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Featured: Fall 2015 Android Flagship Smartphone Preview

July 20, 2015 - Written By John Anon

If you were to measure a year based on the quality of the smartphones landing, then this year has been the year of the smartphone. Nearly all of the major manufacturers have already released at least one flagship device already in 2015 and yet the year is only half done. As a result, we have another half of the year to get through and that means a ton of new smartphones to welcome into the fold. Manufacturers who still have devices on the way include Samsung, LG, Huawei, OnePlus, Sony, Motorola and maybe even BlackBerry. With so many new arrivals still waiting in the wings, it is time to take a quick look at what the second half of the year has waiting for us.

This is the 2015 Fall Flagship Roundup.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5

AH Samsung Galaxy Note 4 ah-3It is not hard to assume that the latest device from Samsung, the Galaxy Note 5 will be one of the most awaited and highly coveted devices of this year. After all, this is Samsung and this is their popular Note range. That said, it will be hard for Samsung to build on what was clearly a successful Galaxy Note 4. The last generation matched the best-in-class when it came to specs and saw a significant improvement over the previous generation. In fact, if recent rumors are to be believed then it would seem that the Galaxy Note 5 is only a few weeks away from being released with a reported mid-August launch time.

In terms of the specs being reported, the Galaxy Note 5 will come sporting a 5.7-inch display. Knowing Samsung, this will likely be a Quad HD display offering a 2560 x 1440 resolution. The rest of the rumored specs are a little inconsistent although it is largely expected the Note 5 will come equipped with 4GB RAM and most likely powered by Samsung’s own Exynos 7422 processor. Most Note fans will be interested to find out if the Note 5 comes with a removable battery or a microSD card slot. While the jury is still out on this, the consensus seems to be falling on the side of no removable battery and microSD support. Last up, as Samsung likes to lead the way with their devices, Type-C USB is likely to make an appearance.

In terms of design, the Galaxy Note 5 is expected to be a mix of the old Samsung with the new. Therefore, the familiar Galaxy Note feel will be in effect although the Galaxy Note 5 is largely expected to follow in the recent Galaxy trend and make use of an aluminum body. The stylus will evidently be in effect and there is even speculation of an auto-eject system for this year’s Note.

ETA: September (some rumors suggest August)

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge AH

Typical of Samsung, the Galaxy Note 5 is not the only device which is rumored to be on the way. Along with the Galaxy Note 4, Samsung released the Galaxy Note Edge. Along with the Galaxy S6, Samsung released the Galaxy S6 Edge and so it stands to reason that along with the Galaxy Note 5, Samsung will be releasing the Galaxy Note Edge…wait…they already released that last year. Correction, along with the Galaxy Note 5, Samsung are rumored to be releasing the Galaxy S6 Edge Plus. Otherwise known as the Galaxy S6 Edge+.

Interestingly, as the name of this device suggests, this is not a variant of the Note 5 at all but instead, is clearly a Galaxy S6 variant. Therefore, none of the specs rumored to be included are in line with the Note 5. However, as this is a + version and coming sometime after the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, they is not that similar to the twin S6s either. In fact, if the rumors are correct the Galaxy S6 Edge lies somewhere in between the two. In terms of the display, some rumors suggest the Galaxy S6 Edge+ will come with the same 5.7-inch display as the Note 5. Alternatively, some rumors are suggesting a slightly smaller 5.5-inch display will be in effect. Either way, the display is is likely to also be a QHD display. Moving to the inside and less seems to be known about the S6 Edge+. It is almost guaranteed that the RAM will be at least 3GB as this will be in keeping the Galaxy S6. Although, with the Note 5 reported to come with 4GB, there is nothing stopping Samsung including the extra GB in the S6 Edge+ as well. The processor inside is possibly Samsung’s own Exynos 7422 chipset. Although separate rumors which surfaced a couple of weeks ago suggest the processor inside the Galaxy S6 Edge+ will be the Snapdragon 808. That rumor was a little more detailed, also suggesting the Galaxy S6 Edge+ would come with pretty much the standard Galaxy S6 specs including a 16-megapixel rear camera, 5-megapixel front-facing option and everything being powered by a 3,000mAh battery.

