Stack of phones

Top phones to look forward to in 2021

Technology is ever-evolving, and each year our favourite smartphone manufacturers release more devices; be it revised models of previous successes or completely brand new ranges. This year, we expect to see a rise in foldable phones as makers get more creative with materials. Keep reading to see what 2021 might have in store for your next phone. 
 

Apple - iPhone 13

Apple are known for releasing the next iPhone family each Autumn, with the iPhone 12 range launching at the end of 2020, and we don’t expect 2021 to be any different. 

Release date

The annual announcements are usually numerical in order, so after the 12, we expect to see the release of an iPhone 13 range. While we haven’t had any official confirmation from Apple, they’ll probably follow their usual pattern of unveiling in early Autumn. 

Names

If Apple release four iPhones, like they did with the 12 range, we expect them to be called the iPhone 13, iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, and the iPhone 13 Mini. 

Prices

Like all of the iPhone families preceding it, prices are often dictated by which model you decide on and how much storage you choose. The iPhone 13 range will probably act in the same way - with the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini being cheaper than the Pro and Pro Max versions (if that’s what Apple releases). New iPhones are usually on the upper end of the market - you can expect to pay similar (or more) to what the iPhone 12 range released at. 

Design

Many sources believe that Apple won’t change their design due to the refreshed appearance of the iPhones 12s. They came with squarer edges, rather than rounded, to more closely resemble the older iPhone models. So it’s likely that Apple will stick with this aesthetic rather than changing it again after only one year. Likewise, the sizes of the phones are expected to remain the same. 

One of the biggest design alterations that is being discussed is the idea that Apple might decrease the size of the notch at the top of the screen. This is the cut-out section that allows for a camera on an edge-to-edge display. As well as allowing selfies, it also supports Face ID technology to unlock a phone. If Apple chooses to reduce the notch size, they’ll need to figure out how to hide the front-facing camera and TrueDepth system behind the display. 

More rumours have taken place about Apple creating an in-display Touch ID to use alongside Face ID for an alternative, or extra secure, method of unlocking the iPhone. 

Additionally, there were rumours of Apple releasing an iPhone without an external port for a Lightning cable (relying solely on wireless charging like MagSafe), but this has since been proved wrong, as many prospective customers might shy away from losing wires completely. 

Cameras

The iPhone 12s have three cameras, like the 11s, so it’s likely that the 13 will sport the same. The cameras should feature multiple improvements though, such as sensor-shift stabilisation and improved Ultra Wide lens.

Other features

  • 5G - all of the iPhone 13 models should be 5G-enabled like the 12 range
  • A15 Processor - this chip will support faster speeds and efficiency in the iPhone 13s
  • A 120Hz refresh rate is rumoured to be implemented on the models
  • Always-on display
  • iOS 15 - all iPhones are currently operating on iOS 14, but the new models are rumoured to bring an updated operating system with them too.

Another Apple model that is rumoured to be in production is the iPhone SE 3. Check out our review on its predecessor to learn more about the SE’s features. 

To learn more about Apple’s flagship models, check out our guide: Which iPhone is right for you?
 

Samsung - Galaxy Z Flip 3

Samsung were one of the first manufacturers to tease the release of a foldable phone - that is, a smartphone made from flexible glass, capable of being bent and folded like a book. 

Release date

The original Z Flip was launched last year in 2020, and there are almost confirmed rumours of a new Z Flip coming this year. 

Names

There is confusion on if the new device will be called the Galaxy Z Flip 2 or 3 based on the Z Flip 5G occupying the second place. Likely, it will be called the Galaxy Z Flip 3, as the third generation of the model. 

Price

There are likely to be two models, possibly releasing in July of 2021, but there are rumours of the Z Flip 3 being cheaper than previous Samsung devices. 

Design

The rumours that have been circulating around the possible design of the Galaxy Z Flip 3 have been overwhelmingly positive, with many impressed at the conceptual designs being hinted at. It appears to showcase a display on the back side of the phone when folded, allowing users to see information without needing to open the clamshell-like device.

One of the most universal rumours is the presence of the S Pen in the Z Flip’s design, which was initially included in the design of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. This will allow users to use a tool, rather than their fingers, on the smooth screens, supporting people with dexterity struggles.

Cameras

It is thought that this Android phone will have three cameras, one extra compared to the dual camera of the Z Flip. Whether they are to be placed horizontally, like the current Z Flip, or vertically like older Samsung phones, is still up for debate. 

Other features

  • 5G-enabled - of course Samsung, perceived to be the co-leader of smartphone manufacturing alongside Apple, will not be left behind in the wave of 5G technology, so this new device is sure to be compatible with both 4G and 5G
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 - future models from Samsung will most likely have this next-generation hardware, for improved speed
  • Possible 120Hz refresh rate.

There are a host of other Samsung phone rumours on the internet, such as the Galaxy Note 21 and the Galaxy Z Fold 3.

For more Samsung choices, read our guide: Which Samsung smartphone is right for you?
 

Huawei - Huawei P50 

After the release of Huawei’s 2020 flagship smartphone, the P40, which followed the same naming as the P30 and P30 Pro before it, there are rumours of the next generation.

Release date

Though previous models were released in March, the P50 range is expected to be launched in April, as there may be a delay due to the coronavirus. 

