Sometimes, everything comes together in a single year. 5G, foldable technology, a new manufacturing process and even an Energizer phone. There's a lot going on with the major flagship phones this year, so here's everything you need to know.
Because people tend to buy by brand, you'll find everything broken down by manufacturer rather than each individual phone and price point. Foldable phones will also be included under each manufacturer, to make things simple.
Huawei was the first Android manufacturer to the 7nm punch with the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro last year, but Samsung levelled the playing field in early March with the launch of the S10e, S10 and S10+, as well as lifting the lid on the Galaxy Fold.
If you're buying outright, the Samsung S10e starts from $1199 for a 128GB model. The middle S10 child starts at $1349 and comes with 128GB of storage. If 128GB is enough on the S10+, $1499 is the price. If 1TB is more your thing, the price jumps to $2399.
A 5G model is also due out later this year, and will ship with a 6.7-inch screen instead of the 6.4-inch on the S10+. It won't have a 12GB option like the S10+, but it will have a heart rate sensor, a slightly bigger battery, and a depth of field sensor (much Huawei's P30 Pro). It's also the same weight as the ceramic S10+, coming in at just under 200 grams.
Local pricing and availability aren't known yet, although Telstra are letting S10+ owners upgrade to the 5G model for free when it's released.
|Galaxy S10e||Galaxy S10||Galaxy S10+||Galaxy S10 5G|
|Operating system||Android 9.0 (Pie)||Android 9.0 (Pie)||Android 9.0 (Pie)||Android 9.0 (Pie)|
|Display||5.8-inch, Full HD+ Flat Dynamic AMOLED, 19:9 (522ppi)||6.1-inch QuadHD+ Curved Dynamic AMOLED, 19:9 (550ppi)||6.4-inch Quad HD+ Curved Dynamic AMOLED, 19:9 (438ppi)||6.7-inch Quad HD+ Curved Dynamic AMOLED, 19:9 (505ppi)|
|Camera||Rear: Dual Camera with OIS - Wide-angle: 12MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.5/F2.4, OIS (77°) - Ultra Wide: 16MP FF, F2.2 (123°) - 0.5X optical zoom, up to 8X digital zoom Front: - Selfie: 10MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.9 (80°)||Rear: Triple Camera with Dual OIS - Telephoto: 12MP PDAF, F2.4, OIS (45°) - Wide-angle: 12MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.5/F2.4, OIS (77°) - Ultra Wide: 16MP FF, F2.2 (123°) - 0.5X/2X optical zoom, up to 10X digital zoom Front: - Selfie: 10MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.9 (80°)||Rear: Triple Camera with Dual OIS - Telephoto: 12MP PDAF, F2.4, OIS (45°) - Wide-angle: 12MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.5/F2.4, OIS (77°) - Ultra Wide: 16MP FF, F2.2 (123°) - 0.5X/2X optical zoom, up to 10X digital zoom Front: Dual Camera - Selfie: 10MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.9 (80°) - RGB Depth: 8MP FF, F2.2 (90°)||Rear: Quadruple Camera with Dual OIS - Telephoto: 12MP PDAF, F2.4, OIS (45°) - Wide-angle: 12MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.5/F2.4, OIS (77°) - Ultra Wide: 16MP FF, F2.2 (123°) - 0.5X/2X optical zoom, up to 10X digital zoom - 3D Depth: hQVGA Front: - Selfie: 10MP Dual Pixel AF, F1.9 (80°) - 3D Depth: hQVGA|
|Body||69.9 x 142.2 x 7.9mm, 150g||70.4 x 149.9 x 7.8mm, 157g||74.1 x 157.6 x 7.8mm, 175g (Ceramic: 198g)||77.1 x 162.6 x 7.94mm, 198g|
|CPU||8nm 64-bit Octa-core processor (Max. 2.7 GHz + 2.3 GHz + 1.9 GHz)||8nm 64-bit Octa-core processor (Max. 2.7 GHz + 2.3 GHz + 1.9 GHz)||8nm 64-bit Octa-core processor (Max. 2.7 GHz + 2.3 GHz + 1.9 GHz)||8nm 64-bit Octa-core processor (Max. 2.7 GHz + 2.3 GHz + 1.9 GHz)|
|Memory||6GB/8GB RAM (LPDDR4X), 128GB/256GB + MicroSD slot (up to 512GB)||8GB RAM (LPDDR4X), 128GB/512GB + MicroSD slot (up to 512GB)||8GB/12GB RAM (LPDDR4X), 128GB/512GB/1TB + MicroSD slot (up to 512GB)||8GB + 256GB (No MicroSD)|
