HTC U12 Plus Hands-on Review

HTC U12 Plus

This is the new HTC U12 Plus. And it’s the companies 2018 flagship smartphone. Now a lot of things are very similar to the U11in terms of design and features but there’s definitely some more modern upgrades here, starting with the screen.

You can see its a bigger screen than before, it’s now a six-inch panel. It’s very high-resolution, QHD+, and its a super LCD six-panel instead of AMOLED that we’re seeing in other devices. But it does have HDR 10 support. Now, in the process of adding that bigger screen, HTC did make the bezels on the U12 Plus smaller above and below and then also in the sides.

So the U12 Plus is actually a little bit narrower than last years U11, which makes it a little bit easier to hold. Now the obvious change here is that the fingerprint sensor is now in the back, it’s just below the camera, but it’s right under where your finger would land opposed to on the front. In terms of design, its very similar to last years phone.

It still has HTCs liquid metal type of design which uses curved glass and these very reflective finishes with a metal frame. It’s available in three different colors. There’s a translucent blue and a black available in the US, and then there’s this flame red color that will be coming to other markets across the world. All of them are very premium, very pretty.

They really feel nice and well-built, as you kind of would have expected from an HTC phone at this point. The couple other different features on the hardware as well, now there’s still HTCs Edge Sense technology which means that you can squeeze the phone to do different things. I can squeeze to turn on the flashlight here. You can set it to whatever things you want. You can set it to launch the assistant launch camera or launch an app or anything like that.

TCs Edge Sense technology
TCS Edge Sense technology

That hasn’t changed too much from last years phone. But one new feature is the ability to double-tap so you can double-tap it to set different things. Right now this sets…Brings up some buttons on the screen but you can set it to open an app or change the screen size and things like that. And then the buttons here on the side, the power, and volume rocker are not actual buttons in the sense that you’re used to. They don’t really depress when you press them, instead, you get a little buzz when you click the button. Which feels very weird at first but is kinda neat.

It uses the same kind of underlying technology that has the pressure sensitivity on the sides but it’s applied to the buttons here, so that’s a little different. On the bottom, you got a USBC charger. There’s no headphone jack, not a huge surprise there, there wasn’t a headphone jack last year so unfortunately there’s not one this year but HTC does bundle its Usonic headphones in the box, so you get those with the phone when you buy it. And it does have dual speakers.

So there’s a speaker on the bottom as well as a speaker on the top for a pretty loud and vibrant sound. Now inside the U12 Plus has a Snapdragon 845 processor,6 gigabytes of RAM, and it comes in64 or 128 gigabytes of storage. Both of them support Micro SD card expansion as well. And then, of course, like last year, it is ip68 water-resistant. Now the other big new thing here is that its got dual cameras. And not just on the back like we’ve seen on a lot of phones lately, but also on the front.

dual cameras
Dual cameras

So on the back, there are two cameras, there’s a 12-megapixel sensor on the wide-angle camera, and then a 16-megapixel sensor on the telephoto camera. And then lets you do the standard portrait mode, blend, bokeh effect type of things. And then on the front, there are two 8 megapixel sensors here that allow you to do those things for your selfies as well. One thing that is unique is HTCs software lets you actually adjust the effect of the bike after the fact, and then you can also change the focus point around which is kind of a unique feature that we haven’t seen before.

It will be updated to Android P at some point later this year but there’s no timing yet for that. It’s running HTC Sense interface which, if you’ve been using it for the past couple of years, you know that it’s pretty similar to what Google provides on its pixel phones but not exactly. Still, it’s very clean, easy to use a version of Android. There’s really little to complain about with Android HTC phones at this point. Now HTC has been building premium phones for years and the U12 is really no different.

Android HTC phones
Android HTC phones

It feels great when you hold it. It’s got a really nice, tight tolerances. The materials are really nice. And its also because it’s a little bit narrower actually a little easier to hold. It’d be nice if it had wireless charging but unfortunately that’s not available this year. But it does have quick charging over a USB through Quick Charge 3.0 or Quick Charge 4.0 if you have a compatible charger.

Now with the premium feel comes a premium price. And this is gonna be priced pretty much in the same range as other premium Android smartphones that you can buy right now. And HTC is not gonna be selling this through carriers but you will be able to get it through HTC.com or Amazon.com.And it’s gonna support Verizon, At&T, or T-Mobile.

The pre-orders actually start today. It’s gonna be shipping at the beginning of next month. For more on the HTC U12, including our forthcoming review where we’ll take a look at all of these features in more detail, please check out TheVerge.com as well as subscribe at YouTube.com/theverge.