ETA: September (some rumors suggest August)

Huawei Nexus

This is a big one for this time of year and will need little introduction. It is pre-Nexus season and that does mean a new Nexus device is en route to knock the Nexus 6 off its pedestal. There have been numerous rumors suggesting LG is making a Nexus device, but excluding those rumors for now, the consensus is a Huawei Nexus is what to expect for this year’s flagship Nexus smartphone.

Spec wise, the rumors of the Huawei Nexus seem to consistently suggest a Quad HD 5.7-inch display. This aspect seems to be one which many of the tipsters are in agreement on. Therefore, this seems to be one of the more solid rumors floating around. That said, what is less solid is what processor will be inside. There seems to be a debate as to whether the next Nexus will come sporting a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 or an 820. While many a Nexus fan will be hoping for the latter, it does seem to make date-sense that it will be an 810 powering everything. As the Huawei Nexus is expected in November, it seems unlikely that the 820 will be in a smartphone and ready to go by then. In fact, it is expected that the earliest the 820 could be on the market is in the also highly speculated upon Xiaomi Mi 5 (or Mi 5 Plus).

Moving to the rest of the details and it is largely expected the Huawei Nexus will follow the trend of all smartphones at the moment and will come sporting a metallic body, At the very least, a highly metallic influenced build. Not to mention, again following the trend of late, there will be a fingerprint scanner on board too. Details on the RAM are far more limited although, most will probably be expecting 4GB RAM to be included on the Huawei Nexus. Of course, it is worth pointing out that is pretty much guaranteed this will come running on Android M.

ETA: Expect October/November

OnePlus 2

OK. OnePlus (as per usual) is a little different to the rest of the manufacturers here. While there are a bunch of rumors circulating the OnePlus 2, OnePlus have already confirmed a number of the specs in advance. As such, there is much less guessing when it comes to the OnePlus 2. Although rumored, it does seem likely that the OnePlus 2 will come with a 5.5-inch display. A recent image released by OnePlus does show the overall size of the device is smaller than the OnePlus 2 and therefore, the display could be slightly smaller. However, maybe they have just shaved down the bezel space on the 2 and the display remains the same size. The resolution is unfortunately unknown right now, although, the consensus seems to be that it is unlikely to be a QHD display. Moving to the inside and OnePlus has confirmed the OP2 will come with 4GB RAM. However, they have also confirmed that it will come with the Snapdragon 810 processor inside. Additionally confirmed specs include a fingerprint sensor (most likely on the back), a 13-megapixel rear camera (most likely Toshiba sensor) and the inclusion of a Type-C USB port.

Thanks to all these controlled leaks, it seems there is very little left to be rumored about the OP2. We currently do not know the front facing camera (although sketches have revealed it could be an 8-megapixel camera). There is also no confirmation on storage size or the inclusion of microSD card access.

However, this is where things get interesting as the OP2 might not be the only OnePlus device en route. If the majority of the rumors are to be believed, then there is at least two OnePlus devices inbound this year. Maybe even three. One will certainly be the OP2, while the second option is likely to be a budget-priced (and specced) device. This could be the OnePlus 2 Mini or the OnePlus 2 Lite or of course, something completely different.

Last up, what we can be sure of is that OnePlus will be looking to aggressively price the device(s). The OnePlus 2 is almost guaranteed to come in at the $450 marker while it is unclear what the cost of the rumored budget device will be.

ETA: Launch event scheduled for July 27th

LG G4 Pro (or LG G4 Note)

LG G4 AH TD 06

Not to be left out of the party, LG is also very firmly on the rumor roundup for the Fall. This is in spite of the company only very recently launching their latest flagship, the LG G4. This was a great device when it launched and many are justifiably comparing the G4 to the Galaxy S6 and especially in terms of the camera. That said, the G4 did leave room for improvements and this is exactly what is now expected from the latest incarnation, the LG G4 Pro.

