2022 is here, and we're expecting big things from the next 12 months of smartphones.
We've already seen plenty to get excited about. The Samsung Galaxy S21 FE is already on sale, while the OnePlus 10 Pro and the Xiaomi 12 have both already launched in China ahead of a global release later this year. That's not even mentioning the new slate of foldables from Huawei, Honor, and Oppo.
Plenty of these phones are powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, which will also power flagship launches like the Oppo Find X4 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 - the latter of which has now launched, and officially goes on sale soon.
The Snapdragon will have competition from the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 though, which for the first time has matched its rival on specs; how many big brands will make the jump away from Snapdragon for their biggest 2022 releases?
Before long we'll be back around in time for the iPhone 14 and Pixel 7, not to mention software upgrades like Android 13 and iOS 16.
Read on to ensure your next smartphone purchase is not immediately followed by regret, tying you into an unnecessarily lengthy contract. (Remember that there is a chance you could upgrade your contract early.)
Pro tip: As these new phones edge closer, the outgoing models will fall in price and you'll be able to scoop up some great deals. If you're not bothered about having the very latest tech, check out our take on the best phones you can buy today.
Realme has confirmed that it will unveil the 9 series - or at least the 9 Pro phones - as soon as 16 February, with a pair of phones tipped to arrive.
The cheap and cheerful Realme 9i is already official in India, but it's the Realme 9 Pro and Pro+ that are expected to launch this month - and arrive in the UK and Europe too. That's not even mentioning the regular Realme 9, which is presumably on the way too, though may arrive later.
We know the top-spec 9 Pro+ will be powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 920, and feature an AMOLED screen and 50Mp main camera with OIS, along with a unique colour-changing design.
Read more about the Realme 9 series
Samsung revealed the Galaxy S22 series on 9 February, and the S22 Ultra officially goes on sale in the UK on 25 February (though the other models are delayed to 11 March) - you can already pre-order them all.
There are three phones this year. The S22 and S22+ look similar to last year's S21 models, but come with updated specs and significantly improved cameras - the new 50Mp main lens and 10Mp 3x telephoto have already impressed us in our time with the phones.
There are bigger changes to the S22 Ultra though. This has a different design to the others, and takes heavy inspiration from Samsung's old Note phones, even including a slot to store an S Pen stylus. Expect even more powerful cameras, and top specs across the board.
Get the latest Galaxy S22 info.
TCL has announced a whopping eight phones in the TCL 30 line-up, and we know that at least one - the TCL 30 5G - will launch in Europe, which usually means the UK too.
Details so far are limited, but the company has promised to reveal more at MWC 2022 - which takes place in Barcelona at the end of February.
Get the details on the TCL 30 series
The next generation of OnePlus flagships has now arrived in China - though a global launch is confirmed for later this year - and for now at least we're only getting to meet the Pro model.
The top-tier 10 Pro features a novel new camera module design, along with Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip and improved battery and charging - though there aren't too many other improvements from last year to be found.
Read more about the OnePlus 10 Pro
Xiaomi revealed the Xiaomi 12 series in China in December, and we're hoping to see a global release early in 2022.
The main phone is an unexpectedly compact handset with a 6.28in display, but it still packs in a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, powerful triple camera, and super-fast charging.
The larger 12 Pro has an even better camera setup and faster charging speeds, while the cheaper 12X is the same size as the 12 but drops to the older Snapdragon 870 and ditches the wireless charging option.
Read more about the Xiaomi 12.
Honor is finally ready to get into the foldable arms race, with the Honor Magic V now officially launched in China.
We're not certain if - or when - the phone will reach the UK, but if it does you can expect a flagship foldable powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, using the larger book form factor - similar to the Z Fold series.
Read more about the Honor Magic V
The Honor Magic 3 series was announced in China in August, and we know that it's getting a global release, but we just don't know when.
The three phones here - the Magic 3, 3 Pro, and 3 Pro+ - are more premium than the Honor 50, with prices set to start from €899 in Europe.
The Pro models feature the Snapdragon 888+ chipset and quad rear cameras, while the base Magic 3 isn't far behind with an 888 and triple camera.
Like the Honor 50, all three phones will also have full Google support when they eventually ship worldwide.
Find out more about the Honor Magic 3.
We've known for months that Oppo was working on a foldable phone, but the company finally revealed all at a Chinese launch in December 2021.
We don't know if or when the phone will launch elsewhere, but we're holding out hope for a western release.
Built in the same form factor as the Galaxy Z Fold phones - though with a wider aspect ratio - the Find N packs a Snapdragon 888, 50Mp triple rear camera, and wireless charging.
Get the latest on the Oppo Find N
The Honor 50 only launched in the UK and Europe in November, but the company unveiled its latest generation of mid-range phones, the Honor 60 series, in December 2021.
This is only the Chinese launch, mind, so we don't know yet if - or when - the Honor 60 series will reach the UK. But since the 50 did, it seems likely we'll see this phone eventually too.
