OnePlus 10 / Pro
We already knew that OnePlus would be skipping the 9T and moving straight to the OnePlus 10 and OnePlus 10 Pro flagships in 2022.
Rather than keep its new smartphones under wraps, OnePlus has already revealed the full design and specs for the Pro model. True to leaked renders, the powerhouse packs a wraparound camera housing which harbours triple 48MP, 50MP and 8MP sensors with Hasselblad optics.
Beneath its natty matte shell lives Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 silicone, a huge 5000mAh battery (with support for rapid 80W wired charging) plus top-end LDDR5 RAM. Up front, buyers will find a 6.7in 120Hz AMOLED display.
Details about the OnePlus 10 are less concrete – and there’s still no firm word on when exactly either will hit shelves in the UK or US. But with the OnePlus 10 Pro already available in China, we hopefully shouldn’t have too long to wait. Watch this space.
Huawei P60 Pro
Launched last year, the Huawei P50 Pro was a bit of an odd one. A photography powerhouse, it benefited from a quartet of capable cameras with plenty of megapixels between them – including a periscope lens which offered a stellar 200x digital zoom. Trouble was, ongoing trade restrictions meant the flagship never made it out of China.
Will its successor fair any better? Only time will tell. The Huawei P60 Pro and Pro Plus are expected to arrive in the middle of 2022. Based on the evolution of previous Pro mobiles, the P60 Pro will probably pack some properly powerful camera kit, plus a sizeable full-screen experience.
But little is known about firm specs for the P60 Pro, let alone whether it will ever make it to Blighty (or beyond).
With the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Microsoft Surface Duo 2 and more, 2021 was a solid year for foldables. But the long-term fate of the folding smartphone is still uncertain. Can a Peacock change the game? Oppo’s apparently hoping so.
No stranger to bendable displays (see the Oppo X concept), leaked specs supposedly indicate that Oppo’s new device will run a Snapdragon 888 chip and feature an 8in folding display with a 2K resolution. Not much else is known about this potential entrant into the foldable fold, but it’s certainly interesting to see another manufacturer getting ready to flex.
Some sources suggested that the Oppo Peacock – which is probably a working title, rather than the phone’s official moniker – would arrive in December 2021. Alas, that didn’t happen. With so much conjecture flying around, we’ll simply have to wait and see when the Peacock lands.
Sony Xperia 1 IV
Sony’s found its stride with the flagship Xperia 1 line. A pretty niche line of devices (with price tags to match), it’s become known for two things: outstanding camera hardware and even more astonishing display tech.
Little wonder that the next instalment is hotly anticipated by photo fans and those who like to ogle their blower. We gave the Sony Xperia 1 III a full five stars in our review last year, rating it one of the top no-compromise options for those who need the ultimate specs for shooting and streaming.
Sony hasn’t stuck to a single month for the release of previous iterations, but they all launched in the first half of the year (even if they then took several more months to actually become available to buy). So we’d hope to see the new Xperia 1 flagship in the next few months, complete with enhanced photography skills, a delicious display and an asking price that puts it firmly in the premium smartphone category.
Oppo Find X4
A more certain arrival from Oppo is the upcoming Find X4 and its Pro sibling. Officially scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2022, the fresh flagship is likely to arrive in several guises. If the Find X3 family is anything to go by, that will include an affordable Lite model, a mid-range Neo edition and a top-end Pro device.
In fact, Oppo has already confirmed that the new Find X4 Pro will be powered by Snapdragon’s 8 Gen 1 processor. The Find X3 Pro was a five-star smartphone with true flagship performance, styling and specs. If the Find X4 Pro follows in its footsteps (which looks very likely, given the claimed potential of the new Snapdragon chip) then it could have Apple and Samsung quaking in their boots – although its price tag is likely to be an obstacle for many buyers.
Oppo hasn’t penned an exact release date, but with MWC 2022 taking place at the end of February, that could well be the moment that we see the covers taken off the new line-up. It’s tricky to predict pricing for the upcoming trio, although based on the cost of the Find X3 models, we could see the Find X4 Pro hit shelves at around £1100 ($1500), with the Neo starting at £750 ($1000) and the Lite at a much lower £400 ($550).
Google Pixel 7
Google’s Pixel 6 saw the search giant return to making genuine flagships, after its predecessor’s mid-tier detour. We don’t have any concrete info about its successor, but the Pixel 7 is likely to continue that trend. That means it should offer top-tier smartphone features, yet still undercut rivals from Apple and Samsung by a meaningful margin.
We know that it’s likely to arrive in September or October, which is when Google’s phones have traditionally broken cover. It’s also widely expected to ship with the second generation of Google’s Tensor chip, which got its first outing with the Pixel 6.
Beyond that, it’s pretty much all to play for. We’d be surprised to see a major design overhaul (given that the Pixel 6 was a step-change from the Pixel 5 before it). But with some internet murmurings already mooting whether Google might merge the standard and Pro models to offer just a single version of the Pixel 7, anything is possible.
Google Pixel Fold
What about the elusive Pixel Fold? Depending on who you ask, you’ll hear a whole range of answers. Some thought the Pixel 6 would be bendable. Others predicted a separate Pixel Fold device would launch by the end of 2021. Now, the latest info indicates that Google won’t launch the Fold at all – at least, not in its current form.
