The Best Upcoming Android Phones in 2020
It’s been a long year full of new smartphones to pick from, but the team here at TechJunkie have only had one thing on our minds for weeks now: what’s in store for smartphones in 2020? The fall flagship season has come and gone, which means it’s finally time to turn our attention towards the devices we’re looking forward to most in 2020. We’re expecting brand new phones from manufacturers like Google, Samsung, OnePlus, and Apple, along with surprises from smaller teams at LG and Motorola, and we can hardly contain our excitement. While 2019 saw the launch of some fantastic phones, 2020 and beyond promises a whole new decade in smartphone design, along with new innovation in tech like 5G support.
Whether you’re looking for a premium flagship experience, a retro throwback device, or new foldable phones from Samsung, these are the Android phones to look out for as we head into 2020.
Updated on 1/13 with new information on the OnePlus 8 and Galaxy S20.
Throughout most of 2019, Lenovo and Motorola faced multiple leaks about their upcoming Razr device that promised to bring the phone back to the clamshell design that propelled the Razr to legendary tech status. Finally, after months of leaked photos, product renders, and rumored release dates, Lenovo and Motorola unveiled their newest phone in November of 2019, and it’s one of our most anticipated phones of 2020. Set to launch in January as a Verizon exclusive, the phone won’t be for everyone. Between the carrier exclusivity and the $1,499 asking price, the Razr is a tough sell for many people. Still, its announcement made the Razr one of the most exciting gadgets we’ve seen in years, and it’s bound to be a success as long as Motorola gets the key parts of the phone right.
Since the phone has been announced, we know exactly what it looks like and how powerful the device is. Despite the price, the phone is actually using a mid-range Snapdragon 710 processor, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The Snapdragon 710 should be able to power most of your day-to-day activities, but if you’re looking for the most powerful phone money can buy, 2020 will be filled with more traditional devices featuring the faster Snapdragon 865 processor. The phone is also shipping with Android 9 Pie, which is quite the disappointment when you remember that Android 10 launched at the beginning of September. And at 2510mAh, it’s nearly a guarantee the battery life won’t make it through a full day.
It’s truly the design of this phone that will win over most potential buyers. When closed, the front of the phone resembles a modern take on the clamshell design Motorola perfected fifteen years ago with the original Razr. A 2.7″ Quick View display allows you to check notifications without flipping the phone open, while the interior of the phone features a large foldable 6.2″ pOLED display. It’s a striking design, replacing the miniscule display and physical T9 dialer of the old device with an edge-to-edge display—though thanks to a custom Android launcher, you can actually bring back the original look of the phone through software.
We still have a lot of questions about the new Motorola Razr, but it’s an exciting phone, and if it can hold up in normal day-to-day use without powering down or breaking, it might become a cult hit among gadget nerds and anyone with a love for retro tech.
Samsung has three devices on this list, but before we can get to the rumored foldable phones they have coming throughout 2020, we have to talk about the next device in their flagship Galaxy S series. Dubbed the Galaxy S20—a surprising move, given their last device was the S10—Samsung is one again prepared to become the default Android phone for millions of people around the world. Thanks to leaked renders from notable leakers OnLeaks and 91Mobile, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect design-wise. As a “tock” year for Samsung, the look of the Galaxy S20 isn’t that far off from the Galaxy S10. Featuring the same edge-to-edge display, the biggest differences on the S11 from last year’s phone are relatively minor: the cut-out for the front-facing camera has been moved to the middle of the display, similar to the Galaxy Note 10, and the camera module is bigger than ever to accommodate the various sensors on the back, including a 108MP lens.
Update #1: New renders of the Galaxy S20 appeared around the holidays, revealing that newer prototypes of the device only have four cameras, not five as shown in the original leaked photos.
It’s not all good news for Samsung fans, though. This shouldn’t be a surprise after the launch of the Galaxy Note 10, but the S20 has completely ditched the headphone jack on their 2020 flagship, joining the likes of Apple and Google as device manufacturers who have left the classic 3.5mm jack in the past. Like the S10, the phone will likely come in three sizes: a smaller, cheaper S20, a larger S20+, and an premium S20 Ultra. You should also expect standard 2020 flagship specs, including the Snapdragon 865 processor that Qualcomm recently unveiled and a ton of RAM. Ultimately, if you’re ready to upgrade from your aging S8 or S9, the Galaxy S20 is going to be a fantastic series of phones for 2020. It might not be as exciting as the likes of the Motorola Razr or Samsung’s own Galaxy Fold line, but sometimes reliability is more important than being flashy.
Update #2: With a brand-new leak comes some new confirmations about the Galaxy S20 just one month ahead of its official launch. First off, the “Galaxy S20” name has been all but officially confirmed, as a leaked device shows the name of the phone on boot-up. The phone also confirms 5G support of some kind, though considering the S20 will likely use Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon processor, that was easy to assume. The new leak, which comes to us from XDA Developers, also confirms the updated camera layout that appeared around the holidays, while also mentioning the new phone will feature a less-curved display than the previous generation of devices, helping to improve handling of the phone and to reduce accidental presses.
