With the pace at which smartphones evolve is moving so fast, there’s always something waiting in the wings. No sooner have you spied the latest handset, then there’s anticipation of something else, the next big thing to envy.
We’ve rounded up the best smartphones for 2014/2015, those we consider to be the best across all platforms, and we’ve regularly updated that list as the smartphone world has evolved.
You can find those in our Best smartphones 2014: The best phones available to buy today feature.
Here we’re looking at those phones that haven’t yet launched, those we know are coming, or are anticipated.
Some will be rumour, some will be fact, but here we’ll cut through the speculation to highlight those phones we really want to see.
We’ll be updating this list on a regular basis, with those device rumours we think are credible and exciting, and devices just announced but yet to hit the shelves.
Sony Xperia Z4
Yes, the Xperia Z3 is just out – and a very good phone – but it looks like Sony could already be preparing the next update to its flagship device. Arguably it doesn’t need to, but the Xperia Z4 will probably see and early-2015 launch.
That might mean CES 2015 in January, or Mobile World Congress a month later. Both see a number of devices launches and Sony has popped up at both events in the past.
There isn’t a huge amount to go on, but it’s suggested that we’ll see a slightly new face on the Z4 with a repositioning of the front-facing speakers, and perhaps a step over to Quad HD resolution for the display.
There’s talk of Snapdragon 805 hardware and Sony has been pretty good at producing powerful handsets in the past.
Rumours suggest an updated camera too, but still with 20.7-megapixels and optical image stabilisation on the back. A boosted front camera is likely too, as is Android 5.0 Lollipop.
Sony Xperia Z4 Compact and Ultra
The Sony Xperia Z4 Compact is apparently going to arrive with 3GB of RAM, a 20.7-megapixel camera, 32GB storage, and a 4.7-inch screen with 1080p resolution. You can also expect a 3,000mAh battery, Cat 9 LTE, wireless charging and IP68 water and dust proofing.
The Sony Xperia Z4 Ultra should arrive with a 6.44-inch display with a QHD resolution. It should also come with 3GB of RAM but a smaller 16-megapixel camera and larger 4,000mAh battery. Unlike previous versions of the Ultra this model should also come with a stylus.
HTC One M9 Hima
The new year is here and all rumours have turned towards the next HTC One. Likely to be called M9, as well as carrying the codename Hima in some leak stories, the next HTC One is looking to enhance one of the best phones from 2014.
You can expect HTC to stick to a premium metal design, as well as offering those forward facing BoomSound speakers, but the rest of the specs may have also been revealed.
The HTC One M9 is rumoured to launch with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset and 3GB of RAM, suggesting plenty of power.
However it looks like HTC might stick to a 1920 x 1080 full HD display, and at 5 inches, rather than swelling it in size or resolution. That might have advantages when it comes to battery life.
Elsewhere there looks to be a radical change in cameras, with a 13-megapixel front and 20-megapixel rear camera suggested, as well as HTC Sense 7 running on Android 5 Lollipop.
We suspect that HTC will be looking to launch the HTC One M9 Hima around Mobile World Congress 2015, in March.
Samsung Galaxy S6
Samsung reportedly didn’t have the success it wanted with the SGS5, so we might see something of a revision of the format for the SGS6. Rumours of a metal bodied phone are circulating, but with a growing line of Alpha/A handsets appearing with metal bodies, it’s difficult to filter out exactly what belongs where.
We’d expect the SGS6 to offer a display around 5.2-inches, but it’s still not known whether it will be Quad HD or stick to full HD resolution. We suspect Samsung will step up to 2560 x 1440 pixels.
The Samsung Galaxy S6 will likely come with different hardware internally, as we’ve previously seen devices with Samsung’s Exynos chipsets, as well as those from Qualcomm. This has allowed Samsung to offer slightly different devices in different markets. We suspect a SD 810 model will be released in Europe and North America.
We can also expect Samsung to continue to offer the heart rate sensor and fingerprint scanner. A 16-megapixel camera with optical image stabilisation is likely. Current rumours suggest a launch around MWC 2015 in March.
The LG G4 could arrive with the smallest bezel on any screen yet, if the prototype devices shown off by LG are anything to go by.
