The HTC U12 Plus is now upon us. The 6-inch flagship arrives in a crowded market of competitors, but it has plenty going for it.
This year's phone comes with a refined glass design, now available in a few different colors – even one with a translucent back to see some of the U12 Plus' internals.
Not a whole lot has changed in general, but there are several new bits to this phone that certainly make it interesting compared to your average phone. HTC has jumped up to a dual-lens setup on the back of its U12 Plus – not just that, but it has put dual selfie cams on the front.
Edge Sense on the HTC U11 didn't totally win us over, but it looks to be expanded upon in this year's phone. We'll be digging into that, as well as touching on all of the other new features to be found in the lead-up to the full review that's coming soon.
- Reads our in-depth hands on: HTC U12 Plus review
HTC U12 Plus release date and price
- HTC U12 Plus launch date: May 23
- HTC U12 Plus release date: pre-sale begins May 23
- HTC U12 Plus price: starts at $799 / £699
The HTC U12 Plus launched on May 23. HTC has confirmed that its latest phone will be making the rounds globally, though it wasn't able to confirm availability or pricing details for Australia.
In the US, you'll be able to purchase the U12 Plus through Amazon or HTC's own website. HTC has confirmed that US carriers supported includes AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Sadly, Sprint users will have to sit this one out.
Outside of the US, it currently seems that HTC.com may be the only avenue for buying one.
In terms of pricing, HTC is going rather high with a $799 (£699) tag. We'll have to see if the phone is worth it in our full review, but there are several phones with competing specs available for far less, like the OnePlus 6.
HTC U12 Plus design
- A curvy glass back
- Water and dust resistance
- No headphone port
If you've been paying attention to the leaks leading up to the HTC U12 Plus, you'll notice that what's been confirmed matches up almost perfectly with the speculation.
HTC's 2018 flagship comes in a 156.6 x 73.9 x 8.7-9.7mm and weighs 188 grams. Compared to last year's HTC U11, this one is taller, a bit thicker and heavier, but a little less wide.
In terms of ports and button layouts, there's not a whole lot that appears to change – that is, until you hold the phone in your hand. The buttons actually aren't buttons, but haptic-driven sensors. You press them in and they vibrate.
HTC's "Liquid Surface" design is taken a step further with a few new color options on offer. Not all colors are available in every region the phone will be released, but there's Flame Red, Ceramic Black and Translucent Blue – the latter of which HTC is pushing the hardest for this model.
It's worth talking a bit about Edge Sense 2, HTC's latest iteration on its feature that encourages you to squeeze away. This one can recognize how you're gripping the phone, and let you one-finger tap to make the screen a bit easier to navigate with a single hand.
Keeping with knowing which fingers are wrapped around the phone, moving from a standing to a laying position will no longer send the U12 Plus' screen spinning out of control – if your grip hasn't moved, the screen won't either.
HTC U12 Plus display
- A 6-inch Super LCD6 screen
- 1440 x 2880 resolution
- Minimal bezel, but no notch
The HTC U12 Plus has a 6-inch WQHD+ 1440 x 2880 Super LCD6 display. Sure it's not an OLED display, like many of the company's competitors are opting for, but our early impressions of the phone proved that it puts on a pretty good show.
You'll find a pixel density of 537 pixels per inch here, with DCI-P3, sRGS color gamuts represented. Additionally, HDR 10 will be available out of the box, though its cameras can't capture HDR footage.
Unlike just about every other smartphone to release in 2018, the HTC U12 Plus doesn't feature a notch – whatever that's worth to you – some people like it, others don't.
HTC U12 Plus camera and battery
- A dual-lens 12MP and 16MP rear camera
- A dual-lens 8MP front-facing camera
- A 3,500mAh battery, but no wireless charging
The leaks were right on about the cameras around the U12 Plus and the battery inside of it.
Starting with the cameras, HTC has really doubled-down (no pun intended) on the optics. It has stuck an extra lens on the rear, so now there's a dedicated 12MP UltraPixel 4 lens that has an aperture of f/1.75 and another 16MP lens that handles telephoto with 2x optical zoom and f/2.6 aperture.
Both OIS and EIS are employed for photo and video, so in theory, you shouldn't see any blurry content showing up in your camera roll. Additionally, HTC's camera software will let you adjust the depth of field in real-time, be in while the camera is aiming or in post-production.
Moving to the front, HTC has doubled its offering here as well, tossing in two 8MP cameras that offer an 84-degree field of view with f/2.0 aperture. You'll be treated to the same bokeh effects as on the rear, but no OIS or EIS here.
HTC U12 Plus power and storage
- A Snapdragon 845 chipset
- 6GB of RAM
- Up to 128GB of storage and microSD support
It's confirmed: the HTC U12 Plus has a Snapdragon 845 chipset, 6GB of RAM, and starts with 64GB of onboard storage with a microSD slot built-in. If you want to push over a little more cash, you can double the internal ROM size to 128GB, though you may be better off investing in a microSD card.
This all means that HTC finally has a phone that can compete with the best Android phones, though that doesn't mean that it isn't already being outpaced by the 8GB RAM variant of the OnePlus 6 – even if just by a little bit.
Android Oreo will be on this phone at launch with HTC's Sense 10 interface, though HTC has confirmed to TechRadar that Android P will be on its way to the phone following its release.
- 2018 will also bring the Samsung Galaxy Note 9