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Best upcoming phones 2017: UK release dates for all new smartphones launching this year  December 16, 2014 – 12:17 pm

Yes, the iPhone 7 is only just out of the door, but this wouldn't be a best upcoming smartphones article without acknowledging Apple's likely next contribution. The iPhone 7s (Apple goes in two-year cycles, so the iPhone 8 won't be with us until September 2018) will once again gain quite the speed boost, and it's definitely about time the screen got some more love. Early rumours suggest it will be getting just that, in the form of an OLED display. There are also rumours about wireless charging, but as this has been whispered about for years, I'd take that with a small pinch of salt.

Historically, Samsung has been the first out of the blocks with a new smartphone each year, and with the embarrassment of the Note 7 recall debacle, there's no reason to think they won't be keen to put that right with the Samsung Galaxy S8.

So, what can we expect from Samsung's next flagship? Rumours abound that alongside the usual speed boost we'll see an iPhone-style home button, a rear fingerprint sensor, and a screen resolution boost to put most TV sets to shame. Now 4K on a smartphone screen is overkill, but Samsung gets a pass if the benefits pass on to the Gear VR. For VR, the higher the resolution the better.

The HTC 10 was a wonderful handset that really put the Taiwanese firm back on the smartphone map. Very little is known about the HTC 11 as of yet, but given the company tends to work to a 12-month cycle, it seems likely that the follow-up will be with us in April 2017. And if it's an improvement on the already brilliant HTC 10, then it'll definitely be one to beat.

LG gifted us with one of the most interesting handsets of 2016 – and it was pretty damned good to boot. A genuinely modular smartphone that allowed you to add in modules to modify performance. Lenovo did similar with the Moto Z later in the year, but it was LG who pulled the trick off first.

Whether this modular approach will continue with the LG G6 is yet to be seen, given they didn't end up making too many of them, but the Korean manufacturer remains one to watch. We're likely six months away from an LG G6, in April 2017, but watch this space for some interesting innovation.

If you're only paying attention to one phone over the course of 2017, it probably makes sense to make it OnePlus. The OnePlus 3 ensured that pretty much every review I wrote this year finished with "...but it's not as good/cheap as the OnePlus 3". The cheap but super-spec smartphone has shaken the entire industry.

No doubt the OnePlus 4 will continue this trend, so keep an eye on the Chinese manufacturer's next move. Although we're unlikely to see what that next move is until next June.

Google Pixel

After years of outsourcing its phone development to the likes of LG and Huawei, the big G has taken production in-house, and the result is the expensive but brilliant Google Pixel. Featuring the best smartphone camera we've seen, the Nexus killer has specs to put it at the top of the class for 2016, including a 2.15GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, 4GB RAM and 32GB or 128GB of storage.

The price is a tough pill to swallow, mind. While the Google Nexus handsets prided themselves on affordability, Google is aiming the Pixel against Samsung and Apple with prices to match: the Pixel starts at £599, while the Pixel XL will set you back at least £719.

Apple iPhone 7

Of course, if you like your expensive flagship smartphones Apple branded, there is only one choice in 2016: the iPhone 7.

The phone is, of course, the fastest and slimmest iPhone yet, but something's missing somehow – and it's not just the headphone jack, which was lost to much grieving from customers around the world. It just doesn't feel like quite the generational leap we're used to with a new Apple flagship, even if it is improved in every way. The price is also a tough pill to swallow: it's up there with the Pixel in terms of expense, starting at £599.

OnePlus 3

OnePlus has carved out an interesting niche for itself with the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X, selling high-quality phones at much lower prices than you'd usually expect. It's really outdone itself with the OnePlus 3, though, as this beautifully made smartphone offers the same amount of speed and power as its flagship rivals for almost half the price when buying SIM-free.

Armed with a Snapdragon 820 and a massive 6GB of RAM, the OnePlus 3 is one of the fastest smartphones you can buy today. Its 5.5in display might not have the same 2, 560 x 1, 440 resolution as other flagships, instead settling for a still perfectly respectable 1, 920 x 1, 080 resolution, but it still looks great, even if it is a tad oversaturated for our liking.

Combine that with 64GB of storage, a superfast fingerprint sensor and NFC support for Android Pay, and the OnePlus 3 is once again the bargain of the year. For our full and final verdict,

Moto G4 2016

The new Moto G4 is an absolute masterpiece. Offering mid-range specs at a budget price, the Moto G4 is the best bargain of the year, and firmly throws down the gauntlet to every other smartphone manufacturer in existence. It's a little bigger than previous Moto Gs, as it has a 5.5in screen instead of just 5in, but its Full HD resolution, excellent 13-megapixel camera, superfast octa-core Snapdragon 617 chip and superb 3, 000mAh battery put it leagues ahead of anything else in this price range.

Sony Xperia X

Sony didn't release the Xperia Z6, as expected, changing the name to the Xperia X instead. It has Sony's build quality and the phone's certainly fast, but it's also relatively expensive and we weren't fans of the camera. It's a shame, as the Xperia X can't compete with this best flagship phones from other manufacturers. Read our full Sony Xperia X review.

Source: www.expertreviews.co.uk

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