Makes HTC good long-lasting phones

HTC U12 + in hands-on: beautiful, fast and sensitive

While the Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC launched two top devices on the market in 2017 with the U11 and the slightly modified U11 +, this year there will be "only" one device in the upper class. The entry-level models were presented in March. The HTC U12 + will be available in three colors in mid-June and the company is certain that it will be superior to the competition. In a first hands-on, we were able to get a first impression of the device.

Design, feel and a touch of transparency

The HTC U12 + in a translucent blue. Titanium Black, Flame Red and Translucent Blue are the names of the colors in which the 188 gram and 156.6 by 73.9 by 8.7 millimeter large HTC U12 + will appear. The Taiwanese focus particularly on the blue version, because this was designed to be slightly transparent on the back and gives an idea of ​​what was built inside the smartphone. Around the dual camera you can see through a small section what it looks like in the depths of the pocket computer. A really nice change to the smartphones, which are mainly black, white or gold, most of which can be seen in public.

But the other two colors are also worth taking a closer look at. The black version of the U12 + appears silver, gold or brown depending on the incidence of light. Flame Red, on the other hand, shimmers not only in red, but also in pink, a purple-blue tone and also in gold.

This spectrum of colors was made possible by the manufacture of the glass housing. This consists of several layers of glass and was not made from just one. Since all layers have different thicknesses and colors, there is not only such a variety of colors, it also makes the surface appear liquid, called liquid surface.

The HTC U12 + in Flame Red, Translucent Blue and Titanium Black. The attractive colors, however, cannot hide a fact; more fingerprints and streaks have seldom been seen on a smartphone and that after a single touch. So if you value a device without a protective cover, you should always have a microfiber cloth on hand.

With the 18: 9 format, the U12 + sits comfortably in the hand, but the glass cover makes it easy to feel as if the mobile phone is slipping out of your hand. Overall, the processing of glass and metal frame is very successful and makes a noble impression.

If you are looking for mechanical buttons, you will be disappointed, because HTC has built pressure-sensitive buttons into the metal frame. That sounds progressive, but the operation of the loudspeaker buttons takes a bit of getting used to and is cumbersome.

Not quite bright 18: 9 format

The display of the HTC U12 +.
The borderless Quad HD display measures six inches (15.24 cm diagonally) and has a resolution of 2880 by 1440 pixels (537 ppi). When you look at the touchscreen for the first time, the colors are reproduced vigorously but not brightly. Even from different angles, neither a loss of color nor a loss of sharpness on the screen could be determined. The brightness, however, seems quite dark, because the display still appears dim even at the highest brightness level. The display of the apps, photos and websites is still sharp and some colors are therefore not too bright and therefore pleasant to the eye.

In addition, it turned out during hands-on that the display could not only be a bit brighter, the touchscreen also reflects enormously in poor light, which can quickly become annoying, especially in poor lighting.

The screen was made of Corning Gorilla Glass 3. According to the manufacturer, it should be harder and less sensitive than the Gorilla Glass 5, which should prove to be particularly practical and protective, especially with the multi-layer display.

The camera is impressive

On the HTC U12 + on the left, the whiskers can be clearly seen when zooming in. Right, the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus. The dual camera on the back primarily surprises with the fact that, unlike all other models, it does not stand out from the competition. The U12 + lies flat on the table without any annoying wobbling. But of course that is not the only reason that HTC could easily play in the upper league of smartphone cameras with its camera. It comes with a 12 megapixel wide-angle lens with HTC UltraPixel and an image stabilizer. Above all, the manufacturer made demands on its camera to make the images look ultra realistic. And it works.

In a first short camera test, the colors look extremely realistic compared to the same motif with the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus and are actually comparable with reality. In the picture taken with the Samsung, it appears as if the subject was taken too brightly.

The interface is kept very simple and without many gimmicks. The portrait mode is also kept simple and can be modified on top of that. This means that the user can decide for himself and use a controller to set how blurry the background should be in bokeh mode. The zooming function of the camera also does very well. Even with almost maximum zoom in, individual beard and head hairs are still very clearly visible.

Videos are recorded in 4K and Full HD. In time-lapse mode, up to 240 frames per second are possible. The portrait mode is also used with the 8 megapixel dual front camera, which also impressed with its clear and natural images. The cell phone can be unlocked via face unlock via the front camera, even in low light, as the manufacturer promises. As an alternative to unlocking the face, the fingerprint sensor is installed far enough under the camera on the back, without touching the lens too quickly and accidentally.

Whether the first very good impression of both cameras will last will become clear at a later point in time when we subject the device to a detailed test.

The heart beats fast

The heart of the HTC U12 + is the Qualcom Snapdragon 845, a 64-bit octa-core processor with 6 GB of RAM. The device is delivered with Android 8.0 (Oreo) and can also be upgraded to Android P. Furthermore, the HTC user interface has been renewed and is now called HTC Edge Sense 2.

With HTC Edge Sense 2, a roll menu can be opened by simply pressing the edge of the screen. This is useful if you want to operate your device with just one hand, because all apps of your choice can be inserted into it and you can reach your desired app by simply turning the wheel menu in the display. A small 4-inch screen can also be opened by pressing the edge, which is also intended for one-hand operation.

These features have not yet been tested in the short hands-on, but the really fast chip. Regardless of which website was opened, the page was completely set up within a blink of an eye. Here, too, it will be found out in a later detailed test whether the brisk pace can be maintained.

The device is delivered as a dual LTE SIM, which means that both cards can transmit with LTE. However, the U12 Plus will only be available in one memory version, with 64 GB. The memory can be expanded by up to two terabytes with a microSD card.

The battery has a capacity of 3500 mAh and is therefore a little less durable than the one in the previous model. Thanks to the quick charge function, the battery should be able to be charged to 50 percent within 35 minutes. Unfortunately, wireless charging has not yet arrived at HTC.

HTC remains true to its price model

The HTC U12 + comes in three colors. The competition continues to rely on its latest flagships and high-end devices to come as close as possible to the 1000 euro limit or to exceed it. How nice that HTC is staying true to its price model and is also bringing its latest device onto the market at a price of 799 euros. Anyone who registers on the HTC Club homepage can purchase the new device with a 10 percent discount.

In our first short test, the HTC U12 + proved to be a very convincing device, especially the camera and the speed was convincing. However, most of the functions have not yet been tested at all in the short period of time. Anyone looking in this price segment will certainly not be disappointed.

The device will be released in mid-June this year.