|Network||Enhanced 4x4 MIMO, Up to 7CA, LAA, LTE Cat.20 - 2.0Gbps download, 150Mbps Upload||Enhanced 4x4 MIMO, Up to 7CA, LAA, LTE Cat.20 - 2.0Gbps download, 150Mbps Upload||Enhanced 4x4 MIMO, Up to 7CA, LAA, LTE Cat.20 - 2.0Gbps download, 150Mbps Upload||Enhanced 4x4 MIMO, Up to 7CA, LAA, LTE Cat.20 - 2.0Gbps download, 150Mbps Upload + None Standalone (NSA), Sub6 / mmWave (28G, 39G)|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM - 1.2Gbps Download / 1.2Gbps Upload Bluetooth v 5.0, ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC, Location (GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou)||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM - 1.2Gbps Download / 1.2Gbps Upload Bluetooth v 5.0, ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC, Location (GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou)||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax (2.4/5GHz), VHT80 MU-MIMO, 1024QAM - 1.2Gbps Download / 1.2Gbps Upload Bluetooth v 5.0, ANT+, USB Type-C, NFC, Location (GPS, Galileo, Glonass, BeiDou)|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Barometer, Capacitive Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor||Accelerometer, Barometer, Capacitive Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor||Accelerometer, Barometer, Capacitive Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor||Accelerometer, Barometer, Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Heart Rate Sensor, Proximity Sensor, RGB Light Sensor|
If you're not planning on grabbing a phone outright - and most Australians don't - here's what you're facing for the S10e, S10 and S10+.
Of course, it's worth remembering that Australia will once again get the Exynos version of the Galaxy phones, rather than the Snapdragon-powered variants seen in other markets. The Snapdragon 855 is still better than Samsung's in-house chip, although the differences in real-world usage aren't as vast as they used to be.
There's one other flagship that we're still waiting to see more of: the Galaxy Fold, although we still don't know when or how much it'll cost yet. We do know that you'll see a crease after about 10,000 folds, although given that only the earliest of adopters and developers will be jumping on board with first generation tech like this, that's probably not a huge concern.
As with the S10 5G model, local pricing and availability of the Fold are still TBA.
Sony's Xperia line has been steadily improving over the last few years, and their MWC launch showed off the Xperia 1 flagship along with the Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus mid-range lineup.
The nice thing about the phones is that they exchange a bit of width to account for the extra length. While more modern phones are starting to get a little fatter to account for their bigger edge-to-edge displays, Sony's phones aren't too thick in the hand. On top of that, you get the benefit of more real estate when scrolling down a website, or extra screen space when playing a game or watching a movie in portrait mode.
All three phones will also get Sony's LDAC audio encoder, DSEE HX for upscaling compressed audio and their High-Resolution Audio formats, making them one of the best phones for audiophiles. The Xperia 1 flagship won't have a headphone jack, but the mid-range Xperia 10 and Xperia 10 Plus will.
|Sony Xperia 1|
|OS||Android 9.0 (Pie)|
|Display||6.5-inch 1644x3840 21:9 HDR OLED, Gorilla Glass 6|
|Camera||12MP f/1.6 (OIS), 12MP f/2.4 16mm, 12MP f/2.4 (OIS) rear, 8MP f/2.0 front|
|CPU||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855|
|Memory||6GB / 128GB UFS internal|
|Network||GSM GRPS/EDGE, 3G, 4G, LTE 44G, Wi-Fi 802.11a/b/g/2.4Ghz/5Ghz/ac
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, Google Cast, NFC, USB 3.1, USB Type-C, A-GNSS (GPS + GLONASS)|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, ambient light, barometer, fingerprint, hall sensor, proximity, RGBC-IR, motion, gyroscope|
While the Xperia line will be available internationally, Sony Mobile's Australian activities are winding down. The company's Asia Pacific branch said there was "no confirmed launch date" for the new Xperia line in Australia, and that "we have downsized our sales activities in Australia".