Samsung is officially unveiling the Galaxy S20 at Samsung Unpacked on February 11th, so there’s less than a month ago until we see a full reveal of the device.
Last year’s Galaxy Fold from Samsung was, at its core, a revolutionary product. The first major foldable phone to ship around the world, the Galaxy Fold was an imperfect device that, nevertheless, found some true believers among their crowd. The device was originally supposed to launch back in the spring of 2019, but when reviewers found major flaws with the screen hinge gathering debris, the device launch was delayed to allow for improvements. When the phone did launch in September, it was a surprise success. Despite costing nearly $2,000, Samsung managed to sell more than a million Galaxy Fold devices before the year was up. That’s an impressive number for a niche phone, so as you might imagine, rumors about the second generation Fold have already begun swirling.
First, we should note that this isn’t about the rumored clamshell follow-up, which we’ll cover in more detail below. Instead, we want to take a look at the rumored second-generation device that should feature a similar design as the 2019 Galaxy Fold, though it’s unclear when this model will launch. Here’s what we do know: while the Galaxy Fold featured a small outer display that folded open to reveal a large 7.3″ screen, the 2020 model will instead feature the larger display on the outside, similar to Huawei’s Mate X. Samsung is also trying to replace the plastic display with ultra-thin glass (UTG), something they’ve actually trademarked recently. That’s good, since putting the display on the outside of the second-gen Fold would bring about more opportunities for scratches.
Outside of these rumors, we don’t know much about a potential follow-up to the original device. It’s likely that Samsung will launch the clamshell phone prior to launching this second-gen device, especially if they’re still working on getting the ultra-thin glass right on this model. We’ll have to wait and see what surprises Samsung has in store for 2020, but if the company continues to iterate at its usual rate, the Galaxy Gold may become a mainstream flagship series sooner than anticipated.
OnePlus has evolved over the last several years from an upstart competitor in a packed Android market to being one of the go-to manufacturers for great phones. In fact, we currently have the OnePlus 7T as our recommended Android phone, thanks to its relatively low price of $599 and its stacked feature set. Despite the OnePlus 7T only having been out for a couple months—and the inevitable successor months away—we already have an idea of what to expect from both the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro. In fact, thanks to images from OnLeaks and CashKaro, we might know exactly what both phones will look like well before the devices launch.
Both the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro seem to carry on design trends from earlier devices, with a couple minor changes along the way. Perhaps the biggest change actually comes to the Pro model. Unlike on last year’s Pro model, the 8 Pro has seemingly ditched the motorized selfie camera in lieu of a hole punch in the upper-left of the display. A lot of OnePlus fans loved the motorized selfie cam, which allowed for the company to achieve an edge-to-edge display with no compromises, so we’ll have to see how die-hard fans react to the change when the phone is officially unveiled in 2020. Like the Pro model, the OnePlus 8 also uses a hole punch for its front-facing camera, removing the notch from the last two models.
We might have an idea of what the phones will look like, but unfortunately, that’s about all of the information we have. It’s pretty easy to assume that the OnePlus 8 series will use Snapdragon’s new 865 processor, which means both phones should be capable of 5G, since Qualcomm requires all Snapdragon 865 phones to support the new network technology. Plenty of RAM and storage seem like locks, too, as does the continued lack of a headphone jack. We’d love to see OnePlus add wireless charging and official IP-certified water resistance, but at this point, we’re just making a wishlist. Presumably, we’ll see the phone get an official launch sometime next year, but until then, these renders should tide most OnePlus fans over.
Update, 1/13: With CES coming to a close, we have two new updates for the OnePlus 8 to detail in this guide. First, OnePlus has confirmed that their next device will feature a 120Hz display, an increase from the 90Hz display on the OnePlus 7 and 7T devices last year. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau told The Verge that their upcoming phone would have the “best smartphone display in 2020,” but we’ll have to wait to see if that’s true.
The other rumor coming out of OnePlus for 2020 is a bit more interesting. So far, T-Mobile has been the only carrier to sell OnePlus devices in stores, but it seems that’s set to change in 2020. Android Police reports that the OnePlus 8 will launch on Verizon, making it the first OnePlus device to do so, and would support Verizon’s 5G network. Though OnePlus’s last handful of devices have supported Verizon when purchasing the phone unlocked, actually selling the devices in stores will open OnePlus up to a whole new set of consumers in the United States.
Though Samsung is planning a traditional follow-up to their Galaxy Fold, they haven’t waited to try out other form factors. Much like the Motorola Razr, Samsung is planning to launch a foldable clamshell device in 2020 that will allow for a standard smartphone-sized display to shrink in size, rather than a standard smartphone that opens into a tablet. Based on rumors surrounding the phone, we expect to see this device launched prior to the other Galaxy Fold we highlighted above, sometime in the first half of 2019. Some leaks have even pointed to a specific date—February 18th, to be exact—which would make sense, since that date is right before Mobile World Congress kicks off on February 24th. Regardless, if you’re ready to see the newest foldable from Samsung, this is the one you should be looking at—not the other Fold device we already covered.