Names

Like their previous ranges, Huawei have released PXX, PXX Pro and PXX Pro+ versions of their model, which is expected to occur again this time with the P50 range. It’s been rumoured that there will be three models again, labelled: the P50, P50 Pro, and P50 Pro+, sticking with the theme from the past two generations. 

Design

The design of the P50 Pro was leaked in 2020, showcasing a 6.6 inch curved ‘waterfall’ display, no borders (called ‘bezels’) between the screen and frame, and an earpiece.

Further leaks later showed the P50 Pro phone made from a combination of metal and glass, with a large egg-shaped camera house on the rear. This design will most likely transfer across all of the versions, disrupting the smoothness of the back with a slight protrusion. 

Cameras

Huawei are known for producing high quality cameras on their smartphones, but the leaked rendering of the P50 Pro showed a central camera hole, implying that Huawei will remove the dual front cameras from previous models. Perhaps this will result in a higher megapixel selfie camera - we will wait and see. 

It’s also believed that the P50 range will come with Leica lenses, with Sony’s IMX8000 sensor being included in the technology. If this is true, the rear camera technology will be quite powerful, capable of producing vivid and detailed imagery. 

Furthermore, some reports suggest the inclusion of liquid lens camera technology, which creates sharper images due to the ability to focus in milliseconds. 

Other features

  • No Google services - due to the US trade ban still in place
  • Processor - it is believed that the P50 range will run on either the Kirin 1020 SoC processor or the Kirin 9000
  • Fingerprint scanner - implied by the leaked renders 
  • 120Hz refresh rate - not to be left behind, most people expect the refresh rate to be improved
  • Harmony OS - instead of working on Android’s Google services, Huawei will probably launch this range with their own system, Harmony OS
  • Fast charging - a new Huawei charger has been certified to deliver up to 135 watts, which could be used for the P50 series.

If you’re interested in Huawei, find your next phone in our guide: Which Huawei phone is right for you?
 

Google - Google Pixel 5a

Like Samsung, Google also have a rumoured folding phone in the works, but we’re going to focus on the next generation Pixel rumour - the 5a. The 5a is an expansion on the Pixel 5 from September 2020, like the 4a is to the Pixel 4.

Check out all of the other phones to date in the Pixel family

Release date

Google’s previous range, Pixel 4, was only unveiled in August 2020, with the 5 following a month later, but it’s thought that the Pixel 5a will launch in June 2021.

Price

Google phones remain relatively consistent in their prices, always marketing between £300 - £400. Therefore, we don’t expect the 5a to be on sale for any more or less than this, probably averaging around £350. However, the price could rise if it’s 5G compatible, but not by an excessive amount.  

Design

The design of the 5a was leaked, and most of the images appear to look similar to the previous range’s display. It’s believed to have a 6.2 inch display, which is the same as the 4. 

Further similarities were drawn between it and previous models, like the polycarbonate body of the 4a (5G) and the square camera housing in the top corner. Additionally, it’s also believed to be a similar size to the 4a at 156.2 x 73.2 x 8.8mm.

Cameras

The same leak also hinted at a dual-lens camera on the rear of the phone, and a single lens on the front (punch-hole style). 

It’s suggested that the cameras will stay fairly similar to the models before it, probably being 8MP on the front and 12MP on the main rear. Additional features and sensors will probably be included to aid the quality of photos. 

Other features

  • Possible 5G connectivity - making this model extremely similar to its predecessor, the 4a (5G)
  • Fingerprint sensor - on the rear of the device, instead of the front display screens like many others
  • 3.5mm headphone jack for wired audio
     

Nokia - Nokia 10

Expected to supersede the Nokia 9, the 10 could become Nokia’s biggest flagship yet. 

Release date

There isn’t as much estimation about the release of this device, but since its predecessor was released in 2020, the assumption is that the 10 will be unveiled in the later half of 2021. 

Names

Nokia aren’t as straightforward with their naming as some other brands, so this step-up from the 9 could either be called the Nokia 9.2 or Nokia 10. 

Price

The price will most likely be dictated by whether the device is 5G-enabled or not. If the 10 comes with 5G technology, then it will most likely be pushed into the general flagship market of being £1000. If the technology does not soar much above the previous models, then it will probably be marketed similarly as they were initially, in the £600 range. 

Design

While there is less information circulating at the time of writing, it’s thought that the 10 could be the foldable phone that Nokia has been working on for a couple of years now. 

If the 10 follows a similar design to its predecessor, it could have a 6 inch OLED screen, with some predictions last year claiming a 90Hz display. 

Cameras

Nokia’s recent phones have been released with penta (5) cameras on the back, which they will probably continue due to its success. Additionally, Nokia will also probably keep the 20MP sensor on their front camera, from the 9 PureView. 

Other features

  • Processor - possibly Qualcomm Snapdragon like some of the others
  • Possibly 5G - like the 4a before it
  • Wireless charging - the Nokia 9 PureView was compatible with wireless charging so it’s likely Nokia will continue this on the 10.

If you want to know more about Nokia, you can explore their best phones in our guide: Which Nokia phone is right for you?
 

Other resources

Whilst there’s never a shortage of rumours on the internet, we wouldn’t have enough space to detail all of the possible smartphone arrivals in 2021. 

But if you want to explore more about what different smartphones can offer you, check out our blogs below:

If you grab one of these phones when they come out this year, why not pair your new device with an Asda mobile SIM only deal or Pay-as-you-go plan?


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