This is a failure. Review of the failed flagship smartphone HTC U12 +

A well-known Taiwanese manufacturer, who was at the source of Android-smartphones, for a long time only dealt with smartphones Googe and managed to disappear from the horizon.

From day to day in Russia, sales of their new flagship U12 +, which came to replace the failed U11 +, start to turn out to be unnecessary among the abundance of Chinese devices Xiaomi, OnePlus and Huawei.

But the HTC team learned a lot during the time of collaboration with Google, and learned the lesson of the predecessor U12 +. Let’s see what really stands for the unique design of the novelty without a single hardware button and steep multimedia capabilities?

Leader response of iPhone X and full-screen smartphones

Appearance HTC U12 + stands out among the mass of the same type of clones iPhone X. On the taste and color, and personally I do not like it, but the combination of a glossy lid with a transparent window looks unusual. Prints collects very well.

A horizontally located dual camera can also be set off in successful solutions.

The front panel has become a reference to the smartphones of past generations: despite the elongated screen aspect ratio of 18: 9, there was no camera at the bottom and the island is an “eyebrow”. The front camera is in the usual place, the sensors fit a full set. 

Large indentations from above and from below look not in the best way against the background of numerous “brow” colleagues, but, at least, originally. It turns out that it is not necessary to blindly copy the work of the Cupertians?

But if the sharp corners are attracted, the centimeter thickness in 2018 looks mildly strange. Use this smartphone with one hand uncomfortable.

The buttons are not needed in the future

Although the smartphone offers a standard control scheme, it does not have physical keys. Not at all. Instead, the HTC U12 + offers touch buttons for turning on and adjusting the volume with vibration feedback. Moreover, they can only be used for their intended purpose.

All fast functions are performed with the compression of the body using the proprietary Edge Sense technology. It works like this:

When touching the face continuously, the smartphone displays the shortcut menu; 
when compressed from both sides – short or long, the smartphone distinguishes the duration – the pre-selected function is activated immediately. 

Convenience is peculiar: it is difficult to call the menu from the touch on one side, many random clicks, in the old fashion you try to make a screenshot with hardware keys.

But the sensitive edges allow the smartphone to correctly recognize exactly how you hold the smartphone and turn the screen depending on it. There are no random switching in the prone position, it is convenient.

Instead of a screen – a piece of reality

Developers HTC did not follow the fashion in everything. Therefore, instead of the standard for the flagship AMOLED-screen U12 + decorates a fairly ordinary IPS-matrix. A strange decision.

It seems that we have a real flagship with the appropriate level: 6 inches at a ratio of 18: 9 with 2K-resolution (2880 × 1440). But it is much inferior to competitors, especially in brightness.

Under summer sunlight, it will be desperately missed – by so much that one can not appreciate the natural color coverage extended to the standard DCI-P3.

In the settings, you can enable another color profile – sRGB, but nothing will change.

The contrast at the same time reaches 1447: 1, that there is a lot of IPS-display, and on the background of OLED their infinite contrast is still not enough.

Another camera in your pocket

The new flagship HTC U12 Plus was the first for the company that received a full-fledged dual camera. Far did not go far, borrowing the principle of the combination of Apple.

The core migrated from last year’s models (U Ultra, U11, U11 +): a 12-megapixel sensor with photosensitive elements of 1.55 microns and a luminous lens of ƒ / 1.75.

Additional, necessary to provide double zoom and the effect of “bokeh”, received a sensor of 16 megapixels and a lens of aperture ƒ / 2,6. 

The first plus is noticeable at once: the lenses do not protrude above the body, although at this thickness it is not surprising. The second is an interesting autofocus system: U12 Plus received both laser and phase autofocus.

Notorious DxO appreciated the work of HTC U12 + by 106 points when taking photos. And that, with a double flash and a good HDR mode, it turned out to be a good camera.

The smartphone is equipped with optical stabilization, can shoot in RAW and has advanced manual mode. In general, everything is as impressive as everyone else, but it will not be necessary to dance with the camera for a good picture. Will do everything you ask.

Day photos are very bright, juicy. Portrait mode, unlike many modern smartphones, is extremely unobtrusive, so the smartphone itself suggests turning it on almost constantly.

And it’s worth doing, because this smartphone blur serves to mask the artifacts at the edges of the frame rather than as an artistic element.

