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7 smartphones coming out in 2024 I can’t wait for

Clockwise from top: natural titanium iPhone 15 Pro, Nothing Phone 2, green iPhone 15, and Obsidian Black Google Pixel Fold.

Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

It’s a new year, which means we can expect a huge slate of new smartphones to launch in the coming months ahead. From Apple to Google to Samsung and everything in between, there are a lot of exciting new phones to look forward to.

Here’s a preview of the most highly anticipated phones for 2024 and why we’re can’t wait for them.

Samsung Galaxy S24 series

A render of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra laying at an angle.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra render OnLeaks / SmartPrix

One of the biggest releases coming out will be Samsung’s Galaxy S24 series, which will include the S24, S24 Plus, and the S24 Ultra.

Though the design will look similar to the previous S23 series, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is expected to have a flat screen instead of curved edges like the S23 Ultra has. The S24 Ultra is also rumored to have a titanium frame, similar to Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro series. Potential new color options may include yellow and violet shades, which would look stunning.

While the S24 Ultra will have the same display size as before, the S24 and S24 Plus may be slightly bigger than their predecessors with 6.2 and 6.7-inch displays, respectively, compared to the previous 6.1 and 6.6-inch sizes. It’s also expected that the S24 lineup will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip.

One of the big new features to expect with the Galaxy S24 lineup is the use of artificial intelligence with Android 14. Some new AI features will likely include real-time phone call translation, generative AI wallpapers like on the Google Pixel 8, and photo editing tools that work similarly to Google’s Magic Editor.

We have some big changes coming on the camera front — especially for the S24 Ultra. The Galaxy S24 Ultra may see a quad camera setup with 200MP main, 50MP and 10MP telephoto, and 12MP ultrawide cameras. The two telephoto lenses are for both 5x and 10x optical zoom capabilities, along with 100x maximum zoom length. For the S24 and S24 Plus, we can expect 50MP main cameras with 2x and 3x dual telephoto lenses and 30x total zoom.

As someone who looks at the cameras as a primary reason to upgrade each year, the Galaxy S24 Ultra, in particular, is shaping up to be an exciting one for mobile photographers. I’m eager to see how the dual telephoto lenses will do with both 5x and 10x optical zoom options, as having both will definitely allow for more fun wildlife photography. I just hope that Samsung tones down that color saturation a bit, as it’s always bothered me how photos can end up looking too vibrant with some Samsung phones.

OnePlus 12

OnePlus 12 in green, silver, and black colors.

Though OnePlus may not be as big of a name as Apple and Samsung, it still makes some pretty great devices — like the OnePlus Pad and OnePlus Open. This year, we’re expecting its next-generation flagship with the OnePlus 12.

Since the OnePlus 12 has already launched in China, we have a look at what to expect when it launches in the U.S. later this year. Design-wise, it looks like its predecessor, the OnePlus 11, with a few minor changes. Those changes include a very slight size increase, but only 1 to 2mm more in each direction. Because of this, existing OnePlus 11 cases will not fit.

We also know that the OnePlus 12 will come in the traditional OnePlus green and black colors. There is also a new option for white, but it’s unclear if that will make its way across the pond. The volume buttons have moved to the right side of the chassis, while the alert slider is now on the left.

OnePlus 12 camera module in green.

The camera module on the OnePlus 12 will look just like the one on the OnePlus 11 but with the “Hasselblad” branding reduced to just an “H” like on the OnePlus Open. There will be a metal ring around the camera array for a more elegant look, and the camera module color matches the body color you chose.

While we’re on the topic of the camera, the OnePlus 12 features some big camera upgrades. We have a 50MP main camera, a 64MP periscope lens for 3x optical zoom, and a 48MP ultrawide sensor. This is basically the same camera system on the OnePlus Open, which was very good, so we expect promising results with the OnePlus 12.

In terms of specs, the OnePlus 12 will have Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, and the base model now starts at 256GB of storage with 12GB RAM. Storage options will go up to 1TB with 24GB RAM, making this a great powerhouse Android phone for those who want it. It will also launch with Android 14 and OxygenOS 14, and you can expect four years of software updates.

Battery life should also be better with the OnePlus 12, as it now has a 5,400mAh cell inside. In China, the OnePlus 12 has 100W charging speeds, but in the U.S., we can expect slightly lower speeds at 80W like the OnePlus 11. And OnePlus has finally brought back wireless charging at 50W speeds and reverse wireless charging at 10W, which is much better than the competition.

