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 2017, those we consider to be the best across all platforms, and we've regularly updated that list as the smartphone world has evolved.
You can find those in our Best smartphones 2017: The best phones available to buy today feature. If your budget is a little smaller, there is also our Best budget smartphones 2017: The best phones available to buy for under £250.
Here we're looking at those phones that haven't yet launched, the best upcoming phones for 2017. 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.
Best upcoming phones 2017
Before we dive into the detail, here are some of the anticipated upcoming handsets for 2017:
- Samsung Galaxy Note 8
- Motorola Moto X4
- Motorola Moto Z2
- Next Xperia flagship
- HTC U11 Mini
- LG V30
- Apple iPhone 8
- Apple iPhone 8 Plus
- Nokia 8/9
- Google Pixel 2
Samsung Galaxy Note 8
Sure, the Note 7 didn't go so well, but it seems that the family isn't dead: the Note 7 is getting refurbished and released as the Note 7R in some territories and it looks like Samsung still has plans for the next model, the Note 8. This was confirmed by Samsung soon after the Note 7 failed, suggesting an upgrade programme to the new model when it launches.
That launch is expected to be some time in late summer, with 26 August getting a suggestion. There's very little detail to go on in terms of what to expect, but we'd expect the S Pen to come back, we'd expect software upgrades and there's talk of the introduction of a dual camera system.
Exactly how large the Note 8 might be if it adopts the 18.5:9 aspect display like the Galaxy S8, we just don't know, though it has been claimed it will offer a 6.3-inch screen.
Motorola Moto X4
Motorola, under the stewardship of Lenovo, is planning to update the Moto X in 2017. Previously called Moto X (2017), it now has some branding in the form of Moto X4. It is expected to be a mid-range handset and rumours claim it will sport a metal body, Qualcomm Snapdragon 630 hardware, and a screen size of 5.2 inches.
Based on the leaks, it will offer IP68 certification, a 3000mAh battery and it will offer dual rear cameras, along with a fingerprint sensor on the front that is said to be able to detect gestures. There's no knowing if Moto will include compatibility with the Moto Mods of Moto Z 2016 and exactly how Motorola will keep distinction between E, G, X and Z remains to be seen, but there's a growing body of evidence to suggest the Moto X4 is coming.
Motorola Moto Z2
But wait. It's not just the X that's going to make a comeback. It seems that there might be another Moto Z handset in the works too. We've already seen the launch of the Moto Z2 Play and where there's a Play edition there tends to be a higher spec version too, so we're expecting the Moto Z2 - or Moto Z2 Force - to make an appearance.
The Moto Z2 will be all about Moto Mods again, letting you add components to the rear of the phone magnetically to expand the skillset of your device. That means the build and design are likely to be similar to the existing Moto Z, with a 5.5-inch display and possibly powered by the Snapdragon 835. Reports suggest there will be a Moto event on 25 July but whether either the Moto Z2 and Moto X4 will be announced is not yet known.
Next Sony Xperia flagship
Sure, Sony has the XZ Premium, its 4K flagship phone, but the company has confirmed that it's got further plans for 2017, so we could be seeing two more phones. The company has also said that it's going to be leaving some of the lower-tier models to retire and aiming at higher things instead.
There's very little to go on at the moment, but we're expecting to see something that steps down a little from the XZ Premium, but sticking to that same camera experience. We're looking at power but in a smaller package, although rumours are light on the ground at the moment. There has been a suggestion, however, that Sony might be looking at going for a 18:9 display.
HTC Ocean Life / HTC U11 Mini
There have been a couple of rumours to suggest a mini version of HTC's flagship - the U11 - might appear in the form of the HTC U11 Mini, currently codenamed HTC Ocean Life. It is expected to be a mid-range handset, with talk of a Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 processor, 5.2-inch Full HD display, 16-megapixel cameras on the front and back and a 2600mAh battery.
The leaks suggest the device will come with Sense 9.0, Edge Sense and HTC USonic, though no release date or pricing has been suggested as yet.