That said, the specs are a little sketchy. It does seem likely that the G4 Pro will come with a bigger screen, namely a 5.8-inch display is being rumored. Most of the rumors seems to agree on this point. Not to mention that it will be a QHD display offering a 250 x 1440 resolution. Inside, it is also largely expected that the G4 Pro will come with 4GB RAM, further adding to its ‘Pro’ nature over the 3GB RAM G4. Processor wise, things get a little complicated. Like a number of devices on this list, there is debate as to whether this will come with the Snapdragon 810 or 820. The G4 came with the Snapdragon 808 and this is one of the reasons it did receive criticism when compared to the Galaxy S6 which came sporting the Exynos 7420. As such, an upgrade with the Pro is almost guaranteed. While some believe the 820 will be included on the G4 Pro, like the other devices on this list, this seems a matter of timing. It is thought the Pro will be launched sometime in October. If that is the case, it seems unlikely to be sporting the 820. Therefore, bets are on a Snapdragon 810 inside

Moving to the additional specs and there is apparently going to be a massive bump in the MP count on the Pro with a rumored 27-megapixel camera included. The front camera is expected to consist of an 8-megapixel count while the G4 Pro is largely expected to be an all-metal device.

ETA: October/November

Motorola Moto X (2015)

Motorola have been making quite the name for themselves over the last few years with their Moto X range of devices. For many reasons, these have quickly become quite the fan favorite device and offering users a massive level of customization. Not to mention, a decent level of specs and all for a reasonable price (compared to the other flagship devices). As such, the Moto X has become one of the best devices on the market and the next generation Moto X (2015) is about to arrive and quite likely at the end of this month.

So what’s on offer. Well, if the rumors and speculation is correct than the Moto X 2015 will once again be one of the smaller flagship devices on this list coming with a 5.2-inch display. That said, it is expected that this will be a QHD display offering a 2560 x 1440 resolution. Moving to the inside and the Moto X 2015 will come with either 3 or 4GB RAM while the rumors suggest the device will be powered by the Snapdragon 808 processor. In terms of cameras, the Moto X 2015 will be seeing a boost compared to last year and coming with a 16-megapixel rear camera. This will be coupled with a 5-megapixel front facing option. Not to mention. powering everything is likely to be a 3,280 mAh battery.

ETA: Launch event scheduled July 28th

Sony Xperia Z5

Sony has had a strange sort of year so far. The company only recently released their latest device in their flagship Xperia Z range, although, for many, it did not seem like a flagship at all. In fact, the Xperia Z4 (or Xperia Z3+ depending on your region) was largely a disappointment for many. As such, attention and speculation almost immediately moved towards the next device, the Sony Xperia Z5.

In terms of what is known about the Z5, details are sketchy at best. Although rumors have suggested that the Z5 will come sporting 4GB RAM. In addition, some rumors have suggested the next-gen Snapdragon 820 will be on board. However, as this is being rumored to arrive in September, it seems unlikely that an 820 will actually be included. As such, the Z5 (if it arrives on schedule) could come sporting the Snapdragon 810 like the Xperia Z3+ did. If it does arrive much later in the year, then there is a slim chance of the 820, although it is doubtful. Other rumored features on offer with the Z5 include the same 21-megapixel rear camera (although the sensor is expected to be updated to the IMX230) and everything is rumored to be powered by a massive 4,500 mAh battery. There is also talk that the next-gen Xperia device will come sporting a fingerprint sensor (Qualcomm’s Sense ID), much the same as virtually every other device on the list today. Of course, with the Xperia Z5, there is also likely to be a smaller variant, the Xperia Z5 Compact and possibly a larger variant, the Z5 Ultra. Much of the specs are likely to remain the same, although the Compact is expected to come with a 4.8-inch display while the Ultra comes packing a 6-inch display.

ETA: Possible announcement September, release Q3

Xiaomi Mi 5

A couple of years ago, Xiaomi most likely would not have made a list of devices that you are waiting on, but that just shows how quickly Xiaomi have cemented their place on the market. They are one of the very biggest smartphone manufacturers now and their flagship Mi range is one of the very best. Touting top notch specs at a very affordable price.

In terms of what is known about the Mi 5, it is rumored the Mi 5 will come with a 5.2-inch QHD display. Inside, the Mi 5 is likely to come with 4GB RAM. In terms of the processor, this is where things get interesting. Rumors suggest it will be a Snapdragon 810 on board, however, once again, some rumors suggest the Mi5 could be the first device that comes touting the next generation Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 820. In fact, while most of the other devices have seen the same rumor, the Mi 5 is the only devices which timewise suggest the 820 rumor might be true. In terms of the cameras, the rumors state a 16-megapixel rear camera which is coupled with a 13-megapixel front facing option and everything being powered by a 3,000 mAh battery,

The problem here though is that there is also the rumored Mi 5 Plus. Like many companies, a Plus version seems to be lingering with Xiaomi and it is possible that the Plus version is what will come touting the 4GB RAM, Snapdragon 820 and a larger 3,500mAh battery. This is, as well as a 23-megapixel rear camera. If this is true, then the Mi 5 is likely to come sporting 3GB RAM and the 810 processor.