The OnePlus Open was one of my favorite phones from 2023, and it really showed off what OnePlus is capable of. It sounds like the OnePlus 12 will take some of those great features in the Open, like the camera module, and make it available to a wider audience. I’m also excited about 50W wireless charging, as I typically don’t use wireless charging since it’s so slow. There’s a lot to look forward to with this one.

Nothing Phone 3

The Nothing Phone 2 and Nothing Phone 1's Glyph lights.
Nothing Phone 2 (left) and Nothing Phone 1 (right) Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

There haven’t been a lot of rumors about the Nothing Phone 3, and anything out there is just speculation so far. But we may have a peek at what’s to come in February, as Nothing confirmed that it will hold an event at Mobile World Congress 2024 in Barcelona on February 27.

Nothing has set itself apart from the rest of the competition by having a unique transparent glass design with LED lights called the Glyph interface. It’s safe to assume that the Nothing Phone 3 will follow that same design, though we have yet to see any teasers of what that may look like.

Other rumors indicate that the display may be brighter than its predecessors but largely remain the same. Previous generations have also used a dual camera setup, and the Nothing Phone 3 will likely follow suit.

And since the Nothing Phone has never been quite up to par with other competing flagships (it’s more of a mid-range option), it’s unlikely we’ll see Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in it. Instead, the Nothing Phone 2 used Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, which was a surprise release from Qualcomm in 2022. The Nothing Phone 3 may use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 or something similar.

Since there have not been a lot of actual leaks with the Nothing Phone 3, it’s hard to say what we can expect aside from very general speculation. But I hope for some color in the Glyph interface, which would spice things up a bit. It would also be nice to see better cameras for low-light photography, which both generations have struggled with so far.

Google Pixel 8a

Possible renders showing the Google Pixel 8a.
Smart Prix

Google does an interesting thing with its Pixel lineup. It typically releases the flagship Pixel models in the fall and then comes out with a more budget-friendly Pixel A-series the following summer. Though we originally thought that the Pixel 7a would be the last of the A-series, that was not the case.

The Google Pixel 8a will have a design that follows the flagship Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro. From leaks we’ve seen so far, this means a design with much more pronounced rounded corners than before. The Pixel 8a would also have thicker bezels on the front than the main flagship series.

Since Google is using its Tensor G3 chipset in the mainline Pixel 8 series, it only makes sense that this same chip will also end up in the Pixel 8a. It’s likely to also only have 128GB storage.

Possible renders showing the Google Pixel 8a.
Smart Prix

The display will reportedly remain the same at 6.1 inches, and the refresh rate will still be 90Hz, but there may be some upgrades to the materials used. For example, the Google Pixel 7a used Corning Gorilla Glass 3, but the Pixel 8a has a good chance of using Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, which you can find in the Pixel 8, so it could be more durable than its predecessor.

There haven’t been any solid rumors regarding the cameras on the Pixel 8a, but there’s potential for a larger ultrawide lens and autofocus on the selfie camera. Some of the photo editing tools on the Pixel 8 lineup, including Best Take and Magic Editor, will likely show up on the Pixel 8a.

One of my favorite things about Pixel phones is the ability to take great photos without much effort. Even if the Pixel 8a doesn’t have a lot of camera hardware upgrades, a more affordable price tag than the main Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro would appeal to more people. The Pixel 7a was pretty good for what you get, and I expect the Pixel 8a to be the same.

Google Pixel Fold 2

Google Pixel Fold in Obsidian inner display home screen.
Christine Romero-Chan / Digital Trends

In 2023, Google released its first foldable with the Google Pixel Fold. While it was a good start, it lost a bit of steam once OnePlus released its first foldable, the OnePlus Open. Google has a chance to make things right again with the Pixel Fold 2, but so far, we haven’t had a lot of rumors to go off of.

The biggest rumor for the Google Pixel Fold 2 is that it will get a larger screen, according to display specialist Ross Young. However, he does not specify if the larger screen is the cover or inner display.

And, of course, if the Pixel Fold 2 releases before the Google Pixel 9, it would likely get the Tensor G3 chip currently in the Pixel 8 series. However, since the Pixel Fold is a first-generation device, there are no existing patterns of release. Some rumors suggest we’ll see it as early as this summer, though other reports indicate it may not launch until 2025.

