(Pocket-lint) - 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, that there's anticipation for the next big thing.
Here we look at those phones that haven't yet launched, the upcoming phones for 2021. We'll be updating this list on a regular basis, with those device rumours we think are credible and exciting.
As for already-launched handsets, we've rounded up the best smartphones for 2021 elsewhere - those we consider to be the best across all platforms. If your budget is a little smaller, there is also our budget smartphones for under £200 feature - and there's a mid-range roundup up to £400 as well.
The upcoming generation of phones
Before we dive into the detail, here are some of the anticipated handsets for 2021:
- Vivo X70 Pro
- Apple iPhone 13
- Nokia X50
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
- Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
- Google Pixel Fold
- Huawei Mate 50 Pro
- Xiaomi 12
- Samsung Galaxy S22 family
- Apple iPhone SE 2 Plus
- Oppo folding phone
- Samsung Galaxy Fold E
Vivo X70 Pro
The Vivo X70 Pro is expected to launch on 9 September with regular and Pro models. This will likely offer the latest Snapdragon 888+, a new Vivo imaging chip, Zeiss lenses and gimbal stabilisation.
Apple iPhone 13
A couple of early rumours have hinted at Apple reducing the notch on the display, with some also saying that Apple will adopt an under-display fingerprint scanner. It's also thought the mini model might be dropped. There might be a boost to a 48-megapixel camera to support 8K video capture.
Although there have been many rumours surrounding a Nokia 9 PureView replacement, the trail seems to have gone cold, instead suggesting that Nokia might launch a Nokia 8.3 replacement with five cameras - and possibly called the Nokia X50. This could have a 6.5-inch display, run Snapdragon 700 series hardware and have a 108-megapixel main camera. There are rumours of a September or October launch event.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
Although Samsung had a launch event on 11 August, the S21 FE was not included, with a launch expected later in the year. You can expect it to offer value for money and prove to be a popular model, with a 6.4-inch display and a camera system the same as the Galaxy S21+.
Google Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro
A mass of leaks has shown off the design for the future Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, suggesting a fairly radical design, a change of direction in the cameras and a Google-designed chip called Tensor to power it all. We're expecting an October 2021 launch.
Google Pixel Fold
News of a folding Pixel first appeared in 2019, with a second leak in 2020 suggesting that the codename was Passport, and that it would be launched in Q4 2021. With increasing support for folding and larger phones in Android 12, and news from Korea that Samsung Display has been tapped-up to supply a 7.6-inch folding display for Google, a folding Pixel might be on the horizon.
Huawei Mate 50 Pro
The Huawei Mate 50 Pro is said to be huge, with a 7000mAh battery and a 6.8-inch display. It's said to be powered by the Kirin 9000, but we have doubts about Huawei's chip stock. It wouldn't be expected to launch until October 2021.
Xiaomi has dropped the Mi from its phone naming, so the next flagship device will be the Xiaomi 12. Some camera rumours have circulated, but apart from that, we suspect this phone will appear alongside the latest Snapdragon launch in December 2021.
Samsung Galaxy S22 family
The Samsung Galaxy S22 family of devices - the S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra are expected to launch in January 2022, running from a 6-inch device up to 6.81-inches. There's claims of an LTPO display. The Ultra will have a 108MP main camera and 12x optical zoom; the smaller phones will have a 50MP main camera. We might also see the Exynos and AMD platform available for these devices.
Apple iPhone SE Plus
As soon as the 2020 iPhone SE was announced, rumours started circulating about a larger model. With the iPhone SE essentially taking the iPhone 8 body, there's those wondering if a Plus model will be launched to slot into the iPhone 8 Plus space. With the new iPhone 12 mini costing much more than the SE, will Apple fill this cheap-but-big gap?
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold E
There have been several threads of a rumour that suggest Samsung is looking at more affordable folding phones - and the Galaxy Z Fold E is what we might get. There's talk of a Fold model with a smaller external display like the Z Flip, designed to sell much cheaper - with $1100 suggested. Could this be a cheaper Fold model for 2021?
Oppo folding phone
Oppo has shown off folding phone prototypes before, including an out-folding device. But the most recent leak suggests that Samsung Display will provide a 7.7-inch display for a clamshell-style device. Little else is known.