Part of being a technology fan is keeping up-to-date with what’s coming next, but in the smartphone world, there are always dozens of announced and unannounced phones on the horizon. This can make the process of deciding on your next phone quite time consuming; so to help ease your worry, we’ve put together a list of our favorite smartphones coming out in early to mid 2013. It doesn’t cover only officially announced kit either, as we’ve split it into two sections – reality and rumor – to keep you fully informed.
Below is a list of the major smartphones we’re expecting to see companies like Apple, Samsung, Sony, Nokia, HTC, and Motorola unveil this fall.
Sony Xperia Z
Easily Sony’s most exciting device for several years, the Xperia Z covers two of the biggest trends in smartphone tech: a big 5-inch screen and a 1080p, Full HD resolution. Announced during CES 2013, it’s expected to be released in the UK and Europe at the end of February, and it’s already up for pre-order with Vodafone, O2 and Three in the UK. As for the U.S., no release date has been provided. Aside from its screen, the Xperia Z has a quad-core 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, a 13-megapixel camera, 16GB of storage space, and Android 4.1.2.
Apple iPhone 5S
You may have heard a little about this one already. Apple’s follow-up to the iPhone 5 – which sports a flashy new design and a larger screen – is, if Apple sticks with tradition, likely to be more of the same, just with more power, a new version of iOS and if we’re lucky, a little surprise. In addition to the inevitable iPhone 5S, there are rumors of both a cheaper iPhone model and an even larger iPhone named the iPhone Plus/Math/6 being released this year, but we’ll believe it when we see it. As the iPhone 5 is less than five months old, it’s not likely to be replaced until October at the earliest, unless Apple springs something on us during WWDC in June.
Samsung Galaxy S4
The release of the new Galaxy S4 flagship Android phone in the coming months is highly likely, and like the S3, Samsung will probably unveil it at an elaborate event, currently rumored for sometime in March. We’re still expecting the firm to wait until the Galaxy S3 is a year old – which is in May – before revealing its successor though. Rumors point to it having a 5-inch, 1080 screen and using the newly announced Exynos 5 Octa eight-core processor.
The sister device to the BlackBerry Z10 sees the firm return to familiar territory, as the BlackBerry Q10 has a physical QWERTY keyboard. Given the competition (almost none), it could be a winner, but word is it may not go on sale until May at the earliest, which is a bit of a concern. Its hardware specs are almost identical to the Z10, with a dual-core Snapdragon chip and an 8-megapixel camera, although for obvious reasons the screen is smaller – 3.1-inches with a 720 x 720 pixel resolution.
Nokia EOS (Lumia 1000)
We’ve heard rumors of two top-of-the-range Nokia phones already this year, the Lumia 920 replacement with the codename Catwalk and this, the EOS, which could house a top-notch PureView camera (possibly called the Lumia 1000). We’re featuring the EOS over the Catwalk because there’s a chance it’ll be Nokia’s attempt to capture our attention at Mobile World Congress, plus as the Lumia 920 is only a few months old, it’s a bit early to be talking about its sequel.
Huawei Ascend Mate
Huawei announced two devices at CES 2013, one of which was this, the 6.1-inch behemoth known as the Ascend Mate. While its sister phone, the Ascend D2, is technically impressive, it’s not the only 1080p smartphone coming out this year, but the Mate is easily the biggest piece of hardware still referred to as a phone by its manufacturer. For that reason, let’s hope it receives an international release date sometime soon – perhaps during Mobile World Congress. Currently, it’s only headed for China. If the 6.1-inch, 720p screen wasn’t enough, the phone is powered by Huawei’s own K3V2 quad-core processor, plus it has an 8-megapixel camera and Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
Samsung Galaxy Note 3
Samsung has sold a lot of Note and Note 2 devices, but the tablet/smartphone hybrid genre is getting more crowded by the day. To maintain its lead, Samsung is going to have to come up with something special for the Note 3. Little is known about the phone – although a resolution upgrade to 1080p should be a safe bet – but we expect the rumors to start once the aforementioned Galaxy S4 makes its debut. Samsung released the Note 2 during IFA 2012, so perhaps an August release for the Note 3 is on the cards.
ZTE Grand S
Yet another forthcoming phone announced at CES this year, the ZTE Grand S also has a 5-inch, 1920×1080 pixel resolution screen and a quad-core processor. The camera packs in 13 megapixels, there is 16GB of storage space, it has LTE connectivity, and runs on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. It’s also a mere 6.9mm thick. Sadly, like the Ascend Mate, its only scheduled for release in China at the moment, where it’s expected to land between April and June.
LG Optimus G2
LG’s flagship Android phone is a while away from becoming reality too, as the Optimus G is still making its way out into the world. Its possible specification, like many other new, range-topping handsets for 2013, includes a big 1080p touchscreen; but other than that, we don’t know much about the G2. Expect to hear about this phone during the second half of the year.
LG Optimus G Pro
The LG Optimus G Pro is a device which could be at home in either the reality or rumor columns, as the G Pro is a real piece of hardware headed for Japan (and we’d be quite happy to see it launch in other countries too), but there is also another G Pro with a slightly tweaked spec sheet rumored for announcement at Mobile World Congress. One single alteration splits the two, as the Japanese G Pro has a 5-inch, 1080p display, while the potential MWC show-stopper has a Galaxy Note 2-worrying 5.5-inch, Full HD touchscreen. Otherwise, the 1.7GHz quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, Android 4.1 Jelly Bean OS, and 13-megapixel camera remain the same.
Motorola X Phone
We don’t know any hard facts about the next big phone from Motorola, but rumor has it that it’s the first Motorola device that Google has collaborated on extensively. It be the flagship phone for a new version of Android, and other rumors peg it as “revolutionary” in areas like durability and battery performance. Given Motorola’s excellent record with battery power (See: Razr Maxx), we could definitely see this as a direction. Either way, the device is said to be unveiled at Google I/O this year, sometime in May.
Did our best upcoming phones list miss something big? Shoot us a comment below.
Article originally published August 20, 2012.
Update 2/15/2013: Rewrote article to include current phones.
Update 10/3/2012: Dropped released phones and added some new devices.