march towards smartphone supremacy.

Appearing in a leaked photo, claiming to be Sony's next-gen smartphone, there's little to go on by way of specs, but there's expected to be a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset with 3GB of RAM. 

We'd be surprised if Sony didn't stick to the 20.7-megapixel camera, but we'd guess that the aim would be to try to reduce the bezel slightly, to result in a device that's a little more manageable.

Previously Sony has launched devices at IFA 2014 in Berlin, so we can expect to hear something in early September.

READ MORE Sony Xperia Z3 leaks

Motorola Moto X+1

While Motorola has been beavering away at the budget end of the scale with the Moto G and Moto E - as well as being sold to Lenovo - things have gone rather quiet on the flagship front.

Enter the rumours of the Moto X+1. This new handset is said to have a 5.2-inch display, with a 1080p resolution. That's some step up over the 4.7-inches of the original. Other specs look par for the course, although the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor might set it slightly behind rivals.

But growing to 5.2 inches might upset the Moto X cart a little: one of the popular things about this handset, aside from being good value for money, is the size. If it becomes a phablet, it might just lose the X factor.

There's little to go on at the moment, so we're not expecting to hear anything too soon. We're anticipating the launch of the Moto 360 smartwatch instead.

READ MORE Motorola news and reviews

Samsung Galaxy Note 4

There will be a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and it's more than likely to arrive at IFA 2014 in Berlin, in early September. We say so confidently because that's been the pattern of recent years. 

Like previous years, we'd also expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to push the phablet boundaries and bring a high-specced device to the table.

Current rumours say that the Galaxy Note 4 display will have a 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution and be 5.7-inches, but aside from that, there's little to do on.

However, with Samsung being a little predictable, we would expect to see a Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 chipset with 3GB of RAM, and a real emphasis on clever multi-tasking features built into the user interface.

READ MORE Samsung Galaxy Note 4 rumours

Tesco Hudl smartphone

When Tesco said it was planning to launch a tablet of its own, no one was to know just how popular and successful it might be in the UK. The announcement that there would be a Tesco Hudl smartphone might be greeted with a snort of derision, or it could be a disruptive devices - like the Motorola Moto G - that offers good specs and an even better price.

Tesco has declared that the device will be aggressively priced, but sit at the higher end of the spectrum and run on Android. Whether it's an OEM device with Tesco branding, or something that's sourced and designed to Tesco's specifications remains to be seen, but it could be the sleeper hit of 2014.

READ MORE Tesco Hudl smartphone news

Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini

There was always going to be an SGS5 Mini to sit alongside the regular model launched back in February. We doubted whether there would be an SGS5 Active, but Samsung has even specced up that model.

Now the SGS5 Mini is official. It retains the same design as the SGS5, with its dimpled Band-Aid esque rear cover, but also comes with the fingerprint scanner, heart rate sensor and IP67 protection rating.

This is all crammed into a smaller package fronted by a 4.5-inch 720p AMOLED display. There's a step down in internal specs, with a 1.4GHz quad-core processor, 1.5GB of RAM and a 2100mAh battery. You get 16GB of internal storage with support for microSD card.

READ MORE Samsung Galaxy S5 Mini news

Google Project Ara

Created by Motorola, and now shifted over to Google after the sale of Motorola to Lenovo, Project Ara isn't due to early 2015 but is essentially an exoskeleton that allows users to modify what parts they want. That way someone that wants to spend the bulk of their budget on the camera, but doesn't need as much storage, can chose to upgrade that way. Perhaps one person will skip NFC in favour of faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, for example.

There should also be third party components on offer that will allow for competitive pricing as well as new types of parts - like sensors. A person with diabetes may want a blood sugar sensor where another may not.

Users can also looks forward to different texture options that they can 3D print off at home themselves. The speed this phone can develop at, without costing us as much, is very exciting indeed.

READ MORE Google's Project Ara modular smartphone: Everything you need to know

Nokia Lumia 930

There's a new Nokia kid on the block called the Lumia 930, offering a global model of the Lumia Icon. It has a 5-inch display, in a premium design, pitched at the high end and announced at Build 2014.

There's a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2GB of RAM at the heart, meaning this should be slick and fast, no matter what you ask it to do.

There's a 20-megapixel PureView camera on the rear and you'll also get Windows Phone 8.1 out of the box.

It's expected to arrive in June and promises to be the hottest Windows Phone yet.

READ MORE Nokia Lumia 930 first impressions