It's a shame, but at least there's always grey imports.
Despite their troubles in the United States, it's been a good 12 months for Huawei's consumer division. Not only did they launch one of the most competitive laptops in the last 12 months, the company was the first to the 7nm Android push with the excellent Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro.
A lot of that hardware has found its way into the P30 and P30 Pro, both of which feature dual active 4G SIMs. Dual SIM phones have been available in Australia before, but not usually on a plan, which is an interesting change that more carriers might start adopting down the road.
Anyway, the tentpole feature here is 5x optical zoom and a 50x digital zoom in a single phone. The camera sensor has also been redesigned to capture yellow pixels instead of the red/green/blue Bayer array in your typical camera sensor. It's designed to get more light into the sensor, allowing for better night photography and a vastly higher maximum ISO (409,600!).
Unlike the previous P20 and P20 Pro, you're getting the wide angle lens along with the ultra zoom. The wide angle lens also does a better job of capturing the perspective of objects correctly than the Mate 20 series. Just note that only the baby P30 has a headphone jack - you'll have to use bluetooth buds with the P30 Pro.
Here's the full spec sheet:
|Huawei P30||Huawei P30 Pro|
|Operating System||Android 9 (Pie)||Android 9 (Pie)|
|Display||6.1-inch Huawei FullView OLED Display||6.47-inch Huawei FullView Curved OLED Display|
|Body||149.1mm x 71.36mm x 7.57mm, 165g||158mm x 73.4mm x 8.41mm, 192g|
|Camera||Rear: Leica Triple Camera (40 MP HUAWEI SuperSpectrum Sensor (Wide angle, f/1.8) + 16 MP Ultra-wide angle (f/2.2) + 8 MP Tele lens) Front: 32MP (f/2.0)||Rear: Leica Quad Camera (40 MP SuperSpectrum Sensor (Wide angle, f/1.6) + 20 MP Ultra-wide angle (f/2.2) + 8 MP Tele lens (f/3.4) + HUAWEI Time-of-Flight (TOF) Camera) Front: 32MP (f/2.0)|
|Processor||Kirin 980||Kirin 980|
|Memory/Storage||6GB RAM/128GB storage||8GB RAM/256GB storage|
|Sim Card||Single SIM/Dual SIM options||Single SIM/Dual SIM options|
|Battery||3,650mAH battery||4200mAh battery, 40W SuperCharge, 15W Wireless Supercharge 2.0, Reverse Wireless Charging|
|Networks||Enhanced 4X4 MIMO / CA, LAA, LTE Cat.18||Enhanced 4X4 MIMO / CA, LAA, LTE Cat.18|
|Payment||NFC, MST||NFC, MST|
|Sensors||In-screen fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock||In-screen fingerprint sensor, Face Unlock|
|Audio||Acoustic display technology|
Huawei is directly competing with Samsung, so it's no surprise that the prices are on point. The P30 starts outright from $1099, while the P30 Pro sells for the same price as the 128GB S10+ model at $1599.
If going for a plan is more your style, then you're looking at a minimum of $79/month, starting with Telstra.
Huawei's also playing in the foldable space this year, with their 5G-capable Mate X. Australian pricing isn't available at the time of writing, although we know the phone is priced at €2299, so expect stupid-level prices when it launches later this year.
|Huawei Mate X (What We Know)|
|OS||Android 9.0 (Pie)|
|Display||8-inch 2480 x 2200 AMOLED, folds into 2x 6.6-inch and 6.3-inch screens|
|Camera||Quad-lens 40MP, 16MP, 8MP and TOF camera|
|Body||161.3 x 78.3 x 11mm (folded), 161.3 x 146.2 x 5.4mm (unfolded)|
|CPU||Kirin 980 7nm|
|Memory||8GB / 512GB storage|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C|
I've always had a soft spot for LG phones. The company still has some of the best components - their rollable OLED was hands on the star of CES this year - but the company's phones aren't quite the world beaters they used to be. The company has continued to support the headphone jack with their 32-bit DACs though - which audiophiles love - while offering a slightly larger battery (3500mAh vs 3400mAh) than the Samsung S10. On top of that, there's an improved night mode that merges details from 10 photos, and a front-facing time of flight camera that allows you to unlock your phone, control apps and other cool tricks by waving your hand.
