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Smartphones to watch out for

LiveMint logoLiveMint 04-07-2017 Vishal Mathur

The flagship smartphone space this year has already seen some heated competition, more affordable Android phones have become better and there have been genuine improvements in user experience. But these are just the precursors of things to come this year. here are some of the phones we are excited about. 

Honor 8 Pro

The Honor 8 Pro could be a true Android flagship-killer. It will run Huawei’s HiSilicon Kirin 960 processor, with 6 GB RAM and 128 GB storage, and should go head-to-head with phones powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 processor. You’ll get a 5.7-inch IPS screen (2,560x1,440 resolution). It will also have the dual 12-megapixel cameras, a large 4,000 mAh battery, and an all-metal design. Expected later this month, it should be priced lower than the OnePlus 5 (which starts at Rs32,999) it will be in direct competition with. 

Samsung Galaxy Note 8

After the Note 7 debacle last year, Samsung rebooted the Note family by launching the Note 7R in some countries. The company is expected to unveil the Note 8 in September—availability should be possible a few weeks later. After the successful experiment with the dual-curved Infinity Display in the Galaxy S8+, it would be safe to expect a 6.2-inch display with a similar 18:9 aspect ratio. And it is quite possible that Samsung will use the same bezel-free design language too. The S-Pen stylus features should remain the biggest differentiator for the Note series too. However, it is expected to be priced slightly more than the Galaxy S8+ (Rs64,900 onwards). 

Apple iPhone

This is the 10th anniversary of the Apple iPhone, and that may be the reason why Apple didn’t make too many changes in last year’s iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. With many Android phones now pushing the boundaries of bezel-less designs, Apple is expected to counter this with its own take on the design concept. Will there be more than two iPhone variants this year? That seems entirely possible, considering reports that suggest Apple is interested in a screen size even larger than the iPhone Plus’ 5.5-inch display. The new iOS 11 software will also roll out with the new phones, and the sneak peek we have had suggests it is a genuine evolution of iOS 10 software. Expect an announcement in early September, with the new iPhones arriving in India a month later. 

LG V30

LG finally had a strong flagship Android phone in the G6, thanks to the fantastic 18:9 aspect ratio FullVision display, an excellent dual camera set-up and good battery life. It is perhaps the G6 that will provide inspiration for the V30 flagship, in terms of the taller display and thin bezels. The predecessor, the V20, packed in very robust audio playback capabilities, thanks to the top-notch audio DAC hardware, and that should improve even further. We already know that the V30 will be compatible with the Google Daydream VR platform, which could indicate an OLED-type display. It is expected that LG will unveil the V30 at the 2017 Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (IFA 2017) in September. 

Google Pixel 2

Last year, Pixel phones replaced the Nexus line-up as the “pure Android” smartphones from Google. This year’s Pixel phones will also usher in the arrival of Android O software—the Pixel phones would be the first to get the latest operating system. There is speculation that we may see an even larger Pixel variant this time around (with a larger screen size than the 5.5-inch display on the 2016 Pixel XL). The premium pricing of the Pixel phones (Rs57,000 onwards at the time of launch) did bring them into direct competition with other Android flagships and the Apple iPhones, and that should continue this year as well. Expect an announcement sometime in October, with availability in India possible a few weeks after that.

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