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iPhone X2, Galaxy Note 9, and Pixel 3: When to expect this year’s biggest flagships

We are a full month into 2018, and so far it has been quiet on the flagship smartphone front. But that is changing very soon. January is always an off month for companies as they reel in the success of the holidays, but it is in February when we start to see the first major flagships showing up in a steady schedule through the end of the year.

This year will be no different. At this point, every major smartphone maker has established a release month for its major flagships. Some have a pattern that dates nearly a decade of announcing a device on a specific month. So with this in mind, I collected all of the major flagships that are anticipated to arrive in 2018 and chronicle the expected date they will be announced.

The list below includes all of the major smartphones that will come out this year: Galaxy S9, Galaxy Note 9, Pixel 3, iPhone X2 and many more. This is not by any means a guarantee that these smartphones will arrive on this specific date. Anything can change. Last year, Samsung had to slightly tweak its release cycle because of the Note 7 explosion incident. If manufacturers can avoid an explosion blunder like that, the list should prove to be very accurate.

Here’s when you can expect this year’s biggest flagships to arrive.

Galaxy S9

Will arrive: February 25

This one is the easiest guess because Samsung has already announced the event and date in which it will unveil its latest flagship. That will be February 25. Preorders will follow shortly with devices shipping out sometime in March. So far, a lot of rumors and images have been floating around, and it seems like the S9 may be some what of a letdown—Samsung won’t be changing much from the S8. But Samsung is promising big upgrades to the camera. With its fantastic build quality, gorgeous OLED Infinity Display and a camera that may outperform the Pixel 2, it will still be a marquee device.

OnePlus 6

Will arrive: June 2018

OnePlus is quite an enigma. It makes great devices, but it also doesn’t offer the best customer security and releases upgraded versions within months. More on the latter part later. We should expect no less of the OnePlus 6. The followup to the excellent OnePlus 5T should offer improvements in design, display, biometric sensors and camera performance. It has been the budget phone of choice for many, offering a lot of bang for $499. That’s half of what the comparative options from Apple and Samsung cost, hence its appeal. OnePlus has typically taken up June as the month to announce its first major flagship of the year.

Essential Phone 2

Will arrive: June 2018

The Essential Phone arrived in June 2017 threatening to challenge the status quo. That did not happen, and the rest of the story is a rocky, sordid affair. But we still have a soft spot for the Essential Phone even for all its shortcomings, and hopefully the Essential Phone 2 can put it all together right from the get go. With Essential’s first device arriving in June, it makes sense for its sequel to arrive exactly a year later.

LG V40

Will arrive: August 2018

In 2017, the most underrated device was the LG V30. Hopefully 2018 will be kinder to its successor, the V40. Last year, LG threw us a curveball in announcing the V30 in August, less than a year after the V20 had debuted. We expect the V40 to keep the same timeframe, arriving in August, but that’s not definitive. LG cancelled the G7, putting extra importance on its next flagship, possibly moving up the V40’s release date. But for now, expect the V40 to debut in August.

Galaxy Note 9

Will arrive: August 2018

The Galaxy Note 8 was the perfect Android phone in 2017, and we’re ready for its followup, the Galaxy Note 9. Although the Galaxy S9 will be a great phone, the Note line has been Samsung’s premium device with the best features. It was the first device to get the curved edge display, Iris Scanner and dual camera system.

We’re not sure what Samsung will do with the Note line in 2018. Possibly it will incorporate the foldable display it has been talking about. We can’t say for sure, but what we do know is that Samsung moved up the release of the Note 9 line to August last year and we don’t anticipate that tp change. Its ultimate goal is to one-up the iPhone, and what better way than to release a major flagship just before its launch.

iPhone X2

Will arrive: September 2018

Leading up to the release of the iPhone X, we had a pretty clear idea of what to expect. This year the picture is a lot murkier. Rumors have been swirling around Apple discontinuing the iPhone X in favor of an upgraded model with a bigger Plus variant. There’s also talk of an LCD model with an edge to edge display that will be cheaper. Will these be the iPhones Apple releases in 2018? Your guess is a good as mine. We don’t even know what it will do with the naming scheme. iPhone X2 sounds odd and it seems unlikely it’ll go with iPhone 9 or iPhone 11. Regardless, Apple will hold its event to announce the new iPhones in early September like it has for the past seven years and break the mystery. Take that to the bank.

Pixel 3

Will arrive: October 2018

Hopefully the third time is the charm for Google. With the first two generations of the Pixel, Google has managed to offer a terrific Android device with the best mobile camera. The only downside is that it still lags far behind Apple and Samsung in terms of sales and popularity. The Pixel 3 will be Google’s third attempt to break in, and it should be arriving in October. It has been Google’s preferred month to unveil its flagship.

OnePlus 6T

Will arrive: November 2018

For the past two years, OnePlus has released a major flagship early in the year. It’s always a fantastic device with killer specs. But later in the year, it throws us a curveball and releases a better version of the device. In 2016, it did so with the OnePlus 3 and 3T. Last year it did with the OnePlus 5 and 5T. Once was an aberration but two is a trend, and I expect that trend to continue in 2018 with the OnePlus 6T. OnePlus has taken to unveiling the T-model in November right before the holidays. The ball is now in your court as to whether you will wait for the OnePlus 6T when the OnePlus 6 is announced this summer.


Danny Zepeda

Born and raised in Southern California, Danny grew up on a steady diet Pixar, Star Wars and Steven Spielberg movies. Unbeknownst to him, this was...

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