HTC U12+ has officially been launched as the successor to the last year's HTC U11+. The new smartphone comes with a squeezable build that reminds us of its predecessor. But HTC has this time interestingly replaced all the physical buttons, including the volume rocker and power button, with a set of pressure-sensitive buttons to deliver a futuristic feel. The new U series model also doesn't include a notch that has become a trend in the smartphone market since the arrival of the iPhone X in September 2017. Furthermore, the handset sports a Translucent Blue colour option that gives you a glimpse of what all is running behind the scenes. You can also choose from the Flame Red or Ceramic Black (seen above) colour options - as per your preferences.
The HTC U12+ price in the US is set at $799 (approximately Rs. 54,600) for the 64GB model, while its 128GB variant is priced at $849 (around Rs. 58,000). Its shipments are expected to begin sometime in the middle of June, with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon offering separate plans for customers using their network in the region. In the UK, 64GB variant has been priced at GBP 699 (roughly Rs. 63,900), and will go on sale from late June. Details about the price and availability of the HTC U12+ in India and markets other than the US haven't been revealed.
HTC U12+ features
What majorly distinguishes the HTC U12+ from the HTC U11 and U11+ is the availability of the new pressure-sensitive buttons that offer haptic feedback and work similar to the Touch ID button that Apple introduced on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus back in September 2016. These new buttons helped the company design the latest flagship with IP68 rating. Also, these give a sign of what we can presume in a future smartphone.
Despite being pressure-sensitive, the buttons on the HTC U12+ work just as traditional keys and the power button even work when the phone is switched off. This is unlike Apple's pressure-sensitive Touch ID button that doesn't work when the iPhone is powered off.
If pressure-sensitive buttons aren't of your interest, the HTC U12+ has an upgraded Edge Sense interface - called Edge Sense 2 - that works with squeeze, tap, and hold gestures. You can squeeze the edge of the handset to capture photos, launch voice assistants, or use the Edge Launcher. All this is similar to what was available on the previous HTC U handsets and the HTC-made Google Pixel 2 XL. However, for an even more advanced experience, the new HTC U model offers a one-handed mode once you double tap on its either side. The handset also lets you simply hold its edges to rotate the screen. HTC claims that Edge Sense 2 works in "almost any app" available in Google Play. This means you can use the edges to zoom in on a map or play and pause music. Besides, you can squeeze the smartphone to access Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa.
HTC is also touting the DxOMark review it received for the U12+ cameras, getting an overall score of 103 (106 overall photo score, and 95 overall video score). This places it between the Huawei P20 Pro (with an overall score of 106) and the Huawei P20 (with an overall score of 102). In terms of photo quality, DxOMark said the HTC U12+ offered very fast and accurate autofocus; pleasant colour and accurate white balance; accurate exposure and wide dynamic range; good detail and texture preservation, as well as natural and attractive Bokeh simulation. In terms of video, DxOMark said the U12+ offered effective stabilisation; good tracking and accurate autofocus; pleasant white balance and vivid colour; good exposure and dynamic range, as well as generally low levels of noise.
Another major feature of the HTC U12+ is the inclusion of the company's BoomSound Hi-Fi edition stereo speaker system that features a woofer and tweeter separation design that the company touts to produce unprecedented power and clarity. As with other recent HTC flagships, the company will also be including the HTC USonic earbuds with the smartphone, featuring active noise cancellation.
Finally, come the choice of colours. The HTC U12+ will be available in Ceramic Black, Flame Red, and Translucent Blue colour options - all three are glass. While the first has a regular matte black finish, Flame Red comes with the company's Liquid Surface design that in this iteration shows a gradient of colours as light plays on it. Finally, as we mentioned before, the Translucent Blue panel is slightly see-through, showing users the innards of the smartphone (at least from behind).
The dual-SIM (optional) HTC U12+ runs Android 8.0 Oreo with HTC Sense on top and features a 6-inch QHD+ (1440x2880 pixels) Super LCD 6 display with an 18:9 aspect ratio and 537ppi of pixel density. Under the hood, there is an octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, paired with 6GB of RAM. The smartphone has dual camera setups on the front and back. The setup on the back has a 12-megapixel wide-angle HTC UltraPixel 4 sensor and an f/1.75 aperture lens and a 16-megapixel telephoto sensor with an f/2.6 aperture.
The dual rear camera setup on the HTC U12+ also includes PDAF (phase detection autofocus), laser focus (combined to be called UltraSpeed Autofocus 2 by the company), and 2x optical zoom as well as 10x digital zoom. Further, the smartphone has OIS, HDR Boost 2, dual-LED flash, and AR sticker support. On the front, there are two 8-megapixel sensors with an f/2.0 aperture and wide-angle, and 84-degree lens.
The HTC U12+ has 64GB and 128GB storage options that both are expandable via microSD card. On the connectivity front, there is 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth v5.0, GPS/ A-GPS, USB Type-C, and NFC. The smartphone has a rear-facing fingerprint sensor. Besides, it packs a 3500mAh battery and measures 156.6x73.9x9.7mm.