It sounds a little silly, but if you think of the scenarios where you might want to use your phone but don't want to get it wet or greasy - while cooking, for example - it's actually a neat idea. The speaker is also built into the OLED display itself, and the G8 ships with the latest Snapdragon CPU and all the other guts you'd expect a 2019 flagship to have.
Here's the full spec sheet:
|LG G8 ThinQ|
|OS||Android 9.0 (Pie)|
|Display||6.1-inch 3120x1440 OLED, 19.5:9 ratio|
|Camera||Dual lens 16MP wide angle, 12MP standard (rear); 8MP standard (front)|
||Crystal OLED speaker, DTS:X virtual surround, 32-bit quad DAC (wired only), Super far-field voice recognition|
|Body||152 x 71.8 x 8.3mm, 166g
|CPU||Snapdragon 855 octacore (max 2.84GHz 1x, 2.42GHz 3x, 1.79GHz 4x)|
|Memory||6GB / 128GB internal (microSD up to 2TB)|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, 4G LTE, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Miracast, MirrorLink|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, 3D Face Unlock, Hand ID, Fingerprint ID, Knock Code, Air Motion touchless commands and control|
There's no word on local pricing and availability, for now.
Google and Apple don't usually make much noise about their upcoming flagships until later in the year, but there's been plenty of chatter around smaller versions of their Pixel line.
The Android Q beta code featured lines referring to the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL, 5.6-inch and 6-inch devices that would compete in the mid-range market. The baby phone is rumoured to have a 2220 x 1080 OLED display and a 3000mAh fast-charging capable battery. Anthony from Lifehacker has more details, and we'll update this post when we know more about those devices, as well as whatever happens to the Pixel 4 and beyond.
For now, the best Google deals you can get are on the 64GB Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL models. You can get some decent data deals on these as well as we get closer to the Pixel 4 release, so keep that in mind.
Most of Apple's announcements this year have been around TV and games, as well as new ventures like credit cards. We've moved well and truly into a world where Apple is more of a services company than the iPhone company, as evidenced by the success they've had with Apple Pay.
Like Google, more word about the next line of iPhones doesn't usually drop for a few months. It's not an S year either, which is always a plus. Apple's being pushing its AR ecosystem, so I wouldn't be surprised if we saw some kind of tie-in with Niantic and Harry Potter.
Either way, the 2019 iPhone lineup is still a question mark for now. We'll update this post once more details become available.
The last cab off the rank in terms of flagships is Oppo, who had perhaps the most interesting answer to the notch last year with their motorised pop-up camera. I'm still waiting for other manufacturers to get on board with the idea, if only so it stops developers and phone makers from having to make silly UI decisions and other trade-offs to deal with the little bit of notch that's left.
Oppo's Find X sported good battery life and a banging design, but unfortunately its $1099 flagship was behind the field in just about every other category: brightness, its Android OS, display quality, camera quality, and more.
But Oppo are still doing their thing by being wildly different. The Oppo Reno is due out later this year, and while we know close to bugger all ahead of a launch event this month, a video leaked showing off the Oppo Reno's slightly angled pop-up selfie cam.
Why have a tri or quad-camera setup when you can have ... five cameras instead? That's the plan for the Nokia 9 PureView, which sports three black-and-white sensors alongside two colour sensors. There's no wide-angle lens or telephoto available, but Nokia argues that the extra detail and light captured through their arrangement will get you vastly better shots. Nokia's also worked with Google to make sure their photos are compatible with Google's GDepth standard, allowing you to adjust the focus of a picture after it's shot.
|Nokia 9 PureView
|OS||Android 9.0 (Pie)|
|Display||6-inch 1440 x 2800 OLED, Gorilla Glass 5|
|Camera||Hexa-core 12 MP f/1.8 (3x monochrome, 2x colour)
|Body||55 x 75 x 8 mm, 172g, IP67 resistance
|Memory||6GB / 128GB internal|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C, 4G LTE, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS/GLONASS|
|Sensors||Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Hall (for flip covers), Barometer|