HTC U12 Plus hands-on: The squeezable phone returns

First glimpse of HTC U12 Plus: can HTC again worry about you?

Among the eye-catching launches of Samsung, OnePlus, LG and Motorola, it's easy to forget that we have not yet seen a flagship 2018 from HTC. Until now, that's it.

The HTC U12 Plus will be the brand's high-end device for 2018 and, interestingly, will not join a regular HTC U12. I like this, often, no more models lack high-end features, but why not just call it the HTC U12? The nickname & # 39; Plus & # 39; it implies that there is another version.

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  HTC U12 Plus

Leaving aside the HTC U12 Plus, it seems like a safe bet from HTC. In many ways, it is similar to the HTC U11 Plus, but with an updated Edge Sense system to interact with the phone through a series of restrictions, along with the usual variety of improved internal components we expect from a 2018 phone.

Design of HTC U12 Plus: no notch

The great novelty with respect to the design of the HTC U12 Plus is that there is no notch. Unlike most flagships of 2018, the 6-inch screen is not interrupted by an unwanted clipping.

The rest of the design is pretty standard. I could say it's "boring", but do not you think all the phones are boring these days?

It's a glass-clad device that feels a lot thicker than it should be, but it still has that high-end finish that HTC is known for. It has an IP68 rating of water resistance, lacks a headphone jack and is still a rather noticeable bezel at the top and bottom of the screen. At least it comes in a very nice translucent color form.

One design decision that stands out is the removal of all hardware buttons. Instead of mechanical switches, the standby button and the volume control here are just to show; You will get a little haptic response when you play.

It's a strange feeling; There is something quite reassuring about having an appropriate hold switch that is missing here. Obviously, Apple has done something similar in the past with Touch ID, but a real button also appears as a backup if something went wrong.

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  HTC U12 Plus

HTC U12 Plus specifications – The usual suspects

Display 6-inch CPU, Quad-HD +, LCD
Snapdragon 845
RAM 6GB
Storage 64GB and microSD
Rear camera [19659017] Main camera 12 megapixels f / 1.7 and secondary 16 megapixels for 2x zoom
Front camera [19659017] 8 megapixel dual camera
3500mAh, USB-C, fast charge 3/4 + [19659018] OS Android Oreo 8.1
Features IP68, HiFi Boom Sound Edition, Edge Sense 2

The most outstanding feature, exclusive to the HTC U12 Plus, is Edge Sense 2. First presentation on the HTC U11, Edge Sense allows interaction with the phone by tightening its sides. The second iteration of the technology is not only more sensitive, it allows you to evoke other functions by simply touching the sides.

For example, you can assign a touch to open a quick application launcher, with a camera. On paper it sounds like a trick, but after using the U11 for a fair time, the feature is surprisingly useful.

The compression functionality also works in applications, and this does not require the developer to update anything, only through the Edge Sense configuration panel. A squeeze to approach Maps or skip a track on Spotify becomes natural almost instantly.

Along with Pixel 2 and iPhone X, U11 and U11 Plus had one of the best cameras for phones of 2017. What distinguishes photos of HTC is its realism: where other phones focus on exaggerating colors and saturation , the photos of the U11 looked natural and detailed.

On the U12 Plus, HTC has added a secondary camera for 2x zoom and to help with the new live bokeh modes. This shows the bokeh effect in real time, so it is not necessary to take a risk to see how it looks after the events. Other improvements to the camera include a new HDR Boost mode and a better approach: we will have to spend more time with the phone to judge the difference this generates in the images.

There are also dual cameras in the front. Again, these 8 megapixel sensors work together for the bokeh mode. The video can be recorded up to 4K at 60 fps, while there is a slow-motion mode that will shoot at 240 fps.

HTC phones have also been recognized for their fantastic audio. The U12 Plus features the same BoomSound Hi-Fi Edition used in the U11 Plus, and there is a pair of ANC USB-C headphones in the box. I had little time to listen to the audio, but it seemed immediately better than the OnePlus 6 I was also wearing.

HTC still sticks to LCD instead of OLED technology now more common and often better for the 6-inch screen. On some models this can be a disappointment, but here it really does not bother me. The screen is excellent: bright, colorful and covers the DCI-P3 range. However, he lacks those adorable deep blacks you get on OLED.

  HTC U12 Plus

There is a 3500 mAh battery inside, compatible with Quick Charge 3 and 4+ (although you will only have a plug capable of the old in the box) – but not wireless charging. Considering that this is a glass phone, it is a pity that Qi's charge is not included here.

First impressions

The camera is the key here: if it's great, I can forgive the lack of design innovation and other outstanding features. But if the brand fails, there is very little here to tempt.