Year after year, smartphone companies keep coming up with exciting models to keep the momentum going. While 2020 was a dull year because of the pandemic, manufacturers picked up pace in 2021 and we witnessed the launch of some exciting smartphones like Samsung's Galaxy Z Fold 3 (Review) and the Galaxy Z Flip 3 (Review), and many promising ones that did not make it to India such as Google's Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
2022 is expected to keep the smartphone launch momentum going and Qualcomm's recently announced Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoCs will play a big part. We are expecting fresh new designs from OnePlus, rumours about an iPhone model with a hole-punch camera from Apple, and an interesting foldable from Oppo, to name a few. While there are plenty of rumours already flying around, here are some of the upcoming phones we're particularly excited about.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung's Galaxy S21 Ultra (Review) and Galaxy Z Fold 3 embodied the spirit of a Galaxy Note device this year, as they both supported the S Pen and this will most likely continue with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Samsung's upcoming flagship has been getting the most attention in the rumour mill and could be the evolution of the Galaxy Note series, considering we've not seen a successor to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra yet.
The ‘Ultra' is the most premium model available in Samsung's Galaxy S21 series and the Galaxy S22 Ultra is expected to pack in the latest Snapdragon and Exynos hardware, some cool accessories and a new camera setup. There's also a leaked video showing dummy units of the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus and the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The Galaxy S22 Ultra also appears to have a slot for an S Pen. Perhaps the most interesting rumour which recently landed is that India might finally get the Qualcomm Snapdragon variants of the Galaxy S22 models.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
Samsung's Galaxy S20 FE was a great smartphone which offered features like an IP68 rating, a quality AMOLED display and good camera performance at the lower end of the premium segment. Samsung followed this up with a 5G model called the Galaxy S20 FE 5G and included a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, which turned out to be a very good all-rounder in our review. And now there's news about its successor, tagged as the Galaxy S21 FE.
The phone in leaked renders appears similar to the Galaxy S21 series in terms of design but also takes some inspiration from the Galaxy A52s 5G's (Review) camera module, with a finish that matches the back panel. Previous leaks have also revealed its expected US price tag and even a launch date. As per earlier rumours, we can expect the S21 FE to be announced in January 2022 in India, alongside the expected global launch.
Apple iPhone 14 Max
The iPhone 12 (Review) was a big leap over the iPhone 11 (Review) in terms of hardware and design but it was also priced much higher, for the base 64GB storage variant. Apple also introduced the iPhone 12 mini last year, which had its share of issues but it promptly fixed most of them with the iPhone 13 mini (Review) this year, with better cameras and boosted battery life. However, those looking for a ‘Plus' version of the standard iPhone have no choice but to pay a lot more for the Pro Max model, but this could very well change next year.
As per earlier reports, it appears that Apple may kill off the iPhone 14 mini in favour of a larger iPhone 14 Max. As you may have guessed, the iPhone 14 Max aims to cater to customers who want a large-screen iPhone without having to pay the premium for the Pro model. The rest of the features, like the iPhone 13 and 13 Mini, could remain the same, reserving the triple-camera setup for the Pro models. Another rumour also suggests all iPhone 14 models could feature 120Hz LTPO displays. The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max models are also rumoured to have hole-punch displays and in-display fingerprint readers. Another rumour also claims that the Pro models could have 48-megapixel primary cameras and 8 GB of RAM.
Apple iPhone SE 5G
While it's hard to recommend the Apple iPhone SE (2020) (Review) in 2021, keeping in mind its price and the hardware it offers, it's still the most affordable iPhone one can buy in India. The first iPhone SE launched four years prior to the current model, and now the rumour mill hints at another one on the way. Tagged as the iPhone SE 3 or iPhone SE 5G, earlier rumours hinted at a much bigger 6.1-inch display compared to the 4.7-inch one on the current model. While earlier reports claimed that it would feature an Apple A14 Bionic SoC, newer rumours suggest that it could end up being the A15 Bionic instead. What has remained constant in all the rumours is that it is expected to be launched in mid-2022 and that it would feature a single rear camera. Another interesting report also hints that the iPhone SE 3 could be the first SE model to use Face ID, instead of Touch ID. The iPhone SE 3 is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2022.
OnePlus 10 Pro
OnePlus has been making subtle improvements off late with every generational update of its phones. The OnePlus 9 Pro saw a refreshed design and some camera upgrades which made it well-worth its higher price tag as mentioned in our review. But there appears to be even better stuff headed our way.
A recently leaked render of the upcoming OnePlus 10 Pro has hinted at a redesigned camera module, which retains the three rear cameras as the 9 Pro but in a new layout, similar to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. While the camera setup may look different, the telephoto camera is expected to remain the same as the 9 Pro at a hardware level. As for specifications, the OnePlus 10 Pro is tipped to come with a Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and would feature a 6.7-inch (1,440 x 3,216 pixels) LTPO Fluid 2 AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The phone is expected to be launched early next year.
The Xiaomi 12 will be the next premium smartphone from the company to skip the ‘Mi' branding. Rumours about the Xiaomi 12 only recently showed up and was recently confirmed after the launch of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor announcement. The phone is tipped to launch on December 28.
A leaked image has also teased its rear camera setup which includes a 50-megapixel primary camera, an ultra-wide angle camera and a telephoto camera. The phone is tipped to arrive in three models: the Xiaomi 12X, Xiaomi 12 and the Xiaomi 12 Pro. It is also expected to feature 67W fast-charging as per a recent report. New artist-made 3D renders of the Xiaomi 12 Pro have also shown up online along with a leaked photo of the case, which surprisingly matches the render, revealing a completely redesigned rear camera module.
Google Pixel 6a
With the Google Pixel 5a 5G only reaching select markets across the globe, the Pixel faithfuls in India now have their hopes pinned on the next model, tagged as the Pixel 6a. There's little that is known about this upcoming smartphone, but a recent report claimed that it will be powered by the Google Tensor GS101 SoC, which is found in Google's recently launched Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro smartphones. An alleged dummy unit of the Pixel 6a also leaked, revealing a design that looks like the Pixel 6 series with a similar layout for its rear cameras.
Oppo Find N
The Oppo Find N is Oppo's first attempt at a production-ready foldable smartphone. The phone will compete against offerings from Motorola, Huawei and Samsung, who are the only major manufacturers to have launched folding phones currently. What makes the Find N so special is Oppo's claim about its Serene Display having a minimal crease that is up to 80 percent less noticeable compared with the current players in this space.
Oppo's foldable features a metal frame and a side mounted fingerprint reader. It has a more useful 5.49-inch, 18:9 aspect ratio outer display and a 7.9-inch inner display. The phone features five cameras in all which includes a selfie camera on each screen and three on the back. Oppo has confirmed that the Find N will only go on sale in China from December 23, but we hope the company launches it other markets too.