HTC U12 Plus Review – A Phone With No Physical Buttons


HTC has recently released the HTC U12 Plus (U12 Plus) the successor to the HTC U11 Plus. The U12 Plus has retained the Edge Sense feature from its predecessor and it has been upgraded so it’s Edge Sense 2.0.


HTC U12 Plus Review

Pros Cons
  • Audio quality is great
  • USB Type-C ANC earbuds
  • Takes great photos in a darker setting
  • No wireless charging
  • Dim display screen
  • No headphone jack
  • Edge Sense has some bugs
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HTC U12 Plus Introduction:


HTC wanted to be bold and innovative with the release of this phone so they removed the physical buttons. There are absolutely no physical buttons on this phone I think this was a bad decision on HTC’s part and I’ll tell you why later on in this review.


HTC U12 Plus Design:


The biggest problem I have with the design of this phone is the haptic buttons. All the physical buttons that were present on the U11 Plus have been replaced by haptic buttons.


These are virtual buttons which vibrate when pressed. When you press a haptic button there’s no physical movement.


The main problem with haptic buttons is that there is no way to adjust the feedback levels. So it’s difficult to determine how much pressure you should apply when pressing these buttons.


Sometimes you have to press the buttons really hard before it registers and sometimes it’s a bit too sensitive. This feature should have been refined a bit more before removing all the physical buttons.


Apple has haptic buttons on their iPhones. Most iPhone users do not have a problem with these buttons because they can adjust the feedback levels on an iPhone.


Trying to perform simple tasks such as adjusting the volume or locking the phone is extremely difficult due to the poor functionality of the haptic buttons.


Sometimes the buttons malfunction and they do not respond when they are pressed, regardless of how hard you press them.


This negatively affects the overall functionality of the phone and the user experience that it provides.


As I stated earlier, the U12 Plus comes with Edge Sense 2, this feature gives you the ability to perform certain tasks by tapping and squeezing the edges of the phone in a certain way.


For example, if you tap one side of the phone it will shrink the screen to make it easier to manage with one hand. If you tap the other side of the phone it will launch the app launcher.


This feature is great because it gives you the ability to customize what will happen when you tap or squeeze the edges of the phone.


This is a great feature, however, there are some bugs that need to be fixed. Sometimes when you tap, nothing happens. Sometimes you can accomplish your task by taping a bit harder sometimes this works and sometimes it doesn’t.


The U12 Plus features an aluminum frame which is sandwiched between two pieces of glass. There’s glass at the front and glass at the back of the phone. The phone has a nice look and feel to it, however, you must handle it with care.


If you accidentally drop the phone on the floor the glass might break, so it would be best to get a phone case.


HTC U12 Plus Display Screen:


HTC U12 Plus Display Screen

The U12 Plus comes equipped with a 6-inch QHD+ Super LCD 6 display screen with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,440 with an aspect ratio of 18:9. This display screen is tall and narrow, more and more smartphone manufacturers are opting for the tall and narrow display screens.


The display screen is made from Corning Gorilla Glass 5 the back panel of the phone is also made from Corning Gorilla Glass 5. As a result of this, the phone is a bit slippery.


The display screen is a bit dim, it looks fine when viewing it indoors but when viewing it outside in direct sunlight, it’s a bit difficult to read text on the screen.


The display screen looks fine when viewing it from different angles. However, if you’re unhappy with the color scheme there is a color profile picker in the display settings. This will allow you to change the color settings from the default DCI-P3 color space or sRGB.


Regardless of what color profile you choose there will be a slider for adjusting the color temperature to your desired preference. This is a great feature that people will appreciate when using the phone.


The U12 Plus has an always-on display which HTC refers to as Smart Display. HTC did a great job with this because it does not drain the battery as much as you would expect on an LCD screen.


There’s also a night mode which reduces the strain on your eyes when using the phone at night. There are quite a few different gesture controls that you can use to do different things.


For example, you can swipe up to unlock the phone, double tap to wake and sleep, and double swipe to access the camera app.


This display screen has 537 ppi, the colors are rich and vivid, the blacks are deep. The display screen is not bad the only issue I have with it is that it’s too dim when viewing it outdoors in direct sunlight.


HTC U12 Plus Camera:


HTC U12 Plus Camera

The camera on the U12 Plus does a good job taking pictures in different settings. This camera performs well but it’s not comparable to the camera on the Pixel 2, the iPhone X, or the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus.


The camera on the U12 Plus has HDR boosting techniques which are similar to those on the Pixel 2, which has one of the best cameras on a phone.


The U12 Plus comes equipped with a dual camera setup located at the back of the phone. There’s a primary 12MP wide-angle camera with a f/1.75 aperture. And a 16MP telephoto lens which has a f/2.6 aperture.


Both cameras provide optical image stabilization as well as electronic image stabilization.


The camera on the U12 Plus does not perform as well in a well-lit setting as some of the other smartphones that are currently on the market.


The pictures taken in a well-lit setting is not bad by any means. However, it’s not as good as the other phones I mentioned above. Thus the reason why I said the camera on this phone isn’t comparable to the camera on some of the other phones.


Never the less, the performance of the camera on the U12 Plus when taking photos in a darker setting is equivalent to that of the best premium phones on the market. The color reproduction on this phone looks more natural than that of its competitors.


The quality of the photos taken with this camera in a well-lit setting are not bad the photos are rich and vibrant. But the colors do not look as natural, they look slightly oversaturated.


HTC U12 Plus Camera Software:


The camera software in the U12 Plus has some bugs that HTC needs to fix. When launching the camera app it takes a few seconds to load, it takes noticeably longer than it does on most of the other premium smartphones.


When the HDR mode is on and you press the shutter button to take a photo there’s a bit of lag. It would have been great if the camera on this phone was faster and more responsive.


If you turn off the HDR mode the camera is more responsive, however, the HDR mode must be on to be able to take the best photos you can possibly get with the phone.


There are quite a few different camera modes to choose from; there’s the pro mode which gives you the ability to modify many different camera settings.


There’s a hyperlapse mode which gives you the ability to speed up the video up to 12 times faster. There’s a slow motion mode which gives you the ability to record in slow motion. These are just a few of the modes which are available on the U12 Plus.


Selfie Camera:


The selfie camera on the U12 Plus has been upgraded from that of its predecessor. There are 2 8MP wide-angle selfie cameras both of these cameras have the ability to take photos with the bokeh effect.


The 2 wide-angle selfie cameras work extremely well because they allow you to get more people into the photos.


The video camera is good it records great high-quality 4K videos at 60 frames per second. There’s a feature called Sonic Zoom which gives you the ability to zoom in on the subject while focusing on the audio of the subject.


The cameras on the U12 Plus are not bad, however, the user experience would be better if the camera and the software were more responsive.



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