The iPhone XS and XS Max are already out, the iPhone XR arrives in the middle of October, and the Galaxy Note 9 hit stores about a month ago. That should just about wrap it up for new smartphones in 2018, right?
Oh, heavens no. Between this weekend’s iPhone XS/XS Max launch and next month’s iPhone XR release, a number of other phone makers are going to what they’ve been working on without fear that their announcements will be buried under a metric ton of iPhone news.
We count at least seven devices from major phone makers likely to debut in the month of October alone. Some have been confirmed, while others are either heavily rumored or poorly-kept secrets. Either way, with so many new handsets looming on the horizon, you might want to wait a few weeks before plunking down hundreds on a new one.
October Phone Releases: Confirmed and Rumored Launch Dates
- LG V40 ThinQ: Oct. 3
- Nokia Phone: Oct. 4
- Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL: Oct. 9
- Razer Phone 2: Oct. 10
- Huawei Mate 20: Oct. 16
- OnePlus 6T: Oct. 17 (rumored)
- Honor 8X: October (date TBD)
The Heavy Hitters
The biggest unveiling belongs to Google’s Pixel 3 and 3 XL, which are set to debut at events in New York and Paris on Oct. 9. However, at this rate it doesn’t seem there’s much left for Google to announce. The larger 6.7-inch model has been leaked to Russia and back, popping up everywhere from the Toronto rail system, to the backseat of a Lyft somewhere in the U.S., to hands-on videos from multiple YouTubers in Ukraine. And in recent weeks, we’ve even seen renders of the notch-less 5.4-inch variant as well.
The new Pixels’ most notable improvements figure to be a beefed-up Visual Core image processing chip and wireless charging, along with the kind of regular spec updates you’d expect from a new premium phone. If Google’s planning anything else, we don’t know what it could be yet — though some of the year’s most groundbreaking new features, such as an in-display fingerprint sensor or triple cameras, likely won’t make it to this round of Pixels.
If you want an in-display fingerprint sensor, your best (and likely only bet) will be the OnePlus 6T. The next OnePlus flagship may debut as soon as October but could potentially slip into November, if OnePlus’ update history is any guide. However, a teaser screenshot from OnePlus depicting the promised fingerprint sensor feature carried a date of Oct. 17, which might provide us with a more precise ETA.
The OnePlus 6T is expected to be the Chinese brand’s first device sold on a U.S. carrier, as a report from PCMag in August claimed that the phone would be arriving on T-Mobile sometime in the fall. When it does, the handset is expected to utilize much of the same design, albeit with a redesigned “teardrop” notch and the aforementioned new authentication method, which embeds the fingerprint sensor into the AMOLED display. Oh, and OnePlus is doing away with the headphone jack, depressingly.
If photography is your first priority, though, you may be more interested in the follow-up to Huawei’s Mate 10 Pro. The company already introduced a “Lite” version of its next Mate offering for the UK at IFA late last month, but on Oct. 16 that device will likely be joined by two more powerful variants with triple-camera systems similar to what we saw on the Huawei P20 Pro.
The P20 Pro utilized a trio of lenses, massive image sensors and AI-assisted processing to consistently deliver the best nighttime photos we’ve ever seen from a mobile device, and we’re looking forward to what Huawei is able to pull off with the next iteration of its groundbreaking imaging tech. Additionally, the Mate 20 and Mate 20 Pro will offer our first extended look at the company’s next-gen Kirin 980 processor, which is expected to outpace the Snapdragon 845 in certain respects while drawing less power.
Those are three big reveals for October, and that’s not even everything coming down the pike.
Huawei’s budget-minded Honor brand is preparing a successor to the $199 Honor 7X, called the 8X. It’s already been announced in China, and seeing as how we got the 7X on this side of the Pacific last year (and the 6X before that), we expect Honor will offer the upcoming generation in the U.S., too. If you’re in the market for an inexpensive phone but don’t want to sacrifice performance and features, you couldn’t do much better than Honor’s X lineup in recent years — and that makes the 8X a handset to watch.
Gaming giant Razer is also all but confirmed to be delivering a successor to last year’s Razer Phone — an aluminum-clad beast of a handset with a 120Hz display and Snapdragon 835 processor, strangely built off the bones of the Nextbit Robin of all devices.
Razer hasn’t confirmed that we’ll see a Razer Phone 2 at its event in Los Angeles on Oct. 10, but come on — the invite has the unmistakable silhouette of the company’s current smartphone. Coupled with all the leaks that have emerged over the last few weeks, it’s pretty safe to say Razer is looking to challenge Samsung’s claim of offering the best mobile Fortnite experience.
Given LG’s propensity to release lots of phones in 2018, it shouldn’t come as a massive surprise that the company is preparing another flagship for the end of the year. It’s not wasting any time building hype on what the device might be, either; in mid-September, LG came right out and announced the V40 ThinQ would debut on Oct. 3.
After rolling out the V30 in November, followed by the V30S ThinQ and V35 ThinQ earlier in 2018, LG has mostly rehashed the same design and components through a few iterations. The expectation is that the V40 will bring about major changes, perhaps including the move to a triple-lens camera system around back, dual cameras up front and a notched display more similar to the LG G7, but using OLED rather than LCD technology.
Last but not least, HMD Global, which manages the Nokia smartphone brand, will introduce something on Oct. 4, per Pocket-lint, which received an invite to a press event in London. At this time it’s hard to say what device or devices will bow at the festivities, though the consensus appears to be something new in the Nokia 7 series, likely with Android One branding and software as many of the company’s phones have adopted over the last year.
We reviewed the Nokia 6.1 in the spring and found it to be a surprisingly well-rounded and well-built handset despite its low price, so whatever the Finnish brand is planning could very well end up one of the best budget options of the upcoming year — if the new phone makes it to the U.S., that is.
Got all that? October will be the busiest month the smartphone industry has endured in recent memory, and it still could be overshadowed by a potentially huge announcement in November. Samsung has teased the reveal of its long-awaited foldable Galaxy X handset at its developer conference, which kicks off Nov. 7.
If it seems like Samsung has been dangling the Galaxy X in front of us for years now, it has. Even if the device does see the light of day before 2018 is up, it assuredly won’t go on sale until next year, which is gearing up to be truly exciting. Both Apple and Samsung will be on “tick” cycles of their respective flagships, which could result in major redesigns. Add the launch of the first 5G networks and compatible devices to the mix, and October is beginning to look like the preamble to a fascinating 2019.