HTC was kind of enough to send out a unit about a month ago for review. Unfortunately, I have to send it back soon, but I want to share with you what the experience has been like to this point.
Last year I was granted the honor of being flown out to Taiwan for the U11 reveal and HTC, in my opinion, was bouncing back from a slump that was going on for a couple years. The U11 became one of my favorite phones of 2017 and would still recommend getting today. It’s a solid phone. Fast forward to 2018 and we have the U12 Plus. The phone I was looking forward to the most for 2018. Did it disappoint?
For this review, I am keeping it simple. Just going to go over five things that rock and five things that suck. Towards the end, I’ll wrap up a few more points worth expressing.
5 Things That Rock
- OS – HTC uses their own Android OS skin but isn’t overdone like some other phones (Samsung). HTC doesn’t try to make their own apps on top of Google apps. For example, Samsung has their own browser, messaging, email, calendar, and music apps. I prefer to use Google apps because of the ecosystem. Therefore I download the Google apps and have double apps. HTC keeps it simple with apps.
- No notch – I hate that I even have to bring this up. A notch is ugly. Thank you HTC for not having one. You’re one of the few to stay away from notches.
- Edge Sense – Edge Sense is a feature that is practical. At first glance, it might seem a little gimmicky, but after using the features for a while you will miss Edge Sense if using another phone. I like to use the short squeeze for the flashlight and the long squeeze to take a screenshot. Edge Sense was so good that Google added it to the Pixel 2.
- Boom Sound – Last year I got to see behind the scenes at HTC labs of how much science goes into the sound of HTC’s phones. HTC’s sound quality has set the bar and will be what other phones will compare to. Whether you’re listening with the provided high def earbuds or the phone’s speakers, you’re going to get a great experience.
- Camera – The feature I judge the most of is the quality of the camera. The U12 Plus has a great camera. It’s all the features needed for a great experience without the need to download other apps from the Google Play Store. The features I care about from a camera is Pro mode, hyperlapse, slow motion, and portrait mode. Other nice features include 3D audio and acoustic audio recording in video. The audio options set this phone apart from pretty much all other phones.
- Mind the camera is not perfect and will discuss this further below.
5 Things That Suck
- Buttons – HTC installed buttons that are part of the Edge Sense design. I don’t like them. Mind that as I am creating this review there is an update that is rolling out that is supposed to fix the buttons. Regardless, I prefer “real” buttons.
- No wireless charging which makes it not fully loaded for such a high price. Even though it is a cool design, in my opinion, there is no point in a glass back if there is no wireless charging. There are SO many other great options. OnePlus did this with the One’s sandstone back. Metal, ceramic, etc. Get creative. This glass smudges way too easy and is very slippery. They do include a case with the phone, but as I like to remind people, I am reviewing the phone, not the accessories or accessories that could fix an issue.
- Screen quality seems a little off. It’s not horrible, but the screen’s colors are not all the same across the entire device. Towards the bottom left screen there’s a warm color tone.
- Camera – 4K recording limits. The U12 Plus only allows you to record up to 6 minutes at a time. Might not be a deal breaker, but if you are looking to be creative or shoot longer videos, you’re going to have to adapt to the recording limits. The portrait mode only looks good in the best of daylight conditions.
- Price – This phone to too expensive. Phones, in general, these days are too pricey. Unfortunately, the HTC U12 Plus cannot be found in stores either.
I was hoping this phone was going to be the best Android at this point of the year. It’s not a home run, it is still a great phone. Most issues I have with the phone is pointed out from my preferences.
HTC was rumored/reported to have been a choice company to make the Pixel 2 XL. The HTC U11+ was said to be pretty much what the Pixel could have been. LG has put a bad taste in my mouth with the horrible quality with the screens they put in the Pixel 2 XLs.
I was hoping for a GREAT camera experience because the Pixel 2 XL, in my opinion, is still the best. HTC hardware with Pixel software and camera would have made an almost perfect phone.
Would I recommend this phone? Yes, if money is not a factor. I think there are other options to consider with spending that much money. Ideally, you could spend the money on the OnePlus 6 and save about $200. Granted, you’ll miss out on better water resistance, sd card storage, and Edge Sense. It all boils down to preferences. If you want the best audio experience, Edge Sense, and NO NOTCH go the U12 Plus.