Despite the coronavirus pandemic, phone companies still plan to release new phones. The rollouts started in earnest in late April with Apple’s iPhone SE for 2020 and will continue well into the summer. While many of us are tightening our belts right about now, companies like Apple and Samsung are at this very moment still building phones and still hope you’ll buy them.
We’ll see how well that works out. Phones shipments were down 38% in February compared to the same month in 2019. March couldn’t have been much better. No one really knows how the next few months will play out, but as far as phone releases go, what follows is the current plan.
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Samsung Galaxy Fold 2
Samsung is one company betting that foldables are the future of mobile devices. It worked on foldable displays for years before unveiling its Galaxy Fold in February 2019. Samsung’s device, which expands from a phone into a tablet, captured the world’s attention, but it quickly ran into troubles.
The company delayed the launch of the $1,980 Fold by five months from April to September after some reporters found screen defects in their review units. This year, it’s expected to launch round two with what we’re currently referring to as the Galaxy Fold 2, building on what it learned from last year’s disaster and February’s Galaxy Z Flip. There aren’t any firm details about when the Fold could launch, but some leakers suggest we’ll see the phone as early as the second quarter.
Notable updates to the Fold could include a glass display instead of plastic and a bigger internal screen. Some rumors even suggest it will come with an S Pen stylus. Still, the coronavirus pandemic could push back the launch, and Samsung’s still having trouble making enough Galaxy Z Flips for potential buyers.
Expected release date: September 2020
Huawei P40 Pro series
Huawei’s P40 series consists of three phones — including the standard P40 and the P40 Pro — but it’s the hero, the P40 Pro Plus, that has us most excited. It’s the first phone to have a 10x optical zoom lens, it promises to be killer in low-light photography and it’s got a practically bezel-free design. This phone is due to go on sale in June, but due to ongoing political difficulties, the phone won’t come to the US.
Expected release date: No US release date, but on sale now in many European countries
Samsung Galaxy Note 20
The fate of Samsung’s annual stylus-bearing flagship phone for power users is up in the air. Typically, we’d expect the new Note to arrive in August, guns blazing, to much fanfare and a splashy launch event. This year, who knows. An early rumor suggested that the Note 20 — following Samsung’s new naming convention for the Galaxy S20 phones — would appear as early as July.
That seems wholly unlikely as the world hunkers down to weather this coronavirus pandemic. It’s possible that Samsung could host an online event like rivals instead of the usual stadium or music hall venue. The company didn’t reply to a request for comment on the topic.
What is likely is that the Note 20 will build off the Galaxy S20’s key features, from 5G data speeds and a fast 120Hz screen refresh rate to those high-resolution cameras — whenever and however it’s eventually unveiled.
Expected release date: August 2020
Xiaomi Mi 10, Mi 10 Pro
Xiaomi took the wraps off its latest flagship phones, the Mi 10 and Mi 10 Pro, in an online event on Feb. 13 for the Chinese market, which it followed up with an international launch on March 27. Both phones sport a massive 108-megapixel camera sensor, which appeared first on the Mi 10 Note and was co-developed by Samsung.
The phones will also come packed with other top-shelf specs, including the latest Snapdragon 865 chipset, 90Hz displays, a 4,500-mAh battery and a 30-watt wireless charging option. Xiaomi says it’ll release the phones in European countries including Spain, Italy and France in April, but stopped short of announcing any details of a possible US launch or release. In Europe, the Mi 10 will start at 799 euros, with the 10 Pro starting at 999 euros. Under these prices, converting to US dollars would have the Mi 10 costing around $880 and the 10 Pro at $1,100.
Expected release date: Xiaomi has not announced plans to launch in the US
Samsung Galaxy A Series
Samsung is going all in on budget phones with its new Galaxy A Series lineup. And when we say “budget,” we mean downright cheap in some cases. We have yet to actually use these phones, though, so hopefully that’s cheap in the best possible way.
The 4G LTE lineup, which includes four phones, consists of the $110 Galaxy A10, the $180 Galaxy A11, the $250 Galaxy A21 and the $400 Galaxy A51, which is the followup to 2019’s Galaxy A50. Then we have the two 5G phones: The 5G version of the Galaxy A51 will cost $500, while the new Galaxy A71 5G comes in at $600.
Again, that’s some really aggressive pricing from Samsung, and over the coming months we’ll know if they’re worth it even at the lowest prices.
Expected release date: Available now through the end of the summer, depending on model
Google Pixel 4A and 4A XL
Last year, Google debuted budget versions of its Pixel phones, the Pixel 3A and 3A XL. The devices turned out to be a success for the company, so we expect follow-ups this spring. Rumors for the Pixel 4A and 4A XL include the same $399 starting price for the Pixel 4A and headphone jacks, as well as a new front-facing hole-punch camera. And in case there was any doubt, Verizon debunked a previous claim that it is dumping Pixel phones — it won’t, and said it will “continue to work with Google.”