We’re expected a screen around 5.7-inches that could be UHD or at least 2K. The processor will hopefully be a Snapdragon 810 64-bit chip with Cat 6 4G and 4GB of RAM.
Battery life and camera should also see improvements both in hardware and software.
It’s still early days for G4 rumours but they’re here so Samsung better start worrying. LG’s launch cycle is slightly offset to many others, so we wouldn’t expect the G4 to appear until summer 2015.
Asus ZenFone 2
Asus has been one of the first companies to launch a new device in 2015. The Asus ZenFone 2 was launched at CES 2015.
Asus has stuck with Intel for the hardware, with an Intel Atom Z3580 paired with 4GB of RAM, which should make for a really powerful handset.
There’s a 5.5-inch display, with 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution as well as a 13-megapixel camera on the rear. Asus is making great claims about this camera, saying it will offer low light performance like you haven’t seen before. We’ll be the judge of that.
The ZenFone 2 has rear volume controls, like the LG G3, and it ships with Android 5.0 Lollipop skinned with Asus’ Zen UI.
Fortunately, despite some premium specs, the ZenFone 2 comes with the $199 starting price tag. We’re yet to hear exactly where it will be on sale, however.
Asus ZenFone Zoom
We didn’t see this one coming, until Asus teased “optical zoom” in an oh-so-obvious way. But Asus now has a smartphone with optical zoom that was announced at CES 2015.
There aren’t many cameras with optical zoom around and the ZenFone Zoom is a world away from the Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. Samsung’s model is more like a camera, however, with 10x optical zoom and a 20MP sensor, along with Xenon flash. The Asus, however, is fairly slimline, cramming the 3x optical zoom 13MP camera into a body that’s still pretty slim.
To assist that camera is laser autofocusing, but we’re yet to see if this all fuses together nicely, or if it’s a mish-mash experience.
Elsewhere the Asus ZenFone Zoom has a 5.5-inch display and will launch with Android 5.0 Lollipop, along with Zen UI. It’s still some way off, however, with no word on when it might be available.
LG G Flex 2
LG announced the LG G Flex 2 at CES 2015 in Las Vegas, bringing the second iteration of its curved phone.
Having listened to feedback from the original device, LG has made the new G Flex smaller, so it now has a 5.5-inch POLED display, which is more manageable than the previous. It has a full HD display now too, which at this size is nice and sharp.
But it’s not just about the curve: the LG G Flex 2 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 chipset with 2GB of RAM. It’s 64-bit, supporting Android 5.0 Lollipop that it launches with and there’s a 3000mAh battery to get you through the day.
The camera is a 13MP with laser autofocus, with LG saying that it’s more capable than the LG G3. All in all, the LG G Flex 2 is an impressive pacakge. If you had doubts about the original, this should quell them.
Microsoft Lumia 1020 replacement/RM-105
This rumour is a little on the loose side, but a newly-leaked image has appeared showing a Lumia model with a big camera bump on the rear. The Lumia 1020 was a mobile photography star, but has never been replaced.
There’s a chance that you’re looking at a new high-end PureView model, known as the RM-1052, but equally it could be a prototype of the cancelled Nokia McLaren.
But it’s nice to dream that Microsoft Devices will fill the high-end with a 5-inch Windows Phone 8.1 device with a great PureView camera.
We’re not convinced by the bodywork, the metal and plastic fusion doesn’t look like a finished consumer device, but it could be the birth of a new photography star for 2015. An explosive launch at Mobile World Congress in 2015 perhaps? Let’s dream about that.
Google Project Ara
Created by Motorola, and now shifted over to Google after the sale of Motorola to Lenovo, Project Ara isn’t due to early 2015 but is essentially an exoskeleton that allows users to modify what parts they want. That way someone that wants to spend the bulk of their budget on the camera, but doesn’t need as much storage, can chose to upgrade that way. Perhaps one person will skip NFC in favour of faster 802.11ac Wi-Fi, for example.
There should also be third party components on offer that will allow for competitive pricing as well as new types of parts – like sensors. A person with diabetes may want a blood sugar sensor where another may not.
Users can also looks forward to different textured options that they can 3D print off at home themselves. The speed this phone can develop at, without costing us as much, is very exciting indeed.