HTC U12 Plus Review

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Introduction

HTC as a phone brand has such a small percentage of the market that its name rarely comes to mind when thinking of getting a new smartphone. HTC has also been so slow lately that it barely manages to release one smartphone per year. 

 

With this new innovative phone, HTC is trying to get back in the game. The new  HTC U12 Plus packs an amazing camera and it’s also listed in top 10 best camera phone by DxOMark, at the time of reviewing this device. The phone comes with a lot of promising features one of them is being EDGE SENSE 2 but we’ll see how it turns out. So let’s get started with an in-depth review of this device.

Price in India, Variant, Availability

The  HTC U12 Plus comes with 6GB RAM + 64/128GB onboard storage. The color variants available are Translucent Blue, Ceramic Black, and Flame Red. The back panel is semi-transparent so you can actually see the insides of the phone which is pretty cool. The phone is available in India via Amazon Store only for now. The price as listed at amazon is INR 67,990.

Box Contents

The HTC U12 Plus comes in a solid white box which at first glance looks like a capsule. The first thing that you’ll notice out of the box is the beautiful handset and which has no notch and we think most of the people would be happy about that. Below the handset we get a Clear Protective Case which is kind of standard with every Phone nowadays, The case, however, is not protective on the sides because for EDGE SENSE to work the sides of the phone need to be free. Then we got some documentation like anybody even cares to read them. Apart from all these, we get the power adapter and the USB Type-C cable for charging and data transfer.

 

Here is a quick overview of what you’ll be getting inside the box:

– HTC U12 Plus

– Power Adapter (Quick Charge 3.0) 

– USB Type-C cable 

– HTC USB-C earphones

– SIM ejector tool

– Clear Protective Case  

– Manuals and documentation 

Specs at a glance

Before we share our thoughts on the HTC U12 Plus, let’s have a look at the specifications. 

 

– Display: 6 inch, Quad HD+ (2880 x 1440, 18:9, 537ppi) Super LCD 6

– Processor : Qualcomm Snapdragon 845,octa-core 2.8GHz

– RAM & ROM: 6GB RAM, 64/128GB storage (expandable up to 2TB with Flex Storage)

– Rear camera:12MP wide-angle camera + 16MP telephoto camera

– Selfie camera: Dual 8MP camera 

– Battery: 3500mAh (Fast charging with Quick Charge 3.0)

– Software: HTC Sense Based on Android 8.0

– Price: starts from INR 67,990

 

With specs being cleared, let’s jump right into our detailed review. 

Design and Build Quality

HTC went against the trend of having a notch in the front and personally, I am happy to see a Phone finally with no notch. This Display looks beautiful without notch and it feels less intrusive.

The back panel is entirely made up of Glass which is partially transparent and we can actually see the inside of the phone which is pretty cool and the back looks very premium. The front has a 6-inch LCD display which is crisp and clear, and to be honest the front looks more classy without the notch.

 

There are some new design and feature highlights in this handset one of them being HTC’s new EDGE SENSE 2 technology which can sense movements on the edge itself some of the common gesture controls are Squeeze to access apps or control the phone, Hold for Smart Rotate and Smart Dim, Double tap for a mini screen for easy one-handed use, or as a back key or navigation bar,Customizable gestures to launch camera, voice assistant, turn on the flashlight, and more. We have some mixed thoughts about this new EDGE SENSE technology. It’s handy for sure but also it also gets falsely triggered sometimes when not intended like when putting the phone back in the pocket the phone detects it as a squeeze action.

 

The HTC U12 Plus on the front has a 6-inch Quad HD+, LCD screen with a very thin side bezel and a dual-camera setup of 8MP + 8MP cameras that delivers outstanding quality imaging.

 

On the back, we get a dual-camera setup in the center as well as with a fingerprint reader beneath it. Interestingly the camera setup and fingerprint sensor combined look like a human face. The back panel is made of glass and has a nice premium pattern also the glass is semi-transparent which lets us see inside of the phone and it looks very cool. We got the Blue variant on hands but the other colors look great too. Design-wise the phone is just superb and feels amazing.

 

At the top we just a secondary microphone which helps in HTC’s Active Noise Cancellation.

At the bottom, we get our Primary Microphone, Speaker cutout and USB-C port for fast charging.

On the left side, we have a slot for Nano-SIM and a microSD card(up to 2TB).

On the right, we get volume rockers and power button which is pressure sensitive so it can be used in various ways but it can be annoying too. My favorite gesture is the double tap power button to open the camera on android devices but with this pressure-sensitive button, you’ll have to press hard twice which can be very frustrating. The pressure-sensitive button was not needed at all.

 

All this being said the remaining empty space on the sides is not actually empty. That’s where the EDGE SENSE 2 technology is hidden. The  EDGE SENSE can detect a number of gestures on the sides like a tap, squeeze or simple hold which all can be mapped to the various task but this technology is not perfect yet and there is a lot of room for improvement in EDGE SENSE.

 

Also, this phone has good water resistance and dust resistance. Using the protective case is recommended but the phone looks better without it. It’s up to you now what you want to sacrifice looks or protection?

