In this post, which will be updated regularly, we take a closer look at the latest rumors surrounding the upcoming HTC U12.
Last year’s HTC U11 was a great smartphone, but it was no match for Samsung’s mighty Galaxy S8 or Google’s Pixel 2. Its dated design and lack of a dual-camera setup were just a couple reasons why it didn’t grab a lot of attention.
HTC is gearing up to announce its successor, likely called the U12 or U12 Plus (more on that later). The smartphone will have to be a big improvement, at least on the design front, to really compete with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei’s P20 series.
What exactly will it bring to the table? Here’s everything we know so far.
HTC U12: Name and release date
- Rumors suggest the smartphone could be called the HTC U12 Plus instead of the U12.
- HTC is expected to take the wraps off the device on May 23.
There’s no official word on what HTC’s upcoming flagship will be called. It was initially thought it will go by the name of U12, which makes sense based on the fact its predecessor is the U11. But according to Evan Blass, the smartphone will actually be called the U12 Plus.
The reason is that HTC wants to make it clear its flagship is a direct competitor to the Galaxy S9 Plus and not its smaller brother, which lacks a dual-camera setup and packs less RAM. However, nothing has been confirmed yet, so we’ll just refer to the handset as the HTC U12 in this post.
When will the device be announced? HTC posted the image below to its U.S. Twitter account, which makes us suspect the phone will launch on May 23:
As for when you’ll actually be able to buy the device, it will likely go on sale a month or so after its announcement, same as its predecessor. So plan on buying the HTC U12 sometime in June 2018.
HTC U12: Specs and features
- The HTC U12 could have a 6-inch WQHD+ display.
- It should be powered by the Snapdragon 845 chipset.
- The smartphone could have four cameras on board.
Evan Blass shared a spec sheet that allegedly details pretty much everything about the U12, giving us a good idea of what to expect. Check out the leaked images here:
The smartphone is said to sport a 6-inch LCD display with WQHD+ resolution and an 18:9 aspect ratio. For comparison, the U11’s display is a lot smaller at 5.5 inches, offers QHD resolution, and has an aspect ratio of 16:9.
The handset is expected to be powered by the latest and greatest Snapdragon 845 chipset paired with 6 GB of RAM. It could come with 64 and 128GB of storage that you’ll be able to expand via a microSD card. HTC’s second-generation Edge Sense software is also said to be on board, which lets you open an app of choice by squeezing the device. However, there are no details on how exactly the new generation will improve upon the current one.
It looks like HTC could make a massive step forward in the camera department with the U12. Unlike the U11 and U11 Plus, the upcoming smartphone may come with a dual-camera setup on the back featuring 12 and 16MP sensors. This is a smart move based on the fact the Galaxy S9 also has a dual-camera setup, while the Huawei P20 Pro takes things even further with three rear cameras. Additionally, the U12 might come with two 8MP sensors on the front, which is something you won’t find on the majority of its competitors.
The U12 could come with HTC’s facial recognition called Face Sense.
Blass also mentioned the U12 should run Android 8.0 Oreo (allegedly upgradable to Android P) and come with HTC’s facial recognition called Face Sense. It could pack a 3,500mAh battery, which isn’t that impressive. For example, both the Huawei P20 Pro and Mate 10 sport a 4,000 mAh battery and should have roughly the same footprint as the U12 based on their screen sizes.
The leaked spec sheet also mentions an “always-on” virtual assistant feature. This could mean that the U12 could wake from your voice, allowing you to say “OK Google” or “Hey Alexa” while the screen is off. This wouldn’t be the first device with that capability, but not many current phones offer that feature.
In any event, other expected specs and features include an IP68 rating for dust and water protection and 4K video recording at 60FPS. The headphone jack likely won’t return, but we expect HTC to ship the device with a free pair of USonic earbuds like it did with its predecessor.
|HTC U12 specs (rumored)|
18:9 aspect ratio
|Camera||Primary: Dual cameras with 12 and 16MP sensors
Secondary: Dual cameras with 8MP sensors
|MicroSD||Yes, up to 256GB|
|Software||Android 8.0 Oreo
|Other features||Edge Sense, stereo speakers, facial recognition|
HTC U12: Design
- Leaked images reveal that the fingerprint scanner might be moved to the back.
- The handset is expected to have a glass back and a metal frame, and no display notch.
- The overall design looks nice but lacks the “wow” factor.
An alleged image of the U12 (below) found its way online courtesy of VentureBeat’s Evan Blass, giving us a somewhat great look at the device. It reveals the handset could have thin bezels for a modern look and a clean front without HTC’s branding. The back, likely made of glass, looks minimalistic and doesn’t stand out. All it features is a horizontally positioned dual-camera setup, a fingerprint scanner that sits below it, and HTC’s logo located further down.
A few images allegedly showing the U12 posted online by a Taiwanese accessory manufacturer tell us the same story. But they do give us a closer look at the smartphone — check them out below.
The handset shown in the images is not ugly, but it doesn’t have a “wow” factor that would set it apart from the competition. At first glance, its back looks similar to the V30 and G6 due to the camera and fingerprint scanner placement.
Additionally, we recently saw three more leaked images, this time of a “hands-on” variety. The images tell the same story as the ones above:
Finally, Evan Blass leaked even more renders of the HTC U12 that give us a good idea of three of the color variants that will likely be on offer when the device launches:
As far as colors go, Roland Quandt says that the HTC U12 will come in four color variants: Black, Red Rose, Violet, and “Translucent,” similar to the HTC U11. It looks like the images above from Blass depict the Translucent, Violet, and Black varieties. However, Violet could be Red Rose; it’s hard to be sure.
Business hasn’t been great for HTC for a while now and the only way to change that is to do something fresh. I think the company should take more risks when it comes to design, otherwise, the U12 will have a hard time competing against the Galaxy S9 and even the Huawei P20 Pro.
HTC U12: Price
- The HTC U12 could cost the same as its predecessor at $650 — it won’t be cheaper.
- However, it’s possible we’ll see a price hike that could make the smartphone more expensive than the Galaxy S9.
The best case scenario we expect is that the U12 will cost the same as its predecessor — we don’t believe the handset will be cheaper. That means you may be able to get one for $650.
It’s also possible the price will increase to $700 or even $750 (or maybe even more) if the smartphone will indeed have four cameras on board and a larger display than its predecessor. Roland Quandt backed up this theory when he tweeted that the smartphone “won’t be cheap.” Those prices would put it in the region of the Galaxy S9 ($720), which can cause problems for HTC.
As a refresher, the U11 was $75 cheaper than the Galaxy S8 ($725) at launch. Even so, HTC’s sales were nothing to brag about. If the U12 will end up costing more than the S9 or maybe even come close to the S9 Plus’ price tag ($840), the story might repeat itself this year.
These are all the rumors we’ve come across so far about the U12. We’ll update this page as we hear more.
Meanwhile, let us know your thoughts on HTC’s upcoming flagship in the comments below. Do you think it will be more popular than its predecessor?