Expected release date: April or May 2020
Redmi Note 9S
In late March, Xiaomi sub-brand Redmi unveiled the Note 9S as its next-generation budget phone. It’s the sequel to the Note 8 series which emerged as the best-selling Android phone at the end of 2019. The biggest talking point of the Note 9S is its 5,020-mAh battery crammed under the hood, which is larger than the 5,000-mAh battery in the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Other notable features: the Redmi Note’s first-ever in-display selfie camera and the quad-camera system on its rear, led by a 48-megapixel main sensor. The Redmi Note 9S will be available globally, the company said, arriving first in Singapore and Malaysia with other release dates and pricing for the US to be announced later. We’re expecting the base model that comes with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage to start at around $215 after converting to US dollars from its price in Singapore.
Expected release date: Redmi didn’t announce plans to launch in the US
OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro
OnePlus launched its latest line of flagship phones on April 14 at a digital event. Called the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, the phones both have 5G and fast displays: 90Hz for the 8 and 120Hz for the 8 Pro. The OnePlus 8 starts at $699, the 8 Pro at $899. One rumor that didn’t pan out? A budget-minded variant called the OnePlus 8 Lite. Read our full reviews of the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro.
Expected release date: April 2020
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TCL 10 Pro
Long known for its TVs and for releasing devices through brands like Alcatel and BlackBerry, TCL is getting into self-branded phones with its new 10 Series, which looks to follow the blueprint laid out by its TV line and offer value at low prices. Its first phone is the 10 Pro which is priced at $449 and features a 6.47-inch curved AMOLED display with a fingerprint sensor underneath, runs on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 675 processor with 6GB and 128GB of storage and has four rear cameras.
Expected release date: April 2020
The budget item in TCL’s line, the 10L packs 6.53-inch full HD display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 processor with 6GB RAM and either 64GB or 128GB of storage as well as four rear cameras. While its screen and specs are a step lower than those of the 10 Pro, its price is significantly more affordable at $249.
Expected release date: May 2020
Apple iPhone SE
Apple launched the iPhone SE in April and it could be the first of at least five iPhones anticipated to launch in 2020. The phone lives up to the hype with a super-fast and future-proof A13 processor and a camera nearly as good as on the iPhone 11 Pro. All this for only $399.
Release date: April 2020
Apple iPhone 12
The upcoming iPhone 12, 12 Pro and 12 Max (Apple has not confirmed the name of the phones, but we’ll go with that for now) face unknown waters ahead — suppliers in China have already shut down or are operating on limited capacity because of the outbreak, which may impact inventory in September when new iPhones are typically launched. Rumors for the devices are all over the place, with some stating the phones will have a radical new design and other leaks suggesting it will likely look similar to the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro. Some models could have 5G, others might not.
Expected release date: Early September 2020
Moto G Stylus
In February, Motorola announced two new members to its budget-friendly family of phones: the Moto G Stylus and Moto G Power. Both have a 6.4-inch full HD hole-punch display for a selfie camera, a Snapdragon 665 processor, 4GB of RAM and run Android 10 with Moto’s thoughtful extra touches. The Moto G Stylus has, as you can probably guess, a stylus which puts the phone in line with the Samsung Galaxy Note and LG Stylo. It has three rear cameras: a 48-megapixel main camera, a 16-megapixel ultrawide “action” camera and a built-in macro camera. It will cost $300.
Expected release date: Spring 2020
Moto G Power
There is a significant Venn-diagram overlap between the Moto G Stylus and Moto G Power. See the Moto G Stylus section above for basic specs. The biggest differences, aside from the Moto G Power’s $250 price tag, is that it doesn’t have a stylus. Instead the Moto G Power has a 5,000-mAh battery that Motorola claims can last over three days of regular use after a single charge. There is a rear triple-camera array with a 16-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultrawide-angle camera and a built-in macro camera.
Expected release date: Spring 2020
Sony Xperia 1 ii
In February, Sony announced the Xperia 1 ii and Xperia Pro, which on paper share many of the same basic specs. It has a 21:9 ratio 6.5-inch 4K HDR OLED display, Snapdragon 865, 4,000-mAh battery with wireless charging, 8GB of RAM and 256GB. It has a rear triple-camera array with three 12-megapixel cameras with different focal lengths, 16-, 24- and 70mm.
The Xperia 1 ii, like last year’s Xperia 1 will borrow camera tech from its Alpha line of cameras like the A7ii and A9 ii. One of the best is Eye AF, which instantly finds the focus on a person’s eyes when taking photos. The phone will also support 5G, but not in the US. There’s no word on pricing.
Expected release date: Late spring 2020
Sony Xperia Pro
In February, Sony teased the Xperia Pro, a 5G phone aimed at professional video shooters. This could be the phone that knocks Apple’s iPhone off its video-prowess throne. It has the same triple-camera rear setup and Alpha camera features as the consumer-focused Xperia 1 II, and like its sibling packs a 6.5-inch 21:9 ratio 4K OLED display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and 8GB of RAM. The Pro also has 512GB of storage, and an HDMI/USB 3.1 port for outputting video. The Pro will support both low-band and midband 5G. The Xperia Pro doesn’t have a price but will likely cost more than the Xperia 1 ii.