HTC might not be the king of mobile that it once was, but it’s far from down for the count. Last year HTC brought a much needed design overhaul to its flagship series, swapping metal for glass. In 2018, HTC is all about refinement.
Same design, just a bit more refinement
Anyone who has used the HTC U11 or U11 Plus will find the latest flagship very familiar. HTC continues its minimalist Liquid Surface design language, giving us a beautiful glass design with IP68 water resistance.
While some might have liked to see a few more changes, the HTC U12 Plus is still a gorgeous device. We also have to applaud HTC for resisting the notch, something many other 2018 flagships are now rocking.
So what’s new here? The most notable design change can be found in the buttons. Instead of physical keys, they are now pressure-sensitive. While these buttons may not provide a physical click, they do provide haptic feedback to let you know they’ve been triggered.
An enhanced camera experience
The rear camera configuration has 12 and 16MP cameras with f/1.75 and f/2.6 apertures, respectively. The main camera also now includes optical image stabilization (OIS), which should make for smoother video and more stable photos. You’ll even find phase detection and laser autofocus on board.
The 12MP UltraPixel 4 camera should provide a much better low-light experience than found in the U11 Plus, thanks to its 1.4µm pixel size. Meanwhile, the secondary shooter is a telephoto lens, capable of 2X optical zoom and 10X digital zoom.
Selfie lovers should find the new front-facing camera a real treat. There are actually two wide-angle 8MP sensors on the front, which offer extras like auto and manual Bokeh modes. The new front cameras also add face unlock for quickly unlocking your phone. While face unlock isn’t as secure as a fingerprint scanner, it’s still a nice extra.
HTC is also adding a little fun to the mix with AR stickers that you can place into photos and videos. It’s far from a killer feature, but not a surprising addition considering we’ve seen somewhat similar features from Samsung and other OEMs.
It’s too early to give our judgment on the camera experience, but it is worth mentioning the HTC U12 Plus has been awarded a DxOMark score of 103. That’s impressive, but keep in mind that DXOMark scores aren’t everything.
Edge Sense 2 can now truly “sense” you
HTC has been rocking squeezable sides — dubbed Edge Sense — for a while now. The HTC U12 adds a twist to this formula, giving the Edge Sense panel the ability to actually sense where your hands are.
With your hand on one side, you can tap twice with your thumb to shrink the display. This new change makes one-handed use much easier.
That’s not the only way hand-sensing helps make your life a bit easier. If you’re holding your phone in a way that makes it obvious you are trying to use portrait mode, moving the phone slightly will no longer trigger auto-rotate, which is a pretty common annoyance for those who use their phones in bed.
All the squeezable features return as well, including Edge Launcher, which lets you access favorite apps, contacts, and quick settings by squeezing the phone’s frame.
HTC U12 Plus packs top-of-the-line specs
The HTC U12 Plus offers the latest Qualcomm processor, the Snapdragon 845. The handset offers 6GB RAM and either 64 or 128GB of internal storage. Unlike some flagships, there’s also microSD expansion.
At least on paper, the display remains the same as ever with a 6-inch Super LCD 6 panel with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,140.
The battery on the HTC U12 Plus has unfortunately shrunk a bit this time, going down from 3,930mAh to 3,500mAh. The good news is the Snapdragon 845 is more power efficient and so hopefully the actual battery life won’t be too different from that of the U11 Plus. There’s also Quick Charge 3.0, once again, for topping off the battery if you do find yourself low on juice.
Great sound, but no headphone jack
BoomSound returns with the U12 Plus and looks to offer the same great sound quality we’ve come to expect from HTC. HTC claims that the new design is louder and better than ever, though it’s too early to judge.
Unfortunately the headphone jack is still missing. Of course those who prefer wired headphones can always use an adapter, though this is a compromise many of us wish we didn’t have to make.
HTC is rocking Android 8.0 Oreo, Android P to come
The HTC U12 Plus runs on Android 8.0 Oreo, not the slightly newer Android 8.1. HTC promises Android P is coming eventually, but the company gave no details on exactly when we can expect it. Considering companies like OnePlus 6 fully support the beta already, it’s a bit disappointing we aren’t seeing something similar from HTC.
It’s unclear exactly when Android P will come to the handset, but hopefully by the end of the year.
HTC U12 Plus pricing and availability
Unfortunately we don’t have an exact launch date for the HTC U12 Plus just yet. However, we do know how much it will cost.
The HTC U12 Plus will launch in translucent blue and ceramic black for $799. This base model comes with 64GB of storage. The beefier 128GB model will come in just translucent blue, priced at $849.
For those who want something different, HTC also plans to release a flame red color sometime later, though no real details have been revealed on it for now.
Pricing and availability details for other regions can be found here.
More HTC U12 Plus coverage
Expect hands-on reviews, device versus device coverage, and other great HTC U12 Plus content in the hours and days to come. We’ll be sure to update this section with links to more content as it hits.
In the meantime, check out our related HTC U12 Plus coverage below: