iPhone 14, Pixel 7 and Galaxy S23: These Upcoming Phones Already Look Exciting
Commentary: We've seen some amazing phones in 2022, but we're on the lookout for more.
Andrew LanxonEditor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
But there are some big hitters coming up that I'm really excited about -- especially the iPhone 14. I'm so excited, in fact, that I couldn't help but put together our roundup of the most exciting upcoming phones, and what we expect to see from each. Let's begin.
Apple iPhone 14 and 14 Pro
With an expected launch date in early to mid-September, the iPhone 14 could be just around the corner. And the rumors suggest there might be quite the design shift for the new models. Early leaks suggest that Apple might ditch the iPhone Mini, opting instead for a base iPhone 14 and larger iPhone 14 Max and a more powerful 14 Pro and 14 Pro Max -- two configurations, each with two sizes.
Other hints suggest that Apple might finally get rid of the notch on the display, using a punch hole for its front-facing cameras, while the rear camera bump might be incorporated into a thicker body. I expect to see a next generation of Apple's mobile processor, along with improvements to the cameras -- including a rumored 48-megapixel ultrawide camera on the back.
Google Pixel 7, Pixel 7 Pro, Pixel 7A
Google already teased its next flagships, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, at its I/O developer conference back in May, so we know for sure that they're on their way and it's possible that they'll arrive in October. At the event Google simply showed a rear view of the phone, which confirmed that the camera bar from the Pixel 6 will be present, but now made of aluminum that flows seamlessly into the metal surroundings on the side.
We also know it'll feature the second generation of Google's homemade processor, the Tensor 2. We've loved the Pixel range, with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro both getting excellent reviews thanks to their generally solid performance, slick interface and excellent cameras.
Given the Pixel 6 range was a huge overhaul from the previous Pixel 5, we're not expecting radical changes here. There will be two rear cameras on the base model and three on the Pro -- exactly like the Pixel 6 range. Physical size and display size of each model hasn't been confirmed yet, but again we don't expect any significant changes over the last model.
We would expect there to be a more affordable Pixel 7A, much like the $450 Pixel 6A. However, given the 6A wasn't added to the range until July this year, we don't expect the 7A will launch alongside its bigger siblings. Instead, it's likely Google will keep the 7A as a midyear launch.
Samsung Galaxy S22 FE
Like the Pixel 6, Samsung's "Fan Edition" models distill down some elements of the flagship model into a more affordable package. We loved the first Galaxy S20 FE and the latest Galaxy S21 FE put in some excellent performances in our tests. Its $700 asking price isn't cheap, but it's cheap-er than the flagship S21 but still offers flagship-like performance.
But we'll have to temper our excitement over a more affordable model as some rumors suggest Samsung might actually have canceled the FE range. Possibly this is because the company has been doing great things with its Galaxy A range of phones, with the $450 Galaxy A53 5G offering a solid experience for a price that competes more fiercely with Google's handsets.
But it would need to drop its price in order to make it sit firmly between the affordable A series and the premium S series. If Samsung gets this right, a new FE -- or a rebranded A-series model -- could be a great contender as a midrange device. We don't expect to see an FE until January, possibly at the CES tech show.
Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Ultra
But while we're on Samsung, let's talk flagships. The S22 Ultra made some big changes, including absorbing the S-Pen stylus from the now defunct Galaxy Note line, but most of the range saw fairly iterative improvements. The S22 and S22 Plus are solid, but they didn't do much to get our hearts racing.
Some of the early rumors for the Galaxy S23 suggest that we might see a whopping 200-megapixel image sensor (likely only on the Ultra model) which was expected to have been used on the S22 range. We'd love to see improvements to the telephoto zoom on the Ultra, which has remained largely unchanged since the Galaxy S20 Ultra.
We can expect to see a new generation of Samsung's Exynos processor, at least in regions where it uses Exynos chips, or Qualcomm's supposedly upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip in other regions.
Like the FE, we'd expect to see the Galaxy S23 range unveiled at CES in January next year.
OnePlus 11 Pro
The OnePlus 10 Pro was excellent, with a great design, beautiful screen, stellar performance and a solid camera setup. OnePlus might have annoyed me with what I consider to be a redundant midyear 10T iteration, but that doesn't stop me being excited for its next full flagship. The 10 Pro was announced in China in January, before getting a global release in March and there's no reason to think that strategy might shift, so keep your eyes peeled early in the year if you're a OnePlus fan.
Actual rumors about the phone and its hardware are scarce, however. The 10 Pro had a big design shift from the 9 Pro before it so I expect an iteration of this aesthetic, rather than a total overhaul. The company's Hasselblad camera partnership is locked in for three years, so we can certainly expect to see Hasselblad branding and additional camera features on the next model.
It's also possible that it'll be among the first wave of phones to use Qualcomm's next-generation Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, so we can expect some potent performance here.
Nothing Phone 2, Nothing Phone 1 in the US
Nothing -- the company founded by ex OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei -- launched its first phone in July this year, so I'm absolutely not expecting the next generation of the handset to launch for a good long while. However, that phone was teased quite heavily for some time before its launch so I wouldn't be surprised if we started hearing the odd rumor circulating early next year. And I'm certainly excited about what the next model might bring to the table.
The Nothing Phone 1 offers a solid performance, a big display and an affordable price that puts it head-to-head against the Google Pixel 6A. Its biggest differentiator from Google's phone, though, is its flashing rear lights, which certainly helps this phone stand out. It's rare that a company launches with a first product that feels this polished, and I think that gives good reason to be excited about what it can do with that difficult second album.
I expect to see more of the same for the most part; good enough performance, a quirky light-up design and a low price. I'd like to see more of a focus on photography, as the Nothing Phone 1's camera skills aren't anything to write home about, with the ultrawide lens in particular failing to impress.
But before then it'd be nice to see the Phone 1 -- in some form -- getting a wider release, as it's currently not officially available to buy in the US due to network compatibilities. If Nothing can get a network partner on board and work to optimize its phone for US 5G networks, a US rollout should be on the cards.