We actually know a little bit more about this clamshell device than the other Galaxy Fold, thanks to rumors from the likes of SamMobile and the Korean Herald. First and foremost, the rumored price is far less than the original Galaxy Fold’s $1,980. In fact, this clamshell Fold might go for less than $1,000 USD, a major price drop compared to the original phone. That brings up some serious questions of course—most notably, what was sacrificed to achieve this lower price? After all, the Motorola Razr is a clamshell foldable phone selling for $1,499, and that device uses a mid-range processor. Will Samsung’s device follow suit, or will Samsung be able to manufacturer a full flagship device powered by a Snapdragon 865 that runs users less than a grand at launch? We’ll have to wait to find out.
In the meantime, we know a couple of other things about this device. Like the other Galaxy Fold, this clamshell device is rumored to use the same ultra-thin glass Samsung recently filed trademarks for. That should help keep both displays from being easily scratched through regular use. We’re also pretty sure the device will come in some new colors, including standard black and white and, new for 2020, purple. As is standard with Samsung phones, we expect to see even more leaks throughout the next couple months leading up to the device’s official launch, but until then, we’ll just have to sit back and imagine the new clamshell Fold.
Update, 12/19: Just days after first publishing this post, we’ve learned new information about Samsung’s upcoming clamshell phone, along with a brand-new look at the device outside of renders produced by the company. It’s unclear whether this is confirmed, but leaks have emerged directly from Weibo, the popular Chinese microblogging site. Ice Universe, a popular and successful leaker, supplied the photos to English-speaking readers via Twitter, and if the leaks are accurate, we’re looking at something resembling the upcoming phone.
When closed, the device appears to be completely square, with a small display along the bottom of the phone showing the time. Presumably, the display on the front of the phone is larger than this simple clock, though it’s unclear based on these leaks. To the right of the clock is the dual-camera module, a far cry from the four lenses we expect to see on the Galaxy S11. With Samsung trying to get their foldable clamshell under $1,000, however, this makes sense.
On the inside is a standard looking tall, rectangular display, lacking the angles and large notch cut-out of Motorola’s Razr. Like Samsung’s most recent phones, a small hole punch cutout sits at the top of the phone’s display. When fully open, it’s basically impossible to tell the phone folds in half along the middle of the display. Instead, it looks like any number of Samsung’s phones from the last several years, albeit with larger bezels around the outside of the screen.
As with any leak, you should expect for things to change between the device shown in these photos and the actual version rumored to be unveiled in February. Still, considering how similar the device looks to Samsung’s own teaser, it seems clear that this is our best look at the phone yet.
It’s no secret the Pixel 4 was a bit of a disappointment when it was released in October. Though it’s not a bad phone by any means, it failed to live up to the first two generations of the Pixel series, while failing to make any major improvements on the Pixel 3. It ditched the fingerprint sensor for a Face ID-like unlock system, disappointing many long time Pixel fans, and featured lackluster battery life compared to both its fellow Android smartphones and Apple’s new iPhone 11. It became the first Pixel device not to grace the top of our recommendation list heading into 2020, with the OnePlus 7T offering a better experience for less money.
However, if you’re looking for a new mid-range Android device, the Pixel 4a seems guaranteed to be a great buy. The idea of a successor to the Pixel 3a seemed like a guarantee, especially since the 3a was one of the most successful phones Google has ever seen, well outselling the flagship Pixel 3. Still, heading into 2020, the device was a bit of a mystery, despite the usual leaks we see months ahead of actual Pixel devices.
Wonder no more: right before New Year’s Eve, leaked renders of the upcoming Pixel 4a finally appeared online, and they promise to give Android diehards the phone they wanted with the Pixel 4 back in the fall. These leaks, like many of the photos on our list, come directly from Onleaks, along with 91Mobiles, showing off a new design inspired by the Pixel 4. The device continues to use a plastic body, but with an improved screen-to-body ratio that squeezes a larger display into a similar-sized chassis. Unlike the Pixel 4, the display does include a cutout for the front-facing camera, similar to the Galaxy S10e from 2019. That means the device will likely not include the Motion Sense features first seen on its bigger brother.
Turning the phone over reveals two major changes between the Pixel 4a and the Pixel 4. First, this new device includes a single lens, omitting the telephoto lens altogether. Google is pretty incredible at making digital zoom look far better than it ever should, so for most people, this is unlikely to present a problem. The second change is good news for those who missed the fingerprint sensor on the Pixel 4. It’s returned on the back of this device.
Otherwise, the phone looks like an incremental change to last year’s device. The headphone jack is still here, which is guaranteed to make a lot of people happy. The speakers are still bottom-firing, presumably with a basic earpiece at the top of the device. It’s unclear whether the phone will use a Snapdragon 730 or the 5G-equipped snapdragon 765, but either way, expect decent performance from this mid-range device. Overall, we’re excited to see the Pixel 4a finally show up in leaks, and assuming Google nails the price under $500 again this year, we expect a lot of people to pick one up.
That wraps up our guide to six of the most exciting phones to look out for in 2020! What devices are you looking forward to in the new year? Let us know in the comments below, and keep it locked at TechJunkie for news and reviews once these phones actually arrive on the market.