The past few years have been tough on HTC’s mobile division. Since the One M7, the company has been struggling to keep up with its rivals. Last year’s critically-acclaimed U11 and U11+ could not reverse the company’s fortunes. However, HTC is not ready to give up on making smartphones yet. While it’s flagship devices of 2017 were not successful (sales-wise), they were glimpse into the company’s future direction. A year later, HTC has stuck to its new-found direction. The result is the U12+ (no U12 this time around). Can this device finally turn the company’s fortunes around?
|Price||US $799/849 (approx Rs 53,580/Rs 56,933 at current exchange rate)|
|Processor||Octa-core 2.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845|
|Display||Super LCD 6, 6.0-inch, QuadHD+ (2880x1440p) resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio|
|Operating System||Android 8.0 Oreo skinned with HTC Sense UI|
|Rear Camera||12-megapixel wide-angle (UltraPixel 4) lens + 16-megapixel telephoto lens, 2x optical zoom|
|Front Camera||8-megapixel + 8 megapixel|
|Battery||3500mAh with fast charging|
|Dimensions||156.6mm x 73.9mm x 9.7mm|
What’s new about the HTC U12+?
The HTC U12+ is more of a modest upgrade over the excellent U11. HTC’s choice of going this route is understandable – in most cases, making the wheel rounder is better than reinventing it. In that sense, the U12+ fixes a number of small issues with the U11 while doing a few things differently. To get to those points, let’s get the discussion around the phone’s hardware over first. The HTC U12+ gets a 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip with 6GB RAM. Two storage variants are being offered – 64GB and 128GB (the latter seems India-bound) with expansion up to 2TB via a MicroSD card. The phone gets an Super LCD 6 display measuring 6 inches (diagonally) with QuadHD+ (2880x1440p) resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio. The phone runs on Android 8.0 Oreo skinned with HTC’s own Sense UI skin.
The rear of the HTC now gets a dual-camera setup. This is made up of a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens (f/1.75 aperture and HTC UltraPixel 4 technology) and a 16-megapixel telephoto lens (f/2.6aperture). Additionally there is PDAF and Laser auto focus along with OIS and EIS. The rear-camera setup offers 2x optical zoom as well. The camera setup is positioned horizontally, a la LG G6. The front also gets a dual-camera setup with both lenses being 8-megapixel units with f/2.0 aperture for either. However, one of these lenses clicks selfies while the other is a depth-sensing unit. This means users can adjust the blur in their selfies. A bonus is that this phone has a DxOMark score of 103, beating every phone save the triple-camera-equipped Huawei P20 Pro.
The phone has a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner. Moreover, the capacitive buttons on the chin are gone too. There is no 3.5mm headphone jack and (as per The Verge), thee is no USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter in the box either (one can still buy it from HTC’s website). What is offered in the box is HTC’s USonic active noise-cancelling USB Type-C headphones. The phone supports major audio codes like LDAC, apt-X, and more (some relief for audiophiles). The U12+ carries IP68 water/dust resistance certification. There is a 3500mAh battery powering this phone. While there is no wireless charging, the phone supports Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 4.0 technology. It gets a Quick Charge 3.0-supporting charger in the box with the faster charger available for purchase on HTC’s website. The phone measures 156.6mm in length (depth), 73.9mm in width, and 9.7mm in height (thickness).
There is more new to the phone than just specs. It still is designed like a premium phone with glass back/front and metal sides. Speaking of glass back, HTC’s Liquid Surface finish returns for 2018. Now offered in three colours – Ceramic Black, Flame Red, and Translucent Blue. Of these, the Translucent Blue option provides users a peek at the phone’s internals too.
The rear is a Corning Gorilla Glass 3 panel while the front gets Gorilla Glass 5 protection. Since glass is a fingerprint magnet, also offered in the box is a clear case that let’s users access the pressure-sensitive sides. Speaking of pressure-sensitive sides, the phone has Edge Sense 2.0 (meaning pressure sensitivity of the phone just went up). New gestures and functionalities apart, a big change this time around are pressure sensitive power and volume buttons. These have their own dedicated power supply outside of the main battery.
The BoomSound speakers return too (Hi-Fied this time around) and they still use the phone’s body as a resonance chamber. A small speaker mounted in the earpiece acts as a tweeter while a slit at the bottom is for the second speaker that acts a sub-woofer. There is support for Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa on the U12+. The phone’s rear has been curved slightly to aid ergonomics. Other features offered on the phone include Face Unlock, Bluetooth 5.0, and USB 3.1.
Is the HTC U12+ worth consideration?
Considering that HTC U11 was a great device, there’s little doubt the U12+ will be a great device too. Having one flagship device for 2018 ensures HTC can spend its resources on marketing the device better than U11/U11+. For those who are still on the fence about the U12+, there are a few things to consider. This phone has the highest-rated dual-camera setup (rear) of any phone till date (103 per DxOMark). It has a clean design with unique finish. The Sense UI is among the cleanest, most clutter-free Android skins around. The HTC U12+ supports multiple audio codecs like apt-X HD, LDAC, Hi-Res, and more.
HTC makes devices keeping ergonomics and solidity in mind. Unlike most of its rivals, the U12+ will likely fit users’ hands better. If it does not, the Edge Sense 2.0 will help in this case. Users have to double-tap on one lower side of the phone to shrink it down for single-handed use. The tricks on the HTC U12+ are endless. What is worth consideration, however, is that HTC has been making some great phones since 2017. They have been underrated but they have constantly been proving themselves. New smartphone buyers owe it to themselves to at least consider and check out the HTC U12+. The phone will handle the rest (pun intended).
HTC U12+ India – Synopsis
- Priced at US $799/849 (Rs 53,580/56,933 approx.)
- Packs a octa-core 2.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB RAM
- Two internal storage options available – 64GB/128GB (latter seems India-bound)
- Super LCD 6 display measures 6.0 inches with QuadHD+ (2880x1440p) resolution and 18:9 aspect ratio
- Dual rear-camera setup comprises of a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens and 16-megapixel telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom
- Highest rated dual camera setup among smartphones with 103 rating by DxOMark
- Front camera setup is a dual-lens unit with two 8-megapixel sensors
- Rear-mounted fingerprint reader helps reduce bezel sizes up front
- No physical buttons on the phone help it achieve IP68 water/dust resistance rating
- Edge Sense 2.0 makes it easy to use the phone one-handed
- 3500mAh battery supports Quick Charge 4.0
- Three colour options provided – Ceramic Grey, Translucent Blue, and Flame Red
- Translucent Blue shows the phone’s internals, like the U11+’s Translucent Black
- USB-C-to-3.5mm adapter not in the box, can be purchased separately
- HTC USonic Active Noise Cancellation USB-C headphones packed with the phone in the box
- NFC, USB 3.1, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, and Bluetooth 5.0 among connectivity options offered
- apt-X HD, 32-bit LDAC, and Hi-Res audio support boon for audiophiles
- Support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice assistants
Thanks for nice story, people at The Verge