HTC U12 Life
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First ImpressionsView All
About the Phone
Important features of the device include a dual rear camera setup with 16 MP and 5 MP shooters, 6 inch screen, 64 GB of storage, and the Snapdragon 636 chipset. The phone, as stated before, does not lend any high end feel to the user, and one can instantly tell the difference between the U12 life, and for instance, the OnePlus 5.
The design at the back does a decent job of salvaging the look and feel of the phone, but we just cannot ignore the fact that the glass feels like plastic.
So, should you buy this phone? Only if you want a brand which has been long lost in the depths of the smartphone market, and you want no notch. Even if the latter is true, you could be looking at better options in a similar price range or lower.
The phone is packed into a plasticky, rather than glass or aluminium shell. This is perhaps the factor that contributes most to the U12 life not feeling or looking like a flagship level or top end phone, one that every device in the INR 30000 range should feel like.
If you do not want a notch, and want something different than all the Samsungs and Apples out there, then the U12 life can be a reasonable option. We would be hard pressed to think of any other reasons why you would want to purchase this phone, though.
The polycarbonate frame that we’ve been talking about in the beginning of this review haunts us yet again. The design of the HTC U12 life is actually quite good, with etched stripes on the back of the device to help improve grip and reduce fingerprints. Whatever HTC may do to sell off the back as glass, it isn’t working. The frame is plastic, and it feels like it.
The buttons, unlike the U12 plus, are physical this time around, and work just fine. The speakers work just fine, and the USB type C charging port which is a normality now in all phones features at the bottom of the handset, along with a 3.5 mm headphone jack.
The 6 inch display with no notch makes the phone quite big to hold in the hand. The screen is an LTPS one, and uses much less energy than an IPS LCD panel. A 2160 by 1080 resolution and 402 pixels per inch make the screen bright and satisfying, with vibrant colours and solid viewing angles. The brightness could have been a little better.
The display is pretty good for a phone in the price range of the HTC U12 life, and HTC has certainly done well with the LTPS technology display.
The octa core Snapdragon 636 chipset, coupled with the Adreno 509 GPU, promises to deliver decent power on paper, coupled with the 4 GB of RAM. Alas, it fails to make the cut. It suffers from sluggishness and slowdown in performing the most menial of multitasking, which is simply unacceptable from a phone these days. A OnePlus-level speed range isn’t expected from such a mid-range chipset, but the U12 life lets us down in all honesty.
Storage offered is 64 GB, with expandable memory possible via the hybrid SIM/memory card slot. So, you can either make the phone a dual SIM one, or you can opt for more memory.
The camera setup on the phone is solid, with the two rear 16 MP and 5 MP shooters producing decent images, but those that lack a real kick. You can easily tell the difference between shots taken by the U12 life and the iPhone 6 plus, for instance. At this price point, we weren’t expecting wonders, but the cameras perform satisfactorily.
The front facing camera is surprisingly downgraded from a 16 MP lens to a 13 MP one, but the quality remains pretty similar. The phone captures natural detail really nicely, without the artificial beauty features or skin softening some phones abuse.
Due to the lack of optical image stabilisation, however, as soon as you encounter low light, the performance starts to dip. Blur creeps into the images, and you need a really steady hand to avoid said blur.
The battery inside the device is of a 3600 mAh capacity, and is significantly larger than what its predecessor, the U11 life, had. Regular usage lasts you through a day, but be sure to charge overnight so that you don’t run out of battery in the middle of the next day. The 10 watt charger included in the box claims to charge the device from empty to full in about 40 minutes.
The increase in battery capacity from the last variant doesn’t translate equally to battery life. This is owing largely to the bigger screen that the battery has to power, with screen on times ranging from four to five and a half hours for regular to heavy tasks.
The HTC U12 life is by no means a bad device. It is close to being a great one, but alas, not close enough. Standard features offer good performance, but if you shell out such an amount of money, you really should be looking to make better use of your bucks. The U12 life is good, but not good enough to warrant a purchase when there are so many options available for much cheaper prices.
We’d give this one a pass.