Best new phones expected in 202120
With that in mind, here are the broad strokes of what we expect in 2021 as far as major phone announcements go.
Best new phones in H1 2021
- Samsung Galaxy S21 series (released)
- OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro (released)
- LG rollable phone (canceled)
- Sony Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III (released)
Best new phones in H2 2021
- Huawei P50 series
- Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
- Samsung Galaxy Note 21 (possibly canceled)
- Google Pixel 5a
- Google Pixel 6
- iPhone 13 series
- Motorola Razr 2021
- OnePlus 9T
Best new phones in H1 2021
Samsung Galaxy S21 series
OnePlus 9 and OnePlus 9 Pro
LG rollable phone
There was a rumor that the rollable LG phone could arrive as soon as March 2021. It was supposed to be this super-cool, super-futuristic spin on the "foldable phone" idea that could've actually been the next step of this particular device type's evolution. However, LG called it quits and left the smartphone market. So, no bueno — we won't be seeing any new crazy LG ideas in our space.
Sony Xperia 1 III and Xperia 5 III
Sony unveiled its pair of flagships in April. They follow the same rectangular design with 21:9 aspect ratios that set Sony's phones apart. The camera modules come equipped with an interesting new optical zoom system — the telephoto lens actually has a phisical moving part inside to switch between 70 mm and 105 mm (relative) focal lengths. In typical Sony fashion, pricing and availability are still an unknown, so stay tuned.
Best new phones expected in H2 2021
Huawei P50 series
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3
Given how good the Galaxy Z Fold 2 was, it’s no surprise that Samsung will definitely want to expand its foldable phone portfolio in 2021 with the Galaxy Z Fold 3. We would be delighted to see even more upgrades to the fresh foldable space. Some rumors suggest that the Z Fold 3 would have an under-screen selfie camera, others say it will support the S Pen stylus, that's usually the Galaxy Note series' signature item.
Samsung Galaxy Note 21
Apple iPhone 13 series
Apple will announce the new iPhone 13 series sometimes in late Q3/early Q4 2020. Previously, iPhones were almost always announced on the second Tuesday of September, but with the disruptions the coronavirus pandemic caused, we can no longer be sure of anything.
Ming-Chi Kuo believes the ‘iPhone 13’ series will include the same four model sizes that are on offer at the moment. That means there should be a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. The next-generation flagships won’t be introducing massive design changes. Instead, Apple is said to be focusing its efforts on the camera department, especially when it comes to the high-end models.
Both the iPhone 13 Pro and Pro Max will boast upgraded six-element (6P) f/1.8 ultra-wide-angle cameras with autofocus support, according to Kuo. The standard iPhone 13 models won’t benefit from these upgraded lenses, presumably to keep costs down, but Kuo is certain that Apple will bring the upgraded ultra-wide-angle cameras to all iPhone 14 models in 2022.
Moto Razr 2021
The 2021 installment in the new Moto Razr series will have the tough job of convincing us Motorola can fix some of the glaring issues of the Moto Razr 5G which was announced in 2020. There are hardly any rumors about the third installment in Moto’s new foldable series, but there’s no chance it will drop out of the foldable phone segment just yet.
OnePlus has the habit of releasing a pumped up version of its flagship device in the fall, and the OnePlus 9T is definitely in the cards for Q4 of 2021. Judging from previous years, said device should come equipped with the Plus version of that year’s Snapdragon flagship chip, which would be the Snapdragon 888 Plus in the OnePlus 9T’s case.
Google Pixel 5a
Google was expected to release another affordable Pixel in the first half of 2021, possibly right after Google I/O 2021 sometime in May. The follow-up to the affordable Google Pixel 4a would offer excellent value while retaining a modest and affordable price tag. Rumors have been sporadic, stating different things — the Pixel 5a seems to be suffering some production issues — a direct result from the pandemic disrupting global supply channels. So, we are still not sure when Google might launch this and whether it will come in two different sizes or not. Some rumors suggest that launch regions might be limited as well, due to limited supply.
Google Pixel 6
Google’s next flagship phone should be released in the fall of 2021, and while it’s too early for rumors or leaks, it’s certain that Google has to go all-out with the Pixel 6. 2020’s Pixel 5 was definitely a step in the right direction following the lackluster Pixel 4 series, but it felt like it cut a bit too many corners — specifically when it comes to audio. We hope that a Pixel 6 can swoop in and right all the wrongs of the Pixel 5, while keeping all of its positives (the lower price being one of them).