Does that mean we won’t see a folding Pixel phone in 2022? Not necessarily. More likely, it means that Google has canned its first attempt at a foldable, in order to focus on a fresh handset for release later in the year. That would certainly fit with industry intel that claims Google won’t launch a foldable in the first half of 2022.
What will the spec sheet of Google’s foldable have in store? That’s even less certain – although if it follows the mould set by the Pixel 6, you can expect a neat, premium design with a vanilla Android interface that’s optimised for a folding setup.
Rumours about a Nokia 9 PureView replacement have been circulating roughly since that device launched at MWC back in 2019. Despite the long wait, there’s still little certainty about if, when or how the multi-lens mobile might be succeeded.
Nokia 9.3, 10, X50, X60…various names have been suggested for the elusive device. One thing that’s clear is that the new handset would be a flagship to set a fresh bar for Nokia, likely to pack all kinds of clever camera tech.
Some sources suggest its delay is due to difficulties sourcing a suitable processor. Whether Nokia has now solved that possible problem isn’t clear. Nor is how much the long-awaited device might cost. Smartphone pricing has escalated significantly since its predecessor launched at £549 / $699. As you can tell, this isn’t one to bet on – but we’re still hoping to see a new Nokia 10 in 2022.
Asus ROG Phone 6
A beefcake of a blower, the Asus ROG Phone 5 (and its 5s Pro follow-up) was our favourite gaming phone of 2021. With impeccable performance, a gorgeous display and no shortage of gaming-focused features, it ticked all the boxes for playing on the go.
Firm word about the ROG Phone 6 is thin on the ground, but there’s every reason to suspect that Asus is working on a follow-up. And like every ROG upgrade before it, you can be it’ll deliver faster performance, slicker tricks and an even more delicious screen.
Assuming Asus is indeed developing a ROG Phone 6, when can you expect to see it? Apart from the ROG Phone 5, all other ROG Phones have launched in autumn. We’d tentatively expect the ROG Phone 6 to continue that trend, so keep your eyes peeled around August 2022.
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 & Z Flip 4
An early and eager advocate for foldable phones, Samsung shows no sign of staying flat in 2022. Having launched the hugely expensive Z Fold 3 and funkier, marginally more affordable Z Flip 3 in 2021, there’s every chance we’ll see successors to both devices arrive this year.
There’s nothing concrete circulating about the specs or design of either smartphone, but we’d hope to see Samsung focus its efforts on reducing the visible crease that plagues the centre of its foldable devices. Improved cameras would also be nice, as would somewhere to stash the S Pen on the Z Fold 4. What we’d like most? A lower price tag, at least for the Flip.
If we do see two new folding Z phones from Samsung, we’d hazard a guess that autumn 2022 would be the most likely launch window, given that previous Galaxy Fold devices have launched in August or September.
Apple iPhone SE 3
Reviving the iPhone SE in 2020 was a shrewd move by Apple, answering calls for a more accessible model that still delivered the familiar iPhone experience. And if online murmurings are to be believed, a successor to the successor could break cover very soon.
Industry analysts currently predict that the third-gen iPhone SE will arrive in the first three months of 2022. If intel proves accurate, it’ll stick with the home-button-and-bezels styling of the second-gen SE (itself based on the iPhone 8), plus the same 4.7in display size. Whether it’ll also remain limited to a single lens isn’t clear, although that is the clearest distinguishing factor between the SE and its more expensive iPhone cousins.
Among the rumoured upgrades for the iPhone SE 3 are a switch to Apple’s speedy A15 chip, which would certainly make it a gutsy mid-range mobile. Pricing is unconfirmed, but it’s likely to remain around the £400 / $425 level.
Apple iPhone 14
Like clockwork, Apple is expected to unwrap a fresh batch of iPhones in 2022. And like both the iPhone 12 and iPhone 13 before it, the iPhone 14 family is likely to include a standard, a Mini, a Pro and a Pro Max model.
Traditionally, Apple only gives its flagship iPhones a major upgrade every other year. That trend was continued with the iPhone 13, which retained broadly identical dimensions and designs from the iPhone 12, while also tweaking the camera hardware and performance.
So we’d expect significant shooting and performance upgrades with the iPhone 14. But could we also see a substantial design overhaul? Besides a shift to flat-panel aluminium edges for the iPhone 12, Apple hasn’t strayed too far from the design language established with the iPhone X. At the very least, we’d hope for the long-overdue removal of the selfie camera notch – while some early leaks indicate that Apple might also flatten the rear camera bump.
When will the iPhone 14 (and its siblings) break cover? Apart from 2020, when its schedule was disrupted by the global pandemic, Apple routinely launches its latest flagships in September – which is exactly when we’d expect to see the iPhone 14.
Google Pixel 6a
Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro handsets launched in October 2021, with top-notch internals, revamped designs and improved camera hardware which signalled a return for the Pixel family to flagship status.
As with the previous three Pixel generations, it’s widely believed that a mid-range version will launch in 2022. Early leaks indicate that the cheaper Pixel 6a will still ship with Google’s own Tensor processor, plus a design similar to its premium siblings – including the distinctive rear camera bar.
The savings seem likely to come courtesy of impressive shooting skills, with some sources suggesting that the Pixel 6a will have camera kit equivalent to what was found on the Pixel 3.
Judging from the release dates of previous Pixel ‘a’ devices, we’d expect to see the Pixel 6a break cover in August 2022. As for pricing, a tag around the £350 / $450 mark would fit the established trend.