Over the recent past, HTC phones have continued to be popular. In spite of decreasing sales, the Taiwan-based phone manufacturer, and once a big name in the world of Smartphones, has been refusing to back down. Rather, the company has continued to invest in bolder designing and technological improvements. This has resulted to high quality and top-tier performance phones as witnessed in last year’s HTC U11, which came with the cutting-edge high-end processor and a striking single camera. This time around, the company avoided U12 and went straight to the HTC U12+. Today, we present you with details of this latest flagship phone from the company.
This phone comes with slightly shrunken bezels and lengthened screen with the prevalent 18:9 display ratio. In its design, the U12+ just looks and feels pretty good, even though it appears somewhat plain especially when viewed from the front. Bezels on the sides of the phone’s display are extraordinary, though the façade features a conspicuous forehead and chin. However, the forehead is home to the dual front-facing camera, noise-canceling mic and earpiece. Above all, you’ll really love the phone’s vibrant screen.
HTC U12+ comes in a range of liquescent colors including Flame Red, Ceramic Black and Translucent Blue. And, just like the HTC U11, the Translucent Blue U12+ offers you a small, clear window stemming from the rear fingerprint scanner, which leads to a color-gradient effect into the opaque blue glass. This definitely gives the phone a unique look thanks to its striking originality.
The squeezable side feature first came with the U11 and, U12+ advances the feature further with fully haptic-volume and power buttons – don’t look for the volume rocker here! Indeed, the three buttons are ingrained in the metal frame and generate haptic vibrations when squeezed to simulate a button click. While this design helps improve the phone’s water resistance from IP67 to IP68, the feature isn’t all that significant.
Processor and Performance
You get the U12+ in 6GB RAM featuring either 64 or 128 GM storage. However, you can expand its storage if you so wish. The phone comes with the state-of-the-art Snapdragon 845 processor thus swift performance. Apps on your phone will launch quite smoothly and, the gaming experience is just cool.
U12+ comes with a lovely 6-inch QHD+ Super LCD 6 display. Unlike the AMOLED’s oversaturated tones, this kind of LCD panel tries to keep things more realistic. Nevertheless, colors are bright and vibrant, and clarity is top-notch offering you an outstanding 537 ppi. You’ll find viewing angles of this gadget great and the loud, crisp sound from its speakers quite entertaining. Besides, you can tweak your viewing experience by adjusting aspects like icon size, font size as well as color profiles. If you’d like an optimized color experience for your HTC U12+, you can opt for the DCI-P3; but if you find the colors too vibrant, sRGB will come to your help. And, the best thing with these profiles is that you can adjust them with warmer as well as colder color temperatures.
Camera and Image Quality
In addition to its predecessor’s comprehensive 12 MP single camera, U12+ features an additional 16 MP 2x zoom telephoto lens. Like U11’s sharp, vibrant images, expect even greater images with the U12+. You’ll be able to take finely detailed pictures without any over-sharpening with this phone. Plus, your pictures will show excellent color accuracy. When it comes to dynamism range, U12+ tames highlights exceptionally well compared to its competitors by unfailingly and excellently pulling in fine details from underneath the blazes of severe lighting and composing them visibly and perfectly – you’ll find this feature really excellent and exceptionally handy.
The phone’s secondary 16 MP camera bears all the same traits of the main camera, with little superficial variance in overall quality – something that’s rare in most dual-camera setups. Indeed, U12+’s cameras are some of the best tools you can find out there with which to cut up some crisp, gorgeous photos. The dual front-facing cameras will also give you highly detailed shots. However, expect slightly muted skin tones and colors out of these cameras. Nevertheless, you’ll find selfies with these cameras quite flattering, having effective attractiveness and broken modes that freshen up and highlight the subject totally. Bokeh shots are especially great with this dual-camera setup – It applies blur uniformly and precisely quite perfectly.