 

Display

The display has been a strong point in all HTC’s phones and HTC is good at it. This phone also features a superb 6-inch 2880×1440 screen which is Super LCD 6, It’s nice and readable in all lighting conditions.Most Android flagships in this price range have already moved to OLED display panes with crazy quality promises but it doesn’t feel like we are missing much with HTC’s IPS LCD display.

The only major downside that you’ll feel about having an LCD panel is that battery drains a lot faster when using the Always On Display.

Generally watching movies on this phone is an okay experience. The viewing angles are not superb. Looking at the screen off-angle shows it gets a little darker than the competition and doesn’t wow in the same way.

 

In terms of quality, this phone is great for media consumption and daily usage. The screen is bright enough that you won’t have any problems when using the phone on sunny days.

 

Performance

There’s nothing too surprising about the specs of the HTC U12 Plus, which combines the latest cutting-edge 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with 6GB of RAM, and 64/128GB of storage depending on where you buy it, Dual-SIM functionality is also available in some markets.

 

Combined this hardware package places the HTC U12 Plus in the top of the flagship smartphone pile, with arguably only the lightning-fast OnePlus 6 and powerhouse Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus offering the potential to outgun it in terms of components.

 

The gaming experience is phenomenal on this device the only bummer is that battery drains super fast on this device. This device is a beast when it comes to performance. The animations and transition between switching different apps are super smooth and apps don’t die due to lack of RAM any more thanks to huge RAM.

This phone also scored pretty well in the Antutu benchmark beating Google Pixel 3 with a slight margin hence proving its performance capacity.

 

Software

This device runs on HTC SENSE OS which is based on Android 8.0 out of the box but, upgrade to Android 9.0 is promised in the future. The OS UI is still old with no major changes. The new HTC SENSE 10 features Project Treble, which allows for faster updates after new versions of Android and it also comes with Alexa pre-installed just in case you don’t like Google’s assistant.

Personally, we are not a big fan of this OS and would rather prefer stock android OS but this is what you get with HTC.

 

The good thing about the software is that it is less bloated, light and minimalistic

Cameras

As far as the camera is concerned, this device has one of the best cameras that we have out there. This device is also featured by DxOMark for its amazing camera.

This device features a dual-camera setup at the back and a dual-camera setup on the front as well. At the back, we have 12MP+16MP camera setup one being a Wide angle lens and other being a telephoto lens. Both cameras together take stunning high-quality photos. The 10x optical zoom allows you to take photos of farther objects with great details like a pro.

 

Both the front camera is superb and the bokeh mode is just flawless in this device. Both the 8MP selfie cameras work independently to detect the edges in bokeh mode which reduces the software guesswork by a lot hence increasing the picture quality and good edge detection.

 

You can get even better, more detailed, crisper and less noisy pictures with the brand new HDR Boost 2 which is used in this device. Photos from this device won’t disappoint you in any conditions that we can guarantee.

 

Apart from photography, this device is just perfect for videography too With This phone you can shoot 4K videos at 60fps. There are also some additional handy features too which will enhance your videography experience greatly some of those features are Sonic Zoom, Auto-zoom, Optical Stabilization, and Active Noise Cancellation.

 

All we have to say about the camera is that it’s quite perfect.

Battery And Connectivity

This device is powered by a 3500mAh which is not much and barely lasts a day. A bigger battery would have been so great but the smaller battery is compensated with Qualcomm QuickCharge 4.0  which can charge device pretty quick. On a full charge, this device barely manages to pull off 5hr of screen on time.

 

Battery life was weak and unpredictable, but it’s settled down considerably on the new software update. Battery life can be improved by optimizing the software but we don’t think HTC has time to do that.

 

As for connectivity this phone got dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, Bluetooth v5.0, NFC, Wi-Fi Direct, 3G, and 4G.Both the SIM needs to be Nano-SIM.

Sensors on the phone are accelerometer, ambient light sensor, gyroscope, proximity sensor, and compass/ magnetometer.

 

Pros and Cons

Pros: 

 

  • High-level water & dust resistance
  • Cool translucent back panel design
  • Classy design (No notch)
  • Superb Camera
  • Loud and clear speakers

 

Cons

 

  • Not many changes in UI
  • Expensive
  • Annoying pressure sensitive power button
  • Disappointing battery life

 

Verdict

This phone is absolutely beast in terms of performance and the design is premium with some nifty features like EDGE SENSE 2 and pressure-sensitive buttons. Edge Sense still has lots of room for improvement and hopefully, HTC would address those improvements in future software updates. The pressure-sensitive button was unnecessary addition its not much help instead it’s annoying. Edge sense gets falsely triggered many time when not intended so that can be annoying sometimes. We loved HTC’s choice of not going with notch design and keeping it simple. The device looks beautiful at the front because of the extremely thin side bezels and the screen is amazing. The color choices are amazing and all of them look just fantastic. The back panel design is very premium and semi-transparent design makes it look even cooler. If we talk about battery life it's very disappointing. We wish it had a better battery then this phone would have been perfect. The camera on this phone is absolutely fantastic. It’s one of the best phone cameras out there. The bokeh mode of the selfie camera is amazing and the back camera has some great features like Auto Zoom when recording video. This is an amazing phone with the only downside being poor battery life and annoying Edge Sense false triggers.