We’ve been hearing about an upcoming flagship smartphone from HTC code-named ‘Imagine’ for many months. Coming off the hot HTC U 11 from last year, HTC fans have been excited about what’s next. The Taiwanese consumer electronics company confirmed a low-key announcement a few weeks back and it took place today. As we thought from the company’s first and only teaser, a new HTC smartphone is finally here in the form of HTC U12+ and there’s no blockchain phone coming with it. The second installment in the two-year old U-Series of smartphones features most high-end specifications and features you’d expect in a modern-day flagship. Following up on leaks, reports and teasers, the HTC U 11 (or HTC U 11+) successor is here. Droid Turf has you covered today on everything important to take away from the HTC U12 private launch event.
There have been a few leaks, but a lot pertaining to HTC U12+ was uncertain until today when HTC made the phone publicly known. Before today, we hadn’t even been told the name of the phone, having seen both HTC U12 and HTC U12+ in leaks. Whether it’s the HTC U 11 successor or HTC U 11+ successor, the name is HTC U12+ and it’s being launched 12 months after the HTC U 11. If you’ve kept up with our postings, you know a little bit about the phone already, but now all the official details have been shared with us. If this is your first time hearing about the phone or you just want to learn about the specifications, we have the in-depth spec list for you and our recommendations.
Many thought HTC would skip this year’s flagship smartphone release amidst financial struggles. But in despite of major losses obtained by the company’s mobile division, a new flagship smartphone is here for 2018. On the heels of Google I/O 2018 and in the same month as many other product launches including Android flagship smartphones from LG and OnePlus, HTC has introduced its new phone that will have quite a bit of competition to deal with once on the market. As you’ll see, there aren’t a whole lot of groundbreaking improvements, though some subtle changes and a refreshed design add up to make this ultimately worth your consideration, as the smartphone is definitely a step up over last year’s HTC U 11 models. The design follows suite with many of today’s latest trends and though similar to much the competition now offers, HTC U12+ keeps to the company’s roots and distances oneself with HTC exclusive features.
Let’s take a look at the official in-depth HTC U12+ spec sheet.
- Screen: 6-inch, QHD+ 18:9 S-LCD 6 Display (1440p x 2880p)
- Dimensions: 156.6 mm x 73.9 mm x 9.7 mm
- Weight: 188g
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- RAM: 6GB LPDDR4
- Storage: 64GB, 128GB
- Expandable: Yes, microSD card support (up to 2TB)
- Graphics: Vulkan API, Adreno 630
- Camera: Rear-facing 12MP UltraPixel with f/1.75, secondary rear 16MP with f/2.6, Dual 8MP front-facing UltraSpeed AF with f/2.0
- Software: Android 8.0 Oreo, Edge Sense UI, Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, Sense Companion Assistant
- Sensors: Fingerprint scanner, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer
- Water and dust resistance: IP68
- Battery: 3,500mAh capacity (non-removable)
- Charging: Quick Charge 3.0 (wired via USB Type-C)
- Colors: Translucent Blue, Ceramic Black, Flame Red
- Other notable specs: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, NFC, dual SIM, HTC USonic with Active Noise Cancellation, Hi-Res Audio, HTC BoomSound, 3D Audio recording
- Headphone jack: No
For design, HTC U12+ makes use of metal and glass for its exterior. Along the sides there are new pressure sensitive buttons for volume and power. On the rear, there’s now a horizontally placed dual camera lens with a round fingerprint scanner and dual LED flash. The HTC branding is back and there’s both laser auto focus and a rear microphone along the dual lenses that should be improved over those on the last generation. As for the front, there’s more of a bezel-less look which falls in line with the direction other OEMs have gone in. There’s a high screen to body ratio and the display is of 18:9, which is taller and narrower than traditional 16:9 screens. This also makes for more room on-screen. There are no longer any physical buttons on front and as a result, the bezels have shrunken above and below the display. This should make for a more immersive viewing experience while watching video.
In perhaps the boldest move, HTC U12+ separates apart from those manufacturers offering a display notch. Only Samsung has come out with flagship smartphones this year without a notch, and you can add HTC to those brave enough to avoid the mainstream notch trend. The overall design of HTC U12+ is still nothing short of modern, and the lack of a notch may even allow HTC to grab interest from those who cannot stand the little screen gap.
On the HTC U12+ you’ll find Android 8.0 Oreo out of the box. The phone is also expected to get Android P once it arrives, and will be first in line among all HTC phones for monthly security patches. The latest version of Edge Sense UI is atop Android, which contains many useful software functions and is still lightweight and fast. There are a few design changes throughout the interface, but overall it looks and feels familiar. This means you’ll be able to squeeze the phone’s sides to launch different apps and functions. Users can perform a short squeeze of the sides or edges of the phone to launch the camera, for example, and adjust the sensitivity of the edges to respond to slight squeezes or hard squeezes based on user preference. And now, there are even some squeeze gestures built into apps like Google Maps for zooming. Aside from this, the camera interface has also been improved with new features. One of these might just be Google Lens, at a later date. Also on board is NFC and the Google Assistant, which improves with time and use. And last but not at least, HTC’s industry winning audio experience is back with a bottom-mounted BoomSound speaker that can get super loud without sacrificing quality.
The HTC U12+ could not come at a better time. Like some other smaller Android OEMs, HTC is very much in need of a comeback. Despite making some great phones, the company has endured losses over several quarters in its mobile division leading to layoffs. Last year, the HTC U 11 revived the company’s hopes with great initial sales, and 2,000 employees were exported to Google for a $1.1 billion. Many thought HTC would withdraw from the market for good, but we later learned that the company would continue making phones of its own. HTC’s formula for 2018 is to release less smartphones so it can reduce marketing expenditures and focus on fewer things at once. HTC U12+ is only the company’s second phone of the year. It is expected to reach markets very soon unlocked, but on no US carriers. HTC will need to advertise heavily to bring back owners of previous HTC devices and attract consumers willing to switch. The company will also need to price its phone more competitively than last year, or offer some added benefits for early buyers. And lastly, people need to actually be able to buy the phone unlike the HTC U11+ that was exclusive to just a few regions. All this will weigh in how HTC performs.
The HTC U12+ smartphone itself should be worth everyone’s consideration. It’s probably not the greatest smartphone, but it is sufficient to rack in some sales. If you have a phone older than the HTC U 11, this should be in your consideration set for sure with improved battery life, a revamped design and better all-around cameras. If you’re an HTC U 11 owner, most of the changes will go unnoticed so it’s probably not worth your investment. It could be a long time before the next HTC flagship smartphone arrives, so you should consider this when deciding whether to upgrade. From what we’ve seen and heard, HTC U12+ seems like a solid recommendation for anyone with an older phone.
The HTC U12+ has almost everything you need. There’s a fast processor, modern software, and premium design many will undoubtedly enjoy. If you can get over some small things like missing wireless charging and headphone jack, this is a reasonable choice. There’s no doubt in my mind that you’ll be satisfied with the experiences HTC has tried to provide. Is HTC taking a more rational approach to 2018? Let us know if you’re planning an upgrade, down in the comments.
We’re covering HTC’s introduction of the U12+ in its entirety, stay here at Droid Turf for all our coverage.