Samsung’s Unpacked event on August 11 marks the start of the annual smartphone war.
With the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Flip 3, Samsung takes the lead, as it does every year, in inciting smartphone users to wring their wallets clean off their dollars. The Korean company has set a pretty strong precedent with both foldable, though, and the rest of the competition needs some serious tech chops to sway the army of the upgrade-even-if-not-needed.
So as the smartphone season kicks in and almost 6 weeks before Techtober starts, let’s take a look at the other smartphones that will be released this year and smack Samsung in the butt for thinking they’ll sell more than 20 handsets.
Galaxy Fold 3 and Flip 3 (already dropped)
Not on the floor, no. They were announced just yesterday, but it’s part of the smartphones war so they deserve a dedicated space, too.
So here’s what the flippity dippities from Samsung’s labs bring to the table:
Serious Design Upgrade: Galaxy Fold 3 and Flip 3 have some of the best aesthetics on a smartphone for now. While the first iteration of the Galaxy Fold was bulky and somewhat of a “we’re first” statement, the Fold 3 has taken things to the next level; a level more befitting of 2021. Both foldable are now among the best-looking phones out there and Johny Ive is glad he left Apple on a high note.
Upgraded Specs: As expected, both phones have been treated with spec bumps, and the internals in modern smartphones are getting ridiculously good:
Galaxy Fold 3: Snapdragon 888, 12GB Ram, 256GB/512GB storage, 6.2-inch external display with 120Hz Adaptive display, 7.6 inches internal display with 120Hz Adaptive display, and a rear camera with 12MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, and 12MP telephoto lens.
Galaxy Flip 3: Snapdragon 888, 8GB Ram, 128GB/256GB storage, 1.9 inch Super AMOLED external display, 6.7-inch Super AMOLED internal display, 12MP main & 12MP ultrawide camera lenses.
Water Resistance: One of the most impressive engineering feats is the IPX8 rating on these phones, which puts them in the water-resistant category. You can dunk them in your cereal bowl in the morning if that fancies you and your foldable will work just fine. But sadly, the dust resistance rating met its X, so it was in a bad mood. Just avoid the beach and you’ll be fine too.
S Pen Support: Fold 3 gets the beloved S Pen support that Galaxy Note fans claim is the holy grail of writing experience. Like it or not, the frail screen of the original Fold is not so frail anymore and will let you scribble away using a dedicated S Pen with a softer tip to stop you from killing the screen.
Contender Rating: 8
Enough with the already announced phone, though, you fool!– You, probably
Okay, here’s what we know so far about the rest of the phones that will give Fold and Flips a run for their money:
Google Pixel 6
Google one-upped leakers when they released official images of the Pixel 6 way before the actual announcement. While that left a sour taste in blabbermouth’s mouth, most Pixel fans were drooling.
Pixel 6 will drop with a completely redesigned look, and it’s a head-turner. Among the mainstream phones, Google’s pet Android phone seems to be the most exciting one so far.
On top of the redesign, Google will ship the phones with their own chipsets for the first time. Considering what A-series in the iPhone and M-series in the MacBook did for Apple, this chip, dubbed Google Tensor, will bring serious performance changes to the Pixel lineup.
Don’t get your hopes high up yet, though; not every company is Apple.
As far as specs are concerned, we live in a world where each year smartphones get a spec bump, or people act like their world has shattered, so of course, expect the Pixel 6 to drop with a bunch of upgraded internals!
Contender Rating: 7.5
With OnePlus’s philosophy of treating their not-even-one-year-old releases as ‘so yesterday’, the company is expected to drop their second flagship of 2021 soon.
There’s not much info available about the handset, but history tells us that the 9T will be a modest upgrade over the OnePlus 9. There’s a possibility of a 120Hz LTPO screen and a small likelihood of Snapdragon 888 Plus glued inside. Add to that some minor improvement to the camera and battery, and OnePlus expects you to really want a T more in your hands!
If you’re really enthusiastic about the next OnePlus, expect the never-settling company to dish it out sometime in September or October.
Contender Rating: 6
Nokia is a name that resurged from the ICU a few years back and tried to make its way past the security guards to enter the smartphone party scene. With some serious tricks up its sleeves, the company managed to make itself slightly relevant to the point where people have actually been waiting for the Nokia 10 for some time now.
Rumored as the Nokia 9.1, 9.2, and even 9.3, people seemed to have settled with a rounded of 10, but what we do know is that the company will release the phone before November 11.
Relying on rumors yet again, you can expect the Nokia 10 to sport an in-screen selfie camera, a Penta-lens camera on the back, a jaw-dropping 108MP or 200MP main sensor, 144Hz screen backed by a 6000mAh battery, and all of it powered by the mighty Snapdragon 888.
It smells premium in here. But, it’s Nokia among a sea of iPhone, Galaxy Flips, and Pixels.
Contender Rating: 6
iPhone SE 3
Will Apple launch the iPhone SE 3 in 2021? Will Apple cater to the poor-yet-rich segment of their market that can’t afford the $1000 flagships? Who knows.
Understandably, people are more excited about the iPhone 13, but the next-gen iPhone SE won’t be a sleeper either.
That’s mainly because if Apple does indeed release the SE 3 this year, it will sport the A14 Bionic that’s currently living rent-free in the iPhone 12 range. That’ll give users the power of the latest chip in a body that pulls the price down like gravity on vengeance.
And if you go by the rumors, there are even talks of the iPhone SE 3 getting the larger screen treatment. Possibly a 5.5 or a 6.1-inch LCD? Again, who knows.
The airport runway-sized bezels are a huge question mark, as is the home button which I personally still love for some reason. Is it nostalgia? Is it because I’m getting old? I keep saying this, but who knows. The point is, those two are getting seriously outdated, and it remains to be seen if Apple will get done with them this time around.
Contender Rating: 5.5
The holy grail of the smartphone world in 2021 will be the iPhone 13. No arguments.
iPhone 13 is probably the phone you’re also most excited about. And it seems that Apple has planned a pretty upgrade for the jewel in their crown.
We might finally get higher refresh rate screens and an in-screen fingerprint scanner. There are also rumors of Apple shrinking the notch, which means more screen real estate.
Yes, it will be powered by the A15 Bionic chip which will put many high-end laptops to shame, but the biggest upgrade is probably coming to the induction cookers on the back. I mean the camera system, of course.
While overall it’ll be a minor upgrade over iPhone 12, iPhone 13’s camera upgrade will be a significant one, mainly in terms of videography. From both the software and hardware end, it seems Apple is injecting steroids in the lenses this time around. It makes sense, though, given that filmmakers worldwide and even casual video makers are relying increasingly on their smartphones to make videos.
Contender Rating: 9
All-in-all, the iPhone 13 will be a serious contender, like it is each year, to take the smartphone king crown come December. But starting in 2022, Samsung will reignite the fire and throw in the next iteration of their Galaxy flagships to the mix.
But which smartphone has your attention? Let me know, and if it’s not on the list, there’s a reason for that, and it’ll remain this way.