For the last 2 years, LG has been playing the two flagship phones game. The V series have been limited to Asia and the US, but there's a strong rumour that the next device will see its launch at IFA 2017, suggesting it might be coming to a wider audience. With the LG G6 going early and now facing rivals with more powerful handsets, the V30 might be the device to plug the gap.
There's little being said about what it will offer, but we already know - because it was confirmed by Google - that the LG V30 will be Daydream compatible. There's a suggestion that it will have an OLED display and we're expecting it to be 18:9 like the G6.
Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus
The iPhone 8 is reported to shake things up completely when it appears later this year. The iPhone 7, surprisingly, didn't make a huge change over the iPhone 6S, but the biggest hint at what to expect from the iPhone 8 might have come from Apple Watch.
With the release of the Series 2 device, Apple introduced a ceramic version. This, paired with the jet black colouring for the iPhone 7, might point to future changes in materials for the iPhone 8. Some are suggesting that the iPhone 8 will be mostly glass and introduce wireless charging, but there's expected to be a special edition ceramic version too.
There have also been talks of an OLED curved display for the iPhone 8, as well as a rear mounted fingerprint sensor. Taking it further, it's suggested that there will be an iPhone 7S and 7S Plus too, alongside this roaring iPhone 8, with the iPhone 8 being the more premium of the three.
Google Pixel 2
The Google Pixel has received great acclaim for it's pure Google phone approach, with a lot of people really loving the camera experience.
Rumours are light on the Google Pixel 2 - we don't even have confirmation of the name - but it has been confirmed that there will be a new Pixel device in 2017. That was confirmed by Rick Osterloh, SVP of hardware at Google, i.e., the chap who will be responsible for it. Other details are light, but Osterloh also confirmed that the Pixel 2 would retain its premium positioning.
That's about all we know so far, but you can expect Android O, and potentially another phone manufactured by HTC, though LG has also been mentioned too. We'd expect it to launch about October time, about a year after the original.
Nokia made it's play at Mobile World Congress 2017, launching three Android devices. The lead device was the Nokia 6, but notably missing was a true flagship smartphone, colloquially dubbed the Nokia 8.
Originally leaking as the P1, and then finding itself levelled with the name Nokia 8, we're expecting a premium build, with an IP68 rating, a 5.5-inch display with 2560 x 1440 pixel resolution.
Most of the hardware rumours have said Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, but with plenty of mixed messaging coming from the flagship rumours and those wrapped up in the Nokia 6/5/3, we're going to be watching and waiting to see how the story of Nokia's flagship unfolds.
Microsoft Surface Phone
The Surface Phone is something of a Windows phone holy grail. With Nokia then Microsoft Devices producing plenty of Windows Phones, the spectre of the Surface Phone has been hanging around as the idea of the ultimate Windows mobile device. Given the recent sale of virtually all of its phone patents, and announcement that it's no longer focusing on Windows Phone development, the Surface Phone may never see the light of day.
It's rumoured that the new premium device will be Surface branded and Intel powered, possibly coming in three different variants. Given the same team behind the Surface Tablets are said to be behind the Surface Phone, you can expect a solid build if it ever does appear.
There's also the suggestion that Surface Phone will run a brand new update of Windows 10, aiming to capitalise on the branding and offer the ultimate experience. Launch originally wasn't expected until the latter half of 2016, but this has since shifted to 2017. That's if it appears at all.
Upcoming phones already announced...
The Nokia 6 is now a global device, offering a lovely build on mid-range specs. It has an aluminium body, fronted by a lovely 5.5-inch Full HD display. It's powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chipset and offers a 16-megapixel camera on the rear, 8-megapixel on the front. Most attractive, however, is that it's pure Android, with no bloat at all - the only thing Nokia changes is the camera app.
The Arte Black special edition (pictured) has yet to receive a UK price, though the normal version will cost £219, meaning this is a serious bargain for Nokia's return to smartphones. There are also Nokia 5 and Nokia 3 handsets, which drop the specs down - the Nokia 6 is our star pick, however. It will be available from Carphone Warehouse from 2 August.