Both the Honor 60 and 60 Pro feature similar designs and specs, with large, curved 120Hz OLED panels, 7-series Snapdragon chipsets, and 108Mp main cameras - though the Pro packs an improved ultrawide, a slightly larger screen, and a slightly faster chip.
Read the latest on the Honor 60.
The Motorola Edge X30 was the first phone to be revealed with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 inside, with a 9 December reveal in China.
We're not sure if or when it will reach the UK, but it's likely to arrive early 2022, and with a different name – as the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra.
Beyond that all-important processor, the Edge X30 doesn't skimp elsewhere either, with a 144Hz 6.7in OLED display, a 60Mp selfie snapper (which can be had as an under-display offering in one special edition variety), dual 50Mp rear cameras (along with a depth sensor) – allowing it to capture 8K video natively – and 68W wired charging.
Find out more about the Moto Edge X30
The Realme GT 2 is an impressive looking follow-up to one of our favourite mid-range phones of last year, but it's also joined by the GT 2 Pro - one of the first phones to use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and Realme's first premium flagship.
Both phones get 120Hz AMOLED displays and triple camera setups, including a 40x zoom microscope lens and a 150-degree ultra-wide - the widest on any phone in the world.
Read more about the Realme GT 2 series.
Vivo has confirmed that the V23 and V23 Pro - which have already launched in India - will be coming to Europe eventually.
The two phones share the same eye-catching gold design, which subtly shifts to turquoise as it moves through the light, but have very different builds: the V23 has iPhone-esque straight sides, while the curved Pro is a more traditional Android phone.
Both use MediaTek chipsets, 90Hz displays, and triple rear cameras - along with dual selfie shooters, giving you both a high-resolution 50Mp main selfie camera and an 8Mp ultrawide.
Get the full Vivo V23 specs
In 2021 the Poco F3 launched in March, so we're hoping to see the F4 in turn arrive in March 2022.
Likely to be based on the Redmi K50 series, you can expect a Dimensity 7000 chipset, 100W fast-charging and IP68 water-resistance rating.
Find out more about the Poco F4.
The Oppo Find X5 has been confirmed by the company to launch some time in Q1 2022.
We already know that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 will feature in one of the phones, with a MediaTek Dimensity 9000 in another, but few other details have been confirmed.
Leaks do point to the name Find X5 though (skipping Find X4 entirely, presumably as its an unlucky number), and have also revealed a rather unusual rear camera design.
Elsewhere leaks suggest an upgrade to 80W wired charging. Camera resolution may stay the same at 50Mp for the main lens - though this doesn't rule out upgrades to other elements of the camera spec.
Read more about the Oppo Find X5 Pro.
Rumour has it that Xiaomi spin-off Poco is planning to release the follow-up to its popular Poco X3 series in spring 2022, with Poco X4 NFC, GT, and Pro models all likely to arrive - though perhaps not all at once.
Concrete specs are still thin on the ground, but one prediction says that the X4 will take the Redmi 11 Pro as its starting point - that would mean a 120Hz AMOLED display, MediaTek Dimensity 920 5G processor, and 108Mp main camera.
Read the latest on the Poco X4 series
Google is expected to repeat its usual patterns and release a cheaper 'a' branded version of its Pixel 6 flagship some time this year - most likely in May at Google I/O.
Last year's 5a never launched outside of the US and Japan, but the chip shortage was partly to blame, so we're expecting a wider release this time round.
Expect the design to follow the lead set by the Pixel 6 but in a smaller size - already revealed in the render here, based on leaks. The camera is likely to stick with the hardware used in the Pixel 5a however, though should still impress for the price.
Get the latest on the Pixel 6a
This is a bit of a wild card - but leaked internal documents and bits of code suggest that Google may be working on a Pixel-branded foldable device. We thought it might launch in late 2021, but it now looks more likely to appear in May 2022 along with the public launch of Android 12L at Google I/O.
Beyond the device's existence there haven't been many leaks with details of what sort of foldable device it will be, or what specs it will have, but we know a lot of people will be curious about a Google-branded folding phone with that Pixel camera.
Read more about the Pixel foldable
Sadly the UK and Europe never got the Vivo X70 series, which only launched widely in Asia, but we're hoping that the company was just holding its shot for the upcoming X80 line.
Going by the previous generations we can probably expect three main phones: an X80, X80 Pro, and X80 Pro+.
Early leaks point to the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 in at least one of them, paired with a 120Hz Full HD+ display, and a 50Mp gimbal-stabilised main camera.
Get the latest on the Vivo X80.
Asus doesn't launch every ROG Phone in the UK - and sometimes they just come late, like the recent ROG Phone 5s and 5s Pro - but we have good odds of getting the ROG Phone 6 in summer 2022.
After all, we did get the ROG Phone 5 right on schedule, and this is likely to be a more meaningful follow-up to that phone.
