HTC has taken wraps off a flagship smartphone for 2018 in the successor to last year’s HTC U 11 models. The HTC U12+ is the name, despite us not having a standard HTC U12, and will seemingly be the only flagship from HTC this year part of a new strategy to release less phones in 2018. We knew the device was coming for a number of weeks and now we have all the official information from HTC. This is the second installment of the rather new U-series that HTC began a year ago to replace the older ‘HTC One’ series. The high-end device was announced at a private event today, which was first confirmed a few weeks back in a teaser. This is just about right, as last year’s HTC U 11 also debuted in May. Here’s everything you need to know.
The smartphone launches keep hitting us this month with LG having come out with its G7 ThinQ, OnePlus its OnePlus 6 and now HTC its U12+. This summer, all these models will be competing in the same markets to become your next daily driver. Unlike the others, HTC did not hold a formal event with a livestream, which makes us a bit curious about the company’s strategy. Last year, 2,000 employees were exported to Google for a $1.1 billion and many thought HTC would withdraw from the market for good, but we later learned that the company would continue making phones of its own. We knew a lot about the phone heading into today and now that the device is officially here, we have the full details including specifications, design, features, and some surprises.
HTC U12+ was inspired by the successful HTC U 11, but also some of the competition. We have a metal and glass build with a front design that closely resembles the movement by other OEMs to maximize screen and screen space. On back, there’s now a dual camera arrangement with dual LED flash, microphone, laser auto focus, fingerprint scanner, and HTC branding. The screen is much larger, though the footprint of the device is not. This is thanks to less bezel around the device, thereby increasing the screen to body ratio. These are just some noticeable trends HTC has adopted this year. In a crowded market where devices are beginning to look very alike, there’s not a whole lot that differentiates HTC U12+ from competitors and the upgrade itself is mainly minor.
HTC U12+ makes use of a 6-inch, QHD+ S-LCD 6 display. The aspect ratio is 18:9, which is taller and narrower than 16:9. Colors will look true to life thanks to high contrast and improved outdoor visibility with the next-gen LCD screen that’s unlike all others. Gone are all the unnecessary elements like the home button and over-sized bezels, and in a brave move, HTC is one to avoid the notch all together. Only Samsung has come out with flagship smartphones this year without a notch, and you can add HTC for going against the mainstream notch trend. When it comes to specs, the HTC U12+ includes all the high-end essentials such as a Snapdragon 845 processor and 6GB of RAM. Inside there is a 3,500mAh battery that chargers with Quick Charge 3.0 via USB Type-C. Buyers will be able to pick from 64GB and 128GB storage options, each with microSD card expansion.
HTC has not impressed as much as others in the camera department, but this year the company has made some progress. The device includes a rear-facing 12MP UltraPixel camera with f/1.75, secondary rear camera of 16MP with f/2.6, and a dual 8MP front-facing UltraSpeed AF camera with f/2.0. All 4 cameras support OIS. Camera software also has new functions and the front-facing panorama mode returns with some improvements to make this selfie camera one of the best out there. We look forward to testing them all out and reporting back to you with our impressions.
The HTC U12+ comes pre-installed with Android 8.0 Oreo and will be first in line for monthly Android security patches and Android system updates. Some of the features from Google in Oreo include new notifications, performance and battery improvements by further restricting background data, picture-in-picture mode, new adaptive icons, and system-wide auto-fill. Also on board will be the Google Assistant, which continues to gain new features and improve with time. HTC’s signature Edge Sense 2.0 UI will be included with some useful features. The design is very close to Stock Android, meaning you’ll get a clean and cohesive experience that does not sacrifice good performance. And perhaps best of all, owners will get the latest Google applications pre-loaded, which have replaced many of the stock apps. HTC has also brought back and improved the squeeze gestures where one can squeeze the sides of their device to launch apps or functions based on the intensity.
The latest handset also encompasses HTC’s BoomSound Hi-Fi speaker for high-quality audio that’s super loud. It’s located at the bottom of the device and supports stereo sound. Making the experience that much better will be 3D audio recording and high-res audio. This allows users to capture rich audio from all directions using 4x included microphones, and even pin-point where they want to boost reception. Around the device we have a charging port, pressure sensitive volume controls, power button, and no headphone jack. Other specs include Bluetooth 5.0, Dual SIM, HTC USonic with Active Noise Cancellation, and build-in NFC. Even with all this, HTC manages to include a premium and durable design with IP68 water and dust resistance. You can even see the phone’s internals with a Translucent Blue color option HTC is offering. Nobody else has this and it’s pretty cool.
HTC will sell the new smartphone unlocked at its website in three colors: Translucent Blue, Ceramic Black, Flame Red. In a change of events, it does not appear that any US carriers will sell the device, so buying online or from a retailer such as Amazon might be the only options. However, the phone will work on most US carriers. The exact release date is unknown, but pre-orders start today (May 23). The Translucent Blue option will cost $799 for the 64GB variant and $849 for the 128GB capacity. Ceramic Black only comes in 64GB and sells for $799. The Flame Red is not yet available on the HTC website. The prices are about average, though we hope the phone becomes available in more markets than what was the case with HTC U 11+. Once on the market, it’ll be interesting to see just how HTC positions itself to sell its latest smartphone.
The live product links are below with the pre-orders. Those interested in more information such as the release date can register for updates over at HTC.com. Be sure to let us know your initial thoughts in the comment section.
Stay tuned to none other than Droid Turf for all HTC U12+ coverage, as we’re your one stop destination for extensive coverage of the Android Ecosystem.