You’ll find your HTC U12+ a more than capable tool when it comes to movie making fun thanks to its 4K video shooting capability, which you can do at either 30 or 60 fps. And, just like photos, your video details are crisp though not over sharpened, while the colors are replicated quite precisely. The main sensor’s optical stabilization lets you take your videos quite smoothly, however, you may at times experience some jumpiness. Regrettably, you can’t shift between the regular 2X filming lenses while videoing.
As you’ll find out, U12+ is big on sound. You can use its 3D sound, hi-res audio, audio boost as well as acoustic focusing to tweak sound capture during your video recording. Besides improving the overall sound quality and volume, acoustic focusing lets you zoom in on your subject of choice to focus the microphones on the subject to get more precise sound capture. Although you’ll find this somewhat tricky sometimes, it remains one of the great features you can use to create great videos with your HTC U12+. Equally, the sound boost feature lets you enhance sensitivity to sound resulting to enhanced sound output of your videos.
You’ll find sound excellence one of HTC U12+’s most intriguing features. Even without headphones, it’s clear that the boom sound aural experience you’ll get from the phone’s earpiece and bottom, downward-facing speaker is just exceptional. It does not only sound loud but quite rich particularly for a set of phone speakers.
The phone doesn’t feature an audio jack. Also, it doesn’t come with a USB adaptor. Nevertheless, the sound experience you’ll get upon plugging your Usonic earbuds is one of the best you can ever get from headphones. The secret behind all this could be HTC’s application of sonar sensors inside the earbuds which, during a few-seconds tuning process, senses reverberations out of a fast static sound played through the earbuds. This improves the sonic experience for your unique auditory canal by smoothing audio frequencies, thus creating an overall fuller audio signature with more distinctive elements. Pair this element with active noise cancellation and you’ll get a really intriguing audio experience.
Interface and Functionality
Like many Android phones, HTC’s Sense UI has gone through some modifications over some years, though to a smaller degree than many. This has left Sense appearing more like it used to around Android 5.0 Lollipop. At that time, it featured a fairly elegant and uniform design language, which still holds true to this day, doing so without appearing outmoded. Tweaks like rounding icons and inclusion of Android’s refurbished quick setting menu are indeed the only key differences you’ll spot. And, although you may find it tedious to close market watchers, you’ll still love HTC Sense’s polished, ordered experience.
Your HTC U12+ doesn’t feature lots of fancy animations, only fluid, fast transitions. However, you can browse through the theme store to spice up things a tad. If you’re fond of customizing, this phone has got you covered because you can easily tweak the grid, icon and font size to your satisfaction. All the same, Sense UI is sensible and uncomplicated and, HTC doesn’t seem like changing this soon.
Blinkfeed is also here once more. As usual, this bundled newsfeed of your social media accounts offers you a nice way for reading social media content. However, you may not like HTC’s decision to incorporate News Republic, especially the low-brow, exaggerated clickbait experience you’ll get out of it.
Edge Sense is another remarkable feature that HTC has really enhanced in its latest phone. First introduced in the HTC U11, the company has greatly improved this feature’s functionality in the U12+. Besides launching your camera, flashlight, app of your choice or taking a screenshot, you can now activate specific tasks within apps by just squeezing your phone. Although this remains a beta feature as of now, it works pretty well as you’d expect.
All you need to do is go into the setup, open up the app you’d like to augment with your squeezable functionality, then tap a task within the app – this will map it to Edge Sense. Besides, you can now tap the edge of your U12+ to execute the functionalities you can achieve by squeezing. You’ll find this a handy shortcut button on your phone. To prevent accidental triggers, you need to adjust your squeeze gesture’s sensitivity.
Your U12+ comes with a 3500 mAh battery which can last you about 24 hours of talk time. Although less juicy compared to the U11+’s, the battery is worth a day’s life with normal day-to-day usage. Furthermore, you’ll be able to charge your HTC U12+’s drained battery to 50% in just 35 minutes, thanks to the incorporated Quick Charge 3.0 and, to charge it fully, you need less than two hours.