For the smartphone industry, 2022 was an impressive year for the folds, the flips and, of course, the flats. No matter what form factor or shape, those rectangles in our pockets play a huge part in our day-to-day lives, so having one with standout features is a must if you want to enjoy the very thing that takes up all your free time in the evenings. We know that waiting for a new smartphone can be painstakingly daunting – especially if you don’t know what it’s going to bring. Luckily for you, we’ve rounded up some of our best picks for the upcoming mobiles of 2023.
iPhone 15 Ultra
The iPhone 14 Pro was one of the most feature-packed device upgrades Apple has ever brought us. Showcasing an A16 Bionic chip, car crash detection and satellite messaging – Apple gave us a little more than we could chew last year at the unveiling of the 14 Pro, but who doesn’t like seconds? Needless to say, the bar for the iPhone 15 range has been set astronomically high, so will they manage to vault it this year? There’s a tonne to expect from this year’s iPhone 15 range, the first being the most notable change, the addition of an Ultra iPhone series. Since the Apple Watch Ultra was such a hit with smartwatch enthusiasts, Apple may well be topping the “Pro” version of the iPhone with a new “Ultra” model, which would sit at the top of the Apple ecosystem stealing the crown off of the long-reigning “Pro” series. Depending on how this pans out, it’s plausible that Apple may decide just to integrate Ultra models into more of their product lines. In terms of models, the iPhone 15 will likely have three models, which is a step down from the four variants of the iPhone 14. Of course, we’ll be receiving a regular iPhone 15, an iPhone 15 Pro and a new iPhone 15 Ultra, which, by our inclination, will replace what would’ve been the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Another big change will be that the iPhone 15 is set to be the first-ever iPhone with USB-C charging in compliance with the new EU Regulations. Whilst we hate to see the lightning port go, we love to see it leave because USB-C technology will mean faster charging, faster file transfer speeds and the potential for thunderbolt integration. One core standout feature on the iPhone 14 Pro models was the dynamic island which is the interactive hub centred around the camera and face-ID sensors. Whilst this was a Pro exclusive feature on last year’s range, the dynamic island is set to be featured across the range on the iPhone 15. Many other features, such as camera configurations, are set to stay the same this year. Of course, we’ll be receiving the new 3nm A17 Bionic chip, which is a given – on top of the introduction of IOS 17. Pro and Ultra exclusive features for this year may include a titanium chassis which would be brilliant to see the technology brought over from the smartwatches and into the iPhones. Another rumoured Pro and Ultra exclusive are solid state volume and power buttons. We’re all used to the traditional Apple depressible power and volume rockers; however, Apple is looking to replace these with the same technology we all loved in the iPhone 7’s haptic feedback home button. These buttons will have the same functionality and effect and would theoretically protect the device against water ingress, which then leads to our next assumption of these models receiving a higher IP rating. The iPhone 15 range will likely be announced in September with a market release of either September or early October this year.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
The release of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is right around the corner now, and whilst there’s a matter of weeks left, we still don’t have any concrete specifications, although we have a pretty solid idea of what is going to be unveiled as we’ve detailed in a couple of blogs but here’s a recap for those of you who may not have read it. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is going to be the first galaxy smartphone to feature a 200MP camera which is a huge step up from the S22’s 108MP sensor – almost double the size! Many aspects of the S23 Ultra will remain the same, including the note/galaxy hybrid design, dimensions, battery and glass protection. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra will come with Android 13 out of the box, which is as expected, but one key change will be the chipset inside the device. Samsung has, in previous years, used their very own Exynos chip, which was in-house manufactured; however, going forward, Samsung is opting to stick with Qualcomm Snapdragon from now onwards. A lot of explanations behind this potential decision are all pointing toward Exynos being too slow to meet the expectations Samsung has for their big tech. This is why the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra will be using the 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip alongside faster graphics for the most responsive Samsung experience possible. One aspect where Samsung seems to lag behind the competition is its fast charging. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra featured 45W fast charging support, which took the device from 0-50% in a respectable 25 minutes. Many Samsung fans were disappointed by the lack of effect the 45W fast charging had over the standard 25W fast charger, which led many to ask when Samsung would give us sub-20 minute 0-50% charging times. Meanwhile, the OnePlus ecosystem has seen years of ultra-fast charging, with the OnePlus 10T charging from 0-100% in a mere 21 minutes. If Samsung manages to resolve these grey areas, then the S23 Ultra may well have the potential to be smartphone of the year.
Google Pixel Fold
Google is yet to take a stand on the foldable smartphone market which is pretty ironic. Jokes aside, Google has been working on a new foldable smartphone device which will be set to go head-to-head with well-established foldable players in the tech scene, such as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, which at this current time would be its main competition; however other big names are starting to creep their way into the foldable market such as Oppo’s Find N2. Mainstream adoption of foldable smartphone devices is still a while away but can what Google have in store change this dynamic? Well, let’s start with its design – the Google Pixel Fold is yet to be officially revealed; however, several leaks have pointed towards a similar design to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 whilst still expressing its Pixel DNA. All renders reveal the Pixel Fold to share the same protruding camera bar as on the Google Pixel 6 and 7 range with three cameras which points towards the Google Pixel Fold featuring the same camera setup as the Google Pixel 7 Pro. Sharing features from the Google Pixel 7 Pro seems to be a recurring theme on the Google Pixel Fold, with sources reporting it to use the same 120Hz LTPO display – however, as this is a foldable device, it’s expected to be 7.6 inches. In terms of what we can expect for performance, the Google Pixel Fold is likely to house the Google Tensor G3 Processor, which is the successor to the current G2 that powers the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro. Whilst we’re bullish towards the Google Pixel Fold being brought to the market this year, we reckon it will either have it’s own release in May this year or be released alongside the Google Pixel 8 range in Q4 of 2023.
Xiaomi 13 Pro
The Xiaomi 12 Pro reminded us a little of our blog page. Superb craftsmanship and quality – but never got the true recognition it deserved because it’s Xiaomi. Metaphors aside, the Xiaomi 12 Pro was, in our opinion, in the top three best flagships of 2022 despite the fact it was a late 2021 handset. The device had an abundance of standout features, such as its triple 50MP camera setup, ultra-fast charging and even 1920fps slow-mo for the real camera geeks out there. Rumoured to be unveiled this year, the Xiaomi 13 Pro is set to build on its predecessor to hopefully penetrate the smartphone market with a flagship we simply can’t turn down. Key features we can expect to see on the Xiaomi 13 Pro are a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, a 108MP wide-angle lens alongside Android 13 and Gorilla Glass Victus+. For the most part, the rest of the aspects of the Xiaomi 13 Pro will be taken from its older sibling. So, will Xiaomi dominate the smartphone scene with its Xiaomi 13 Pro?
Needless to say, it’s certainly going to be an exciting year for the smartphone scene, and we, for one, can’t wait to see what surprises are in store going forward. Judging by our track record, we’re probably pretty accurate around our predictions but if you have any other thoughts – or you’d just like to let us know what you thought then drop a comment in the discussion box below.