After a few months of leaks and speculation, HTC officially unveiled its latest flagship Android smartphone overnight in the new U12+. The company has a lot of work to do catching up with the competition, but things are definitely looking up with what’s been brought to the table…
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Looking first at the hardware, the HTC U12+ delivers a familiar design langauge from HTC, using that same super reflective “Liquid Metal” found on the U11. This time around, though, the blue version of the phone has a partially translucent design, while the “Ceramic Black” and “Flame Red” stick with HTC’s normal design.
The frame of the device is of course metal as well. Notably, the buttons on the side of the phone aren’t actually buttons this time around, but rather pressure sensitive with haptic feedback (think iPhone 7 Home button).
Around front, there’s a 6-inch QHD SuperLCD6 display which has HDR10, Gorilla Glass 3, and much slimmer bezels compared to past devices from the company. The 18:9 aspect ratio leaves it about as wide as the U11 while offering much more screen space, and there’s no notch either. The fingerprint sensor does get relocated to the back, though.
Also on the back, you’ll find a dual-camera setup which consists of a primary 12MP sensor which sees the return of HTC’s UltraPixel technology for improved low-light. That camera also features OIS and an f/1.75 aperture.
The secondary sensor is a telephoto sensor and it’s used for creating bokeh in Portrait Mode. Interestingly, HTC not only lets you control the strength of the bokeh after the shot is taken but also which subject is in focus. Neat.
Notably, the U12+ also carries dual-cameras on the front of the phone as well. These are used simply for extra effects in selfies and a slightly wider-angle, but the dual-8MP sensors should hold up well in real-world use.
HTC surprised many with the camera on its U11 last year, and it seems the company isn’t slouching this time around either. DxO Mark has already awarded the U12+ a score of 103, putting it just in second place behind the game-changer Huawei P20 Pro, and 5 points ahead of Google’s Pixel 2.
Under the hood this is all powered by the Snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB of RAM, and either 64GB or 128GB of storage depending on the variant you opt for. Android Oreo is loaded up out of the box as well with a promised upgrade to Android P.
Adding on to the specifications, there’s a 3,500 mAh battery that lacks wireless charging, a USB-C port which doubles as a headphone jack with the included adapter or headphones, IP68 dust/water resistance, and Bluetooth 5.0.
HTC has also upgraded its Edge Sense feature on the U12+, adding quite a few new features. The company explains:
A new touch feedback experience turn the edges of U12+ into the easiest and most intuitive way to interact with your phone. The new Edge Sense knows which hand you are using, giving you one-handed freedom to double tap to navigate the device, hold to lock the screen orientation, or squeeze the sides for taking photos and videos, zooming in on maps, and virtually any interaction.
So, what does it all cost? HTC is actually slightly undercutting its competition with this device with a starting price of $799 for the 64GB model. That’s $40 less than the Galaxy S9+ it’ll end up competing with, but notably, it won’t be available through carriers. HTC is selling this device unlocked through its website and channels like Amazon. Sales kick off this June.