Best upcoming phones of 2015
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.
2014 was a good year for phones. We not only saw solid
releases from the usual suspects, but a few of Android’s underdog contenders
finally stood up and revealed themselves as solid manufacturers. Sony had the
Z2 and Z3 and LG unveiled the G3 to great appreciation. HTC and Motorola
continued apace with their respective new approaches and even Apple shook
things up by doubling its premium iPhone offering and upping the size of its
It was also a year where the Chinese phone makers started to
move in on new territory. Huawei, OPPO and new manufacturer OnePlus released
some impressive phones for a lower price than their more-established (in some
So, what can we expect from 2015 and what do we already
know? It’s all rumor and speculation at this point, but based on past history
there are some pretty strong bets we can make.
Samsung Galaxy S6
In early December,
some leaks came out about the GS6. The general
bent is that it will be faster, have better screen resolution and a
significantly upped camera in terms of Megapixels.
In the leak the CPU is said to be an octo-core processor,
like the one found in the Note 4. Also like in the Note 4, it is slated to have
3GB of RAM. Neither of these would be surprising; it’s the general direction
that both Samsung and the Android market as a whole is going in.
The 20MP camera is a bit alarming. There’s really no need
for cramming that many MP in to a phone camera just yet – as evidenced by the
8MP shooters in the iPhones 6 and 6 Plus, which leave everything else on the
market for dead.
There’s also mention of a 2K resolution (2560 x 1440), which
is the same as that found on the Note 4 and LG G3. It offers 75% more pixels
than a 1080p panel, making for a seriously crisp screen. It’s arguable whether
or not the user actually benefits from such a huge resolution, but you can bet
the farm that Samsung will go ahead and include it. Where marketing is
concerned, Samsung loves pushing the ‘bigger is better’ angle every time.
Unfortunately, that motto hasn’t transferred over to the
battery department. Despite the huge demand for a two-day battery, Samsung
keeps cramming in more power-hungry features and leaving charge life by the
What we actually know:
Samsung hasn’t seriously shaken up its game since it
released the Galaxy S III in May 2012. Since then we’ve seen incremental
upgrades to its premium smartphone line and little in the way of changes to physical
The S6 will probably look quite a bit like the S5. With any
luck, the introduction of a partially metal frame on the Note 4 is an
indication that Samsung is finally focusing on making its devices feel top of
the line, on top of functioning that way.
The GSIII was unveiled in May 2012 and released in June. The
GS4 had a March debut and April 2013 shelf date. The GS5 was earlier in the
year yet again with a February announcement and April release date. This last time
Samsung didn’t host its own event. Rather, it made the announcement at MWC in
Barcelona, alongside many other manufacturers’ new devices.
It’s likely the GS6 will also be announced at MWC, so keep
your eyes open towards the end of February.
HTC One (M9) / HTC Hima
The next “One” phone from HTC has also had some
unverified leaks hit the web centring around camera, CPU, RAM and battery size (but not
It’s being referred to right now as the HTC Hima, which is
almost certainly a development-phase codename. The leak specifies 3GB of RAM, a
Spadragon 810 processor and a 20.7MP rear with 13MP or 4UP front-facing camera,
all running on a pretty standard 2840mAh battery. The screen is said to be the
same 5 inches as the current One (M8) with, surprisingly, a 1080p resolution.
However, other reports have suggested a 5.2 inch display and
Snapdragon 805 processor.
What we actually know:
HTC’s big year was 2013. That was when it released the HTC
One, which was retro-actively renamed the HTC One (M7) once the One (M8) came
out in 2014, so as to not confuse its customers.
The (M7) focused on delivering a smooth, minimalistic user
interface housed in the most beautifully crafted phone the market had ever
seen. In 2014 it took the same approach. The (M8) was even prettier than its
predecessor and its UI even more simplistic. Nothing new was brought by the
(M8), except that its camera sported a somewhat gimmicky depth sensor and its
body was made from a single piece of machined aluminium, instead of also
sporting a plastic rim around the edges.
More recently, HTC has been dabbling in water-resistant
design. The HTC Desire Eye is the first IPX7 phone that doesn’t rely on a
delicate flap to cover its USB port. This is the same phone that brought us a
13MP front-facing camera, which is where the source of the (M9)’s selfie-cam
rumor undoubtedly originated.
The (M8) was unveiled after the Galaxy S5 on March 25, but
was released on the same day on the Verizon network in the US. That means,
despite its later announcement, it hit shelves before Samsung’s 2014 flagship.
We may see a similar tactic this year, but HTC would do well
to show off its new front-runner a little earlier, if only to build a little
hype before sales go live.
Sony Xperia Z4 and Z4 Compact
The Xperia Z3 and Z3 Compact were a good team. It’s safe to
assume that the upcoming Z4 will also sport a plucky little sidekick. And
wouldn’t you know, they’ve both turned up in leaks. The Z4 is expected to be
revealed as early as January 5 2014, but the Compact may be delayed until as
late as Q2.
The full-sized Z4 has been said to boast a 5.4 inch 2K
display, a Snapdragon 805 processor and 4GB of RAM. Keep in mind this is
somewhat doubtful at this stage. 4GB of RAM is quite a bit more than the
current market-leading 3GB phones have. We would expect to see a more powerful
processor than an 805 before we saw this much RAM.
The smaller of the two, the Compact, is slated to have a 4.7
inch 1080p display, Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM. This, along with the
predicted 32GB of storage and 20.7MP/5MP front/rear camera combo would
definitely make it the best Android phone of its size on the market.
What we actually know:
Sony has adopted a 6 month release schedule for its phones,
so a January announcement doesn’t sound too far-fetched, but it may be
optimistic. The Z1 was announced at IFA on Sept 5 2013, the Z2 on February 24
at MWC in Spain, and the Z3 at IFA again on Sept 4 2014. Whether Sony will
follow its precise pattern and go for a February 24 announcement, or jump the
gun and get in before the MWC announcements is impossible to say.
Going by the last three releases from Sony, we can say with
certainty that the next line of Xperia phones will be highly water resistant
and probably sport a 20.7MP rear camera. Expect only minor updates in hardware
and software. After all, there’s only so much a company can accomplish in six
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