Often it seems like the days when smartphones arrived with a big splash are behind us. Years of incremental upgrades and tweaks around the edges mean many people have been hanging onto older handsets, rather than clamouring for the latest model. But with an innovative new iPhone expected to land in just a few days and fresh new form factors dropping all the time, there’s a whole heap of thrilling new phones you should have your eye on.
Here are just a handful of the best phones we’re hotly anticipating in the coming year.
iPhone 14 Pro
The iPhone 14 Pro launched (as we expected) on 7 September and certainly didn't disappoint in terms of features. In a very noticeable change from the iPhone 13 Pro, Apple has ditched the notch and introduced what it calls the Dynamic Island on the 14 Pro. This not only houses the front camera and sensors required for the Face ID but it shrinks and grows on the screen to show a range of alerts, notifications and even album art. It's a perfect blend of hardware and software, and it's seriously impressive.
There are changes on the flip side too, as the Pro models have upgraded the main camera to a 48MP quad-pixel unit. This essentially lets you harness the power of the 48-million pixels to give you maximum resolution, or create a superior 12MP image by combining four pixels into one. You can also use it to zoom in by 2x and use the centre of the sensor.
There's a brand new A16 Bionic chip running the show and a new brighter always-on display, capable of 1600 nits peak, or 2000 nits in outdoor mode. And if you want it to really stand out, you can order it in the snazzy new Deep Purple colour.
Nothing Phone 1
A new smartphone brand entering the market is rare enough. But one this radically different is entirely unprecedented. The Nothing Phone 1 produced much cooing when its design was revealed this June – its transparent case offers a fresh look in a market crammed with glass and anodised aluminium and its utterly unique glyph lighting can be customised to let you know of inbound notifications even when it’s face down. Performance-wise, it offers plenty of punch for the price, although it won’t keep up with anything else on this list and its camera is good rather than great. But if you want to get excited about your phone again, this irresistible iconoclast is an excellent choice for not much cash.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4
You can’t deny that folding phones are certainly exciting. But in their earliest incarnations they rarely lived up to the hype. Fortunately, Samsung has been beavering away making incremental improvements to its foldables, and the latest generation is the first we’d genuinely say are a must-have. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4, in particular, had us drooling after its release this August. When closed it sits comfortably in the hand, while its slick 1.9-inch cover screen offers nifty new widgets for taking quick actions. Flip it open and you have a flagship Android handset with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 processor, 8GB of RAM and up to 512GB storage. And the best thing about it? At £999, it essentially costs no more than any other flagship.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
As we move further into the future, things get even more exciting but a whole lot less certain. We’re hearing whispers that the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra may pack an absurd 200MP camera sensor, allowing it to group pixels and offer lush 50MP shots even in low light conditions. It’s also alleged it will be getting the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU that’s expected to drop later this year, while its internal storage will be Samsung’s lightning-fast Universal Flash Storage 4.0 that can offer read speeds up to 4,200 MB/s. How much of this tech will make it into the final phone is unclear but one thing we can guarantee is that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will be a hell of a handset.