ETA: Expected November although Mi 5 could launch earlier and Mi 5 Plus in Nov/Dec

LG Nexus 5 (2015)

This is a big one for this time of year and will need little introduction. It is pre-Nexus season and that does mean a new Nexus device is en route to knock the Nexus 6 off its pedestal. Dejavu? Well, yes. If the rumors are to be believed then there is not one, but two Nexus devices en route this year. The first one, the Huawei Nexus has already been discussed and the second one seems to point to a build offered by LG. Although, it might seem strange for two competing Nexus devices to come out together, there does seem to be some logic here. Many complained when the Nexus 6 landed due to its big size (and price) and this is likely where the biggest discrepancy between the two Nexus devices will be. While the Huawei Nexus will follow in the tradition of the Nexus 6, the aptly named LG Nexus 5 (2015) will follow in the footsteps of the Nexus 5.

In terms of what’s known, the details are once again sketchy and a little contradicting. It is thought the LG Nexus will come sporting a 5.2-inch display. However, the specs are likely to be lighter than the Huawei option, as this will be positioned as a more affordable device. Therefore, one of the main rumors gaining traction is this will come sporting a Snapdragon 808 processor. It could come with the 810, but that seems to be what will be coming on the Huawei. Therefore, it makes sense for the LG option to come with the 808. It could also come with the Snapdragon 820, but like the Huawei option, it seems time is against this rumor as both Nexus devices are expected to be launched before the 820 makes its debut. Other than this, the only other rumored specs on the LG model is that it will come with a 2,700 mAh battery. Of course, like the Huawei Nexus, this one will almost certainl come running on Android M out of the box.

ETA: Expected October/November

BlackBerry Android

This time last year, hardly anyone would have expected this device to be on an Android list. A BlackBerry Android device is the unicorn of the android world. However, very recently, the notion of a BlackBerry device has started to seem much more like reality. In fact, it is now largely believed that there will be two BlackBerry devices landing, the BlackBerry Venice and the BlackBerry Prague.

Being a mythical device means the details are vague at best and it would seem that currently the details on BlackBerry’s android offerings are extremely limited. In fact, almost next to nothing is rumored let alone known. It has been touted that the BlackBerry Venice could possibly come with a 5.4-inch display with a QHD resolution. It has also been suggested that a Snapdragon 808 processor could be powering Venice. While the other very vague rumors include 3GB RAM, an 18-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front facing option.

In terms of Prague, even less is known, although it is thought that Prague would be a more modestly priced BlackBerry device and therefore, the specs are likely to represent a drop compared to Venice. One thing you would expect to take for granted with a BlackBerry device is a Qwerty physical keyboard. That said, even this seems to be debated based on recent images which have surface.

ETA: Before end of the year

Motorola DROID Turbo 2015

AH Droid Turbo-Logo-9

It is almost assured that this fall will see the intro of the next-gen DROID Turbo device. However, unlike most of the devices on the list, very few details are known about what to expect from this year’s Droid. That said, some very vague rumors do suggest that this year’s DROID will come sporting a 2K display. The same rumors suggest Android 5.1 and evidently will be an exclusive to Verizon, as per usual.

HTC M? or Desire?

HTC-One-M9-Review-AH-7

Again, HTC is another company who would be expected to make some sort of impact on the smartphone market in the closing months of this year. However, it seems unclear as to what we should be expecting from HTC now. They have released their One M9 and a few variants like the One M9+, One ME9 and so on. Not to mention, they recently announced four mid-range devices that are joining the Desire family. That all said, it is a good bet to assume another HTC device is lurking for 2015.

…And Finally

There is also bound to be a few devices which are due to be released before the end of the year that are currently being kept under wraps. Samsung is a prime candidate to release another device (besides the Note 5 and S6 Edge+) while ZTE and LG are also likely to have additional offerings up their sleeves. Which devices are you most excited for this fall?