The HTC U12+ offers solid quality and features

Highs

  • Attractive design
  • Excellent audio features
  • Very good photo quality
  • Priced to compete

Lows

  • Software buttons should be improved
  • Camera shutter action lags a bit
  • A bit large and heavy

Rating and Price

  • Rating: 8/10
  • Price: ~$799
  • Available on Amazon

The HTC U12+ was unveiled on May 23rd 2018 and was initially built for the High-end market. At publishing time, the HTCU12+ was priced at $799 USD. As such, it will compete with the best handsets available today, regardless of their prices (most likely on the subsidized market). We will update this article when we get the retail unit which will be suitable for benchmarks and final photo tests. For now, here a detailed first-impressions review of this new HTC 2018 flagship phone.

We picked a selection of competing smartphones which will serve as reference points to assess how the HTC U12+ fits in its immediate smartphone landscape:Samsung Galaxy S9+ (~720 USD), Google Pixel 2 XL (~849 USD), LG G7 ThinQ (~750 USD), Huawei P20 Pro(~920 USD).Note: at the moment, we had access to a pre-release unit. More tests will be done with the final hardware.

Key Specifications

  • 6” IPS LCD Display (2880×1440)
  • Dual rear camera: 12 Megapixel Camera, f/1.75 aperture, and 16 Megapixel 2X optical zoom with f2.6 aperture.
  • Dual front camera: dual 8 Megapixel cameras with Bokeh support
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 platform 6GB of RAM, 64-128 GB of Storage + MicroSD (400 GB max)
  • 3500 mAh battery capacity
  • Android 8.0

Industrial design

This smartphone feels comfortable in hand because it has a width of 73.9mm for a thickness of about (0.38 inches. For reference, this is based on a medium size hand (US M gloves). You can try extrapolating from here. The weight of 188 grams (6.63 oz) makes it a fairly heavy smartphone

This chassis design has great performance in relation to its size. From a battery viewpoint, the amount of battery capacity the buyer gets is very good for a handset of this size. The screen display-to-body ratio of 80.3% is also quite good in absolute terms, although it is not the best you canget.

Build Quality

The HTC 12+ pushes the design language of the HTC U11 further and looks absolutely stunning! It is a dual-glass sandwich design, and the back cover has an elaborate multi-layer glass with an iridescent effect, particularly visible on the Flame Red version, which is our favorite. There is a Blue color which we would almost call HTC Blue and a Ceramic Black version for users who want a more classic and low-key design, without sacrificing the Premium build quality.

"LOOKS ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!"

This year, the HTC U12+ does not use physical Power and Volume buttons but have capacitive ones with force-feedback. The buttons are visible and stick out, but they do not move. Less moving parts will reduce the risk of mechanical failure and increase the waterproof reliability, especially after a drop. The buttons felt really good and even when the battery is depleted, there’s a little reserve left for those buttons to work.

The HTC U12+ is a little bigger than every single of the phones we selected above, with the P20 Pro having a ~15% smaller volume. This handset has a wedge design, so it may feel bigger than it is. With a weight of 188g, it is on-par with the S9+ (189g), but the LG G7 is ~14% lighter at 162g, despite having a 6.1” display. It is not clear to me if you can feel it upon holding it, but if you will use a case, extra bulk may add up quickly.

Durability

A thin glass surface (usually on top of a metal layer) can look amazing and is often used on premium devices. It does look great, but its weak point is that it is more prone to breaking upon a drop onto pavement.

Despite this fact, glass has been a trendy surface treatment for smartphones, and people can protect their phone with a case. Nearly all high-end smartphones use glass or ceramic extensively now.

The glass does not creep onto the edges of the phone, but the metal frame and corners are rounded to provide a nice feel when holding the phone.

Analyzing how the smartphone was designed, we estimate that the odds of cracking during a landing on a hard surface to be probable. You can refer to our detailed article about how phones could be constructed to avoid cracks on impact.

The U12+ smartphone has an IP68 IP rating, which means that it is protected to some degree from dust and/or water. Here’s what the IP68 rating means:

  • Dust tight, no dust can penetrate.
  • Up to 3-meter immersion waterproofing.
    • In some cases, waterproofing means that “some” water can penetrate, but without harming the device

This phone has not received a U.S Military MIL-STD 810G rating. You can open the link we added to learn more, but this standard is a series of test by the U.S military to ensure that military gears can survive a certain level of shocks and vibrations.

Audio: dual-speakers

The HTC 12+ has a powerful dual-speaker setup that we tested along the LG G7 ThinQ and the Sony XPERIA XZ2, and the Galaxy S9+. All four offer have powerful sound, but we found the LG G7 to be the best overall, followed by the HTC 12+ and the Galaxy S9+. The XPERIA XZ2 is not very far away, but people can probably notice the difference, and all these phones are selling for top dollars.

With four microphones, this handset can not only record sounds with great noise-cancelling but it can also record in 3D surround.

Finally, we mentioned the USB-C powered active noice-cancelling earbuds. What we did not mention earlier, is the ability for the HTC U12+ and the earbuds to create a custom audio profile for the user. It is a one-time setup that should yield better sound, just for you.

Overall product rating: 8/10

Filed in Cellphones >Reviews. Read more about Android, HTC, HTC U12 Plus.

Display
6"
2880x1440
IPS LCD
537 PPI
Price
~$799 - Amazon
Camera
12 MP
F1.75 Aperture F-Stop
OIS
Weight
188 g
Battery
3500 mAh
Non-Removable
No Wireless Charg.
Launched in
2018-05-23
System
6GB RAM
Snapdragon 845 + MicroSD
Storage (GB)
64, 128
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