We're not sure exactly what to expect - though the 360Hz touch sampling rate from the 5s series seems like a safe bet. Otherwise expect tweaks to the design, the next-gen Snapdragon flagship chipset, and likely more novelties like the rear OLED display found on the 5 Pro.
Read more about the ROG Phone 6.
The Oppo Reno 7 series was revealed in China in December 2021, so we're hoping that it will get a wider launch soon - though the Reno models don't always make it to the UK.
The Reno 7 Pro (pictured) is the top spec model, with a Dimensity 1200-Max chipset, 90Hz AMOLED display, and 50Mp main camera. The Reno 7 and Reno 7 SE boast similar designs and some core specs, but drop to cheaper chipsets and lower spec cameras.
Read more about the full Reno 7 range
You read that correctly, BlackBerry is back from the dead again. In August 2020, US company Onward Mobility licensed the BlackBerry name and announced that it would work to release a new BlackBerry device.
The company had targeted the first half of 2021, but that's now been and gone, so we're not sure exactly when to expect the new BlackBerry - a 2022 launch now looks most likely.
According to Onward Mobility, the new BlackBerry will have 5G network capabilities and a physical keyboard. These really are the only two indications of specs that we have aside from the phone running Android, as currently the announcement is only of the partnership’s existence and nothing more.
Read more about the upcoming BlackBerry phone.
We don't know when to expect it, but Motorola is almost certainly going to release an updated Razr foldable in 2022.
The success of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 almost guarantees that Motorola will release a new take on its own iconic clamshell foldable.
This will be the third foldable Razr (the original was followed by a 5G version) and we're hoping to see a streamlined design and upgraded specs that make it a true flagship competitor to Samsung's offering.
Read more about the 2022 Moto Razr.
Apple's new iPhone SE went on sale back in April 2020, but rumours since have pointed towards the launch of either a follow-up or a Plus mode, due some time in 2022.
The long-rumoured SE Plus is not simply a larger version of the iPhone SE, mind you. Prolific Apple leakster Ming-Chi Kuo suggests that the iPhone SE Plus will feature either a 5.5 or 6.1in display and, crucially, it’ll sport a “full-screen design” like that of the iPhone 11 range. It may also have Touch ID built into the power button.
Read more about the upcoming iPhone SE Plus and iPhone SE 2.
Now that Huawei has released the P50 Pro worldwide, fans have started anticipating the Mate 50.
While these would normally have launched in autumn 2021, we're now expecting to see Mate 50 phones some time in 2022. Expect a Chinese launch first, with Europe and the rest of Asia to follow a few months later - maybe.
Not much is known about the specs, but expect a 4G Snapdragon chipset, with top-tier display and camera chops to make up for slower signal speeds.
Read more about the Huawei Mate 50.
Samsung hasn't confirmed that it's working on another Z Flip, but it seems a safe bet that one is in the works and will launch around August this year.
Rumours point to a similar size device, though Samsung is apparently working on making it lighter, while improving the hinge and upgrading the IPX8 water-resistance even further.
Get the latest updates on what to expect from the Galaxy Z Flip 4.
The Z Flip 4 is almost certain to bring with it the larger Z Fold 4, also likely to launch in August.
We don't know much about what to expect, but improvements to the under-display camera are almost certain - and rumour has it that the same camera may also appear on the phone's outer display this time around.
Tweaks to the hinge and water-proofing have also been predicted, along with the usual spec and camera boosts.
Find out more about the Galaxy Z Fold 4.
The iPhone 14 may still be a while away, but we have our first leaks of what to expect from the next Apple flagship.
Renders based on leaks sourced by Jon Prosser reveal the alleged end of the controversial notch - supposedly replaced by a punch-hole camera, with the rest of the Face ID tech hidden under the display itself.
Round volume buttons return, while the camera lenses are now flush against the body - achieved in part by making the phone itself thicker.
It's too far off to know if this is what the iPhone 14 will look like for certain, but it's already enough to get us excited.
Get the latest iPhone 14 news
October is Pixel season, so that's when we're expecting Google to unveil the Pixel 7.
After last year's design overhaul we're not expecting anything quite so radical this time around, but patent applications suggest this could be the year we see the company adopt an under-display selfie camera, along with the second-generation of its Tensor chip.
Check out all the Pixel 7 rumours so far.
A folding iPhone has been rumoured ever since the first foldable display tech existed pretty much, but thanks to leaks and rumours we have pretty good reason to believe Apple is at least working on a foldable iPhone - even if it's probably years away.
Apple is rarely the first to market with new tech, though given that Samsung has already released several iterations of its folding tech there's a risk Apple will look backwards if it doesn't follow suit until 2023 - though if it can perfect the tech in that time it may well be worth the wait.
Check out all the foldable iPhone rumours so far.
Dom covers everything that runs on electricity, from phones and laptops to wearables, audio, gaming, smart home, and streaming - plus he's a regular fixture on the Tech Advisor YouTube channel.