Best upcoming phones of 2014

Summary: Keen for a glimpse at the best future smartphones coming soon to a store near you? We break down which upcoming handsets you should be waiting for.

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2014 is set to be an awesome year for smartphones. We already have the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5, both of which are proving to be fantastic devices, but there are even more gadgets on the horizon.

In 2013 the market was split almost entirely between Samsung and Apple, with HTC fronting the amazing HTC One that sadly never really picked up the pace. This year just about every major manufacturer has an awesome-sounding device on the way, which could mean that we may finally have more than a couple of outliers to choose between.

Samsung Galaxy S5 Plans HTC One (M8) Plans

Sony Xperia Z2

Coming very, very soon.

The Xperia Z2 is Sony's new flagship device that was unveiled at MWC in Barcelona. Sony seems to be on a roll at the moment, first releasing the Xperia Z and then the Z1 just six months later. Now the Z2 is set to hit shelves just half a year after the Z1, which is a rapid pace for any manufacturer.

Like its predecessors, the Xperia Z2 is rated IP55 and IP58, meaning it's totally waterproof. It can take underwater photos and, according to its rating, can be left submerged under over a metre (3 feet) of water for an indefinite period of time.

Unlike most other 'rugged' smartphones, the Z2 doesn't compromize on hardware. It rocks a 1080p 5.2 inch display with a bunch of Sony-branded technology jargon backing it up.

The processor is a quad-core 2.3GHz model backed up by 3GB of RAM. Our favorite bit (after the waterproofing) is the huge 3200mAh battery. This should hopefully give all but the most hardcore of phone users a full 2-days of charge, but wait on actual confirmation before you get excited.

It also has a 20.7MP camera that can record 4K video and 16GB of on-board storage with a microSD slot for further expansion. You can get more info on the Xperia Z2 by checking out our preview.


LG G3

Rumored for a May 17 announcement

Currently everything known about the LG G3 is from apparent leaks, rumor and speculation. It's going to be the successor to the LG G2, which was one of the best devices released in the second half of last year. If the May 17 release turns out to be true, it would be only six or so months after the original G2 hit the market.

The current specs doing the rounds, courtesy of MyLGPhones, are taken from a version of the LG G3 bound for the US carrier Sprint, under the product code of LG-LS990. The main specs revealed are:

  • 5.5 inch display with 2K (1440x2560) resolution
  • Quad-core 2.3GHz processor
  • 3GB of RAM
  • 32GB of internal storage with MicroSD for expansion
  • 13MP rear-facing camera with 2.1MP front-facing
  • Android 4.4.2 KitKat

A new UI skin has also bee unearthed by Dutch site LGG3kopen (LG G3 Head), which shows off a far more attractive interface than had the G2. The lacklustre UI was one of our biggest problems with the G2 last year and we're happy to entertain the thought that this year will be different.


The iPhone 6

When? Not soon.

The iPhone 6 is expected to launch sometime around October/November. Obviously we don’t know too much about it just yet, except that it could be the best-selling smartphone of the year, again.

This is one of the years in Apple’s two-year cycle when it gets to shake things up again. New number, new design, new iPhone. Let’s hope Apple makes the most of it.

The one thing we’d really like to see is a bigger screen. Apple already made the jump from a paltry 3.5 inches to 4 inches in 2012, but it wasn’t enough. Ask any iPhone user what they’d most like changed and nine times out of ten they’ll tell you that they want more screen real estate.

We’d also like to see Apple make a big play at re-taking the camera crown. It’s going to be tough, with camera-centric devices like the Lumia 1020 existing, but if anyone can do it it’s Apple. For years no one could come near an iPhone in terms of image quality, so the history of expertise is there. A good first step would be defaulting to a widescreen aspect ratio like that of modern Android and WP devices, rather than the squat-looking ratio that iOS is currently running with.


Motorola Moto X+1

Rumored for an August/Sepember announcement

The Moto X+1 is the successor to the smash-hit Moto X. It's rumored to be coming sometime around 'late Summer' in the US, possibly August or September. So far, that's just about all we know.

The X2 will be the first Motorola flagship device to hit the market after its acquisition by Lenovo. As such, speculation has run rampant as to what we will and won't see.

The thing that has us most interested is what markets we'll see it launched in. The original Moto X was a US-specific phone up until around 6 months after its debut. We're only just now starting to see a major global release. Things could be very different now that Lenovo, a massive global company, is holding the reigns.

We could also see some serious changes to the Moto X motif. The original is loved in the US thanks to its remarkably agreeable price tag and the Moto Maker tool that lets you customize your own phone's color scheme.

There's no guarantee that Lenovo will carry on either of these trends, but rumors have begun to circulate about a large number of back plates, some of them wood, that are destined for the X+1.


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