I enjoyed the Pixel Fold until the OnePlus Open came out. But Google has many opportunities to improve the Pixel Fold 2. I would love to see a less reflective inner display; the current one on the Pixel Fold is too glossy because of the plastic screen protector, and it only reaches 1,450 nits peak brightness, making it hard to see outdoors. The bezels are also thicker than most people would like, so maybe the Pixel Fold 2 can have thinner bezels.

The hinge needs to be improved to allow for opening fully flat without needing to apply a lot of pressure or force. Google also needs to rethink the materials used, as the Pixel Fold is one of the heaviest smartphones I’ve used. For example, OnePlus used titanium in the OnePlus Open, making it incredibly lightweight. Perhaps Google can consider the same.

iPhone 16 series

Prototype renders of the iPhone 16.

Apple has one of the biggest releases each year with the iPhone. This year, we can expect the iPhone 16 lineup to include the iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max.

There might be some big changes coming to the base model iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Plus. These may feature a new vertical camera layout, which would be for spatial video recording for the Apple Vision Pro headset. For the iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max, we may be seeing a slight increase in display sizes to 6.3 and 6.9 inches, respectively.

All models could see the introduction of new haptic buttons, which were supposed to make an appearance on the iPhone 15 Pro but were canceled due to technical difficulties. Along with new haptic buttons, we could see a new “capture” button across the lineup as well.

right edge profile of leaked iPhone 16 renders.

The iPhone 16 Pro and iPhone 16 Pro Max could see some camera improvements in the form of a new 48MP ultrawide lens. The smaller iPhone 16 Pro could also be getting 5x optical zoom capabilities, which was limited to only the iPhone 15 Pro Max model in 2023. But the iPhone 16 Pro Max may also take things further with a “super” telephoto camera, possibly increasing the optical zoom to 10x range.

One of my biggest issues with the iPhone 15 Pro was the fact that Apple only added the periscope lens to the Pro Max model. These new rumors about the iPhone 16 Pro getting better optical zoom are exciting because that’s what Apple should have done in the first place, instead of only providing the best camera experience in the larger phone. But if it improves the iPhone 16 Pro Max with a super telephoto lens, then my wish would still be a bit moot.

I am also excited about the new “capture” button that is rumored to be located on the right edge of the iPhone 16. I love the Action button that is currently on the iPhone 15 Pro, and I use it multiple times a day for the camera. But if the new “capture” button is for capturing a photo, it would be even more convenient (especially selfies and landscape photos) and let me use the Action button for something else. It’s unknown what the new button would be for, but if it’s called “capture,” then my first guess is definitely a camera/shutter button.

Google Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro

Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro in pink and white.
Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

Though the Google Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro launched towards the end of 2023, it’s now time to look forward to the Google Pixel 9, which we can expect sometime in the fall.

We haven’t seen any leaked renders of what the Pixel 9 and Pixel 9 Pro will look like, but it’s hard to imagine Google straying from the camera bar design that has set the Pixel apart from the competition.

But there could be other changes with the Pixel 9 devices this year, including a smaller Pro model. Currently, Google only has the regular Pixel 8, which has a 6.2-inch display, and the Pixel 8 Pro with a 6.7-inch display. If Google comes out with a smaller Pixel 9 Pro, then it would give those who prefer smaller phones more of the flagship features in the Pro model, including the telephoto camera, for example.

Two Pixel 8 Pro smartphones laying on top of each other.
Joe Maring / Digital Trends

Ross Young, the leaker who has experience with display supplies, reports that there will be larger screens across the Pixel 9 lineup. However, we don’t have any leaks that indicate how much bigger, so this may be a disappointment for those who prefer smaller phones.

As a fan of smaller phones, I would love to see Google make a smaller Pixel Pro model. I often prefer the set of features that are available in higher-end phone models, but I don’t like the gargantuan size because it ends up being uncomfortable to hold. If a smaller Pixel 9 Pro would be more like the regular Pixel 9 size, it would be perfect for me. We won’t know until Google announces it, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed.

A lot to look forward to

These are all of the major flagships we expect to see throughout 2024. Though some upgrades can be considered minor compared to the previous iteration, others could have significantly bigger changes.

I’m most looking forward to the iPhone 16 Pro, OnePlus 12, and the Google Pixel 9 Pro — if there is a smaller version. It’s going to be an exciting year!

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