Don’t buy a new phone yet — these are the most anticipated phones of the year

iPhone 12
(Image credit: EverythingApplePro)

So you're due for a smartphone upgrade and you're seeing discounted prices for the iPhone 11 and other handsets as we get closer to the holidays. Do not fall for these promos. You should absolutely wait at least a little while before buying a new phone.

For starters, the iPhone 12 series will be unveiled next month, with four new models expected to launch, all with 5G capability. And there's going to be a ton of activity on the Android side of things, with several new phones launching between now and November. 

Yes, there are some good phones you can buy right now, ranging from the $349 Google Pixel 4a and $399 iPhone SE all the way up to the $1,299 Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and even the $1,999 Galaxy Z Fold 2. But when you see what's coming you'll understand why our best phone list will probably look a lot different in just a month. Here's a tasted of what's to come — and why it pays to be patient.

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Oct. 2)

(Image credit: Jimmy is Promo)

The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (Fan Edition) has been unveiled, and it should deliver strong flagship performance for a reasonable price. The specs include a 6.5-inch display with a 120 Hz refresh rate, a Snapdragon 865 processor and a 4,500-mAh battery. You also get three rear cameras and a 32MP selfie shooter.

The best part is the price, which is just $699. Plus, you can take your pick from six colors. But there are some some trade-offs compared to the $999 Galaxy S20, including less RAM, bigger bezels and a plastic back.

Google Pixel 5 and Pixel 4a 5G (Sept. 30 event)

(Image credit: Google)

Based on multiple reports, Google is not going to launch a high-priced flagship this year. Instead, expect a Google Pixel 5 with "good-enough" performance from a Snapdragon 765G processor, along with a 6-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate as well as 5G. The Pixel 5 will likely feature two rear cameras along with Google's usual computational photography magic. The expected price? Between $599 and $699.

Google Pixel 4a 5G

If you don't want or need a flagship phone, the Pixel 4a 5G should be priced in between the $349 Pixel 4a and Pixel 5 and deliver a clean Android 11 experience. Ironically, the Pixel 4a 5G may feature a 6.3-inch display, which would be larger than the Pixel 5's panel, though we expect a slower 60Hz refresh rate. A single 12MP camera should be the one and only rear shooter, providing the same high-quality camera experience as on the Pixel 4 and standard Pixel 4a.

OnePlus 8T (Oct. 14)

OnePlus 8T render

(Image credit: OnLeaks/Pricebaba)

OnePlus reportedly has two phones on the way to follow up on the successful OnePlus 8 and OnePlus Nord. The first is the OnePlus 8T, which should offer the quickest charging we've ever seen, at 65W, along with a faster Snapdgraon 865 Plus processor. Other rumored features include a 6.55-inch display with a 120 Hz refresh rate, four rear cameras and a 4,500 mAh battery. OnePlus is hosting an event October 14, so we should get a lot more details then.

OnePlus Nord N10 5G (October)

OnePlus Nord 2 rumors

(Image credit: Future)

As much as we liked the OnePlus Nord, OnePlus decided not to bring it to the U.S. But rumors suggest the company has another handset coming with 5G capability for under $400 in the OnePlus Nord N10 5G. The leaked specs include a 6.49-inch OLED display with a 90 Hz refresh rate, a quad-camera setup anchored by a 64MP main lens and a Snapdragon 690 chip. It's not clear when this handset will show up, but it could surface at the Oct. 14 OnePlus event.

iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro (October)

iPhone 12 render

(Image credit: @EveryApplePro via Twitter)

Apple is expected to introduce four new iPhone 12 handsets this October, including a 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12, a 6.1-inch iPhone 12 Pro and a 6.7-inch iPhone 12 Pro Max. 

All four new iPhones should feature OLED displays, 5G connectivity and Apple's fast new A14 Bionic processor. But while the regular iPhone 12 models will likely sport two rear cameras, the iPhone 12 Pros should add a telephoto lens along with a LiDAR sensor for improved photography and augmented reality performance.

And even if you have your heart set on a cheaper iPhone 11, the outgoing models will likely be discounted the day the iPhone 12 launches — giving you another reason to be patient.

Bottom line

This fall will be the busiest in years in terms of new phone releases, so you should definitely to see what happens with all of these launches before pulling the trigger on a purchase. And it's not just because of all of the new exciting handsets; we anticipate an avalanche of discounts on older phones, especially as we head into Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday deals season. 

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.