Last year was another fantastic one for smartphones, but 2020 looks to be even better once all is said and done. There’s already a flood of rum-ours and leaks about this year’s set of incoming heavyweights, including the Apple iPhone 12 and Google Pixel 5, along with a handful of other intriguing-looking handsets. Here’s a look at our most-anticipated phones of the year ahead, including links to extensive previews for many of them. Stay tuned, as we’ll be updating this list throughout the year as new phones leak and launch.
SAMSUNG GALAXY NOTE 20 + NOTE 20 ULTRA
Samsung just officially took the wraps off of the much-leaked Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and they’re pretty much as expected. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is the big, beefy chap of the pair, with a huge 6.9in curved AMOLED screen at QHD+ resolution and a speedy 120Hz refresh rate. The sizable back triple-camera setup is anchored by a massive 108-megapixel sensor (alongside two 12MP cameras) that’s bound to take sizzling shots.
The standard Note 20, on the other hand, opts for a flat 6.7in screen that’s just FHD+ and 60Hz, while the back setup has a 64MP sensor alongside a pair of 12MP cameras. Both phones are powered by the swift Exynos 990 chip and both have an S Pen stylus, of course. You’ll find the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G at a startling starting price of £1,179, while the standard Note 20 is offered for £849 for 4G and £949 for 5G. Both roll out in the UK on 21 August.
APPLE IPHONE 12
After three versions of the bold and inventive iPhone X design, will 2020 see Apple shake things up? Rumours point to yes, but it’s still very early. Reports suggest an iPhone 12 that keeps the all-screen face while adopting a flattened metal frame that’s more akin to the classic iPhone 4, not to mention the current iPad Pro. Screen sizes could shift a bit too, going to 5.4in, 6.1in, and 6.7in (as opposed to the 5.8/6.1/6.5in of now).
Some reports even suggest two different 6.1in models, bringing the total tally to four iPhone 12 devices. According to Front Page Tech, it could break down into iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Max models at 5.4in and 6.1in, respectively (both with OLED screens), and iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max models at 6.1in and 6.7in respectively with more cameras, more RAM, and higher-resolution OLED displays.
As for the notch… well, there’s no consensus there yet. We’ve seen concepts suggesting no notch at all, with all of the sensors packed into the slim upper bezel, while others claim Apple will redesign the notch. It’s TBD at that point, in terms of what we know. Rumours also point to a four-eyes design on the back, with a time-of-flight camera added to the current trio of the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max. A recent rumour also points to a 64-megapixel shooter in the mix, while another suggests 4K slow-motion shooting at 240fps. We expected to see the iPhone 12 line launch in September as usual, but now reports suggest a later-year release due to the impact of COVID-19.
GOOGLE PIXEL 5
It’s early still, but we’re already hearing leaks and rumours about the Google Pixel 5. And as you’ll see in the purported leaked render above, it will seemingly have a pretty distinctive makeover in the mix. That’s one giant triple-camera setup on the back, as leaked by Front Page Tech, although nearly everything else is speculation at this point. We’re expecting the return of Google’s Soli radar chip, plus a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip. An Android 11 developers’ preview leak suggests the potential for reverse wireless charging, as seen on Samsung and Huawei phones, but otherwise we’re expecting a gradual pile-up of details over the next several months.
On the other hand, more recent concept renders developed by Pigtou based on purported leaked CAD drawings suggest something much more akin to the Pixel 4 in design, at least on the back. The front suggests that the Soli radar chip (and thus giant bezel forehead) are gone. In any case, Google has already confirmed that a Pixel 5 will launch later this year with 5G support… and if you want to save some money, a 5G version of the Pixel 4a is also coming.
SAMSUNG GALAXY Z FOLD 2
That’s not the only Samsung phone confirmed to be releasing in the near future. The company is also returning to its original foldable phone attempt with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 (slightly retitled from the original Galaxy Fold). The concept is essentially the same and so is the general shape of the phone, but some of the more head-scratching elements of the Galaxy Fold have been smartly revisited with the Z Fold 2.
Most pressingly, the small, awkwardly sized external screen is now much taller, while the tablet-sized inside screen drops that giant camera model in the upper right corner. We don’t have a date or price on the Galaxy Z Fold 2, but Samsung is taking pre-registrations from interested parties – so we suspect it’ll turn up before the end of the year. Will these tweaks help make this a foldable phone worth investing in?
ALREADY REVIEWED IN 2020
We’re always testing the latest and greatest smartphones and dropping our verdicts, and these are the phones we’ve reviewed so far in 2020. This list will continue to expand each time we update this article, so keep an eye out for many more additions.
Samsung Galaxy S20 5G: All the features you’d want in a top-end Android… and a few more. Brilliant.
Samsung Galaxy S20+: It’s a larger GS20, if you’re into that sort of thing.
OnePlus 8: Pricier than past models, but one of the best 5G phones today.
Realme X50 Pro 5G: One of your best options for a powerful, yet reasonably-priced 5G phone.
Oppo Find X2 Lite 5G: Sensible sacrifices make for an appealing, affordable 5G handset.
Oppo Find X2 Pro: Paying this much for an Android you’ve never heard of? You might want to…
Motorola Edge: Moto’s mix of flagship looks and mid-range power impresses.
OnePlus 8 Pro: The price is pushing it, but the perks are aplenty. Lots to like here.
Google Pixel 4a: Another budget Pixel winner with a brilliant camera, but not much flash.
OnePlus Nord: Finally, another affordable OnePlus – with 5G and a 90Hz screen, no less.
Apple iPhone SE (2020): An affordable, impressive iPhone, but just a bit weak on battery life.
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G: Both the best you can get and far too much for most buyers.
Motorola Moto G8 Power: Another budget battery beast, even if the G8 Plus is better.
Realme X3 SuperZoom: Definitely the best camera you’ll find on a phone this affordable.
Motorola Moto G8: One of the best sub-£200 budget phones you can buy today.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip: Today’s best flip smartphone has great design, but is fragile and pricey.