The front camera is also dual, each sensor is 8 megapixels. But with the usual focus and no flash, so the complexity of the system, in my opinion, is not justified.

Not a smartphone, but a Hi-Fi player

HTC at one time became the second company actively supporting the abandonment of the mini-jack. The official version – to ensure moisture resistance. But Samsung perfectly withstands short-term bathing, and supports direct connection of the usual headphones.

Some secrets in a single USB-C are: U12 + is equipped with a port conforming to the standard 3.0, which is able to output an analog audio signal. Therefore, any, the most simple Chinese adapter for 50 rubles.

The kit includes HTC USonic headphones, which are adjusted to the user’s ear, supposedly providing better sound quality than usual. In fact, they are not impressive even against the background of hybrid “Chinese” with AliExpress. 

The situation changes with the help of wireless “ears” thanks to the support of aptX, but the equalizer and the sound enhancement system will not work.

But the HTC U12 + has two external speakers, working with the Boomsound sound enhancement system. A small portable speaker will replace – the sound is suddenly loud, voluminous and high-quality.

And the system of 4 built-in microphones with noise cancellation will replace not only a dictaphone – even a concert can be recorded.

A flagship, what a lot

In terms of filling the HTC U12 + did not become unique: it uses the accustomed Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, except that the developers did not play with the artificial intelligence module and did not use its capabilities.

On the other hand, the processor is cold, its built-in graphics will be relevant for a couple more years, and the performance margin is sufficient for a longer time.

Memory may not be enough – HTC U12 + can only have 6 GB of RAM and 64/128 GB of permanent memory. But the constant expands microSD, installed instead of the second SIM-card.

The smartphone works with two SIM simultaneously in LTE Cat.18 networks, without enabling standby mode. Yes, you heard right – HTC U12 Plus has two modems!

Other interfaces in place: Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac (2.4 / 5 GHz), there is an NFC with which Google Pay and “Troika” work.

Naturally, when using a smartphone as a navigator, all types of satellites are available, and a cold start takes a couple of seconds. Here only actively to use U12 thus hardly it will turn out.

5 spoons of tar on too small a barrel

The disadvantages of the HTC U12 + not so much. Exactly 5. But they completely change the attitude to an interesting modern device, which stands out against the general background of clones of the iPhone.

The first spoon. The HTC U12 + has a battery with a capacity of 3500 mAh. There are no complex energy saving algorithms, the screen consumes a lot, so a rare smartphone user will live up to the evening.

And this despite the fact that the devices on the Snapdragon 845 easily give 12-16 hours of screen. U12 + even video plays no longer than 6 hours, it’s very small.

The second spoon. In the novelty HTC uses Android 8.1 Oreo with the firmware HTC Sense. But we know – either a “clean” system, or MIUI. Everything is correct, beautiful and good, but …

Third spoon. To charge the smartphone uses USB Type-C (USB 3.1) and Quick Charge 4.0, so the gadget is charged in an hour. But the box is a device that complies with the standard of Quick Charge 3.0.

Fourth spoon. We’ll have to repeat, but the main hardware defect of HTC next generation is not a good enough screen. The resolution is excellent, the colors are beautiful, but it all works only when the lighting is right. Can not be so.

The fifth spoon. Most likely, you can not buy it. Neither you nor the neighbor, nor the son of my mother’s friend. HTC U12 + was stylish, but without a spark. And very expensive.

Is there any chance for HTC?

Unfortunately, the HTC U12 + went out at an unfortunate time, almost immediately after the Chinese flagships Xiaomi and OnePlus began to massively enter the world market. Against the background of the clones, it could look very cool, but the company’s pricing policy will close the way.

The cost of flagship HTC U12 + balances on the border of 60 thousand rubles. and almost 80 thousand rubles. from Chinese resellers. And this despite the fact that Mi8 can be purchased for  36 thousand , Mi Mix 2s – within 28 thousand , and OnePlus 6 for  32-35 thousand rubles, if you catch a coupon .

Although, why go far – even the much more attractive Samsung Galaxy S9 in Russian retail is worth less.

And despite the DxO figures, the Korean shoots better. And it is updated more often and certainly better sold in the secondary market. A peculiar unique design and control system with the help of compression are too small advantages against the background of others.

Come on, HTC, goodbye!

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