Despite the industry’s many struggles throughout the pandemic, manufacturers managed to release a notable assortment of smartphones throughout 2021, ones that could last consumers another year or longer. If you’re keen to stay on top of what’s on the horizon, though, we have rounded up the most exciting phones rumored for release in the first quarter of 2022. These models, which we’re particularly excited about, are listed based on reports and leaks.
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE
Samsung usually kicks off a new year with an update for the Galaxy S series. Early 2022 will likely mark the launch of the long-awaited Galaxy S21 FE (Fan Edition). The affordable flagship is expected to bring the premium features of the Galaxy S21 series to more buyers and it should have launched in 2021, but production issues linked to global chip shortages may have pushed back its release.
Samsung has not mentioned anything official about the Galaxy S21 FE, but based on rumors, it will probably look similar to the Galaxy S21 with the exception of its bigger size (via WinFuture). The rumored model is likely to feature a 120Hz, 6.4-inch screen with a 2340×1080 resolution and draw power from a Snapdragon 888 SoC. The phone’s expected 4,500mAh battery may support 45W wired fast charging, while its three rear-facing cameras could include a 12MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide, and 8MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung’s Galaxy Note line may have reached its end and the company’s Galaxy S21 flagship models released this year haven’t performed terribly well (the S21 Ultra aside), at least when it comes to sales objectives. On top of that, the Galaxy S21 FE was reportedly supposed to hit the market in 2021, but is now likely to drop early next year. The Galaxy S22 and S22+, based on rumors, may be nearly identical to the S21 models, though with the usual upgrades.
Assuming all of this proves true, consumers may be introduced to three new Samsung smartphones in early 2022 with little distinction between the models, putting the burden on the Galaxy S22 Ultra to drive new sales. In light of that, it’s no wonder the company is tipped to have redesigned the upcoming flagship with a flatter and more square Note-like form factor, including a slot for an S Pen.
Expected in four colors with P-shaped camera housing split into two modules, the new Galaxy S22 Ultra could feature an LTPO display with brightness levels of up to 1500 nits. Those specs aside, little else is known about the upcoming model, though we expect to hear more about it in the run-up to its debut.
OnePlus 10 Pro
The OnePlus 10 Pro is going to be the premium of the two flagships from the OEM, the other being the OnePlus 10. Expected to launch in March, the OnePlus 10 Pro is likely to arrive with a 6.7-inch curved display with a hole-punch cutout for the front camera.
Like clockwork, the OnePlus rolls out its flagships every year with a new flagship processor and that’s expected to continue with the OnePlus 10 Pro. The upcoming device is likely to feature a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor paired to 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage (via 91mobiles).
According to rumors, the OnePlus 10 Pro may drop the depth camera from last year’s model to move ahead with a triple camera setup similar to that of the Galaxy S21. Not much is expected to change in terms of the specs, since it may have the same 48MP main camera, 50MP ultra-wide, and 8MP telephoto lens. The OnePlus flagship is rumored to make a difference with its 5,000mAh battery that could support 125W fast charging.
Xiaomi 12 Ultra
One of the most anticipated phones of 2022, the Xiaomi 12 series will be the successor to the Mi 11 launched this year. The company has dropped the Mi brand to streamline its smartphone lineup for global consumers. The phone range is likely to debut in China soon with a global launch slated for March next year. According to the company’s CEO, Xiaomi 12 will be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, though Motorola has beaten Xiaomi to be the first smartphone based on the new flagship processor with the launch of Moto Edge X30 in China.
The leaked images of the Xiaomi 12 and 12 Pro and renders based on them by LetsGoDigital show the two models with similar designs, the big difference being the Xiaomi 12 Ultra’s rear camera arrangement. The renders reveal a very large, circular camera bump placed right in the middle of the Xiaomi 12 Ultra’s back panel. While little is known about the phones’ specs, the Xiaomi 12 Ultra is rumored to feature a 6.8-inch curved AMOLED display with a hole-punch camera, though the possibility of an under-display camera has also been speculated.
Huawei Mate 50 Pro
As if the US trade restrictions were not enough, the global supply chain issues seem to have taken a toll on Huawei, as its launch schedules were devastated this year. The Huawei Mate 50, which should have ideally launched in September or October, is still nowhere to be seen. Some sources, including the trusted leaker Digital Chat Station, point at the possibility of the new phone series landing in the first quarter of 2022.
The Mate 40 lineup, in particular the Pro and the Pro Plus models, were very capable smartphones with brilliant designs, industry-leading cameras, and good battery backup. The Mate 50 Pro is expected to pick up where the Mate 40 Pro left off, bringing an improved design and cameras. Troubling, however, is a rumor that Huawei’s Mate 50 may feature the Kirin 9000 chipset, the same used in the Mate 40.
It’s not all bad news, though, as the Mate 50 Pro is also rumored to feature an LTPO screen with up to a 120Hz refresh rate. As opposed to the Mate 40, which did not reach the US, the Huawei Mate 50 range is likely to launch in more markets through Huawei’s partnerships with third-party manufacturers.
With the issue of global chipset shortages and potential continued disruption driven by the omicron variant, it’s possible smartphone manufacturers may be forced to push back their 2022 launch schedules. However, based on how things look at the moment, these anticipated flagship models will most likely arrive in the next few months.